Vladimir Putin is the focus of attention in Russian politics. He is the policy setter and the final decision-maker. However, for a clearer insight into how Russian politics works this focus on President Putin is too narrow
Edward Snowden has fallen into the open arms of Mother Russia, where he was greeted at Moscow's airport by a Russian security service contingent. The plan reportedly was for Snowden to pass through Russia en route to another country, after sharing America's stolen secrets
The Syrian war is spreading fast, engulfing all of its Middle East neighbors and risking even larger conflicts, while leaving the pertinent question: What's to be done before the region explodes? So what should the United States and Russia do now?
The war in Syria is Russia's to lose. Arguably, it could very well end up being Russia's biggest test as a player on the world stage since the end of the Cold War. The outcome in Syria is largely dependent on Russia's willingness to lead. No doubt it's a strange angle
What if America's ultimate exit strategy for the Syrian conflict is to have it grind on ad infinitum because there's very little advantage to doing anything else? Increasingly, it's Russia that has the most to lose from the ongoing hostilities in Syria
Among many other demographic problems, Russia is confronting a rapidly ageing population. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has fallen from having the 6th largest population in the world to 9th. By 2050, it will fall to 15th place
After years of protracted negotiations, Ukraine is almost ready to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union. Robert Cutler describes how the agreement might impact the fate of Ukraine's Russia-to-Europe gas transit system
We have lived in the post-Cold War world since 1991. The post-Cold War world had two phases. The first lasted from Dec. 31, 1991, until Sept. 11, 2001. The second lasted from 9/11 until now. We are now entering a new period
The recent Russia - China presidential summit in Moscow yielded a clear message. Both governments want a comprehensive relationship, but they want one that is practical and based on common interests. Shop-worn Cold War ideology has nothing to do with it
Moscow, Russian Federation
Russia's Foreign Ministry has declared an American diplomat persona non grata after the Federal Security Service (FSB) accused him of being an undercover CIA agent.
The ministry also summoned U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul to explain the activity of Ryan Christopher Fogle, a third secretary in the political department of the U.S. embassy in Moscow, following his brief detention by the FSB. The FSB turned over Fogle to the embassy after briefly detaining him.
The FSB announced that its agents caught the American trying to recruit a local law enforcer to be a spy with a promise of $1 million pay per year for sharing vital information. The offer was contained in a letter written in Russian that was confiscated from Fogle.
The letter also contains instruction to open a Gmail account for use in covert communication.
Also confiscated from Fogle were his ID, a large sum of cash, technical devices and wigs that he allegedly used to disguise himself.
Ria Novosti showed Fogle detained at an FSB office and the items seized from him.
McFaul declined to comment on the incident.
Moscow, Russian Federation
Following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, visiting United States Secretary of State John Kerry said that the two nations agreed to jointly push for peace in Syria through a negotiated solution.
The two top diplomats also agreed to hold an international conference as early as possible to end more than two-year-old Syrian conflict and want to convince both the Assad government and the rebels to accept Geneva accord terms.
The world powers had agreed on the terms last June for Syrian peace.
Talking to reporters at a news conference following the meeting, which lasted until midnight, Lavrov said, "We agreed that Russia and the United States will encourage both the Syria government and opposition groups to find a political solution."
The Russian minister was keen on holding the conference "by the end of this month" and Kerry supported his view, saying it should happen "soon as is practical." "Its specific work will be to bring members of the government and the opposition together to see how we can implement the language of the communique," said Kerry.
He added, "A negotiated settlement is the essential means to ending the bloodshed in Syria." Both the countries were keen on doing everything to bring "the government and opposition to the negotiating table."
Moscow, Russian Federation
Japan and Russia will start negotiation on a peace treaty soon.
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and Tussian President Vladimir Putin held the first summit between their two nations in a decade, announced that negotiations on a peace treaty will resume soon.
According to Xinhua news agency, Abe and Putin told reporters that they have instructed the foreign ministers of both countries to " intensify contacts for devising a mutually-acceptable way of settling the problem" of the peace treaty.
Tokyo and Moscow have agreed to speed up their peace talks.
Tokyo and Moscow are in dispute over four small islands called the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, which has prevented the two countries from signing the peace treaty.
