A  Long Year for Ukraine and the World

By Nina Bachkatov

The 24 January passed on without the anticipated Russian offensive. In the Western world, thousands of people took the streets to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people.  Their leaders promised again to be on Ukraine’s side “up to the end”, “the time it will take”. In Kiev, Volodymyr Zelensky attended low key ceremonies focused on prayers for the victims and thanks to the fighters. A year after the invasion, peace seems a distant reality, an issue that will be decided on the battlefield. This conviction is reinforced by the slow effects of the economic war, with its sanctions and counter-sanctions, declared by the West to limit the Kremlin’s capacity to finance its war. Now the accent is still on broader sanctions, but the accent is back to military aspects, notably the delivery of arms requested by Ukraine to push Russians out by its own forces. In those conditions, diplomacy is relegated to the sideline, albeit some discreet channels stay open, witnessed for instance by the regular exchanges of prisoners. In fact, nobody wants to expose itself as the one that will raise a white flag, while staying on the save side by talking about the need to keep contacts with Russia.

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Putin and coronavirus face to face

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

The attack of a virus coming from China exposed that Russians are not the different species that some Western media like to picture them. Faced with the epidemic, Russians reacted the same way that others. First with indifference “much ado about nothing” and cockiness “we need more to be alarmed”. Then, when it circled closer and closer, a majority of Russians concluded that the authorities were just lying and rush to social medias to stuff themselves with conspiration theories and extravagant recipes to fight the infection. Continue reading “Putin and coronavirus face to face”

Russia and China, a New Model of Great-Power Relations

By Nina Bachkatov

The continuing calm of Chinese-Russia relations is the subject of a recent study in Survival (Survival, Feb.-Mar. 2017), the bi-monthly journal of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The article’s writers* focus on the way in which the two countries have avoided any turbulence that might have resulted from their imbalanced economic and strategic relationship. Continue reading “Russia and China, a New Model of Great-Power Relations”