Sections

Services

Information

US United States

Russia

Analysis and Comment (179)

A soldier stands guard in Sevastapol, now under Russian control since the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in developments that some fear mark the start of a second Cold War. EPA/Zurab Kurtsikidze

Are Europe and the world slipping back into a second Cold War?

Bloodshed in Europe and the Middle East against the backdrop of a breakdown in the dialogue between major powers is of enormous concern. The world is on the brink of a new Cold War, some are even saying…
Qatar and Russia have been cleared of corruption in their successful World Cup bids. EPA/Walter Bieri

Promises, promises – but FIFA just can’t admit it has a problem

FIFA appears to have cleared Russia and Qatar of any wrongdoing in their successful bids to host the 2018 and 2022 world cups. Its report recognises that mistakes were made but downplays the level of improper…

VIDEO: Michelle Grattan on Jacqui Lambie

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor Stephen Parker and Michelle Grattan discuss the week in politics including the G20, Russian warships in international waters near Australia, and the tension between…
Democracy in action in Donetsk. EPA/Alexander Ermochenko

Kiev outraged at Donbas as Ukraine heads for violent partition

Much of the world may regard the elections that took place in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics on November 2 as illegitimate, but there appears to be little political will to avert the most likely…
A woman votes from her hospital bed in Izyum, Kharkiv Oblast. EPA/Sergei Kozlov

Dispatch from Kharkiv: Ukraine votes and steels itself for winter

Ukraine’s snap parliamentary election on October 26 looks set to return a pro-Western parliament to Kiev – setting the country up for a long and tense winter. And while the elections seem to have gone…
Arsenyi Yatsenyuk needs support from other parties if he is to stay as prime minister. EPA/Tatyana Zenkovich

Pro-Western bloc set for majority in elections that expose deep divisions in Ukraine

Ukrainians have voted for a new parliament. The exit polls, in line with earlier predictions, indicate that the Petro Poroshenko Bloc – which also includes the UDAR party of Kiev’s mayor, former boxing…
Chemical weapons could be making a stealthy comeback. Andreas Gradin via Shutterstock

Could incapacitating chemical weapons start an arms race?

On October 26 2002, to end a three-day siege on a theatre in Moscow by Chechen terrorists, Russian security forces used a secret incapacitating chemical agent (ICA) weapon believed to affect the central…
Oh hey, just picking up a few Kanelbulle on the way home. Victor Ochieng

Why would a Russian submarine be lurking in waters off Sweden?

Rumours of a Russian submarine hanging around off the coast of Sweden have inspired much Cold War nostalgia. But while there is of course the chance that something fishy is going on, there are many plausible…
The home-baked illicit drug krokodil first emerged in provincial Russia during the early 2000s. Dorin Popa/Flickr

The rise and fall of Russia’s ‘flesh-eating drug’ krokodil

Reports of a “flesh-eating zombie drug” called krokodil, accompanied by lurid images first appeared in English during 2010. The drug serves as an excellent illustration of the havoc bad drug policies can…
Signed, sealed, delivered: Ukrainian president Poroshenko. EPA/Sergey Dolzhenko

Restive Ukraine signs EU pact and hands rebels self-rule

On the same day that it finally voted to ratify the EU Association Agreement that helped spark the Euromaidan protests in 2013, Ukraine’s parliament also voted to give self-rule to the rebels holding major…
David Cameron and Anders Fogh Rasmussen have a plan. Luke MacGregor/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Explainer: what’s on the agenda at the NATO summit?

NATO member states are meeting this week in Wales at what could prove a milestone summit. Since the 2012 Chicago meeting, the security landscape has changed dramatically and important questions about NATO’s…
Yes…but is it war? Inspecting weapons seized in east Ukraine. EPA/Tatyana Zenkovich

Explainer: when does a conflict become a war?

