June 2010

Is NATO to Blame for Russia's Afghan Heroin Problem?

By Simon Shuster

It had to be one of the weirdest displays the Russian president had ever seen. Laid out on a table were a mound of walnuts, a chess set, an old tire and an anatomically correct dummy — all stuffed with little baggies of imitation heroin. Titled "The Deadly Harvest," the exhibit was meant to show the clever ways smugglers have of getting Afghan heroin into Russia, which has become the world's largest consumer of opiates from Afghanistan since the U.S. began its war there in 2001.

Kyrgyzstan Learns to Survive in Chaos

By Erica Marat

Amid corruption scandals and ongoing instability it is easy to write off Kyrgyzstan as a state destined to fail due to its dishonest political leaders and impoverished economy. However, despite the fact that the provisional government has not filled all its ministerial seats and faces numerous domestic challenges, there is a strong sense of normality in Kyrgyzstan’s daily life. As local NGO groups like to describe it: “despite troubled government, life continues in Bishkek.” Indeed, in the past two months Kyrgyzstan has changed from being a country where dynastic succession of state power was most likely to a place with free media and active civic engagement.

Strategic decisions adopted by the European Council will help prevent crises in the future

President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė calls the decisions adopted by the European Council strategic and important for Lithuania and for the whole European Union. The Heads of States gathered in Brussels agreed that all Member States will perform stress tests on their banking systems in the effort to stabilise financial markets. According to President Dalia Grybauskaitė, testing in Lithuania will be performed by the central bank and the Ministry of Finance.

EU approves harsh new sanctions against Iran

By Andrei Fedyashin

The European Union and the United States apparently find it easier to take on the Iranian nuclear problem than the global financial crisis. On June 17, EU government chiefs agreed to new sanctions against Iran at a Brussels summit. U.S. President Barack Obama was no doubt pleased to hear the news, even though the U.S. and the EU had most likely coordinated the sanctions in advance.

Poland Wants to Refuse of Russian Gas Partially

Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk intends to change a gas agreement with Russia, if it turns out that the part of needs could be covered by the gas produced from shale. This was stated by Prime Minister during the interview for Radiо Zet. According to his words, the agreement with Russia has not yet been ratified, so is it possible to make changes. However, the comments of Prime Minister can’t be accomplished, as it is impossible to estimate shale fields without extra tests. First results of drilling, starting in June, will be known only in a few months. And final results will be received only in two-three years.

Creating synergies, avoiding overlap key to strengthening work of OSCE and Council of Europe

The OSCE and the Council of Europe should strengthen co-operation and avoid overlap to promote security on the basis of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe Minister Antonio Miloshoski, told the OSCE Permanent Council

A Russian Made Disaster in Kyrgyzstan

By Daniel Greenfield

The violence unleashed in Kyrgyzstan is being spun as ethnic rioting. The reality is a good deal more complex, and the blame can be laid directly at Russia's door. Russia's coup against the Bakiyev government which took power in the Tulip Revolution leveraged Uzbek separatists in the Osh Province to suppress Kyrgiz nationalist supporters of Bakiyev.

The EU needs a foreign policy doctrine

Today's world contains two declining global powers (Russia and the US) and two emerging ones (China and the EU). While China's rise is unstoppable, the EU must establish its own foreign policy doctrine, which in an interdependent world must be one of "inclusiveness" and soft power, writes Romanian MEP Adrian Severin, vice-president of the Socialists & Democrats group in the European Parliament, in an exclusive commentary.