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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Kreml-Kritiker Nawalny: „Gauner investieren gerne in Österreich“

Posted by hkarner - 22. Juli 2019

Der russische Oppositionsführer beschuldigt den Moskauer-Chef der Putin-Partei „Einiges Russland“, Hotels in Wien und Tirol zu besitzen.

Der russische Oppositionsführer Alexej Nawalny hat aufgrund umstrittener russischer Investitionen in Österreich die heimische Politik und Banken kritisiert. „Alle wissen, dass korrupte Gauner gerne in Österreich investieren“, sagte Nawalny dem Nachrichtenmagazin „profil“.

Nawalny schlägt in dem Interview vor, strikte EU-Einreiseverbote gegen die „1000 wichtigsten Putin-Korruptionisten“ zu erlassen. „Sie leben bei euch, fahren Ski in Tirol und essen köstlichen Erdäpfelsalat … In Russland erzählen sie uns dann, wie das alte, zauberhafte Europa zugrunde geht und dass wir Russen dagegen kämpfen müssen“, so der Oppositionelle.

In einem Anfang Juli veröffentlichten Wahlkampfvideo hatte Nawalny österreichischen Immobilienbesitz der Familie eines führenden Moskauer Vertreters der Kreml-Partei „Einiges Russland“ angeprangert. Vor den Wahlen zum Moskauer Stadtparlament versuchte Nawalny, damit seine bekannte These zu untermauern, dass die regierende Partei aus „Gaunern und Dieben“ bestünde.

Nawalny wirft Österreichs Politik „freundschaftliche Kontakte“ zu Moskau vor

Der Oppositionspolitiker beschuldigte in seinem Video Andrej Metelski, den einflussreichen Moskau-Chef von „Einiges Russland“ und Vizepräsidenten des Moskauer Stadtparlaments, de facto Eigentümer von Hotels in Tirol und Wien zu sein. Laut amtlichen Dokumenten gehören die Immobilien und dazugehörigen Tourismusunternehmen, die in Summe etwa 40 Millionen Euro wert sein könnten, unter anderem seinem gleichnamigen Sohn.

Gegenüber russischen Medien bestätigte der „Einiges Russland“-Politiker zwar geschäftliche Aktivitäten seiner Verwandten, bestritt aber, mit den Immobilien etwas zu tun zu haben. „Diese Geschichte (Nawalnys, Anm.) hat mit den Wahlen in das Moskauer Stadtparlament zu tun. Das ist ein schwacher Versuch, mich in Misskredit zu bringen“, erklärte Metelski gegenüber „RBK“.

„Das sind gestohlene Gelder, die von einem europäischen Land angenommen werden, ohne dass irgendwelche Fragen gestellt werden“, sagte Nawalny, der eine Erklärung der österreichischen Banken forderte, gegenüber „profil“. „Es gibt viele Russen, die Immobilien besitzen, in Tirol und anderswo, aber hier wie dort hat das politische Establishment überhaupt kein Problem damit.“Während seiner Recherchen habe er die österreichischen Behörden bewusst nicht informiert: „Leider wissen wir, dass viele österreichische Politiker sehr freundschaftliche Kontakte zu russischen Politikern pflegen.“

Zu zehn Tagen Arrest verurteilt

Russland-weit werden im September Kommunal- und Regionalparlamente gewählt. Bei Protesten gegen mutmaßliche Behinderungen der Opposition bei den kommenden Kommunalwahlen waren vor wenigen Tagen mehrere Unterstützer des Kreml-Kritikers Nawalny festgenommen worden. Die rund 2000 Demonstranten waren einem Aufruf mehrerer Kandidaten, darunter Anhänger Nawalnys, gefolgt.

Nawalny selbst wurde nach der Organisation einer Kundgebung gegen Polizeiwillkür zu zehn Tagen Arrest verurteilt. Der Anti-Korruptions-Kämpfer hatte die Kundgebung für den Enthüllungsjournalisten Iwan Golunow organisiert.

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Can Putin Fix Russia’s Sputtering Economy?

Posted by hkarner - 15. März 2019

Date: 14-03-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Chris Miller

Why Stagnation Is the New Normal

“Blatant disrespect” for Russia’s government can now land you in jail, under a new law the country’s legislature has passed. Worried that Russians are increasingly inclined to criticize the state or protest against it, the government is tightening the screws.

