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Russian President Vladimir Putin in center. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Why Russians support Putin’s foreign policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval rating has not dropped below 80 percent since March 2014. Russians overwhelmingly support their president's aggression in Georgia and Crimea. Here's why.
The FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile is the sort of ‘lethal defensive weapon’ the US may consider supplying to Ukraine. Wikimedia Commons/US Army

Purely ‘defensive weapons’? There’s no such thing for Ukraine or anywhere else

Barack Obama is considering supplying "lethal defensive weapons" to Ukraine. But how meaningful is that description? There are simply "weapons", all of which can be used for defence or for aggression.
Russian President Putin blamed the West for his country’s economic troubles and collapsing ruble in a news conference. Reuters

Vladimir Putin and Russia’s incredible shrinking ruble

Russia’s currency is in free fall. Since mid-year, the incredible shrinking ruble has lost close to half its value, and it is anyone’s guess how much further it might go. Whatever happens, the geopolitical…
What doll would you choose? Brandt Luke Zorn

Putin, oil, the ruble and the Russian doll

This week we have witnessed a plunge in the price of oil and the astonishing demise of the ruble. These events provide the basis for a great series of conspiracy theories, the type that readily find an…
This crowd wants their president out David W Cerny/Reuters

Prague’s velvet: wearing off 25 years later

The United States had just gone through a bruising election, but in Congress Democratic and Republican leaders gathered to unveil the bust of Vaclav Havel, the playwright and first post-Communist Czech…
Power broker. Vladimir Putin. Fernando Bizerra Jr/EPA

MH17 was a victim of the new cold war’s first proxy conflict

It remains to be seen precisely how and why the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed over the territory of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. But whatever…
Just not that simple, really. EPA/Maxim Shipenkov

Ukraine referendums: another attempt to rewrite ethnic history

The referendums on independence from Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk, defying Putin’s call to postpone, pose deep questions about what “independence” would actually mean – and whether it can actually be…
Power games unmasked. Pro-Russian protesters gather outside the seized City Hall in in Mariupol, Ukraine. Anastasia Vlasova

Ukraine clashes raise stakes in struggle to control the Donbas

It is the most serious conflagration since armed pro-Russian forces began taking control of official buildings in the Donbas. At least one anti-government protester is believed to have been shot dead by…
On the edge. Pro-Russian protesters clash with police in Donetsk. EPA?Roman Pilipey

Ukrainian troops fight to fill east’s dangerous power vacuum

Kiev is fighting to regain control over the eastern region of Ukraine, with troops acting to take back occupied buildings across the Donetsk region. The occupation of government buildings in cities over…
The protector of “Russians” (wherever they are).

How Vladimir Putin has changed the meaning of ‘Russian’

The crisis between Russia and Ukraine reveals how dramatically Vladimir Putin’s nationalism has changed over the past 14 years. After he came to power in 2000, Putin preferred to refer to people in Russia…
Comprehensive sanctions on Iraq started the modern debate on targeted measures. Adrian Dennis/EPA

Explainer: do sanctions work?

There seems to be a near-consensus that the West must “do something” to prevent instability in Ukraine and Russia’s other neighbours. But should that something include wider sanctions, targeting not just…
The Veneto region, with its picturesque capital Venice, has voted in a referendum for independence from Italy. Matthew Gast/Flickr

Context is critical to European independence referendums

Just as Venice risks disappearing beneath its waters, it is making a remarkable political reappearance. The Venetian Republic existed for more than 1000 years until it came to an end at the hands of Napoleon…
A poster in Kiev’s Independence Square voices fears of another war between Ukrainians and Russians. EPA/Robert Ghement

Ukraine’s ‘forgotten history’ sowed seeds of bitter division

World War Two didn’t end in Ukraine in 1945. After the devastation of German occupation, which left the country in ruins and millions dead, Ukrainian nationalists continued to murder thousands of Jews…
On message: a pro-Russian newspaper in Simferopol, Crimea. EPA/Yuri Kochetkov

Ukraine, Kremlin propaganda and the Cold War trap

Facebook can be a confusing place. For the follower of Ukrainian and Russian politics the messages could not be more different. At the same time that “Euromaidan PR” is posting pictures of “Putler” and…

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