As the study of history shows, Pastukhov says, authoritarianism is not necessarily completely subjective or arbitrary as despotism is. Instead, it “coexists with the observation of certain albeit illiberal and not democratic but quite strict rules of the game.” In a despotic state, “the only rule is the absence of all rules.”
Ultimately, of course, [...]
America’s demise in the Middle East has made Russia the region’s pre-eminent power, and a threat to the West
Oil is the most strategic of commodities and the Middle East is the most strategic of regions. That’s why Winston Churchill locked up Iran’s oil for the British Empire prior to World War I. That’s why [...]
But the passions that motivated the people in Biryulovo, hatred and fear of central Asians and people from the Caucasus, appear to be gaining ever greater traction in Russian society. They also appear to be gaining ever greater acceptance among the anti-Putin opposition. Alexey Navalny, by far the most prominent and popular member of the [...]
All this apparent national humiliation is worth it. The price Russia will pay for this triumph is ownership of the problem. At some point, it may dawn on him that he hasn’t played Obama. Obama has played him.
Which brings me to Machiavelli, the great intellectual master of power-politics. Most pundits use the term “Machiavellian” [...]
So what to make of Putin?
He is Tolkien’s melodious and fatherly Saruman come alive.
Putin lecturing Obama on the sacred value of the U.N. — who’da thunk it?
If a Russian dissident wrote and published a cry of the heart to the Russian people, begging Vladimir Putin to stop his harassment of opposition [...]
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government on Wednesday to send five high-tech surface-to-air missile defense systems to Iran, a move intended in part to put a stop to Tehran’s $4 billion lawsuit over a contract dispute.
The shipment includes five S300VM Antey-2500 missile systems, United Press International reported.
Iran’s ambassador to Russia, Seyed Mahmoud [...]
Even as Vladimir Putin hosts this week’s G20 summit in St Petersburg, the tensions reflect a new east-west struggle for influence in what the Russian president regards as his backyard.
Net capital outflow of $40bn in the first half of the year did not help but inadequate rule of law is perhaps the major deterrent to investment. Not much is being done about it. “The leaders put too much emphasis on stability,” said a former senior official. “There is a lack of energy at the [...]
Many Americans cringed as Russia granted a year’s worth of asylum to Edward Snowden, who is wanted in the United States on felonies related to his theft and disclosure of classified materials about the National Security Agency. The diplomatic fallout is yet to be seen, but a summit between Barack Obama and [...]
As Andrew Jennings, author of Lords of the Rings and the most important Olympic investigative reporter we have, said to me, “The games have always been a money-spinner for the cheerleaders in the shadows. Beijing remains impenetrable but is likely to have been little less corrupt than Putin’s mafia state.”
“Mafia state” may sound extreme, [...]