Map of Collective Security Treaty Organization (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Marlène Laruelle, German Marshall Fund of the United States, August 24, 2012
When Uzbekistan announced its withdrawal from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, no one was surprised. The country was dissatisfied with the organization due to conflicting values and principles, and it also wanted to free itself from historical Russian domination. The withdrawal opens the question of how heavy a blow the Uzbek withdrawal is to Moscow’s strategic leadership in Central Asia. The answer is mixed… (more) http://ow.ly/1m7rrK
Patriarch Kirill I, or Cyril I, born November 20, 1946, is a Russian Orthodox bishop who has been Patriarch of Moscow and All Rus and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church since February 1, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Katarzyna Jarzyńska and Jadwiga Rogoża, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), August 22, 2012
On 16-19 August, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), the Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia, Cyril I, paid a visit to Poland. A key event during the visit was the signing of a Joint Message to the Polish and Russian Nations by Patriarch Cyril and the President of the Polish Bishops’ Synod, Archbishop Jozef Michalik, on 17 August at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. http://ow.ly/1m738l
Royal Navy Sea King Mk4 Helicopter Practices Load Lifting Drills in Norway (Photo credit: Defence Images)
StratRisks, August 24, 2012
…Roughly 800 soldiers from the 1st Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment, in Petawawa, Ont., eventually did take part in Exercise Cold Response last March. They formed one contingent in the overall exercise involving 16,000 troops from the U.S., Britain, France, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The exercise, which has been held regularly since 2006, coincided this year with the election — or re-election — of Vladimir Putin as Russian president.
Reaction from Moscow clearly indicated that the Kremlin saw the NATO-Swedish training as provocative, especially since it came on the heels of a Canadian sovereignty exercise in February known as ‘Arctic Ram.’
(full article) http://ow.ly/1m712H
Russian president Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Institute, August 17, 2012
Moscow and Ankara take vastly different views of the developments in Syria. Yet, the Russian government and the Kremlin-friendly media only rarely chide Turkey for the position it has taken on Syria. At the height of the battle in Damascus, Prime Minister Erdogan traveled to Russia for talks with Vladimir Putin. It is clear that Moscow considers Ankara not only an economic partner, but also a key regional player, and is prepared to work with it. Thus, an interesting relationship is emerging, one which may impact on a range of countries that once used to be part of either the Ottoman or Russian/Soviet empires, or both… (more) http://ow.ly/1m0L6B
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. Pussy Riot (Photo credit: ostromentsky)
By Judy Dempsey, Carnegie Institute, August 9, 2012
What is the European Union going to do about Russia?
It’s a question that keeps popping up because Brussels has no strategy about how to deal with President Vladimir Putin or react to the kind of political and economic system he has established.
This question is becoming more relevant in the light of the trial of three young women – Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova who belong to the Pussy Riot punk band…
Map showing Turkmenistan with Uzbekistan to the north (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
European Geopolitical Forum
A sea agreement was signed in Moscow, following a meeting of Russian-Turkmen intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation, media outlets reported on Thursday citing the press service of the Russian government.
The document was signed between the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping and the State Service of Maritime and River Transport of Turkmenistan and is concerned with delegation of authority for the services to conduct surveys of ships and documentation in accordance with the requirements of international treaties relating to merchant shipping.
Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Dominik Jankowski and Paweł Świeżak, FPA, July 30, 2012
The results of the March 2012 presidential election in Russia were no surprise for Central European observers. Vladimir Putin, the new-old President, has returned to power and the political, social and economic atmosphere has again become tense and unpredictable. Yet the change might not be as radical as many fear. In the last few years shifts in Russian foreign policy have not been strategic, but merely tactical. During Dmitry Medvedev’s Presidency, Moscow attempted to create an atmosphere conducive to cooperation with Europe and was eager to pursue broader modernization. However, the ongoing economic crisis has revealed that Russia lacks the potential to implement any ambitious programs on the international stage. And now, Vladimir Putin will have to decide how to forge policy statements from his election campaign into real and concrete political actions. From a Central European perspective, three crucial questions have emerged following the election. First, how will Putin’s return influence Russia’s relationship with the EU? Second, what impact will that have on the potential future political and security scenarios in Europe’s Eastern neighborhood? And finally, what would a more assertive Russia mean both for the broader Central European security landscape at a time of relative U.S. retrenchment from the region, and for the prospects for sustainability and longevity of the rapprochement efforts between Moscow and several regional capitals, notably Warsaw? (more) http://ow.ly/1lJh9g
by Vadim Nikitin, FPA, July 29, 2012
Just what is Bill Browder really playing at?
After the high-flying American investment banker was ousted from Russia in 2005, his lawyer Sergey Magnitsky was killed in police custody four years later. It is said that Magnitsky earned his Steve Biko-like death after the lawyer, investigating the authorities’ dismantling of Browder’s Hermitage hedge fund in Moscow, uncovered a massive tax fraud perpetrated by the highest levels of the Russian government. It involved the use of forged Hermitage documents and $230 million in loot. Medvedev promised an investigation, which is currently progressing about as quickly as Medvedev’s own political career. (more) http://ow.ly/1lIUkn
Security & Defence Agenda, July 17, 2012 Moscow is under intense diplomatic pressure to cut ties with Syria after footage showed that the Asad regime used Russian helicopters and tanks to attack civilians. (more) http://ow.ly/1lqAP7
Syria Location (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
President Vladimir Putin with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor, CFR.org
Interviewee: Dimitri Simes, President and CEO, Center for the National Interest
UN Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan is in Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin aimed at intensifying pressure on the Syrian regime through UN Security Council sanctions, but Russia expert Dimitri Simes says that while Russia might at some point get fed up with Bashar al-Assad and see that his government is losing ground, it isn’t “as opposed to the Damascus regime as the Obama administration and many other governments.” Putin is generally committed to “maintaining the sovereignty of existing states,” especially since “most of the regimes that were changed after the Cold War were the regimes that were friendly to Russia,” says Simes. Additionally, says Simes, Putin “is more skeptical of U.S. and Western intentions, particularly U.S. intentions,” than former president [Dmitry] Medvedev, who had forged a good relationship with President Obama… (more)