Is the conflict in Ukraine a war? This question has been raised in recent reports about a Russian invasion in Ukraine on the Caspian Sea. The USA and other NATO powers call it an “incursion”; the Baltic…
Maria Alyokhina (L) and Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot – part of a long Russian tradition. Michael Reynolds/EPA

Reviewing Pussy Riot’s aesthetic disobedience as Russian art

In the heart of Moscow, a group of young artists prepares to stage a new kind of artistic performance. They paint their faces and don flamboyant outfits of lurid colour. Their performance will be a march…
‘I wouldn’t call it a miracle, I’d call it an accident’ – Gessen on Putin’s formative experience with the KGB. Christchurch City Libraries

Speaking with: journalist Masha Gessen on Putin’s Russia

Russian-American writer and LGBT activist, Masha Gessen has covered every major development in Russian politics and culture of the past two decades. She is the author of Words Will Break Cement: The Passion…
Compensating their exporters. EPA/Wolfgang Kumm

How the EU is handling Russia’s food import ban

The European Commission has announced emergency EU funding of €125m for fruit and vegetable growers hit by the ban imposed by Russia on imported Western food in retaliation for the West’s own sanctions…
The Amur tiger, like its cousin the Amur leopard, is among the world’s rarest cats. Appaloosa

Zoos have a vital role to play in ensuring survival of Amur tiger

The Amur tiger (Panthera tigris ssp. altaica), also known as the Siberian Tiger, is among the world’s rarest and most endangered cat species. The largest and northernmost tiger, it is believed only around…
Australia’s dairy sector will lose out due to Russian sanctions, but there are bigger issues in play. Anatoly Maltsev/AAP

Russian sanctions are the least of our agriculture sector’s problems

Russia’s targeting of $A400 million of Australian food exports and the government’s muddled response are just the latest setback for a sector struggling under failed policy approaches. Agriculture is Australia’s…
Australia’s trade relationship with Russia looked better in 2007. Dean Lewins/AAP

Tough talk but little to lose on Russian trade sanctions

Poke a Russian bear with a stick and he will retaliate. That’s the lesson facing Australian exporters today. When Australia announced it would join the United States and Europe in placing trade sanctions…
Isolated by sanctions - but does Putin care? EPA/Mikhail Klimentyev/Ria Novosti

Explainer: how will sanctions against Russia work?

The sanctions against Russia just announced by the EU and the US are widely reported to be the harshest since the end of the Cold War. The package includes cutting off Russia’s state-owned banks from international…
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Mikhail Metzel/Ria Novosti/EPA/Kremlin Pool

MH17 tragedy shows the risks of the new Great Game

Since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over rebel-held Ukraine, there has been much finger-pointing between Russia, pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government. While the UK and US…
A separatist soldier hands an MH17 black box to a Malaysian delegation. EPA/Robert Ghement

Explainer: what will MH17’s black boxes reveal?

The news that the black boxes from Malaysia Airlines flight M17 has been handed over to Malaysian authorities, will lead to many questions about what information they have to offer. The two recorders have…
Show of hands: the UN Security Council. EPA/Justin Lane

Explainer: international law and flight MH17

As the events surrounding the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine become clearer, more and more voices are claiming the plane may have been shot down by pro-Russian separatists in eastern…
Debris of the Boeing 777, Malaysia Arilines flight MH17, which crashed over the eastern Ukraine. EPA

Black box scuffle could mask the truth about flight MH17

Normally, when a crashed aircraft’s black box is recovered, it can reveal exactly what happened to cause the disaster but in the case of MH17, the political instability between Ukraine and Russia could…
Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have successfully defied the government in Kiev, but will have gravely harmed their cause if they brought down flight MH17. EPA

Q&A: Flight MH17 and the spiralling conflict in Ukraine

The shooting down of flight MH17 has thrust the separatist conflict in Ukraine back into the international spotlight. The Ukrainian government and Russian-backed rebels have been locked in a military and…
Ukrainian separatist rebels under the banner of the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ are reportedly responsible for shooting down Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. EPA/Stringer

Ukrainian rebels gain firepower but may have blown their cause

The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine represents considerable escalation of the military capabilities of the insurgency based around the “Donetsk People’s Republic”. Although…
Installations of the main natural gas pipeline in the Boyarka village near Kiev. Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

Russia’s game of chicken with Ukraine leaves Europe on the edge

As with the previous Russia-Ukraine gas disputes in 2006 and 2009, how we describe the current stand-off between the two countries is a matter of semantics. Those earlier disputes found solutions based…
Shake? Please? NATO Secretary General Rasmussen (l) visits Romania. EPA/Robert Ghement

Ukraine gives NATO a reason to exist – but big players demur

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), once again saved from potential irrelevance, has come to the fore in the West’s reaction to the Ukraine crisis. In the aftermath of its withdrawal from Afghanistan…
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and CNPC Chairman Zhou Jiping sign documents as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping look on. Alexey Druginyn/Ria Novosti/AAP