Moscow, Russian Federation
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian president Vladimir Putin are meeting in Russia to discuss energy deals and disputed islands.
The dispute centres on four islands north of the Japanese island of Hokkaido, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories.
Russia has controlled the islands since Soviet troops seized them from Japan at the end of World War II.
Japan is also aiming to improve its energy supply and already a major importer of liquefied natural gas, including from the Russian Far East island of Sakhalin.
Moscow, Russian Federation
Russia's OAO Rosneft reached a deal with the Chinese government to double its crude-oil deliveries from its current volume, boosting energy links between the two major emerging economies, Russia and China.
Under the agreement, China will provide Rosneft, the world's largest listed oil producer, a $2bn loan in exchange for 25 years of deliveries, according to Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin after the signing of the agreement.
The Russian state oil firm already supplies 15 million metric tons to China every year under a deal signed in 2009. Russian pipeline operator OAO Transneft and Rosneft received a $25bn loan from China in that deal.
The deal was finalized during the visit to Moscow by Chinese President Xi Jinping, his first official trip abroad since taking office.
Rosneft will also be partnering with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in the development of onshore blocks and offshore licenses. The Chinese energy firm is Rosneft's latest foreign partner in its long-term development plan to tap resources in the Arctic shelf.
CNPC also signed a memorandum last week with Russian state oil company OAO Gazprom to deliver gas to China from Russia's far east fields.
Rosneft announced that it acquired TNK-BP for $60bn to become the world's biggest listed oil producer.
The European Union's bailout plan for Cyprus has nothing to do with socialism but rather with much greater stakes. This is the EU attempting to outmaneuver an uncharacteristically flat-footed Vladimir Putin and Russia in a key battleground
A chess piece has fallen in Latin America. The road to prosperity and peace for the citizens of many countries -- probably even yours -- runs through the recent death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and a counterintuitive deal between two nations
While Georgia's politicians believe that reforming the country's armed forces is essential, they remain divided over what roles civilians should play in national defense. Eugene Kogan outlines the issues surrounding Tbilisi's military reforms and what Russia thinks about them
Clearly, Russian leaders are keen to catch up with the world's leading manufacturers. What cannot be produced fast enough can be bought. As one observer put it, 'the Russian drone programme remains pragmatic'
Russia is calling for a political transition process in Syria, but has stopped short of saying President Bashar al-Assad should relinquish power as part of a deal to end Syria's conflict
A borderland is a region where history is constant: Everything is in flux. Turkey, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and Poland occupy the borderland between Islam, Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity
It would have taken a brave analyst to predict that BP would end the year having negotiated its exit from TNK-BP, the highly profitable but troubled Russian venture created in 2003
Although the technical implementation of the blocking has been subject to informed criticism by industry bodies, the powers granted over Russian website content are in fact nothing new
After two and a half sets it looked like Brazil would cruise to their third Olympics title, but the Brazilians eventually missed out to Russia
Russia's Dmitriy Muserskiy set a new scoring record of 31 points for an Olympic Games volleyball gold medal match
A prison cell in Siberia? Or exile in the West? Russian dissidents faced this choice under the czars, and under the rulers of the Soviet Union. Now this choice has returned to Russia under President Putin
The so-called 'reset' aimed at improving ties between the United States and Russia did bring concrete results. But now, analysts say relations between the two countries are deteriorating again
From an economic perspective, Russia has been unable to avoid the effects of the global financial crisis. From a geopolitical perspective, the position is rather different. Since the crisis began, Russia has taken a number of steps to strengthen its positions in Europe
It would seem that we're now at the stage of global economic lunacy where the worldwide socialist slide is so far gone that the president of Russia is lecturing about the risks of socialism
Russia and Brazil will cross paths for the first time in an Olympic Final after they edged Bulgaria and Italy respectively in the semis played on Friday at Earls Court
In what was a classic semi-final match, Russia advances after edging Bulgaria 3-1 (25-21, 25-15, 23-25, and 25-23). Russia will be playing Brazil in the Olympic Gold Medal Match
China has become the world's workshop and Europe has an insatiable appetite for its exports. Most now arrive on giant container ships. But as ports become clogged and delivery times critical, China is once again looking to the old land routes across Asia
Russian officials reported that a meteor hit in the Chelyabinsk region, near the country's Ural Mountains, setting off blasts that injured more than 750 people, mainly by broken glass