Public support for the Kremlin and for Russian President Vladimir Putin has slumped in recent months. The government’s popularity had spiked after Russia annexed the Ukrainian territory of Crimea in 2014, catapulting Putin’s approval rating to near 80 percent, where it remained for nearly five years. Yet that political magic is wearing thin. Over the past six months, Putin’s rating has crashed. True, the most recent poll by the Levada Center, an independent Russian polling organization, suggests that 64 percent of Russians continue to approve of Putin’s work as president. Yet that is the lowest number since 2013, when Putin returned to the presidency amid anti-regime protests.

THE KREMLIN’S EMPTY PROMISES Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Whoever Predicts the Future Will Win the AI Arms Race

Posted by hkarner - 7. März 2019

Date: 06-03-2019
Source: foreignpolicy.com

China, Russia, and the United States are approaching the long-term strategic potential of artificial intelligence very differently. The country that gets it right will reap huge military benefits.

The race for advanced artificial intelligence has already started. A few weeks ago, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order creating the “American AI Initiative,” with which the United States joined other major countries pursuing national strategies for developing AI. China released its “New Generation Plan” in 2017, outlining its strategy to lead the world in AI by 2030. Months after that announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared, “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared, “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

But it’s less clear how much AI will advance, exactly. It may only be able to perform fairly menial tasks like classifying photographs, driving, or bookkeeping. There’s also a distinct possibility that AI will become as smart as humans or more so, able to make complex decisions independently. A race toward a technology with such a range of possible final states, stretching from banal to terrifying, is inherently unstable. A research program directed toward one understanding of AI may prove to have been misdirected after years of work. Alternatively, a plan to focus on small and achievable advances could be leapfrogged by a more ambitious effort. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Wag the Dictator

Posted by hkarner - 28. Februar 2019

Nina L. Khrushcheva is Professor of International Affairs at The New School and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute. She is the author of Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics, The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey into the Gulag of the Russian Mind, and, most recently, In Putin’s Footsteps: Searching for the Soul of an Empire Across Russia’s Eleven Time Zones (with Jeffrey Tayler).

In recent decades, Russian and Chinese conglomerates have gained ever more global economic influence, making them powerful foreign-policy tools for their respective governments. But now Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are learning that they are the tools.

NEW YORK – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have each championed a model of authoritarian capitalism (call it “development with a dictator’s face”). But what neither leader seems to have anticipated is that the Russian and Chinese commercial sectors are becoming political forces in their own right, increasingly bringing pressure to bear on policymaking.

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How to Hit Russia Where It Hurts

Posted by hkarner - 6. Januar 2019

Date: 05-01-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Peter Harrell

A Long-Term Strategy to Ramp Up Economic Pressure

Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, its war in eastern Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and other aggressive acts against the United States and its allies demand a strong Western response. For the past four years, that response has been dominated by sanctions and other coercive economic measures. U.S. and European officials have hoped that the economic measures would not only exact a cost for such actions but also deter the Kremlin from escalating its assault on American and European interests.

The economic pressure has certainly had an effect. The IMF estimated that the sanctions linked to the 2014 invasion of Ukraine cost Russia 1 to 1.5 percent of its GDP by mid-2015. The sanctions also hurt the Russian treasury’s bottom line, since Russia had to make up for lost Western capital by spending billions of dollars to prop up large companies that depended on Western funds. The more recent sanctions announced in April 2018 in response to Russia’s interference in the U.S. election rattled Russian financial markets and put pressure on the value of the ruble. Specific people and companies have also felt the squeeze: the net worth of Oleg Deripaska, the pro-Putin oligarch, for example, has tumbled because of U.S. sanctions. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Democracy Could Bounce Back in 2019

Posted by hkarner - 2. Januar 2019

Date: 01-01-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal By William A. Galston

The old year saw some troubling setbacks, but things could have worked out far worse.

Twenty eighteen wasn’t a good year for democracy, but it could have been worse. Established autocracies showed few signs of democratic opening, backsliding among newer democracies continued, and established democracies struggled to regain stability after the shocks of recent years. Nonetheless, comparisons to the interwar years remain far-fetched, and it is hard to spot a potential Weimar Republic among democracies that existed before the Soviet Union’s collapse.

Vladimir Putin continues to play a weak hand well, at home and abroad. He has used energy revenues to sustain social programs and rebuild Russia’s military—both popular measures. The national debt remains low, and prudent reserves have buffered the government from fluctuating energy prices. Mr. Putin’s entente with the Russian Orthodox Church has bolstered his standing among tradition-minded Russians, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, and he has advanced his country’s long-held aims in Crimea and Syria at modest cost in blood and treasure. There are few obvious openings for democracy-minded dissidents to exploit. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Vladimir Putin tells Theresa May to ‚fulfil will of people‘ on Brexit

Posted by hkarner - 21. Dezember 2018

That’s exactly the support Ms. May needs! (hfk)

Date: 20-12-2018
Source: The Guardian

Russian president gives backing to UK prime minister in ‘fighting for this Brexit’

Vladimir Putin, speaking on national television, criticised the idea of the UK holding another EU vote.

