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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

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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Russia Says U.S. General’s Remarks Discredited Trump’s Position

Posted by hkarner - 26. Juli 2018

Date: 25-07-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Defense Ministry in Moscow criticizes comments by Army Gen. Joseph Votel, U.S. Central Command chief

U.S. Army Gen. Joseph Votel said watching Russia’s military actions in Syria gave him “some pause” about working more closely with its forces.
Russia criticized the top U.S. military commander of the Middle East on Tuesday, saying he “discredited the official position” of President Trump by expressing hesitance toward working with Russian counterparts in Syria.

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, U.S. Central Command chief, made his comments over the weekend to The Wall Street Journal and ABC News while en route to Afghanistan. He said watching Russia’s military actions in Syria gave him “some pause” about working more closely with its forces.

“With his statements, Gen. Votel not only discredited the official position of his supreme commander-in-chief, but also exacerbated the illegality under international law and U.S. law of the military presence of American servicemen in Syria,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement published on social media.

The statement also said the U.S. should “engage in cooperation with Russia and the country’s legal leadership,” referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom Russia backs. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Der Autokraten-Gipfel

Posted by hkarner - 17. Juli 2018

Date: 16-07-2018
Source: ZEIT: Eine Kolumne von Martin Klingst

Wladimir Putin und Donald Trump stellen das Unrecht über das Recht und den Nationalismus über den Multilateralismus. Europa muss sich wehren und ein Zeichen setzen.

Ausgerechnet Helsinki. Ausgerechnet in Finnlands Hauptstadt treffen sich an diesem Montag Donald Trump und Wladimir Putin zu ihrem Autokraten-Gipfel. Seit über 40 Jahren steht Helsinki für Frieden, Freiheit und Menschenrechte. Hier wurde nach zweijährigen Verhandlungen am 1. August 1975 die Schlussakte der Konferenz über Sicherheit und Zusammenarbeit in Europa (KSZE) unterschrieben.

Die unterzeichnenden Staaten – mit dabei die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika und die damalige Sowjetunion – verpflichteten sich in diesem Dokument zur Wahrung der Grundfreiheiten, zum Gewaltverzicht, zur Unverletzlichkeit der Grenzen, zur territorialen Integrität der Staaten, zur Nichteinmischung in die inneren Angelegenheiten anderer Länder und zur friedlichen Beilegung von Streitfällen.

Es war ein langer, beschwerlicher und von vielen Rückschlägen begleiteter Weg. Und wirklich komplett erfüllt wurden diese Versprechen nie. Aber damals, mitten im Kalten Krieg, entstand in Helsinki die Hoffnung auf eine bessere, friedlichere Welt. Und diese Zuversicht war nicht vergebens. Rund vierzehn Jahre später fiel die Mauer, seither leben viele Völker des ehemaligen „Ostblocks“ in Freiheit.

Multilateralismus: ein Ärgernis

Heute aber weht ein anderer Geist. In Helsinki treffen sich ein amerikanischer und ein russischer Präsident, denen Prinzipien wie der Gewaltverzicht und die Achtung der Menschenrechte egal sind. Der Multilateralismus ist ihnen ein Ärgernis und sie bekämpfen ihn nach Kräften, wenn auch mit oft unterschiedlichen Interessen und von verschiedenen Enden aus. Wer hätte je gedacht, dass ein amerikanischer und ein russischer Präsident eines Tages gemeinsam die bestehende Nachkriegsordnung infrage stellen, die Vereinten Nationen, das westliche Verteidigungsbündnis Nato, die EU, die Welthandelsorganisation WTO? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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President faces renewed pressure to confront Russian counterpart about election meddling

Posted by hkarner - 16. Juli 2018

Date: 15-07-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject: Russian Agents’ Indictment Raises Stakes Ahead of Trump-Putin Summit

The federal indictment on Friday of 12 Russian intelligence agents accused of hacking Democratic and state election computers in 2016 moves the topic of Russian meddling in the presidential election higher on the agenda for the two nations ahead of President Donald Trump’s summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

President Trump said he would address the issue, though it’s unclear how much he will prioritize it compared with other matters, such as seeking Mr. Putin’s help in Syria and other hot spots.

Last week, before Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment was released, the president dismissed the Russia probe as a “rigged witch hunt.” He later said he anticipated the encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin would be the easiest of a series of overseas meetings this past week with European allies and NATO officials.

At a news conference Thursday, he told reporters that when he meets with Mr. Putin he would “ask your favorite question about meddling,” going on to say that “he may deny it.”

“It’s one of those things,” he continued. “All I can say is, ‘Did you? and ‘Don’t do it again.’ All I can do is say it.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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West’s Failure to Reform Threatens World Order

Posted by hkarner - 29. Juni 2018

Date: 28-06-2018
Source: YaleGlobal

A rebalancing of world power is underway, and global and regional organizations are in need of reform. China and Russia challenge the post–World War II international order developed by the United States and its allies. China’s swift economic growth and Russia’s military interventions have caught the West off guard, explains journalist and author Humphrey Hawksley: „China… is stepping into an array of vacuums created by economic crises, weak governance and unpredictable populism, yet nether Beijing nor Moscow has the wherewithal to build rival institutions of the strength that has allowed the West to hold sway in the world order for centuries.“ International organizations designed to promote cooperation have not kept pace with social and economic changes since 1945. Groups like the United Nations, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund must take voices of rising powers into account or risk losing credibility and influence. Hawksley concludes, “The West’s failure to act on modernizing the world order is becoming as much a threat to the West’s rules-based system as is Russia and China’s attempt to challenge it.” – YaleGlobal
Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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An outrageous penalty

