Sunday 25 Oct 2020 | 05:02 | SYDNEY
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Russia

A grand bargain: What Russia now wants from the West

The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America has elicited thousands of lines of newsprint as academics, journalists and the wider public seek to make sense of its implications. It has occasioned no less speculation in Russia, much of it shot through with a strong sense

Russia's revolutionary centenary

Russians are preparing for a New Year heavy with historical symbolism. A hundred years after their revolution, the French celebrated 1789 as year zero not only of the Republic that had finally emerged as France’s settled form of government, but also of a new, Enlightened era in the history of

The future according to Vlad and Shinzo

Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan later this week is not interesting in itself. Rather, it is the strategic environment in which it is happening that holds our attention. Through this visit we can discern what the world’s powers think a Trump administration may mean for them, and see how they

The real Trump-Putin connection

Among the first (and originally few) world leaders to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the White House was Russian President Vladimir Putin. But was Putin also the first to call it? After months of speculation about Russian meddling, nobody is now saying that Putin 'threw' the election

US-Russia rivalry takes the stage

Recent developments in the US Presidential race should put to rest any lingering doubt that one nation’s information warfare capabilities can fundamentally affect the politics of another. At the third US presidential debate in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton accused the Russian government of aiding

Don't count on the Russians backing down this time

Happily, Russia and the US seem to have pulled back from some of the bitterness, outrage and disappointment that set the tone between them 10 days ago.  But the stakes in Syria remain incredibly high. There's a real danger that both sides, which had appeared to be on the verge of

Understanding Boris Johnson's call to protest Russia

On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made an unusual suggestion during his debut appearance at the House of Commons as a representative of the government. 'I would certainly like to see demonstrations outside the Russian embassy', he said, in agreement with a Labour Party MP who had

Russia over a South China Sea barrel

Russia and China have just kicked off a joint naval exercise in the South China Sea, Joint Sea 2016. It is scheduled to last until 19 September, including a visit by the Russian surface contingent to China’s South Sea fleet headquarters at Zhanjiang. This is the latest in a series of Russo-Chinese

Where the Russian intervention in Syria is headed

Russian President Vladimir Putin is well on the way to achieving several objectives of his military intervention in Syria. Russia has ensured the survival of the Assad regime, its only Arab partner, without loss of Russian personnel to the rebels or becoming mired in a ground conflict. In doing so

Iran and Russia: Not an easy relationship

Iran’s relationship with Russia has been characterised as many things, ranging from a ‘marriage of convenience’ to a ‘long-lasting alliance’. In reality it's a  pragmatic working relationship forged between two countries that  have faced similar political and economic pressures

Putin's plan to restore the Romanovs (Part 2)

Part one of this series examined the notion that Putin is encouraging re-Stalinisation in Russia. This post looks at the public rehabilitation of the Romanov Tsar Nicholas II. If there's a Russian leader whose reputation has been unequivocally rehabilitated during the Putin era, it's Nicholas

Putin's plan to restore the Romanovs (Part 1)

When US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Moscow in March, looming over his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin was a statue of Russian Emperor Alexander II (1855-81). Known as the ‘Tsar-Liberator’, Alexander freed the serfs, introduced trial by jury, relaxed press

Putin: Russia’s last ‘pro-Western’ alternative

The West tends to anticipate the eventual downfall of Vladimir Putin with certain exuberance and optimism due to expectations of a more ‘pro-Western’ alternative or even the return of Yeltsin-era policies. The anti-Russian sanctions following Moscow's seizure of Crimea were envisioned to turn

Russia's withdrawal from Syria: Mission accomplished?

There has been widespread confusion among analysts about Russian motives in Syria, confusion that has led to flawed expectations. Russia never sought a 'winner-takes-all' victory. Rather, its entry into the conflict reflected its view that the West was a key obstacle in the way of a political

What exactly is Russia up to in the East?

Speaking in Washington last week, Julie Bishop noted Russia was 'talking up its so called pivot to Asia'. In her speech to The Center for a New American Security, the Australian foreign minister referred to speculation of an arms race in Asia. This has been driven, in part, by the military build

Russia ships arms to Fiji: What will be the quid pro quo?

By Anna Powles and Jose Sousa-Santos When the MV Saint Confidence and MV Solidat arrived in Suva Harbour last week to deliver a consignment of donated Russian weapons and equipment to Fiji, it sparked an immediate reaction. opposition MPs and security analysts have made several claims including:

On Syria, the West must face facts: Russia can help

Western analysts have been at pains to discern Russia's 'real aims' in Syria.  But the best explanation probably remains the simplest: the preservation of the existing Syrian state and its institutions in pursuit of a political settlement that limits the amount of Syrian territory under

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