Ukraine

Ukraine: Peace at Last?

The current ceasefire in the war in eastern Ukraine, the so-called Minsk-2 agreement, was signed last February, but they never actually ceased firing. At least a thousand more people have been killed in the fighting since then, and on one night last month (14 August) the monitors of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in …

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Murder in Moscow

“Every time I call (my mother),” said Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov recently, “she gives me a talking-to: ‘When will you stop being rude about Putin? He’ll kill you.’” Now Nemtsov is dead: four bullets in the back as he was walking home in Moscow with his girlfriend on Friday night. The protest march against …

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Hungary’s Viktator

When I first interviewed Viktor Orban 25 years ago, he was an anti-Communist student firebrand whose whole purpose in life was to free Hungary from Soviet rule. But you can travel a long way in 25 years. In 1991 Orban celebrated the collapse of the Soviet Union, but now he says: “We Europeans need Russia. …

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Ukraine Ceasefire?

Angela Merkel grew up under Communist rule in the old East Germany. She speaks fluent Russian. She has been the chancellor of Germany for the past ten years. And for all that time she has been negotiating with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on wide variety of subjects – including, for the past year, Ukraine. …

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2014 Year-Ender

The main purpose of year-end reviews, of course, is to hold the ads apart. But they can also serve as a kind of annual check-up on the political health – and also on the economic, demographic and even physical health – of the planet and its teeming human population. So imagine that we are a …

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Ukraine Cock-Up

This is what former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, subsequently driven from office by mass protests in Kiev, said to German Chancellor Angela Merkel just one year ago, at the start of the crisis. It was recorded by a Lithuanian television crew, eavesdropping on the conversation with a directional mike, at the European Union summit in …

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Three Elections

Last Sunday was a busy day: three elections, in three different continents, all of them offering at least the hope of better times. First, Brazil, where President Dilma Rousseff eked out a second-round victory with 51.6 percent of the votes versus 48.4 percent for the challenger, Aecio Neves. But Neves was quick to acknowledge her …

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