Australian LNG in the shadow of a global gas showdown

The US$400 billion gas deal signed between Russia’s giant state-owned corporation Gazprom and China last week is 16 times larger than its predessor in the supply of gas to China - a US$25 billion LNG project…
Petro Poroshenko has won a clear first-round victory in Ukraine’s presidential election. EPA/Yuri Kochetkov

‘Chocolate King’ Poroshenko wins Ukraine presidency but violence continues

With the outright victory of Petro Poroshenko in Ukraine’s presidential elections on May 25 now confirmed, hopes are running high for a new beginning that will deliver a swift way out of a protracted crisis…
Who’s going to wage war with China over a rock in the ocean? That is why Beijing feels confident in claiming and building on this disputed reef in the South China Sea. EPA

Ukraine crisis offers lessons in how to handle China’s ambitions

Since the end of the Cold War it has become accepted knowledge that economic ties between the major powers prevent conflict. In a world of globalised production chains and capital flows the general argument…
Russia steps back - but it’s too late for this family. EPA/Roman Pilipey

Russia’s nationalist quest risks future of European borders

Vladimir Putin has called for the postponement of the planned referendum in eastern Ukraine just four days before the vastly pro-Russian provinces were due to vote on secession. The Russian president also…
Perhaps the Quad can do a better job. streetwrk.com

How the EU could help save Ukraine at the eleventh hour

Ukraine is disintegrating before our eyes, with escalating anarchy, civil war and proxy war with Russia, and dozens killed in Odessa on Friday. Acting President Alexander Turchinov officially declared…
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…
Assembling the Nord Stream in 2011. Bair175

Russia, Ukraine, and Europe are tied by gas dependency

The German energy giant RWE has begun to “reverse flow” supplies of gas from Europe back to Ukraine via Poland, a process first arranged in 2012, with an agreement to deliver up to 10 billion cubic metres…
The hanging of Masha. Bruskina on October 26 1941 was the first of the Nazis' many public executions in occupied Russia. http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/masha.html

Academics and ‘barbarians’: why one article aroused Russian ire

It’s not easy for Australians to become famous in Russia. It would seem harder still to become a figure of loathing in Russian print and online media. But Associate Professor Timothy Lynch, who teaches…
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…
Eastern Europe relies on the network of gas pipelines that runs from Russia through Ukraine and Belarus. EPA/Eustream/AAP

Will the Ukraine crisis open up a new gas market for Australia?

The ongoing standoff between Russia and Ukraine has exacerbated Europe’s vulnerability caused by its reliance on Russian gas. The situation has locked the two nations into a dispute over paying for gas…
The protector of “Russians” (wherever they are). Kremlin.ru

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…
Time to point the finger. Viktor Yanukovych speaking with reporters during a press conference in Kiev. Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

The seven grave mistakes that prompted the Ukraine crisis

The situation in Ukraine remains tense, yet the odds are that it will now stabilise. It is unlikely Russia will invade eastern Ukraine, both because it is unclear whether this was in the plans (if such…
Ukraine got rid of its nuclear weapons in 1994. EPA/Stringer

Ukraine nuclear security fears were exaggerated

As the curtain fell on the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, the Dutch organisers must surely have experienced mixed emotions: relief that the summit was a success, yet frustration that media attention was…
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…
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…
Russia’s economy is more rusty than people realise. Johan Viirok

Crimea exposes Russia’s neglected economic base

No amount of international sanctions will reverse Russia’s takeover of Crimea. But unless Vladimir Putin can now extend his influence over eastern Ukraine, the incomplete triumph could undermine him. If…
Too close for comfort? Narva Bridge on Estonia’s Russian border Hannu

The tiny Estonian town that could spell the end of NATO

The Russian invasion and rapid absorption of the Crimean peninsula might seem like the spark ready to ignite a new Cold War. In fact, given the feeble Western response so far, the more likely outcome is…
In post-Soviet Russia, orange and black are the new black. RIA Novosti

World War II symbolism runs deep in Ukraine-Russia standoff

Many of the images of pro-Russian demonstrators in Ukraine, from Crimea to Donetsk, have shown them wearing black-and-orange-striped ribbons. The symbolism here is opaque to most Western observers, it…
Russia keeps its secrets under its hat, but cyber war’s nothing new. San Diego Shooter/Flickr

Cyber war in Ukraine – business as usual for the Russian bear

In a war – declared or otherwise – bravery and perseverance are not enough. Communications are important. Effectiveness means being able to command your troops and gather information. It also means being…
For the future of Crimea: pro-Russia supporters rally. EPA/Artur Shvarts

Explainer: how can Crimea legally secede from Ukraine?

We believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos. The law is still the law, and we must follow…
Vladimir Putin, Dimitry Medvedev and sports minister Vitaly Mutko oozing cool in Sochi. EPA/Mikhail Klimentiev/Ria Novosti

Russian confidence dealt a blow by Sochi Paralympics boycotts

The founding fathers of the Paralympics must be turning in their graves. The Sochi Paralympics is the latest in a long list of sporting events to be marred by politics. The 1980 Olympics in the then USSR…
Ukrainian far-right protesters commemorate the creation of the Ukrainian division of the SS in Lviv in 2011. EPA/Markiian Lyseiko

Far-right party jeopardises Ukraine’s path to democracy

Following days of protest and the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s new interim government was announced on 26 February 2014. This is not an ordinary government. Politicians linked to the…
Command and control: Vladimir Putin is calling the shots. EPA/Alexey Druzhinyn/Ria Novosti/Kremlin Pool

On Ukraine, Putin has outfoxed the West at every turn

As talks stall between US and Russia in the ongoing crisis over Ukraine, Russia – written off by so many just two weeks ago as “humiliated” and “at a loss” – now appears to be in control of the situation…
A nod to the failed opening of the fifth ring in the opening ceremony featured in the closing ceremony … but the underlying cultural aspects are fascinating. ifindkarma/Flickr (cropped)

Sochi’s closing ceremony: the art, the circus and the spectacle

Tasked with winding down the over-exuberance of the build-up, Olympics closing ceremonies always have an anti-climactic tone. Terrorists from the Caucasus failed to disrupt the Sochi event, and the most…
With the world’s eyes on Russia, anti-gay sentiment hasn’t alleviated. Flickr/jantangerine

A gay old time? Social media lessons from Russia

As the Winter Olympics in Sochi draw to a close, a brief survey of trending topics across social media and international press reveal some entertaining and frightening contradictions on the slippery slopes…
A protester plays the piano atop a burned-out bus in Kiev. Ввласенко

How could the EU do more for Ukraine?

When in Kiev recently I asked many Ukrainians how they thought the raging political and now violent conflict would end. All said they had no idea, but one of them said he had eight scenarios, which included…
After destroying towns and cities, Syria’s civil war is spilling into Lebanon. Christiaan Triebert

No end in sight as Syria misery spreads across region

The second round of the Geneva II talks on Syria have ended with no agreement and without even a decision on the date of a further meeting. The highly experienced UN mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, was clearly…
Glimpses of horror: while the West watches, Syria burns. SIcco2007

Syrians suffer as world plays politics with humanitarian aid

The humanitarian crisis in Syria is no longer news. It is simple fact: tragedy writ large, as cities burn and lives are ruined. Our eyes may widen at the sheer scale of this destruction: four million people…
The lesser known ‘faces’ of Pussy Riot. Igor Mukhin at ru.wikipedia

Pussy Riot arrest at Sochi reinforces their cult status

It wasn’t long between spells in jail for two members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were briefly arrested at the Sochi Olympics, having only been released…
Sochi as a media spectacle has epitomised Vladimir Putin’s aspirations for his Russia. EPA/Yuri Kochetkov

Sochi on screen: how Russia is being sold to Russians

All modern Olympics employ directors who stage-manage the huge spectacle of the Games – and Sochi 2014 is no different. So what does this stage management tell us, internationally, and what is it intended…
Illegal dumping in the Mzymta River from Sochi’s building frenzy. sochiwatch

Sochi Olympics have left a trail of environmental destruction

The reports from Sochi’s newly built hotels and Olympic Village have not painted their construction in the best light, with tales of doors that wouldn’t open, yellow drinking water, and collapsing fixtures…
Krasnaya Polanya, the site of the Sochi 2014 games, has long been a haunt of Russian artists and intellectuals. EPA/Michael Kappeler

