Moscow

Russian Referendum

28 June 2020 “The very existence of an opportunity for the current president (to be re-elected in 2024), given his major gravitas, would be a stabilising factor for our society,”, said Valentina Tereshkova, former Soviet cosmonaut, first woman in space, and now, at 83, a member of the Russian Duma (parliament). She was talking about …

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Ukraine: A Cold Peace?

After Monday’s first encounter between Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Paris, there were the inevitable accusations that Putin had taken the inexperienced Zelenskiy to the cleaners. After all, what chance did an ex-television comedian have against a wily former intelligence officer? Wrong question. It’s not about how clever the players …

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30 Minutes in Salisbury

Salisbury is a nice old English town with a fine cathedral, only an hour and a half from London by train, but it doesn’t see many Russian tourists in wintertime. It’s not as cold as Moscow, but Russians tend to prefer Mediterranean destinations for holiday breaks in early March – unless, of course, they are …

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Ukraine Again

Four years into a stalemated war, it takes something very big or very bizarre to get Ukraine back into the headlines. Even the news in April that the United States has started delivering lethal weapons (Javelin anti-tank missiles) to Ukraine didn’t do the trick, but the non-assassination of Arkady Babchenko last week did just fine. …

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The Old Man Rages

I will do such things,— What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be The terrors of the earth. King Lear, Act II, Scene 4 There are occasions when only Shakespeare will do, and Donald Trump was really, really cross. There’s still no proof that the Assad regime was responsible for the poison …

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Russian Victory in Syria

Two years ago this month, the Russian air force was sent in to save the tottering Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad from collapse. The air was thick with Western predictions that Moscow had made a dreadful mistake. “These (Russian) military actions constitute a further escalation and will only fuel more radicalisation and extremism,” said the …

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Peak Putin?

The crowds of protesters in Moscow and other Russian cities were far bigger the last time, in 2011-2012. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was so intoxicated by the forty or fifty thousand citizens who demonstrated in Moscow against Vladimir Putin’s rule that he boasted: “I see enough people here to take the Kremlin…right now, but we …

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