The main topic of last week was the normalization of Russia-Turkey relations. Despite disagreements between two parties whether Erdogan’s letter was an apology or just condolences for the downing of a Russian warplane in November, the fact is that Moscow is satisfied with Ankara’s step. Observers share general consensus that it is a diplomatic victory for the Kremlin as Russia has already flexed its muscles on the world stage by its readiness to take strong measures in response to aggressive actions, and now the normalization of relations will be mutually beneficial in economic and security terms. Nevertheless, the relations’ restoration was marred by the terror act at the Istanbul airport. The western media widely covered the reports that the suspected mastermind was a Russian citizen, but, unfortunately, failed to let their readers’ know that this man had been considered by Russian security services as a terrorist for a long time and had been included on Interpol lists. However, after the Chechen wars he fled to Europe, obtained a refugee status in Austria and was portrayed by human rights activists, including Amnesty International, as a victim of the Russian regime.
Russia-NATO relations have been in the spotlight. Two incidents have recently taken place in the Eastern Mediterranean when Russian and American naval ships had a close encounter on the high seas. Both countries have accused each other of unsafe, provocative behavior and gross breaches of international maritime laws. Moreover, the media has been discussing the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw which they tend to consider as “a crucial test of the coherence of the western alliance” given Britain’s decision to leave the EU and a number of disagreements in Germany, France and the US over NATO’s future role in the world and its policy towards Russia.
In addition, Brexit itself and its consequences continued to be at the centre of debates in the West. The media call Russian President Vladimir Putin the main winner, as Brexit fuels his hope of new divisions inside the EU and a weaker Europe as a result. However, many experts agree that Russia is interested in stable economic relations with Europe because the EU is still Russia’s biggest trading partner and, that is why, the impact of Brexit is quite ambiguous for Moscow, which Mr Putin admits himself.
A lot of attention has been payed to the Syrian conflict. The Obama administration has reportedly proposed a new agreement on Syria to the Kremlin. The agreement implies unprecedented levels of military cooperation between Russia and the US in the fight against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front. In exchange Washington wants Moscow to put pressure on Assad so as to stop bombing U.S.-supported rebels. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refused to comment on the reports, which have already triggered heated debates in both countries.
By Ben Rosen
The Christian Science Monitor
Russia and Turkey even disagree over whether a letter the Turkish president sent his Russian counterpart is an apology or not.
By Keith Johnson
Turkey is trying to mend fences with Russia to contain Iran, fight the Islamic State, and improve its standing in an evolving Middle East.
By Raghida Dergham
The Huffington Post
Putin knows he is not yet out of the woods, and thus sees a huge advantage in Erdogan reconsidering his Syria policies, where he has become a de-facto partner of the US and Russia in the war on ISIS, especially after the latter decided to target Turkey and its security and economy in retaliation.
By Sam Heller
The War on the Rocks
The Kremlin has successfully made itself the most powerful party to this war. The best the White House can do now is to make them own it.
By Josh Rogin
The Washington Post
The Obama administration has proposed a new agreement on Syria to the Russian government that would deepen military cooperation between the two countries against some terrorists in exchange for Russia getting the Assad regime to stop bombing U.S.-supported rebels.
By Faysal Itani
A policy of keeping the violence “as low as possible for as long as possible” is odd—a plan to put the war’s killing, suffering and destruction in slow motion.
By Josh Rogin
The Washington Post
Russian intelligence and security services have been waging a campaign of harassment and intimidation against U.S. diplomats, embassy staff and their families in Moscow and several other European capitals that has rattled ambassadors and prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to ask Vladimir Putin to put a stop to it.
By Lee Fang, Zaid Jilani
Gen. Philip Breedlove, until recently the supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, plotted in private to overcome President Barack Obama’s reluctance to escalate military tensions with Russia over the war in Ukraine in 2014, according to apparently hacked emails from Breedlove’s Gmail account that were posted on a new website called DC Leaks.
By Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen offers advice for allies ahead of Warsaw summit.
By Mark Galeotti
It’s not so much Brexit itself that matters to the Kremlin, but rather the hope that this will generate yet more division and distraction in the West. But Vladimir Putin ought not to regard this as an undiluted win, because there are some buried risks for Russia, too.
By Cyrus Sanati
And that’s a good thing for everyone. Britain’s exit from the European Union opens the door to a possible Russian entry—a “Rentry” or perhaps “Russ-in”—into the (now) 27-member club.
By Katrina vanden Heuvel
The Washington Post
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the people’s vote forced the E.U. to lighten its destructive austerity, gave impetus to a negotiated settlement in Syria and led NATO to reconsider its increasingly reckless posture toward Russia? If that happened, the voters in Britain, unknowingly or not, will have done a great service.
By Maxim Trudolyubov
The single most important consequence of Brexit, from Russia’s perspective, is the end to future expansion of the EU.
Saint-Petersburg International Economic Forum
By Nikolay Pakhomov
The National Interest
A recent economic summit shows the world still wants in.
Russia’s internal policy
By Alan Cullison
The Wall Street Journal
In Dagestan province, once home to an Islamist insurrection, the situation is calmer since men left to join the jihad.
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