The past decade has seen a literary renaissance in Russia, with new authors producing ambitious works in all genres. But Western reader beware: they are likely to take you out of the comfort zone
Brazilian striker Hulk has signed a five-year deal with Zenit St. Petersburg of Russia after completing a transfer from Porto for a reported $62.9 million fee
As the world struggles to deal with its two largest foreign-affairs dilemmas, Syria and Iran, resolutely standing in the way are the BRICs
The Russians may have been left behind in the medal race, but they came up with some exceptional feats like when Sergey Kirdyapkin clinched the grueling 50km race walk title with an Olympic-record
The United States is trying to pressure Russia to put pressure on Syrian President Assad
Unless the Central Asian states, China, India, Iran, Pakistan and Russia jointly contribute towards ensuring stability, Afghanistan is likely to fall to the Taliban again or even break up
The interesting thing about Israel and Russia is that while they seem to be operating in the same areas of interest and their agendas seem disconnected, their interests are not always opposed
Putin's support for the Assad regime will have long-term cost implications for Russia
The Russians could be very useful in finding a settlement and seem to ask simply that their own interests in the Middle East be respected
The way the world works now, and the way Russia has inserted itself into absolutely everything, it's impossible to avoid dealing with them on virtually any international issue
Both elections were both exercises in political theatre, in which the middle classes were absent, the grateful poor voted en masse, the opposition protested, and fraud was alleged
Lodged between Russia and China, Mongolia is looking to Japan to play the role of its 'third neighbor'
Having secured a new presidential term, Putin is trying to show the world that he still has control of Russia
With Russia's political clan system in shambles, no strong Kremlin figure is managing Chechnya
Almost the entire world wants to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad thrown out of office -- every nation save for Russia, China and a few other states like India that revel in being contrary
After a decade in the doldrums, during which the Kremlin co-opted or marginalised all competition, Russia's political scene has come alive
The anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system under construction by the US and NATO in the Black Sea Region poses no threat to US-Russian nuclear strategic parity. On the contrary, it holds cooperative potential for the two leading nuclear powers. It could also stabilize the broader Eurasian security situation in the light of Iran's policy of nuclear blackmail
Russian billionaire and owner of the New Jersey Nets, Mikhail Prokhorov, will challenge Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in the March presidential elections as an independent candidate
The stage is set for the 2012 Euro Cup following Friday's draw that saw host Poland and Ukraine getting the top draws while Spain placed in a tougher group. Poland was drawn in Group A along with Greece, Russia, and Czech Republic
Dmitry Medvedev's and Vladimir Putin's apparently amicable decision to swap jobs is being touted by the Kremlin as a way to ensure Russia's stability. Yet if Russia's historical tradition is any guide, changing places is a move fraught with uncertainty
When it comes to dealing with the United States and NATO on security issues in Central Asia, Russia is acting tough while operating from a position of increasing weakness
Ankara's new independent image in Moscow could be threatened by the radar decision
The expectations of the last ten years that the states surrounding the Black Sea would follow the example of the Balkan region and shape themselves into a security community have not been realized. Perceptions of stagnation have replaced the hopes of a working and stable geo-strategic framework, based on a balance of cooperation and conflicts
The Russian government will embark on an ambitious privatization plan in 2012 by selling its stakes in state companies such as OAO Rosneft, the country's biggest oil producer, and VTB Group, its second-biggest lender
North Korea and Russia may be chummy, but South Korea and Japan remain suspicious of North Korea's motives.
For the first time ever, Russia is selling weapons to Bahrain, whose government has been given the cold shoulder by the West for a violent crackdown on anti-government protests, as part of an effort by Moscow to capitalize on the Arab Spring to increase arms sales in the lucrative Middle East market
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has won a rare pledge from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. While on a state visit, Kim said North Korea was ready to abandon nuclear testing and allow a gas pipeline through its territory
A great deal is at stake in the Syrian uprising, arguably more than in any other Middle East revolt to date. That makes Russia's and China's adamant opposition to critical Security Council resolutions especially shameful. What's worse, Russia is selling arms to the Syrian government
Russia currently holds the dubious distinction of being the world's top source of Internet attack traffic. Russian-based IP accounts drive 10 percent of attacks, most of which target port 445.
