Russia

US-Russian relations remain tense as Obama travels to Moscow

By Niall Green, 6 July 2009

US President Barack Obama will meet with his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin July 6-8 in Moscow. Despite suggestions from both sides that the talks are part of a new, more co-operative era of US-Russian relations, tensions remain high between the powers.

Two summits in Russia: A cautious challenge to the US

By John Chan, 22 June 2009

Two summits in Yekaterinburg last week involving the emerging powers—Russia, China, Brazil and India—signal a shift in economic and strategic alignments under the impact of the global financial crisis.

China and Russia forge closer military cooperation

By John Chan, 26 May 2009

As the US war in Afghanistan and US-sponsored fighting in Pakistan intensify, Russia and China are stepping up military cooperation, announcing 25 joint manoeuvres this year.

Corruption and capitalist Russia

By Vladimir Volkov, 1 April 2009

From top to bottom, corruption in post-Soviet Russia permeates the bureaucratic apparatus, the security structures and big business.

Russian government moves to save big business, suppress opposition

By Vladimir Volkov, 4 March 2009

The Kremlin’s initial declarations about Russia’s supposed immunity from the global economic crisis have been replaced with statements of fear about economic destabilization and social unrest.

The Russia-Ukraine gas conflict and the geopolitical struggle for control of energy resources

By Vladimir Volkov, 3 February 2009

The natural gas dispute sharpened Ukraine’s political and economic tensions, provoked a wave of anger in Europe and reinforced European desires to diversify its sources of gas.

Ukraine and Russia reach gas agreement

By Niall Green, 26 January 2009

A deal has been reached to end the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine. Millions across Europe have been left with little or no gas for heating in the middle of winter.

Lawyer and human rights activist Stanislav Markelov murdered in Moscow

By Vladimir Volkov, 23 January 2009

On January 19, Stanislav Markelov was shot in the head and killed in central Moscow. The 34-year-old lawyer and human rights activist was president of the Institute for the Supremacy of Law.

Eastern Europe left in the cold

By Niall Green, 16 January 2009

The gas flow from Russia to Ukraine tentatively resumed on Tuesday—only to halt amid accusations of theft and US conspiracy. But despite efforts in Brussels and Berlin, the European powers have proven incapable of responding in a coherent unified manner to the crisis, putting national self-interests first.

Russian gas supplies through Ukraine resume

Dispute exposes crisis of European energy strategy

By Niall Green, 13 January 2009

Russia, Ukraine and officials from the European Union have agreed to a deal to resume natural gas supplies to Europe after Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom turned off gas supplies for Ukraine on January 1.

With sub-zero temperatures across Europe

Russia-Ukraine gas dispute leaves thousands without heat

By Niall Green, 10 January 2009

With sub-zero temperatures across Europe Russia-Ukraine gas dispute leaves thousands without heat By Niall Green 10 January 2009  

With sub-zero temperatures across Europe

Russia-Ukraine gas dispute leaves thousands without heat

By Niall Green, 9 January 2009

Natural gas supplies from Russia to Europe via Ukraine have been halted or greatly reduced in the latest stage of a dispute between the ex-Soviet neighbours over prices and allegations of unpaid bills.

Ukraine-Russia gas dispute disrupts European supply

By Niall Green, 8 January 2009

Gas exports from Russia to Europe via Ukraine have come to a complete halt, according to Naftogaz.

Russia cuts off Ukrainian gas supply

Energy conflict threatens EU shortages

By Niall Green, 3 January 2009

The Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom turned off all gas supplies to Ukraine, threatening supplies to the European Union.

World financial crisis undercuts Russia’s economic boom

By Vladimir Volkov, 12 November 2008

The development of the world financial crisis over the last two months has revealed the immense impact of shifts in world markets on Russia’s economy.

BBC describes evidence of Georgian war crimes in South Ossetia

By Simon Whelan, 10 November 2008

Journalists working for the BBC have unearthed evidence of Georgian war crimes against South Ossetian civilians.

Eastern European economies face bankruptcy

By Niall Green, 23 October 2008

The economies of central and eastern Europe are being rocked by the crisis of world capitalism, compounded by the corrupt and pro-big business policies of their local elites.

Scandinavian countries respond to Russia-Georgia conflict

By Jordan Shilton, 6 October 2008

The war between Russia and Georgia has greatly increased tensions, not only in the immediate region but throughout the world. Scandinavia is no exception.

World financial crisis reveals vulnerability of Russia’s economy

By Vladimir Volkov, 1 October 2008

Shocks throughout the world financial system, centered in the financial meltdown in the US, led by mid-September to a sharp fall on the Russian stock markets.

