PONARS Eurasia 12-19-2014
(The New Zealand Herald) All politicians like to have props, and in Vladimir Putin's case, some are taken from the box marked Macho and others from the box marked Mother Russia. He has ridden a Harley-Davidson in Crimea, flown into war-ravaged Chechnya in a Sukhoi Su-27 fighter, blasted an ice-hockey puck towards the goal during a "friendly" match against Finland and wrestled with wild animals. [...] Russian analyst Arkady Moshes...
Eduard Ponarin 12-19-2014
(Russia in Global Affairs) Although the bipolar Cold-War-style mentality is still quite widespread among the rulers of Russian society, it is not a fundamental feature of their global viewpoint. Rather, Russia’s sense of being insulted and disappointed after it failed to join the “premier league” is behind this mindset. Few political observers consider the conflict in Ukraine an internal affair. Both domestic and foreign analysts tend to interpret events...
PONARS Eurasia 12-19-2014
(CSM) Moscow — Russia is like a bear prowling on its own territory, Vladimir Putin told about 1,200 journalists assembled in the Kremlin for his annual marathon press conference Thursday. The bear would prefer to just sit around eating berries and honey, bothering no one and hoping to be left alone. But, alas, that is not to be, for hunters – the West – will always seek to catch it and chain it up, Mr. Putin said. "As soon as they succeed in doing so,...
Nikolai Sokov 12-19-2014
The current crisis unfolding in Ukraine has brought the issue of nuclear weapons back into sharp focus. In recent years, nuclear disarmament has proved unexciting. The unilateral reduction of the US nuclear weapons stockpile under George W. Bush failed to draw serious attention. The impact of Barack Obama’s speech in Prague, which promised greater efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons was short-lived (and included the telling caveat that the goal was ‘not...
PONARS Eurasia 12-19-2014
(The Guardian) It was mid-morning when the bombs began to fall on Artyomove, a crumbling mining town on the frontline in eastern Ukraine. One mortar landed in Nina Dmitrievna’s garden. It flattened her fence. Another hit next door, gouging a large raw hole in a black plot of vegetables and rose bushes. “I saw it fly through the air,” she said, showing off the remains - a silvery tail-fin. The mortar was fired from the nearby city of Gorlovka. In the...
Juliet Johnson 12-19-2014
(The Globe and Mail) The Russian ruble has plummeted in value this week. A desperation central bank rate hike on Monday evening ensured future recession but failed to stem the ruble’s rout. Western leaders can be forgiven for experiencing schadenfreude as their Russian nemesis, President Vladimir Putin, faces the prospect of his country’s imminent economic collapse. Yet true financial meltdowns have far-reaching, unpredictable, and often nasty...
PONARS Eurasia 12-18-2014
On Wednesday – before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s end of the year news conference – the following question was posed to members of PONARS Eurasia: How is the current financial crisis in Russia likely to affect Putin’s foreign policy choices in the short to mid-term future? Here are the answers: Vladimir Gel’man, Professor, European University at St.Petersburg and the University of Helsinki: The foreign policy response of the Russian authorities...
PONARS Eurasia 12-17-2014
(AFP) Moscow - The Russian currency crashed to unprecedented lows Tuesday as it fell to 80 rubles to the dollar and 100 to the euro, testing Vladimir Putin's ability to ride out both the economic storm and his clash with the West. Moscow's midnight move to raise interest rates to 17 percent failed to arrest the collapse of the ruble, with its slide only accelerating amid falling oil prices and Western sanctions over the Kremlin's support for the...

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