In 2014, Russia will host the Winter Olympic Games in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi. Potentially an opportunity to project a strong image of the country and develop international partnerships, the Games also run the risk of drawing attention to a number of issues Russia might prefer stayed hidden
Russia's energy supplies ensure that Moscow maintains a geopolitical foothold in the European part of the former Soviet space
Now that Vladimir Putin is Russia's president once again, the result of still another fraudulent election, we should expect ever more hostile relations with Moscow
Putin's return to the presidency was not unexpected. But it comes as an anti-incumbent trend is developing in Europe. In response to these changes, Putin will have to adjust Russia's approach in Europe
While Russia remains centrally important to most of the post-Soviet space, Moscow's direct influence across this region is far from assured
This is an opportunity to review Washington's strategy is in Korea and how the countries around North Korea (China, Russia, South Korea and Japan) view the region
An offer to build natural gas storage facilities may help Russia gain leverage in Turkey
So Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has just been re-presidented for at least another six years
Vladimir Putin has built his political reputation on a perceived ability to enforce order and revive the country's economy. But economic data suggests that Russia has moved backwards under Putin
Politics dominate now, but long-term draws include middle-class and infrastructure growth
Vladimir Putin's reaction to Moscow protesters perfectly illustrates how he masterfully leverages classic subversion strategies to undermine the opposition and even ridicule the concept of democracy
The de facto authorities in the breakaway Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have expressed concern and outrage over the implications of the Swiss-mediated compromise between Georgia and Russia that paves the way for Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Whether they could thwart the signing and implementation of that agreement was doubtful, however
It has been two decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but for those who witnessed the drama of 1991, memories remain vivid
One sign of the how highly Lawrence Sheets is esteemed as an analyst of Central Asia and the Caucasus was the large turnout of his fellow journalists for his presentation of his new book, 8 Pieces of Empire: A 20-Year Journey Through the Soviet Collapse
Why is Medvedev bothering to symbolically make this distinction in denouncing the federal bureaucracy? The answer to this question is highly instructive to those of us in the Western world, particularly as we implode economically under the weight of public-sector costs, among other things
In an attempt to boost economic ties with Community of Independent States (CIS) nations, Russia inked free-trade agreements with Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Tajikistan
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev's decision to swap jobs may put an end to the diarchy in Russia but is unlikely to lead to any tectonic policy shifts. Instead, it will further cement the system of 'managed democracy', which in time will become so inflexible that it may fail to cope with a protracted crisis
Welcome, world, to 'Cold War Reloaded: The Arctic Frontier.' Time to pull the pin out of the top of that dusty globe you have on your desk and have a look at the battle line of the future -- rife with oil and high-value raw minerals
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has outlined a grand vision for integrating ex-Soviet states in his first major policy initiative since he announced his intention to return to the Kremlin
Russia has entered election season, with parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections in March 2012. Typically, this is not an issue of concern, as most Russian elections have been designed to usher a chosen candidate and political party into office since 2000. Interesting shifts are under way this election season, however
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Obama met privately before the G8 meeting in Deauville, France, and discussed the longstanding dispute between the two countries over missile defense, says CFR Russia expert Stephen Sestanovich
On April 24, officers from the anti-kidnapping unit of Moscow's Criminal Investigation Department and the Russian Federal Security Service rescued 20-year-old Ivan Kaspersky from a dacha in Sergiev Posad, a small town northeast of Moscow. Kaspersky, the son of Russian computer software services billionaire Eugene Kaspersky, was kidnapped April 19
Of the rapidly growing BRIC countries Russia has always been a sort of odd man out. While the others have registered double-digit or near double-digit growth for years, the Russian economy has grown at a much more moderate pace. But lately, Russia's economy has been benefiting from what many other nations, including the United States, are struggling with
For the first time in memory, millions of oppressed people worldwide, living under the heavy boot of venal leaders, are standing up, fists raised high. For the first time in memory, vicious dictators all over the world are visibly afraid. Though significant risks still lie ahead, freedom fever is spreading around the world
For Russia, the recreation of a union is a strategic geopolitical necessity
In recent years, a new threat has emerged: the mafia state. Across the globe, criminals have penetrated governments to an unprecedented degree
So the Taliban is going to get out of the heroin business because someone convinces them that planting corn or some other crop is a better alternative?
