Summer of Discontent Unsettles Putin’s Rule

06 Aug 2019

(EDM) Last Wednesday’s (July 31) phone call from United States President Donald Trump probably offered little respite to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Since the start of this year’s unusually cold summer, every promising opportunity in foreign affairs was spoiled for the Russian leader with some domestic disturbance. The glitzy St. Petersburg Economic Forum in early June was ruined by international indignation over the arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov (who was released) and US investor Michael Calvey (who was not) (see EDM, June 10). The long-expected meeting with Trump at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan in late June was overshadowed by the catastrophic flooding in the Irkutsk region (see EDM, June 18; Kommersant, July 9). The visit, in the Vatican, with Pope Francis in early July (Kremlin.ru, July 4) happened only a couple of days after the tragic accident involving the secret nuclear mini-submarine AS-31 in the Barents Sea (see EDM, July 811). The grandiose naval parade at the end of July made almost no headlines, with media attention captured instead by the severe suppression of street protests in Moscow (see EDM, July 29). [...]

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