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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Alexei Navalny’s Illness Latest Blow to Russia’s Struggling Opposition

Posted by hkarner - 25. August 2020

Date: 24‑08‑2020

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The sidelining of the Kremlin critic highlights the precarious state of the opposition after years of marginalization

MOSCOW—The sudden and mysterious illness that left Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in a coma has delivered a blow to Russia’s political opposition, throwing into question its future at a time when the Kremlin has stepped up its efforts to stamp out dissent.

Mr. Navalny fell ill on a flight from Siberia to Moscow last week after drinking a cup of tea that his supporters say was laced with poison. He was evacuated to a Berlin hospital on Saturday. Doctors there haven’t disclosed any details of his condition or what they believe caused his illness.

The sidelining of the most prominent leader of Russia’s opposition highlights the precarious state of the movement at a time when it has struggled to find traction after years of marginalization. And while some of Mr. Navalny’s success in galvanizing opposition to the rule of President Vladimir Putin could survive his death or incapacitation, analysts say, the loss of its leader would hamstring the movement. 

Russian authorities have suppressed opposition activities, restraining Russians’ freedom to protest on the street or online, and largely barred Kremlin critics from participating in the political process. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How to Win the Battle Over Data

Posted by hkarner - 19. September 2019

Date: 17-09-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Eric Rosenbach and Katherine Mansted

The United States Dithers While Authoritarians Seize the Day

In recent years, a number of authoritarian governments have begun taking data very seriously. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping believe that the twenty-first century belongs to nations that control communications platforms, suppress independent media, and dominate the development of data-driven technologies such as artificial intelligence. These regimes cordon off their domestic Internet space and shut off their citizens from global information flows, while undermining rival countries through disinformation campaigns and hacking. Authoritarian governments try to steal the intellectual property and databases of foreign organizations, but lock foreign firms out of their own data-rich sectors. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Great-Power Competition Is Washington’s Top Priority—but Not the Public’s

Posted by hkarner - 12. September 2019

Date: 10-09-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs By Richard Fontaine

China and Russia Don’t Keep Most Americans Awake at Night

For all the acrimony in Washington today, the city’s foreign policy establishment is settling on a rare bipartisan consensus: that the world has entered a new era of great-power competition. The struggle between the United States and other great powers, the emerging consensus holds, will fundamentally shape geopolitics going forward, for good or ill. And more than terrorism, climate change, or nuclear weapons in Iran or North Korea, the threats posed by these other great powers—namely, China and Russia—will consume U.S. foreign-policy makers in the decades ahead.

President Donald Trump’s administration has been a prime mover in setting this new agenda. Its National Security Strategy, published in December 2017, portrayed China and Russia as seeking “to shape a world antithetical to U.S. values and interests,” with Beijing displacing the United States in the Indo-Pacific and Russia establishing spheres of influence near its borders. When he presented the new National Defense Strategy in January 2018, then Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that “Great Power competition—not terrorism—is now the primary focus of U.S. national security.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said much the same in April, when he told NATO foreign ministers that the world had entered “a new era of great-power competition,” adding separately that “China wants to be the dominant economic and military power of the world, spreading its authoritarian vision for society and its corrupt practices worldwide.” GPC has become the Pentagon’s newest acronym. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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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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