July 2012

Russia in the Islamic World

By Sergey Markedonov

Why does Russia so stubbornly support the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad? This question is frequently discussed in Western media and political circles. Many American and European analysts consider Moscow’s policy a “phantom of the Cold War” or some kind of dictatorial solidarity. But realism plays a more important role in Moscow’s reasoning than anti-American hostility.

Russia Versus China

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Russia is seeking ways to halt unauthorized Chinese production of Russian jet fighters. This has proven very difficult, especially since Russia and China are supposed to be allies these days. Earlier this year the extent of the problem was made quite stark when China refused to buy Su-35 fighters from Russia if a "no unauthorized duplication" clause was included in the contract. The Chinese wanted to buy the Su-35s but were not willing to sign a binding agreement to not copy the Russian design.

Nina Shtanski: “We Don’t Negotiate with Moldova on the Status of Transnistria or Any Other Political Constructions”

By Artiom Buzila

In Germany, in the city of Rottach-Egern, another round of multilateral talks was held with the participation of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Moldova Vlad Filatov and the President of non-recognized Transnistria Moldovan Republic (TMR) Eugen Șevciuk, as well as European, American, Russian and Ukrainian intermediaries. The parties, involved into solution of a long-standing Transnistria conflict, including western ones, expressed satisfaction with establishment of the dialogue between official Kishinev and Tiraspol. “Politcom.Ru” talked to the TRM Foreign Affairs Minister Nina Shtanski on the prospects of Transnistria conflict regulation and on new foreign doctrine of Transnistrian government.

Moscow Fears Shift in Central Asia’s Strategic Balance Post-2014

By Roger McDermott

Moscow has reacted with concern after learning about the ongoing talks between Washington and three Central Asian countries aimed at agreeing on the handover of equipment linked to the NATO drawdown in Afghanistan. Russian officials fear that such equipment donations to the Armed Forces in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan not only go way beyond the existing arrangements to assist in reverse transit using the Northern Distribution Network (NDN) but could upset the strategic balance in Central Asia post-2014. In diplomatic circles in Moscow, this development is portrayed as entirely unacceptable to Russia and may indicate a worsening in US-Russian relations. A potential diplomatic crisis between Washington and Moscow is brewing precisely in this area due to a number of inter-related factors, but with President Vladimir Putin under pressure domestically he may choose to use this at some stage to boost his image at home by confronting the United States more directly.

Uzbekistan Snubs SCO Peace Mission 2012

By Roger McDermott

Uzbekistan is often cast as a reluctant or difficult member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), because of its consistent opposition to new initiatives in either body and relentless prudence concerning its participation in multilateral military exercises. Yet, the complex policymaking in Tashkent that produces such thorny approaches to security issues is also frequently refracted through the Russian media in such a way as to distort its purposes or deeper considerations. Once again, behind the colorful official claims of success surrounding the latest SCO Peace Mission exercise, Tashkent exposed the disunity in the organization by refusing to participate (Interfax, June 9).

Russian And Belarusian Nuclear Projects Have To Ensure Nuclear And Radiation Safety, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Says

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Maximum effort is required to ensure that neighbouring countries follow the rules for nuclear and radiation safety when implementing their nuclear projects, also that they strictly comply with international environmental requirements, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis said during the meeting of representatives of Lithuanian institutions at the Foreign Ministry on June 27. The meeting discussed issues related to safety of the nuclear projects that are implemented at the Lithuanian state borders, in Russia’s Kaliningrad region and Belarus.