As the Russian government strongly condemns Kosovo’s declaration of independence, Russia’s independent media voices are reacting with ambivalence to the dispute between their country and most of its Western interlocutors. Among reporters who maintain some distance from the Kremlin, the general tone is one of disillusionment with the West and concern about the condition of the international system, rather than full endorsement of the Russian government’s position. On the one hand, there is a widespread sense that intemperate expressions of anger by Russian officials do the country no favors. In “Rogozin Threatens NATO” (, Feb. 22), Natalia Kuklina quotes Dmitrii […]

Russia Lowers the Heat in Kosovo

Russia’s NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin backed off earlier statements, saying Russian would never use force to solve the problem of Kosovo.It’s always difficult to interpret a quotation taken out of context,even more so once it’s been translated. But my own feeling was thatRogozin had not been threatening the use of force in Kosovo, but ratherobserving that given how Kosovo was handled, Russia could reasonablydraw the conclusion that the only way to make itself respected moregenerally would be through the use of force. Either way, it’sreassuring to see that he was quickly called to order, signalling thatMoscow has no interest in […]

All Pipelines Lead to Moscow

In non-PKK news out of Turkey this morning, FM Ali Babacan reportedly communicated Turkey’s willingness to involve Russia in the Nabucco pipeline project during his recent visit to Moscow. If it seems like the offer undermines the logic of the enterprise, that’s probably because it does. The Nabucco pipeline was initially conceived as a way to diversify Europe’s sources of natural gas, thereby diminishing its energy dependence on Russia. (See this WPR exclusive for more.) But the project has run into problems finding adequate supplies ever since Russia snagged Kazakhstan’s and Turkmenistan’s reserves. Iran has offered itself as an alternative […]

How Will Russia Respond?

Vladimir Putin’s appointment of Dmitri Rogozin as Russia’s envoy to NATO last month raised a few eyebrows; Rogozin is known as a pretty hardline Russian nationalist. So it was kind of reassuring when, before their first official meeting three weeks ago, he presented NATO SecGen Jaap de Hoop Scheffer with a ceremonial tomahawk which he suggested they go bury together. But judging from Rogozin’s remarks yesterday regarding Kosovo, it looks like they didn’t bury the hatchet deep enough: In a video link-up from Brussels Dmitry Rogozin said, “if the European Union works out a common position, or if NATO breaches […]

WARSAW, Poland — Minutes before a 6 p.m. deadline on Feb. 12, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin resolved the latest dispute between the two countries over natural gas debts — averting a shutoff of supplies to Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine now have the opportunity to create a more transparent and direct system of energy trading. What are the implications of this latest dispute for EU-Russian energy relations? On Feb. 7, Gazprom had presented Ukraine with an ultimatum — pay a past due bill of $1.5 billion, or Russian gas supplies would be cut off. As part […]

Kosovo’s Feb. 17 declaration of independence places the Russian government in an awkward position. Neither Moscow’s nor Belgrade’s pre-declaration threats prevented Pristina’s parliament from voting 109-0 in favor of severing ties with Serbia. Actually implementing the threatened retaliatory measures, however, could easily backfire and seriously damage Russian interests. Most NATO governments likewise decided to back Kosovo’s independence despite Russian warnings that Moscow might respond by promoting the independence of other separatist regions in Europe. For months, Western governments have argued that, given the deep divisions separating the parties involved in the Kosovo status negotiations, delaying action would not improve the […]

Pentagon Planning to Shoot Down Rogue Satellite

Wired’s Danger Room has the scoop and links galore. As Danger Room notes, a key question is: Will China view this as a response to their January 2007 anti-satellite test? A related question: How might this affect recent joint Russian and Chinese efforts to restrict the deployment of weapons in space. WPR contributor Richard Weitz recently examined those Russian-Chinese initiatives. Here’s an excerpt: The publication of an unclassified version of the new U.S. National Space Policy in October 2006 evoked deep concern in Moscow and Beijing. Although the policy acknowledges the value of international cooperation in space and the right […]

Valery Loshchinin, Russia’s ambassador to the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, recently revealed that on Feb. 12, Russia and China will present a joint draft treaty to restrict the deployment of weapons in outer space. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is scheduled to address the 65-member, U.N.-affiliated forum on that day. Neither Russian nor Chinese government representatives have publicly indicated what provisions are included in the draft treaty. Nevertheless, both governments have long been concerned by U.S. military programs in this realm. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibits countries from basing weapons of mass destruction in space, but its application to […]