Posted by hkarner - 17. Juni 2018

Date: 16-06-2018
Source: The Economist

As the World Cup begins
, Russia should free Oleg Sentsov

A film-maker locked up for protesting against the annexation of Crimea is on hunger strike

AS YOU settle down to watch the World Cup in Russia, remember Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director serving a 20-year sentence in a prison camp in Siberia. He has committed no crime. Rather, he was jailed for protesting against Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the war Russia’s president unleashed in eastern Ukraine four years ago. On May 14th Mr Sentsov started a hunger strike demanding the release of all 64 Ukrainian political prisoners from Russian jails. The opening of the World Cup on June 14th was Mr Sentsov’s 32nd day without food. He is rapidly acquiring the moral stature once accorded to people like Anatoly Marchenko, a Soviet dissident who was on hunger strike for 117 days and died soon after he ended it in December 1986.

World leaders supported Mr Sentsov, though they could clearly do more. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, raised the case with Mr Putin. PEN America, a writers’ organisation, and dozens of artists in Russia and in the West have called for his release. One Western leader who has not done so is President Donald Trump. Instead, last week he called for Russia to return to the G7. It was expelled for the seizure of Crimea, which, in his words, “happened a while ago”. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Putin’s Secret Services: How the Kremlin Corralled the FSB

Posted by hkarner - 31. Mai 2018

Date: 31-05-2018
Source: Foreign Affairs By Andrei Soldatov

In April, a series of protests hit the Moscow region. They were neither overtly political—citizens were protesting toxic landfills in their neighborhoods—nor very numerous, comprising, at most, a few thousand people in a region of over seven million. At their peak, people took to the streets in nine towns surrounding the city.

The protests, however, seemed well coordinated, and in some towns, the city authorities supported people and granted them permission to protest. Even for officials, it was difficult to ignore the awful smells emanating from the landfills, or the furious mothers and fathers of poisoned children. One of these cities was Serpukhov, some 60 miles south of Moscow.

One week after the protests started, an official from the Serpukhov district, Alexander Shestun, was invited to the Kremlin. There, he met with Ivan Tkachev, a general from the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s powerful intelligence agency and the successor to the Soviet-era secret police, the KGB. Apprehensive about the meeting, Shestun decided to secretly record the conversation, which he later posted on YouTube.

In the recording, Tkachev threatens Shestun. “You will be steamrolled if you don’t resign,” he says. “You will be in prison. Like many before you, you don’t understand, it’s a big [purge].” Intimating that he was receiving orders from the Kremlin, Tkachev then lists several top-level officials who had already been jailed, including a general from the interior ministry and two governors. Tkachev even suggests that Andrey Vorobyov, governor of the Moscow region and former chair of the ruling party United Russia, could be the next target. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Roman Abramovich’s visa woes signal a shift in British policy on Russia

Posted by hkarner - 28. Mai 2018

Date: 24-05-2018
Source: The Economist

Vladimir Putin has long blurred the line between private and state interests. Now, so is the West

FIFTEEN years ago Britons searched the internet and learned to (mis)pronounce the name of an exotic Russian who had just bought an English institution, Chelsea football club. “He is Roman Abramovich, the major shareholder of Sibneft, one of the largest oil companies in Russia…one of his closest friends is Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia,” the Daily Mail told its readers. Over the next few years the papers fell in love with “Red Rom”, as the Sun dubbed him, who poured money into Chelsea. His marriages, divorces, yachts and parties made excellent copy. He became a celebrity—the most famous Russian oligarch in London.

This week Mr Abramovich made headlines again, for his absence from Chelsea’s cup-final tie with Manchester United. Chelsea won that match. But Mr Abramovich may lose a different game. His British visa expired last month and has not been renewed, putting his London mansion and football club out of reach. It is unlikely to be a glitch. As one of Britain’s richest domiciles, his case would probably have been considered by the home secretary. Rules introduced in 2015 require new checks. He has been asked for information about the source of his wealth and about his character. If the Home Office finds his answers unsatisfactory, his entry may be declined.

The source of Mr Abramovich’s wealth has not changed since his arrival in Britain, and nor has his character. He was one of the most influential Russians in the late 1990s, who assisted Mr Putin’s rise and benefited from it. What has changed is the relationship between Russia and Britain. Russia’s apparent use in March of a military-grade nerve agent against Sergei Skripal, a former double-agent living in Britain, tipped that relationship into open confrontation. As part of Britain’s counter-offensive, Theresa May has put together an international coalition against Russia and pledged to crack down on Russian money that is used to harm Britain and its allies. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How to Stop Vladimir Putin’s Mafia

Posted by hkarner - 24. April 2018

Date: 23-04-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal By Mikhail Khodorkovsky

The real enemy is a group of about 100 beneficiaries of the regime and several thousand accomplices.

After Donald Trump’s victory in 2016, I predicted that Russia’s stance toward the U.S. would become more antagonistic. Vladimir Putin always needs a foreign enemy to rally his nation around him and divert attention from the poor Russian economy. Mr. Putin’s aggression has indeed managed to raise tension between the U.S. and Russia. But instead of reinforcing Mr. Putin’s narrative by punishing Russia as a whole, the U.S. should target its response toward Mr. Putin and his inner circle.

Mr. Putin’s conflicts with the U.S. are clearly intended to improve his reputation among the Russian people. Through his policy and rhetoric, Mr. Putin has spread the notion that the U.S. is a cunning enemy trying to undermine Russia and is responsible for Russia’s every problem at home and abroad. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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