European Union Customs Union and Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Joerg Forbrig, German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS), September 17, 2012
This essay was originally published by Transitions Online. It can be read here in its original form.
When Charter ’97, one of the premier independent sources of information in Belarus, opened its new office in Warsaw on 14 September, it marked yet another twist in an incredible odyssey that has had many of them.
What their home country’s autocratic ruler, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, had in store for this committed team of human rights activists, democrats, and journalists over the last two years is nothing less than a political thriller from the darkest days of the Soviet Union. At the same time, it is a lesson in how many Belarusians, direct neighbors of the European Union, continue their struggle for a Europe whole and free and deserve all the support the democratic West can muster. Such assistance, however, remains insufficient… (more) http://ow.ly/1mus6T
Christopher Harmer, Institute for the Study of War, July 31, 2012
The Syrian port of Tartus is the only naval base outside of the former Soviet Union still held by the Russian military, and the Russian government has asserted its strategic significance. The port of Tartus holds particular significance to Russia as a defensible position through which to accomplish a political goal. http://ow.ly/1lLjBp
by Scott Bleiweis, July 24, 2012
One of my primary interests regarding government is how countries transition to democracy from another form of rule, and why some places seem to have more success with this than others. For countries formerly under the influence of the Soviet Union, some have seen democracy establish a strong foothold, whereas others face a constant struggle to fight off (figuratively, though sometimes literally) a return to autocracy. (more) http://ow.ly/1lBCFZ
Executive Office of the President, NSRB, Civil Defense Office, 1950. Government Printing Office, Washington. Issued from the Cleveland Office of CIVIL DEFENSE, Room 121, City Hall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Jeff Myhre, FPA, July 21. 2012
One of the greatest problems in the post-Cold War era has been what to do with the leftover highly enriched uranium [HEU], also known as weapons-grade uranium. When the US and USSR were engaged in the nuclear arms race, tons of the stuff was produced in the hopes it would never be used. The 1993 U.S.-Russia HEU Purchase Agreement was one way to get rid of it, “downblending” HEU into low enriched uranium [LEU] suitable for use in nuclear power plants not for incinerating cities… (more) http://ow.ly/1lxlIG
Members of the Azerbaijani Special Forces during a military parade in Baku 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 9 Issue: 133
By: Richard Rousseau, Jamestown Foundation, July 13, 2012
December 24, 2012 will mark the end of the contract between Azerbaijan and Russia for the lease of the G
abala radar station (Daryal-type radar station), built by the Soviet Union in 1984 to monitor missile launches at distances as far as 6,000 kilometers (3,728 miles) away. This remains Russia’s only military presence in Azerbaijan. The radar station, however, is outdated and no longer serves much military value for Russia, especially since a Voronezh-type early warning stations became operational in 2009 near Armavir in Krasnodar Krai.
Moscow and Baku are currently negotiating the terms of a lease extension for the Gabala radar station. To Russia’s surprise – and dismay – Azerbaijani authorities are now asking Russia to pay $300 million a year instead of the seven million dollars a year previously paid (Trend, June 20). (more) http://ow.ly/cflDw