Russia's burgeoning oil and natural gas exports are underwriting Russian efforts to regain status as a world superpower
The contest between Russia and Romania for influence in Moldova will focus on economics and security, given Moldova's politics
Poland has a limited hand to play as tensions between Russia and NATO increase
As Belarus grows more isolated from Europe and the West, it becomes more likely to integrate further with Russia
Vladimir Putin is likely to be returned to the Kremlin by the presidential election. The West will have to live with this result. But what sort of Russia will the world be dealing with?
As the Arab League agreed to go to the United Nations Security Council with a resolution calling for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to step down, Russia was reportedly doing a major arms deal with the beleaguered regime
Russians are coming out onto the streets to transform their country once again
Reading through these dispatches last year, I was struck by the slightly desperate but nevertheless creative way American analysts tried to make sense of impenetrable Kremlin politics
Energy-starved Bangladesh signed a landmark deal with Russia to finalize arrangements for installing two nuclear power plants in the north of the country
Perhaps of all the painful developments in Russian society since the Soviet collapse, the most surprising -- and dismaying -- is the country's demographic decline. Over the past two decades, Russia has been caught in the grip of a devastating and highly anomalous peacetime population crisis
Ukraine, no stranger to crisis, is again in turmoil. President Viktor Yanukovych has failed to deliver on any of his campaign promises -- economic reform, increased prosperity, and an end to corruption -- and instead has rolled back democracy and the rule of law, deepening political, regional, and linguistic divisions in the country
NATO, Russia and Missile Defense mark a triangle which contains political promises but also the danger of failure and friction
Russian officials think the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a bloc of friendly ex-Soviet republics, can develop into a security grouping on par with NATO. But recent CSTO military exercises show that Moscow lacks a clear vision for how to utilize the alliance
In the 20 years since the Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union became independent, the influence of the Russian language has been declining in these countries
David Cameron's Moscow reset resolved few of the fundamental issues afflicting UK-Russian relations. Yet by moving the relationship beyond politics, the visit proved to be a rather useful one
BP and the Russian state controlled company Rosneft have announced a strategic global alliance that involves the first major equity-linked partnership between a national and international oil company. While the potential rewards are high, so are the risks. Is this really an 'alliance fit for the 21st Century'?
Russian policymakers have often viewed the historical narrative of their country in ways contrary to actors in the west. Debate and free speech are the lifeblood of a democracy; that includes debates about history. Russia has often had a difficult time with its history
Russia's international behavior during the last decade has puzzled many U.S. observers. As seen from Washington, the greatest challenges of the moment -- terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change -- are global ones that threaten all states. The United States has been trying to organize multilateral responses. Yet the Kremlin has proved singularly unhelpful
While the Senate and White House wrestle over New START ratification, another U.S.-Russia nuclear agreement is coming into force with little debate or fanfare. Instead of cutting nuclear arms, the civil nuclear cooperation deal, dubbed '123,' opens the door to new peaceful nuclear engagement between U.S. and Russian companies
Belarus is a land between, now neither part of Russia nor a real European nation. Its president, intent on rallying the voters in this month's election, has cast Moscow as a threat to its very survival. The reality, as he is re-elected, is likely to be another balancing act between Russia and the west.
The last year has seen considerable change in the U.S.-Russian relationship -- or at least the desire and promise for change. But the prospects for Russian relations and Russia's foreign policy cannot be discussed in isolation from wider questions: In what direction is Russia moving? What will Russia be like ten or 20 years from now?
Around the world religion is on the rise. It is growing in countries with a wide variety of religious traditions and levels of economic development, suggesting that neither poverty nor social exclusion is solely responsible. The religious resurgence is not simply defined by the growth of fundamentalism but is occurring through a variety of renewed rituals and practices, both public and private
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