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  • Author: George Filatov
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The Catalonian crisis is far from over. Despite the victory of the Catalonian separatists on the December 21 parliamentary election, there is no clarity about the future of the local government (the Generalitat). It remains to be seen if the incoming government will be able to come up with a compromise with official Madrid.
  • Topic: Government, Elections, Crisis Management, Separatism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Barcelona
  • Author: Bruno Sergi
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: A lot in the Russian-Italian relations depends on Italy’s next coalition government. The question is whether the Kremlin really benefits, given the EU’s solidarity regarding the Russia sanctions and the accusations of the Kremlin of meddling in the Italian elections.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Elections
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Italy
  • Author: Wu Fei
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: UK has far-reaching strategic objectives to expel Russian diplomats for espionage. It has been aggressive to Russia for fear of a huge fall in its geopolitical status. Britain issued an ultimatum to the Russia after Skripal, the former Russian double agent, and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned and unconscious in Britain on 12 March. With no response from Russia, the Britain Prime Minister Theresa immediately announced that they will expel 23 Russian diplomats and command their departure in a week after report to Congress. Russia just indicates that they will take the same move as well.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Intelligence, Geopolitics, Soviet Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, United Kingdom, Europe, France
  • Author: Daria Kazarinova
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: t the end of the second decade of the 21st century, problems of global security have become the main issues on the agenda of all regions of the world. Russia’s relations with the West have already entered the stage of the so-called new Cold War “with the elements of arms race, remilitarization and the split of the European continent, under the severance of political and economic contacts between the leaders of rival countries and the degradation of diplomacy”.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia
  • Author: Daniel Parenkov
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Donald Trump needed to visit to the Vatican to change the opinion that there were serious differences between the new Administration and the Holy See, expressed in the media. After their mutual attacks during the US electoral campaign and negative reaction of the Catholic community to Trump’s first legislative initiatives, the meeting with Pope Francis was aimed at restoring president’s relations with the world’s biggest religion and sending a positive message to its 70 million followers in the United States.
  • Topic: Religion, Catholic Church, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Europe, Vatican city, United States of America
  • Author: Ivan Loshkarev
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Ukraine’s legislative initiatives to establish state control over religion have recently brought the fate of the Orthodox Church back into the limelight. Despite the delayed vote, the bill can be back on the Parliament’s agenda any time soon. The incumbent government voices its disapproval of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC – Moscow Patriarchate), the only canonical church in the country. This offers hope to several non-canonical religious institutions, which aspire to obtain the status of autocephalous (self-governed) churches. In early 2016, Ukraine’s religious scene was dominated by 9 Orthodox churches (including the Old Believers) and 64 autonomous Orthodox communities. The country’s biggest Orthodox Church – as measured by different criteria – remains the one aligned with Moscow.
  • Topic: Government, Religion, Christianity
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Dimitri de Kochko
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The meeting of the Russian President with his French counterpart has testified to certain changes for the better. First, the anti-Russian sanctions regime imposed by François Hollande looks increasingly likely to be lifted. In addition, for all the arrogance of the French president, several statements allow us to hope for improved bilateral relations. He believes that he has the right to lecture Russia on how it should run its affairs. The French media immediately described his behaviour as an attempt to see “the sumptuous setting of the Palace of Versailles take Vladimir Putin’s breath away”.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, Freedom of Press
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, France
  • Author: Alexander Pivovarenko
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: May 5, Vyacheslav Volodin, the State Duma’s Speaker, paid a significant visit to Serbia for working negotiations with President-Elect Aleksandar Vučić, acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić, President of the National Assembly Maja Gojkovic, Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej and other officials. The parliamentary delegation’s trip came at a difficult time. Montenegro’s accession to NATO and internal political changes in Macedonia are reconfiguring the military and political landscape of the region. All the events are unfolding amid a massive information campaign mounted by the mass media and Western pundits capitalizing on the issue of Russian influence in the Balkans, with yet another information attack being launched on the day of Volodin’s visit. Moreover, Russia’s relations with Montenegro have reached their lowest point over the past year. In its turn, Serbia is completing the phase of consolidation of Vučić’s regime. The agenda includes the creation of a new government, which may require new parliamentary elections. It is noteworthy that the President-Elect, however, fails to command total popular support. At the same time, Vučić is singled out for allegations and fierce criticism for embracing Euro-Atlantic integration. When it comes to Russia’s assets and liabilities in the Balkans, Volodin’s stay in Serbia, therefore, was of particular importance.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Parliamentarism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Serbia, Montenegro
  • Author: Akop Gabrielyan
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: ANALYSISOPINION NATO-Russia Relations: Overcoming Agony 17.07.2017Featured Image Akop A. Gabrielyan – the founder and the leader of the “Consensus” youth NGO, expert in the policy of the post-soviet states. If anything, the central tenet of the Hippocratic oath: first do no harm – Primum non nocere – is the first motto to be applied to today’s dialogue between Russia and NATO, a military and political organization. The dialogue essentially boiling down to interaction between Russia and the United States, the alliance’s leader, has offered fewer grounds for optimism over the years. Noticeably worse relations, whose downward spiraling trend is too serious a phenomenon to be even referred to as “the Cold War”, are degenerating into an agony. This is testified by some experts predicting an unavoidable military conflict and a real deterioration in the situation amid the Ukraine and Syria conflicts that Russia and NATO (the US) treat differently. For instance, Moscow officially suspended a deal with the US to prevent mid-air collisions over Syria in response to America’s attitude towards April’s deadly chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Partnerships, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, United States of America
  • Author: Matthew Crosston
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had a brief visit at the White House on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, which was followed by all of the typical press conferences and media interviews expressing new found agreement and harmony. It is yet another example in the Presidency of Donald Trump where explicitly bold and brash campaign trail criticism ended up not just softened but utterly reversed.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Syria