Vladimir Putin has said the UK should not hold a second referendum on Brexit, insisting Theresa May must “fulfil the will of the people”.

Offering public support that the embattled British prime minister may rather do without, Putin said he “understood” May’s position in “fighting for this Brexit”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Russia’s growing threat to north Europe

Posted by hkarner - 4. Oktober 2018

Date: 03-10-2018
Source: The Economist

Sweden hugs its friends closer, but will it tie the knot with NATO?

SOME states soothe their citizens in troubled times. Others prefer not to sugar-coat things. “A larger European conflict could start with an attack on Sweden,” warned the most recent report of the country’s defence commission. Electricity would be limited. Calorie intake would fall. Tens of thousands might be wounded. This was not idle talk: in June, all 22,000 Swedish volunteer soldiers were called up for the largest surprise exercise since 1975. For the first time in almost 30 years, the government has written to millions of households exhorting them to prepare for the worst. “We will never give up,” warned leaflets decorated with vivid tableaux of burning buildings and rolling tanks.

Sweden’s aim is to hold out for three months, until help arrives. These twin tasks—becoming “indigestible to Russia”, as one analyst puts it, and ensuring that the cavalry shows up—will be high on the agenda of whichever government emerges from the hung parliament produced by the election of September 9th. Sweden may not be a member of NATO. But under Stefan Lofven, Sweden’s Social Democratic prime minister for the past four years, it has manoeuvred as close to the alliance as it is possible to get from the outside. By deferring the question of outright membership, anathema to the left, he created political space to tighten Sweden’s triple embrace of America, NATO and its neighbours. A landmark “host nation” agreement with NATO was steered through parliament in 2016. America’s potential wartime role in Sweden was once a state secret; now contingency plans can be made openly. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Russia’s Internal Otherness

Posted by hkarner - 23. August 2018

Date: 22-08-2018
Source: YaleGlobal by Viacheslav Morozov

Russia is Europe’s most populous country, and Vladimir Putin, in his fourth term, promises to focus on modernizing the economy and social institutions. “It is evident… that achieving a new level of economic development is hardly possible in total isolation,” argues Viatcheslav Morozov, professor of EU-Russia Studies at the University of Tartu, who writes about identity and foreign affairs. “On the other hand, the feeling of insecurity that underlies Russia’s pushback cannot be fully rationalized even if one agrees with the assumption that Western democracy promotion and geopolitical expansion go hand in hand.” Russians cherish a distinct history, traditions and peasant imagery that suggest an inability to integrate with Europe. Political leaders take advantage of a perceived cultural divide no longer based on social reality, one that vanished with standardized education and urbanization. Morozov concludes that the nation need not pursue some idealized image of Europe to improve the country and give all Russians a political voice. – YaleGlobal

A deep internal culture divide in Russia between traditionalists and European Russians encourages isolationism Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What the far left and right have in common, in Germany and elsewhere

Posted by hkarner - 11. August 2018

Date: 09-08-2018
Source: The Economist

Parties that combine economic statism and cultural conservatism are growing

SITTING down with The Economist in her office in Berlin, Sahra Wagenknecht is restless: “Do we think that anyone can just migrate to Germany and have a claim to social welfare?” asks the doyenne of the Left (Die Linke), a socialist party. “Or do we say that labour migration is more of a problem?” The party’s leader in the Bundestag worries about its direction. “If you concentrate more on hip, urban sorts of voters—on identity and lifestyle debates—you don’t speak to the poorest in society. They no longer feel properly represented.” Her answer, launched on August 4th, is a new, non-party movement called “Rise Up” designed to reach those who have switched off from politics. It may point to a significant realignment in both German and European politics.

The Left was formed in 2005 when leftists who had quit the Social Democrats (SPD) merged with the successor party to the former East German communists. It has always been an uneasy alliance of provincial socialists and urban left-libertarians. At last year’s election it lost some 420,000 voters, principally older ones in the former communist east, to the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, but offset that loss by gaining 700,000 from the SPD and 330,000 from the Greens, mainly in western cities and university towns. It now faces a choice: consolidate its new strength as a lefty alternative to the Greens (as Katja Kipping, the Left’s leader, wants to do) or prioritise winning back traditional working-class voters as a lefty alternative to the AfD? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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