As summer rolls on, Russian-built anti-aircraft missiles continue to down aircraft over eastern Ukraine. While a great deal of ink has been spilled over exactly what kind of missiles are deployed, and who is giving the launch authorizations and actually launching them, one fact is salient: This is an escalation, intentional or not, that elevates the simmering Ukrainian civil war beyond Donetsk. Read More
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the Russian Navy kicked off a week of naval exercises in near Shanghai on Tuesday, according to Chinese and Russian press reports. Read More
The referenda held Sunday in Ukrainian regions Donetsk and Luhansk have been denounced by many—but deserve cold, rational consideration. This is the prequel to the upcoming 25 May elections, conducted in a state of civil unrest—near civil war—in eastern Ukraine. Read More
In the extended haggling for influence in Ukraine, the U.S. led yesterday with third round of targeted sanctions against Russia. Read More
In Tartu Estonia, there is a building on the main square, constructed on an uncertain foundation that leans precipitously. The locals call it the “Leaning House” or the “Pisa Building.” Ironically, it leans to the west, appearing something like a hunting hound straining at the leash to be loosed to run after its quarry. In this case, though, complex histories, and Russia, are the leash.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for Russia to expand its military presence in the Arctic following Canadian plans to claim dominion of the North Pole. Read More
The past several weeks have been surreal for Russia-watchers as the benighted country they follow has enjoyed more media exposure than at almost any other time over the past 20 years. The Russians, often caricatured in the American media as blundering, blustering, and ignorant bullies, have been running diplomatic circles around a disinterested and discombobulated Obama administration. Through skill, persistence, and a fair amount of good luck, Sergei Lavrov and Vladimir Putin managed to get the United States to sign on to a deal that would (with an absolutely enormous “if” around the willingness of the Syrian government to cooperate) peacefully take control of and eventually destroy the Assad regime’s store of chemical weapons. It’s been awhile since the Russians had a moment in the sun that was comparable. Read More