Geopolitician

Non-moralistic BS analysis of world power trends and strategic balances.

Deconstructing the Result of the Four Party Talks

The media refers to the document that emerged out of today’s four party talks as an “agreement”. This is not strictly correct. The text of the document is here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/17/ukraine-diplomats-meet-in-geneva-in-bid-to-ease-crisis-live-coverage?view=desktop#block-5350089ce4b056a9012cda6f As its text makes clear what this document is in reality is not an an agreement to settle the Ukrainian crisis or even an outline […]

The Lavrov-Kerry Meeting

We do not have anywhere near complete information about what happened at the Lavrov Kerry meeting on Sunday.  That in itself is a good sign.  It almost certainly means that with the Crimean issue out of the way (and with the western powers having tacitly admitted that the Crimea is now part of Russia) real negotiations […]

Five Myths about the Crimean Referendum

As voting gets underway – and by all accounts, it seems to be overwhelmingly heading for the pro-secession choice – it’s worthwhile to dispel four common but erroneous beliefs about it. (1) The referendum is unconstitutional. This is true enough, as all of Ukraine would have to vote on it. But there is one big […]

After The Referendum

If, as seems to be generally expected, tomorrow’s referendum in Crimea produces a substantial majority in favour of union with the Russian Federation, what will Moscow’s reaction be? I strongly expect that it will be…… Nothing. There are several reason why I think this. One is that Moscow is reluctant to break up states. I […]

Ukraine, the Nuland Leak, and the Amnesty Law

A discussion on Crosstalk with Peter Lavelle in which I appeared discussing the Nuland leak. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLHXpCRPo-k I found some of the comments made by Taras Kuzio frankly surreal but judging from what I read on Kyiv Post he is pretty mainstream in Ukrainian opposition terms. Two weeks earlier in an interview on RT I said […]

What is Ukraine’s Game Plan?

Even a few months ago, it looked as if Ukraine had taken a significant step towards Eurasian integration by signing up as an observer to the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. However, in the past month, evidence is emerging that it was but a temporary ploy to appease Russia while in reality speeding […]

Translation: Ukraine and Its Monsters

Regnum reports on statements made by Ukraine’s President, Victor Yanukovych, in which he visualizes Ukraine becoming a link between the East and the West as a result of an impending trade deal with the European Union. Yanukovych: Russia and the EU are giant monsters “and we feel it every day” Victor Yanukovych, the President of […]

Translation: Putin Victorious

Expert explains how the recent developments regarding Russia’s proposed resolution to the Syrian Civil War represent major victories for Vladimir Putin and his nation. Putin’s Five Victories The plan for the resolution of the Syrian crisis, proposed by Russia, is swiftly becoming more concrete. Already this past Friday, when Russian-American consultations in Geneva were still […]

Translation: The G20 and the Ghosts of Progress

In this op-ed piece posted on Lenta, Anton Klyuchkin analyzes the effects of recent Kremlin decisions, admonishing their results for pushing the country away from the West.  Looking past the rhetoric, however, a better picture of the retaliatory nature of Russian-American relations comes into view, one in which both sides seem determined to antagonize the […]

Translation: The Corporation of Lies

In an impassioned editorial, Alexander Grishin unlocks the history of what he sees as repeated American lying as regards Syria and chemical weapons. Corporation of Lies: Washington, Pennsylvania Avenue Sometimes, from behind American politicians’ veil of lies the truth erupts – and it is even uglier. Over the past few days, the feeling that Washington […]

A Game of Homs

What striking about Syria is how so many people insist on speaking about it in profoundly moralistic, Manichaean terms. This is complete nonsense, given that its civil war isn’t a showdown between democracy and dictatorship, but an ethnic and religious conflict. Here’s a more realistic guide: The Assad regime The rhetoric: He kills his own people! […]

Timeline of the Runup to an Illegal War

Repost of Alexander Mercouris’ comments at Mark Chapman’s blog and The Russia Debate forum. The original compilation is posted at Mercouris’ blog. PS. Originally, this space hosted just one of Mercouris’ comments. Now that he has taken the trouble to gather up his output, the least I could do is update it and try to ensure […]

Translation: Assad Starts Winning in Syria

As the Syrian Arab Army advances and discontent builds with jihadists, some anti-regime fighters begin thinking of taking advantage of an amnesty and going over to the other side, writes Alexander Romanov. Assad started to win not only on the battlefield, but in the battle for the minds Hundreds of Syrian rebels lay down their […]

Eurasian Integration Is A Liberal Project Opposed By Neocon Bolsheviks

My latest for VoR/US-Russia Experts panel. Hope you like the title. The political fragmentation of the Soviet Union was one of the major contributing factors to the “hyper-depression” that afflicted not only Russia but all the other constituent republics in the 1990’s. The Soviet economy had been an integrated whole; an aircraft might have its engines sourced […]

No Use Crying Over Leaked Milk – Let Alone Threatening Sanctions Over It

My latest for Experts Panel/Voice of Russia: The Panel states, “On future occasions, Russia might well require Washington to cooperate in similar circumstances; and if such is the case, its handling of the Snowden affair could prove decisive as to how Washington chooses to respond.” Well, let’s imagine this scenario. One fine day, an FSB […]

Mark Adomanis: Do As US Officials Say, Or Else!…

Mark Adomanis thinks Russia should extradite – or at least expel – Edward Snowden because… get this, it’s current stance (i.e. leaving him in at Sheremetyevo Airport, an international territory) constitutes “trolling” of the US. This is, to be quite frank, a rather strange argument. Would the US extradite a Russian Snowden? To even ask the […]

Russia Needs To Develop Its “Hard” Soft Power

My latest for VoR/US-Russia Experts panel: I think we have to make a distinction here between “soft” soft power and “hard” soft power. The US’ “soft” soft power is, of course, overwhelming. By “soft” soft power, I mean its accumulated cultural capital: The popularity of the English language, Hollywood, the Ivy League, Apple and American […]

Translation: Why was Ryan Fogle such a Dunce?

Russian blogger Anton Nossik speculates on why Ryan Fogle’s attempts to recruit Russian intelligence officers seemed to be so amateurish. Why was the American Spy such a Dunce? In Soviet times, there was the following anecdote: An American spends 15 years at spying school getting ready to infiltrate the deep Soviet rear. He studies the […]

Translation: One Day in the Life of the Syrian Opposition

Komsomolskaya Pravda’s Alexander Kots writes about the mounting savagery of the Syrian civil war, citing the now infamous video of the Free Syrian Army fighter eating the heart of a government soldier as a case in point. Weekdays of the Syrian Opposition: Cut out the Heart, and Eat It More and more videos from combat zones […]

Translation: Patriarch Kirill in China

As the Russian Patriarch embarks on a five-day visit to China, Kommersant’s Pavel Korobov takes a look at the history, current reality, and future prospects of Orthodoxy in China. The ROC Acquires Chinese Literacy Patriarch Kirill arrived in China on a five-day official visit. The leadership of the PRC has already called the First Hierarch’s visit […]