Foreign Press Review (24.10-30.10)

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Last week was dominated by discussions about a potential conflict between Russia and NATO. A whole range of experts described the current level of Russia-West relations as a “new Cold War”. Despite ongoing debates whether the term corresponds to the reality in general, analysts noted its practical relevance for the military sphere and expressed their concern with NATO and Russia’s military build-ups.

Overcoming Babylon

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The 13th Valdai Discussion Club session was held in Sochi October 24-27. Ever since its establishment in 2004, the Club has gained the reputation, first of all, as a forum for Russian and foreign experts to compare notes on a wide range of international issues. Secondly, the President of Russia drops into the exclusive club on quite a regular basis.

Little covered in the West, the 8th BRICS summit is a strong opportunity for its members

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Leaders from the five BRICS countries met in Goa, India on October 15 and 16. Little covered in the West, the summit was big news in the BRICS countries themselves, most of all in the host country. India’s prime minister Narendra Modi took advantage of the BRICS podium to label neighboring Pakistan the “mother ship of terrorism,” sparking international outrage and creating an awkward moment for China’s president Xi Jinping. China is a major backer of infrastructure projects in Pakistan, a historic enemy of India.

Foreign Press Review (17.10-23.10)

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Last week the media payed a lot of attention to the general picture of Russia-West relations while Vladimir Putin became a hero of cover pages of four respectable weekly political outlets: The Economist, The Spectator, The New Statesman and The New Yorker. In general, the media focused mostly on two principal events, which stole the spotlight of Russia’s announcement of humanitarian pauses in Aleppo.

New Compromises, or Berlin Agreements

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The Normandy Contact Group summit in Berlin did not achieve any major breakthrough and contributed little to the settlement of the Ukraine conflict, just as it was expected. It was the twelfth Normandy Format meeting, which traditionally brings together senior representatives of the four countries to address the conflict in Donbass. The heads of state and foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine discussed the implementation of the Minsk II Peace Accords and agreed on the need to additionally draft a roadmap to realize the ceasefire arrangements.

PACE Should No Longer Be a Club of «Good Pupils». Expert Interview With Birte Wassenberg

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Political season in Europe started with the autumn session in PACE where the assembly was split between those who wanted to bring the Russian delegation back (represented by PACE president) and those who were opposed to this (represented first and foremost by the Ukrainian delegation). Russia delegation is absent from PACE since 2014 when its voting rights have been suspended following Crimea and the crisis in Ukraine. Rethinking Russia spoke about the importance of this suspension and the possibilities to unblock the situation to Birte Wassenberg – professor in Contemporary History at the Institute for Political Studies (IEP) of the University of Strasbourg, visiting professor at the College of Europe and author of the book “History of the Council of Europe (1949-2009).

The Changing Face of the CIS

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On September 2016 the CIS Heads of State met in Bishkek for holding the jubilee summit, dedicated to 25th anniversary of the organization. Although the one-day summit went almost unnoticed by the expert community, the event was noteworthy for its success to achieve a consensus on what Russia considered the vital question of preserving the CIS as a full-fledged international organization.