Cheney in Georgia: Gunboat diplomacy in pursuit of oil

By Tom Eley, 5 September 2008

The US is continuing to ratchet up tensions with Russia in the aftermath of last month’s war in the Caucasus.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation cautiously endorses Russia over Georgia

Strategic rivalries

By John Chan, 3 September 2008

Even before the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) annual summit began in Tajikistan on August 28, it was clear that the Russia-Georgian conflict was going to be high on the agenda. On the eve of the meeting, Moscow announced its full recognition of the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Amid threats from the US and European powers, Russia was looking to its SCO allies, particularly China, for support.

Danger grows of NATO-Russian clash in Black Sea

By Julie Hyland and Chris Marsden, 1 September 2008

A build-up of naval forces is underway in the Black Sea, involving both NATO and Russian ships. The provocative actions by the US-led military coalition create the danger of a clash with potentially catastrophic consequences.

An exchange

Russia-Belarus talks signal renewed cooperation against US

25 August 2008

RE: “Russia-Belarus talks signal renewed cooperation against US”, 27 December 2007

The political realities of “democratic” Georgia

By Tom Eley, 18 August 2008

One of the constant themes in the US government and media presentation of the conflict in the Caucasus is the depiction of Georgia as a bastion of democracy. The Bush administration has increasingly invoked the terminology of the Cold War by referring to “democratic Georgia” as a symbol of the “free world” and its struggle against authoritarian Russia.

In the guise of humanitarian aid

Bush dispatches US military forces to Georgia

By Barry Grey, 14 August 2008

In a major escalation of the conflict with Russia over Georgia, President George W. Bush on Wednesday announced a “vigorous and ongoing” deployment of US military forces to its key ally in the Caucasus. Bush appeared in the White House Rose Garden for the second time in three days, this time flanked by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and announced the military buildup, casting it as a humanitarian relief operation.

As ceasefire takes hold

Imperialist hypocrisy over war in Georgia

By Patrick Martin, 13 August 2008

Fighting has largely subsided between Russian and Georgian troops, following the declaration of a halt in hostilities by Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. He made the announcement in Moscow after ceasefire talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who represented the European Union.

Russia develops military forces, strategic alliances to counter US

By Niall Green, 13 August 2008

The current conflict between Georgia and Russia provides a stark expression of the enormous tensions between the major powers. Behind the eruption of fighting over the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia lies growing economic and strategic rivalry between the United States and Russia, in particular for control of the vast oil and gas resources and energy pipelines of Central Asia.

Bush escalates confrontation with Russia over Georgia

By Barry Grey, 12 August 2008

In a provocative statement delivered from the White House Rose Garden on Monday, President George W. Bush escalated the confrontation between the United States and Russia over the current fighting in Georgia.

Russia responds to American anti-ballistic missile systems in Europe

By Vladimir Volkov, 12 August 2008

In the leadup to the present clash between Russian and Georgian troops in South Ossetia, tensions have sharpened significantly between Russia and the US over the planned American deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems to Europe.

Military conflict between Russia and Georgia escalates

By Ann Talbot, 11 August 2008

The war that erupted August 7 between Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia escalated over the weekend. Some 2,000 people are thought to have been killed, according to estimates given by both sides. Tens of thousands have been injured or driven from their homes by shelling and air attacks.

US-Russian tensions in Caucasus erupt into war

By Bill Van Auken, 9 August 2008

Long-escalating tensions between Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia erupted into full-scale war Friday, leaving hundreds if not thousands of civilians dead and turning thousands more into refugees, forced to flee for their lives.

The missile defense scheme and the sharpening of US-Russian geopolitical tensions

By Vladimir Volkov, 18 July 2008

The US and the Czech Republic signed an agreement July 8 in Prague for the deployment of radar and anti-missile systems on the territory of this Eastern European country. The pact has become one more step in sharpening geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia. It evoked a stormy response from Moscow.

Further escalation of tensions in the Caucasus between Russia and Georgia

By Vladimir Volkov, 14 July 2008

The first ten days of July have witnessed a new intensification of tensions between Russia and Georgia over the status of two breakaway regions of Georgia—Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russia, China denounce US missile shield at summit meeting

By Alex Lantier, 24 May 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived yesterday for a two-day visit in Beijing after a one-day stopover in Kazakhstan, on his first trip abroad since being elected president in March. Upon his arrival, he issued a joint statement with Chinese President Hu Jintao, denouncing plans for a US nuclear missile shield. However, this unity enforced by fear of the US military did not immediately lead to more substantive cooperation on economic matters.

Russia and Georgia on the brink of armed conflict over Abkhazia

By Vladimir Volkov, 10 May 2008

Tensions between Russia and Georgia have intensified to the brink of open armed conflict.

Putin-Medvedev tandem wins presidential election in Russia

By Vladimir Volkov, 4 March 2008

The presidential elections held March 2 in Russia ended, as expected, in a victory for the tandem made up of the departing president, Vladimir Putin, and the former vice premier, Dmitry Medvedev.

