Anti-corruption protests across Russia that had taken part on Sunday, March 26, drew a lot of foreign media’s attention. Sometimes exaggerating the scale of protests and closing their eyes to the fact a rally in Moscow was sanctioned for another place (therefore, the Kremlin characterized opposition’s calls for protests on Tverskaya street as provocation) almost all outlets emphasized that there was a significant number of young people participating in the demonstrations. The reasons, observers proposed, ranked from “popularity of opposition leaders on the internet” to “little attention the Kremlin pays to this group”.
Moreover, experts were divided in opinion on the basis of the protests as some media highlighted that it was an outcry against “Putin’s regime” while others explained that these were anti-Medvedev demonstrations casting a thought that a part of protesters could still support Putin. From the point of view of the latter, the youth went out on the street because of the image of Medvedev who is known for liking fashionable sneakers and photos. That is why, according to them, Navalny’s film managed to attract young people. Generally impartial experts admit that it is too early to make long-term conclusions and forecasts concerning the opposition movement and its strength in Russia since the Kremlin clearly understands the importance of the anti-corruption agenda to Russian people (many believe it is much more appealing in Russia than illusionary liberal values). So it can be co-opted by the Kremlin, which recently showed its readiness for resonant anti-corruption arrests.
As for Russia-US relations, they were still in the spotlight. Amid a public hearing in the Senate Intelligence committee with some new, but already predictable accusations against Russia the American media claimed that a reset was postponed as taking into account the current climate inside the country Donald Trump sees almost no opportunity to make a “grand bargain” with Russia. If the sources of CNN and the Wall Street Journal are right, that means American hawks with some help from the mainstream media managed to disrupt the possible thawing in the bilateral relations. Besides, Moscow and Washington exchanged some resonant allegations. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson trying to assuage NATO allies criticized “Russian aggression” while US Defence Secretary James Mattis called Moscow a “strategic competitor” mentioning the alleged Russian interference in foreign elections. Meanwhile, commenting on the accusations and once more repeating Putin’s words that Moscow had not meddled in the US presidential election, President Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed regret that Russia-US relations “devolved to the level of a “new Cold War” or “maybe even worse”.
Russia’s internal politics
By Dmitri Trenin
By co-opting the masses against the elite, the president has shaped a country to echo his values and grievances. And now he’s working to secure his legacy.
By Joshua Yaffa
The New Yorker
With elections a year away, it’s unclear what argument or bargain Putin wants to make with the Russian people in his fourth, and presumably last, term.
By Leonid Bershidsky
At first sight, the Russian anti-corruption protests on Sunday didn’t draw enough people to rock the Kremlin. And yet they must be extremely worrying for Russian President Vladimir Putin: The movement against him, which he had every reason to write off as dead, is attracting a new generation of Russians throughout the country.
By Nikolas K. Gvosdev
The National Interest
The protests come at a time when the different political clans within the Kremlin have begun to accelerate their jockeying for position.
By Isaac Chotiner
The managing editor of the Moscow Times on the opposition to Putin and what it can, and can’t, accomplish.
By Graeme Robertson
The Washington Post
To understand these surprising protests, I asked experts on Russian politics from PONARS Eurasia to join an online symposium, answering the question: Do the protests that took place across 99 cities in Russia on Sunday signify that meaningful change in Russian politics is likely? Why or why not?
The National Interest
An “absolutely artificial hysterical situation was created” in U.S.-Russia relations—but not quite yet a Cold War.
By Edward Lucas
The only real problem for the US administration is how to placate critics, who would regard any deal as selling out to Russia.
By Kenneth Rapoza
Vladimir Putin haters woke up this morning to the Russian president finally voicing his thoughts to the American media about alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election.
By Paul Wood
The BBC has learned that US officials “verified” a key claim in a report about Kremlin involvement in Donald Trump’s election – that a Russian diplomat in Washington was in fact a spy.
By Doug Bandow
The National Interest
When the transatlantic alliance was formed, it had a serious purpose: prevent Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union from dominating Western as well as Eastern Europe. No longer.
By Richard Sakwa
As the cold war ended, Mikhail Gorbachev wanted a new political community, with Russia as an equal partner. The west refused to countenance it.
By Patrick J. Buchanan
The American Conservative
If we were to use traditional measures for understanding leaders, which involve the defense of borders and national flourishing, Putin would count as the preeminent statesman of our time.
By Olesya Astakhova
Iran’s president met Russia’s prime minister on Monday in a bid to develop a warming relationship that has been greatly strengthened by both sides’ involvement on the same side of the war in Syria.
The countries cooperate where it suits both their needs, but centuries of competition bubble under their relationship.
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