Writing the Caucasus: Sochi and Russia’s literary retreats

Sochi – currently hosting the Winter Olympics – looks like the beach resort it is, situated on the blue waters of the east coast of the Black Sea, and enjoying a sub-tropical climate. There is what looks…
The pomp and glamour of the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony didn’t quite project an accurate version of Russian history. Flickr/Kristy Yang Photography

Looking through the spectacle, Olympic opening ceremonies can rewrite history

The role of an Olympic opening ceremony is twofold – it is a place to show off to the world and it is a place to converse with your own citizens. So what did the grand opening ceremony to the Sochi Winter…
BFFs: IOC President Thomas Bach and Vladimir Putin. David Goldman/AP

Russia and the IOC are the perfect match

Nationalism is the main event at any Olympic Games, and the Olympic industry relies on the goosebumps effects of the sporting spectacle to divert public attention from its less attractive underbelly, in…
If this can be a winter wonderland, freedom of speech can exist in Russia. Ganoshenko Roman

Press freedom at Sochi is more than a distant Olympic dream

Yes, there they were: palm trees in the place where a country known for its cruelly cold winters was planning to hold the Winter Olympics. What a treat it was to feel the mild air of the Black Sea coast…
This ‘skating palace’ was a snip at $98m. Atos International

Olympic-style mega-events reach new frontiers, at a cost

There is a tendency – almost a law of nature – that governs the way the costs of large-scale international events such as the football World Cup and Olympic Games far outstrip the initial forecasts of…
From orange to blue and yellow: Ukraine’s protesters fly the EU flag front and centre. AP

Ukraine’s opposition needs help from Europe’s 89 generation

I will never forget the 12 hours I spent in the Ukrainian women’s prison in Kharkiv. Never in my life have I seen such misery or degrading treatment of prisoners, Nor will I forget my brief conversation…
This Russian-built nuclear power plant in India may be one of many soon appearing in developing countries. Rafiq Maqbool/AP

Nations' nuclear ambitions not discouraged by few suppliers

UN inspectors descend on Iran this week to visit the Arak heavy water plant, and engineers at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plants in Japan attempt one of the most challenging nuclear salvage operations…
If not you, then who? mac_ivan

Dreams of a new Europe dashed in Ukraine

Mass protests in Ukraine have come one week shy of the 22nd anniversary of the USSR being signed into obsolescence. Ukrainians are protesting against a decision made by their government that will make…
All smiles in Geneva: but there are some unhappy people in the Middle East. Carolyn Kaster/AP/Press Association Images

Iran’s nuclear weapons deal will rebalance the Middle East

Signed by the P5 + Germany and mediated by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Baroness Catherine Ashton, the deal achieved with Iran on the latter’s nuclear programme has important implications for regional…
Jaundiced view? Julien Behal/PA

Russia’s silence on climate change helps no one

Russia is the fourth largest producer of greenhouse gases, but has shown little initiative and remained quiet among the turmoil at the UN Conference of the Parties (COP) climate summit in Warsaw. The hottest…
Syrian troops on patrol in Aleppo. Historically, what has the role of counterinsurgencies been in conflict zones? EPA/SANA

Sticks over carrots: the rationale of Assad’s counterinsurgency ‘madness’

The Syrian civil war is in its 31st month and shows few signs of abating. The death toll is now estimated at over 115,000, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Understanding this level…
Negotiations: Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry hammering out a deal on Syria. US Department of State

Progress on Syrian WMDs but real test for UN lies ahead

The Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has announced it is sending a second team of weapons inspectors to Syria where, director-general Ahmet Üzümcü reports, destruction of al-Assad’s…
The not just cold, but troubled waters of the Russian Arctic. Will Rose/Greenpeace

Jailing Greenpeace activists will harden attitudes to Russia

Russia’s overreaction in prosecuting Greenpeace protesters, including the two journalists, is set to unfold into an international scandal that will seriously damage country’s global reputation. So far…
Recent revelations about the surveillance surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are distinctly Orwellian. David Blackwell.

