No carrots, no sticks: Merkel in Sochi

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The meeting between Merkel and Putin in Sochi, her first trip for two years to Russia, was officially described as a bridge building attempt by the Chancellors office. One can only speculate, but the primary motive of Merkel’s visit was to calm the troubled waters ahead of the G20 summit, which will take place in the city of Hamburg in July. So, unsurprisingly, after receiving the requested assurances that Moscow will not use the Hamburg event as a political platform attacking Berlin’s dominant role in the Western sanction regime, but also looks forward to positive results.

Council of Legislators as a Unique Platform for Inter-branch Interactions

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Vladimir Putin has delivered a speech at the St. Petersburg Council of Legislators. Russia’s President urged the deputies to devote meticulous attention to lawmaking and, above all, to be heedful of the public’s aspirations. As Putin pointed out, “Undoubtedly, everybody wants to look respectable and take decisions which will be manna from heaven. However, you cannot count on a miracle; this is not the case. Decision-making must be informed, reality-based, reflecting our capabilities and popular demands. In addition, one must meet ordinary people as often as possible and talk to them to be aware of their needs”.

Dancing for the Cameras while Europe and Syria Burns

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President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had a brief visit at the White House on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, which was followed by all of the typical press conferences and media interviews expressing new found agreement and harmony. It is yet another example in the Presidency of Donald Trump where explicitly bold and brash campaign trail criticism ended up not just softened but utterly reversed.