I have recently started Sochi Magazine, an online magazine and social network for western expats in Sochi. It is a pretty exciting place to be around the coming year. No political analysis, just helping people finding their way around and contributing to successful Winter Games. It’s a challenge!
I have often stated that I do not support Vladimir Putin’s third term as president of Russia. The reasons are that state-building in Russia has now reached a reasonable level (not as efficient as in some other countries but certainly not as bad as in Yemen or complete absent like in Iraq) and that Russia’s economy has recovered enough now to an extene that it is time for a new vision, new people and new policies. Naturally, it is obvious that Putin has the support of the majority of the people but sometimes in politics you do not need to do what you think is good but what is good for the country.
Continue reading “Boyars on the move”
‘Russia is a country that no matter what you say about it, it is true.’ These words were written in 1926 by US aviator, world traveller and Hollywood actor Will Rogers. Rogers had heard much about Russia, from the foreign policy community in the United States, from the emigres he had met in Paris, in short Russia’s image in the world in 1930’s. Still, none of the stories he heard and articles he had read before his trip came close to describing that what he saw with his own eyes, flying a small plane into Russia.
Continue reading “Russia”
On April 1 the British Telegraph published an article about a contract hit that was allegedly being prepared on one of the leaders of the Chechen separatists Akhmed Zakayev ( the Prime Minister of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI), a government in exile, JM). The source: MI5. Zakayev currently lives in Great Britain and has strong ties to Boris Berezovsky, a well-known master of provocations. In the mean time, the hearings in London about the killing of former FSB officer Alexandr Litvinenko are to be resumed, notably at the moment when seven years later the Polonium and its chemical traces have completely disappeared. What’s more, close relatives of Litvinenko, his father and brother are not allowed to partake in the hearings. Today they will disclose details that will completely overturn the so called Litvenenko murder.
Continue reading “The Litvinenko murder”
I have spent the last few days working through the websites of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) and of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). I have read through their case studies. I would just like to make the following points:
See on darussophile.com
Assessment: Kolokoltsev is a career cop with a reputation for being an effective investigator (of the ‘brute force’ rather than ‘inspired’ variety — by which I mean not a propensity to use violence so much as a dogged use of protocol, time and manpower to work through a problem) and a tough manager.
Richard Sakwa‘s new book, The Crisis of Russian Democracy: The Dual State, Factionalism, and the Medvedev Succession (Cambridge University Press, 2011), comes at a moment in Russian political history when uncertainty is once again in the headlines and on the lips of experts and journalists. While Sakwa’s book is principally about how Dmitri Medvedev became Russia’s third President, The Crisis of Russian Democracy is more importantly an analysis of the institutions and dynamics that animate Russian politics today.
See on newbooksinrussianstudies.com
It won’t be long before the police will evict the Occupy Abai protestors on some pretext. Yet this smallish rebellion is a social revolution. It is a lesson for the new Russian civil society on how it can act together. Street protests have been off limits to Russians since 1993. Passive until recently, a growing number of people no longer expect the government to solve their problems. There is a growing interest in social initiatives organised, supported and conducted by the ordinary people. It is a revolution of nobodies.
See on www.bne.eu
The new organisational structure of the government will likely be announced within two to three days of the formal appointment of Medvedev as PM. Ministerial appointments, according to Vedomosti, will happen in steps in the subsequent 2 weeks, so do not expect a one-shot type of event.
See on www.bne.eu