The Sochi Winter Olympics and the spectacle of surveillance

If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Russia for the Winter Olympic Games in February next year, prepare to have every aspect of your communications monitored under “the most invasive and systematic…
Russian authorities boarded and detained a Greenpeace vessel for charges of piracy. EPA/GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL

Greenpeace piracy charges mock international law

All 30 crew of Dutch Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise, including an Australian, have been detained and charged with piracy by Russian authorities, after attempting to board an oil platform in the Arctic…
Who was in charge of selling tickets again? Bescker

Sochi scandals threaten a Russian sporting renaissance

With the 2014 Winter Olympic Games fewer than six months away, the last thing Russia needs is another scandal. But that is exactly what the organisers have got. The latest controversy involves migrants…
Hard to get rid of: the US still hasn’t destroyed its chemical weapons stockplie. US government

Explainer: how will Syria’s chemical weapons be destroyed?

Bashar Assad’s decision to sign up Syria to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) last week committed his country to verifiably give up the possession of chemical weapons and their production capabilities…
Best friends forever: Russia has always supported Syria, despite international pressure. Freedom House

Fatal attraction: Russia’s flawed friendship with Syria

As UN inspectors finally began their search for evidence of chemical weapons being used in Syria, on Wednesday Damascus apparently suffered the worst attack of this kind yet in this conflict. Some reports…
Frosty: Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin at the G8 summit this year. Wikimedia Commons

Now is not the time to play at Cold War politics with Putin

Barack Obama has so far held firm against a growing chorus demanding that the US should boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi after Russia’s introduction of discriminatory laws banning gay “propaganda…
Oil on the water: Russian environmental problems are commonplace, but who’s watching? Denis Sinyakov/Greenpeace

Russia’s crumbling environmental safeguards

The Russian state’s engagement with environmental concerns is complicated, carrying as it does a heavy legacy from Soviet times. From the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster (in what is Ukraine…
If oil spills in the forest and no one is around to see it, will anyone care? Denis Sinyakov/Greenpeace

Few hear the cries of those fighting to save wild Russia

Lying to either side of the Urals, the Republic of Komi and Khanty-Mansiysk in the north of Russia are among the country’s most oil-rich regions. Scarcely populated, they provide a substantial share of…
The tug-of-war between the US, China and Russia over fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden has increased diplomatic tensions between the three countries. EPA/Guardian/Glenn Greenwald

Edward Snowden’s flight shows the limits of US power

The flight of fugitive former NSA contractor and CIA employee Edward Snowden has captivated the international media, and starkly exposed the increasingly strained diplomatic relations between the United…
The deployment of the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems (pictured) to Syria has caused tensions to rise among Western powers. LuchezarS.

From ‘telegraph poles’ to Russian missiles: Syria’s air defence

As the civil war in Syria continues, several states are now decrying the potential deployment of the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems. Described as a move to cool “hothead” pro-interventionists…
The bodies of people, including children, that anti-government activists claimed were killed by the Syrian Army in Houla.

Syria: is an international solution possible?

The appalling massacre of civilians, including children, in the town of Houla, near the Syrian city of Homs, was a senseless act beyond the unacceptable and ultimately self-defeating goal of crushing all…
Russia is no stranger to ambitious space exploration – and has produced several notable firsts. Maxim Shipenkov/ EPA

Space Race reloaded: will Russia send cosmonauts to the moon?

For decades, the Soviet Union was a major player in the exploration of space, famously locking horns with the US in the “Space Race” – a competition for orbital supremacy and solar system exploration throughout…
After vote rigging in Russia’s elections, Putin’s authority has been called into question. EPA/Alexey Nikolsky/Ria Novosti/Government Press Service Pool

Is Putin’s leadership legitimate? A closer look at Russia’s elections

The Russian presidential elections, held on 4 March, gave a solid electoral win to the President-elect Vladimir Putin. But much of the Western press saw it as a tainted victory. With allegations of election…
Russians are angry, but there is no viable alternative to Putin yet. EPA/Sergei Ilnitsky

Russia protests elections but Putin is safe … for now

The lead-up to the elections for the State Duma in Russia on December 4 gave no hint of the turmoil that was to follow. In the days after the voting, large numbers of Russians took to the streets in cities…
President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s close association with ruling party United Russia could be problematic. EPA/EKaterina Shtukina/Ria Novosti/Kremlin Pool Mandatory Credit

Russian Elections 2011: United Russia to hold on to power but could be slipping

This weekend nation-wide elections will select 450 deputies to the lower house of the Russian bicameral parliament, the State Duma. Although a win is likely for the ruling party, United Russia, lead by…

Columnists (7)

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (1)