Poroshenko May Discover That Savchenko Was More Useful to Him in Prison

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By releasing Nadia Savchenko, Russia has thrown an olive branch to Ukraine’s embattled President, Petro Poroshenko. How he uses it will decide the future of eastern Ukraine. However, Moscow didn’t grant clemency to Savchenko for purely benevolent reasons. President Putin’s pardon was, almost certainly, inspired by a desire for sanctions relief and improved relations with the EU.

Foreign Press Review #9 (23.05-29.05)

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Last week all eyes were on the prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine, as a result of which Nadezhda Savchenko was released. Journalists highlighted her colorful defiance to Moscow but few media outlets mentioned her ultranationalist views. Some experts suggest that Savchenko eyes a career in Ukrainian politics, others think that her release may deepen the existing rift within the political elites. Last week Western media widely reported on an alleged ISIS attack against the T4 base in Syria, as a result of which four Russian helicopters and twenty trucks were destroyed. The Russian Defense Ministry, however, denied these reports. The placement of the 1.75 billion USD Russian bonds was also in the limelight last week. Despite some technical problems and skepticism on the part of a number of investors, this event symbolizes the failure of Western attempts to isolate Russia.

How Crimea Turned Russian

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On 8 April, 1783, Russian Empress Catherine II signed the decree “On Accession of the Crimean Peninsula, the Taman Island and the Kuban Region to the Russian Empire.” Everyone was due to maintain the document in secrecy until the integration became a fait accompli. The transition was smooth and peaceful, but this triumph was preceded by years of political friction and strife in which Catherine the Great and Prince Potemkin, the Empress’s right-hand man in all her endeavors, had played the first fiddle.

United Russia’s Primaries for State Duma Elections

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United Russia’s primaries that took place on Sunday have clearly illustrated voters’ longing for new political figures, claim experts. Partly it contributed to a high turnout as nearly 10 million voters came to cast their ballots Russia-wide but only preliminary results have been released. We asked leading experts what the primaries mean for the United Russia party and for the upcoming Duma elections.

Foreign Press Review #8 (16.05-22.05)

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Last week the American Schools of Oriental Research said that Russia had set up a military base in Palmyra, which the Russian Ministry of Defense immediately disproved claiming that available satellite images show a temporary camp of Russian experts demining the vicinities of Palmyra. A claim by the former deputy commander of NATO, former British general Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff that the West is on the verge of a nuclear war with Russia also featured prominently in Western media last week. According to the general, the events in Crimea destroyed the post-Cold War world order and paved the way for a direct conflict which can begin as early as next year. The Western media has again payed special attention to latest accusations of state-sponsored doping in Russia during the 2014 Sochi Olympics and calls to ban Russian athletes from the 2016 Olympic Games.

Dialogue Rather Than Cartel

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Igor Sechin’s statement about OPEC’s demise as a united organization has caught attention worldwide. Although the CEO of Rosneft expressed something that sticks out a mile for experts, his comment gives some food for thought both about Russia’s relations with other energy-exporting countries and general characteristics of today’s international energy system.

The Indiscreet Charm of Populism

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The word “populism” has been increasingly often used by political analysts who write about the developments in Western Europe and the USA. This concept denotes nearly every new movement, both left and right, which have been emerging at lightning speed. But what does this actively exploited term used by the press denote?

Foreign Press Review #7 (09.05-15.05)

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The celebration of the Victory Day in Russia was in the limelight last week. Noting Russia’s enormous contribution to the victory over Nazism some journalists have drifted into criticism and compared the military parade in the Red Square to muscle flexing. Last week one of the main topics was the deployment of an American anti-ballistic missile defense system in Romania, which Moscow called a direct threat to the country’s national security and a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).