Can Russia afford to be an outcast in world politics?

What President Putin has been pursuing during his months-long battle against Ukraine’s economy and society is the semi-collapse and semi-implosion of the Ukrainian state. But at what cost?

Europe is (still) failing to understand Russia’s actions in Crimea

The EU has been right to interpret Russia’s foreign policy as both chaotic and driven by short-sighted or temperamental interests. However, the EU is wrong to view Russia’s foreign policy as a monolithic bloc in the hands of President Putin.

Out of the Guantanamo frying pan into the Russian fire

While Russia steps up calls for the US to close the Guantánamo Bay prison camp, its own abuse and mistreatment of Russian nationals who returned to the country from Guantánamo a decade ago is less well publicised.

Ukraine – hoping for peace but preparing for war

Ukrainians have accepted the loss of Crimea, but discrimination against dissenters has already started and partial mobilisation makes them very apprehensive that they may be called on to defend their future in more traditional ways.

The challenges for Ukraine’s presidential election

On Sunday 25 May, President Putin permitting, 36.5 million voters will go to the polls in Ukraine to vote for a successor to President Viktor Yanukovych, ousted after three months of protests, and over 100 dead

Crimea and Kosovo – the delusions of western military interventionism

Vladimir Putin says that Crimea is another Kosovo. Angela Merkel says that they are completely different. Who’s right?


Why Crimea is not Kosovo, and why it matters

In his 18 March speech, Vladimir Putin cited the International Court of Justice 2010 opinion allowing Kosovo to declare independence as justification for Crimean separation. The cases are, however, very different.

Could Crimea be another Bosnia?

As Crimea prepares for its referendum on Sunday, a lesson should perhaps be learned from an earlier, Balkan carve-up.

Mr Putin's mercenaries

The Kremlin claims that its every step in Crimea fully complies with international law. But does President Putin understand that, under international law, Ukraine could either arrest or shoot those unmarked troops, as mercenaries or common criminals?

The Crimean ‘Army’

Several months ago the Crimean peninsula seemed to be the safest place in Ukraine, far from the confrontation between Viktor Yanukovych and Maidan. Now Crimea is occupied by an ‘army,’ but whose army is it?

Putin, Crimea and the legitimacy trap

The Kremlin sees events in Ukraine through the prism of its own domestic politics and is anxious to prevent the type of democrats-and-nationalists alliance that brought down Yanukovych. Its actions in Crimea may be shoring up its nationalist credentials at home but the fall-out could be more dangerous than they anticipate.

Who’s next on Putin’s list?

Crimea is under the control of Russia’s military forces and its Moscow-backed government is voting to secede from Ukraine.  Where might President Vladimir Putin seek territorial expansion next?

Russia in the Middle East: a well-played hand disguises fading fortunes

There is no doubt that Russia’s diplomatic coups in the Middle East late last year caused its stock to rise. But is Moscow really the new boss in town or is this all just hyperbolic nonsense?

Crimea – from playground to battleground

Journalistic speculation about Crimea becoming independent is rife. However, the real dangers lie elsewhere…

The importance of not being a 'stan'

What’s in a name? President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan was apparently in earnest when he recently suggested changing the name of ‘his’ country. If he gets his way, the domestic and international implications are very real.

Kazakhstan – the succession

President Nazarbayev has turned Kazakhstan into a Central Asian powerhouse. He is 73, and shows no sign of giving up the reins. But there are riches at stake, and people waiting in the wings.

Blood and treasure

Can an invasion of Afghanistan ever be considered to be a mission accomplished? The British in the 19th century, the Soviets in the 20th and now 21st century ISAF is pulling out its troops. What have they achieved and what is likely to happen afterwards?

Ukraine’s 2014: a belated 1989 or another failed 2004?

Whatever their outcome, the events in Ukraine seem likely to be of greater long-term import than the ‘Orange Revolution’ in 2004. But a long-term what?

Afghanistan, then and now

Modern urban versus traditional rural Afghanistan, then and now. Time may have moved on, but the problems are big enough to be extremely concerning.

Leaving Afghanistan

Twenty five years ago today, Soviet General Boris Gromov oversaw the final withdrawal from Afghanistan. How will the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) leave Afghanistan?

The heavyweight guide to Ukraine

Don't know your Klitschko from your Titushki? Can’t remember which oligarch is which? What or who is a ‘Maidan?’ With our heavyweight guide, you won’t have to buy the next round…

Lukashenka as Machiavelli

For those who assume that the Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenka long ago lost his freedom of action vis-a-vis Moscow, his recent bout of assertive behaviour was unexpected. It delivered the desired result, though.

Russia at home and abroad: past successes, future challenges

2013 produced several foreign policy successes for President Putin, increasing Russia’s prominence on the international stage. At home, the Volgograd suicide attacks brought the year to a sad and worrying conclusion. Margot Light reflects on 2013 and wonders about Russia’s 2014, including the G8 presidency and the Sochi Winter Olympics.

In Ukraine the oligarchs hedge their bets

President Yanukovych has done a deal in Moscow, and the protesters on the streets are holding their ground. But what about the oligarchs, who hold sway over so many areas of life in Ukraine? Their recent behaviour has been akin to equivocation, says Oleksander Andreyev.

Provoking the Euromaidan

Far-right agents provocateurs have been infiltrating the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, and provoking the police and protesters to violence. Anton Shekhovtsov reports

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