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The U.S. announced last month that it will no longer share information with Russia on European-based conventional weapons and troops as required by the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. In an email interview, Jeffrey D. McCausland, a distinguished visiting professor of research at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, discussed the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. WPR: What is the intent and purpose of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, and what is the nature of the dispute between Russia and NATO over the treaty? Jeffrey D. McCausland: The Treaty on Conventional Armed forces in Europe […]

Another round of protests is scheduled for Russia on Saturday, raising the question of whether a “color revolution,” this one characterized by the demonstrators’ white ribbons, capable of toppling the government is in the cards. Media attention invariably focuses on mass demonstrations, banner-waving crowds and Twitter-savvy organizers, yet what happens behind the scenes is usually much more important to the outcome of such movements. Protests are not enough, and for all the color revolutions that succeeded over the past decade — in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine — there were also some glaring failures, as in Azerbaijan and Belarus. While Russian […]

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Russia presented a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council on Thursday that condemned the violence in Syria after nine months of protests and 5,000 deaths in that country. The proposal, which demands that “all parties in Syria immediately stop any violence irrespective of where it comes from,” followed months of deadlock over whether and how the Security Council should respond to the ongoing crisis. But while the draft resolution may represent a step closer to compromise, the debate over what comes next will continue, says Richard Gowan, an associate director at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation. […]

Will the Arab Spring finally end the European Union’s lethargic approach to the southern Mediterranean and lead to more serious support for democratization? Don’t hold your breath. There are three key reasons why “business as usual” with only cosmetic changes is likely to remain the norm. First and foremost is the fact that Europe is in deep economic and financial crisis. With growing discord between France, Britain and Germany, not only the future of the euro but the very foundations of the European Union are at stake. Consumed by its own existential crisis, a serious rethinking of foreign policy is […]

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev traveled to Prague earlier this month to sign a deal with Czech President Vaclav Klaus establishing a joint venture on the exchange of civilian nuclear technology. In an email interview, Petr Kratochvíl, deputy director of the Institute of International Relations in Prague, discussed Russia-Czech Republic relations. WPR: What is the nature of Russia-Czech Republic relations since the end of the Cold War? Petr Kratochvíl: Roughly speaking, we can distinguish three fundamental phases. The first covers the period from the Velvet Revolution in 1989 to around 1994 and included the dissolution of both the Warsaw Treaty and […]

With Russia embroiled in mass demonstrations following surprisingly tough and contested Duma elections, the breakaway republic of South Ossetia gripped by ongoing political confusion following its own controversial presidential poll, and separatist Abkhazia coming off recent fiercely contested elections, it may be time to re-evaluate more than a few political tropes in Eurasia. The developments are all the more noteworthy in that they come as Georgia, long portrayed by Western supporters as the region’s consummate reformer, faces an unexpected political showdown that is casting the ostensibly democratic republic’s autocratic contours into sharp relief. In a stunning rebuke to Russian Prime […]

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South Ossetia was the scene of protests recently after the breakaway province’s high court invalidated the results of a presidential election in which the Russian-backed candidate, Anatoly Bibilov, was defeated. In an email interview, Lincoln Mitchell, an expert on post-Soviet democracy at Colombia University, discussed South Ossetia’s disputed elections. WPR: What is the immediate background to the post-election crisis in South Ossetia? Lincoln Mitchell: South Ossetia is a small polity viewed as independent by Russia, seen as part of Georgia by most of the world, including Europe and the U.S., and in reality almost entirely controlled by Russia and dependent […]

The Obama administration entered office three years ago with high hopes that it could repair America’s relationships with other key powers in the world. While some successes were achieved in 2009 and 2010, Washington closes out 2011 facing the sobering reality of simultaneously deteriorating relationships with China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Russia. At the same time, Washington can expect only limited support from its major Western allies in managing a host of global hotspots, as the ongoing eurozone crisis has, in a matter of months, turned European attention away from a more activist and interventionist approach to the world toward […]

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A nuclear submarine leased from Russia is all set to join the Indian Navy in early 2012. Official sources in New Delhi confirmed today that a Nerpa class nuclear submarine leased by the Indian Navy will leave Russian shores by end of the month. World News Videos by NewsLook

The most striking image from last weekend’s demonstrations in Moscow against the regime of former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is that of protesters holding up iPads and iPhones over their heads, broadcasting the momentous events live over the Internet. The sight of young Russians, bundled up against the Moscow cold, speaking out for democracy via social media brings to mind the wave of political protests that have defined 2011 — from the Arab uprisings in the Middle East, to the Occupy movement in developed economies, and now in Russia. And it raises the question of just how […]

Last week’s Duma elections have identified several weaknesses in Russia’s political system that cannot easily be solved. The current political order will probably survive the protests over the blatant electoral fraud, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is likely to return to the presidency next year. But the Putin system that has defined Russian politics for the past decade is unlikely to last beyond the next decade, since its vulnerabilities cannot be addressed by the modest reforms that the leading members of the regime are willing to tolerate. To truly modernize, Russia must overcome Putinism, develop stronger political parties, achieve greater […]

The recent elections in Egypt and Russia have important lessons for both Washington and Beijing about the contour of politics in the 21st century — and the limits of both authoritarianism and Western-style liberalism. For the past 12 years, as part of its campaign to modernize Russia, the Kremlin has encouraged the spread of new communications technology. However, over the course of his time first as president and then as prime minister, Vladimir Putin’s concern with mass communications focused primarily on shaping television coverage. Meanwhile, the growth in Russians’ mobile phone usage, in particular, has been quite dramatic. If less […]

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With the European financial crisis dominating headlines, little attention has been given to the Eueopean Union’s recently announced plan to send a team of police and security experts to North Africa to ramp up counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The development, announced earlier this week, comes after a spate of kidnappings of Westerners by AQIM-affiliated groups, along with mounting concerns that weapons from the conflict in Libya could end up in the organization’s hands. That the EU has decided to focus on police training rather than military assistance can best be explained by the nature of the […]

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