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EPA/Sergei Chirikov

Putting the boot in Putin

Sanctions work. Russia’s problems may be manifold and closely related to the precipitous decline in the price of oil, but sanctions have played an important part in bringing Russia to its economic knees…
Will it put Russia in the black or red? Nata789 via Shutterstock

Huge Russian rate hike plays roulette with the economy

Russia’s Central Bank has raised its key interest rate from 10.5% to 17% in an emergency move that is designed to halt the ongoing collapse of the rouble, which has accelerated in recent weeks. The dramatic…
Ukraine is running on empty. EPA/Filip Singer

Can Ukraine’s new technocratic elite make the economy work?

Ten years ago, it was received wisdom in western academic, business and policy circles that Ukraine was an archetypal “captured state” – a state owned and run almost entirely by a small, insecure and fabulously…
Celebrations of Russia’s restored greatness are premature. EPA/Alexander Zemlianichenko

Putin’s patriotism and paranoia will be Russia’s undoing

Whether through improvisation, opportunism, fear or calculation, 2014 has seen a massive shift in the way political authority works in Russia. Moscow has moved dramatically away from a legal-rational way…
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…
Leaving Europe behind? Mikhail Metzel/EPA/Ria Novosti

Why Russia isn’t abandoning Europe for Chinese gas revenue

Much has been made of the agreement signed by Moscow and Beijing to get gas flowing from western Siberia to China. There is talk of Russia using the deal to offset its isolation from the west and circumventing…
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…

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