Kosovan independence could ignite new conflicts in territories of former Soviet Union

By Vladimir Volkov, 29 February 2008

Kosovo’s February 17 declaration of independence, which was supported by the US and Western European countries such as Germany, France, Great Britain and Italy, threatens to inflame relations between former constituent nations of the Soviet Union.

Medvedev’s presidential campaign and the growing social crisis in Russia

By Vladimir Volkov, 22 January 2008

With the end of the New Year holidays, the presidential campaign leading to Russia’s March 2 elections began in earnest.

Western powers rush to recognise result of Georgian presidential election

By Paul Mitchell, 14 January 2008

Mikhail Saakashvili has been re-elected president of Georgia following balloting on January 5. According to the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC), he received 52.2 percent of the votes. This compares to the 25.3 percent polled by his nearest rival, Levan Gachechiladze, leader of the United Public Movement, a bloc of nine opposition parties formed last year. Just 40,000 votes gave Saakashvili an absolute majority and saved him from a second round of balloting.

Russia’s presidential candidate D. Medvedev and the Kremlin’s “national projects”

By Vladimir Volkov, 5 January 2008

The political maneuvers carried out last month to promote Dmitrii Medvedev, the vice-premier of the Russian government, as President Vladimir Putin’s “successor” were accompanied by a propaganda campaign portraying the focus of the new president’s rule as an effort to improve the social conditions of the country’s citizens.

Russia-Belarus talks signal renewed cooperation against US

By Niall Green, 27 December 2007

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Minsk December 13 for two days of talks with the president of Belarus, Aleksander Lukashenko. Their meeting came just prior to a session of the Russia-Belarus Union, a body established in the 1990s to encourage integration between the two countries.

Russia orders closure of British Council offices

By Niall Green, 20 December 2007

Amidst a further deterioration of diplomatic relations between Russia and the United Kingdom, the Russian government has ordered the closure of two offices of the British Council.

Russian President Putin names his putative successor

By Vladimir Volkov, 18 December 2007

The December 10 announcement proclaiming Vice-Premier Dmitri Medvedev the Kremlin’s leading candidate for the post of president was aimed at ameliorating the protracted crisis in the upper echelons of the Russian political establishment. The aim is to find a successor to President Vladimir Putin who can consolidate the various groupings within the ruling elite. Medvedev’s candidacy was supported by four parties and quickly received the backing of Putin.

Russian parliamentary elections: Putin’s party retains control

By Vladimir Volkov, 6 December 2007

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the election campaign for the Russian parliament was the massive propaganda effort of the leading and government-controlled media in favor of one single candidate—that of the pro-Kremlin party United Russia, headed on the election ballot after October 1 by President Vladimir Putin.

The parliamentary elections and the crisis of the authoritarian regime in Russia

By Vladimir Volkov, 1 December 2007

The campaign for Sunday’s elections to the Russian parliament (Duma) has proceeded against the background of a growing crisis of the entire political superstructure that emerged following the liquidation of the Soviet Union and the launching of capitalist “reforms” at the beginning of the 1990s.

More than 100 dead in Ukraine mine disaster

By Markus Salzmann, 30 November 2007

A devastating accident in a coal mine in eastern Ukraine on November 18 has left more than 100 dead. Approximately 1,000 metres below ground, the Zasyadko mine near the city of Donetsk filled with methane gas that then exploded. More than 450 men were working underground at the time. Rescue attempts were made more difficult by the fire that raged in the pit for several hours. Days following the accident many workers are still missing, for whom there can be little hope of survival.

Oligarchs vie for power in Georgia

By Simon Whelan, 24 November 2007

President Mikhail Saakashvili’s attempts to outflank the Georgian United Opposition are not running according to plan. Commentators are even beginning to question his ability to salvage his political career.

Strike at Russian Ford plant—a sign of renewed struggle by Russian workers

By Vladimir Volkov, 20 November 2007

Workers at the Ford auto plant in Vsevolozhsok, in the St. Petersburg district, carried out a one-day warning strike on November 6—the eve of the 90th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution. The action was symptomatic of a renewal of militant struggle by the Russian working class.

Worsening conflict between Russia and Georgia driven by Washington-Moscow rivalries

By Simon Whelan, 30 October 2007

A series of recent incidents in Georgia’s two breakaway republics, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, have brought about a further deteroriation in relations between the Putin administration in Russia and the Georgian government of Mikhail Saakashvilli. Both South Ossetia and Abkhazia receive suppport from Moscow.

Russia: Putin launches electoral bid to retain power

By Andrea Peters, 12 October 2007

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on October 1 that he intends to lead the slate of candidates for the pro-Kremlin political party United Russia in the Duma elections scheduled to take place this December. This latest move by Putin—who is barred from running for a third presidential term by Russia’s constitution—is part of the ongoing intrigue surrounding who he will support as his successor in the Russian presidential elections scheduled for next spring.

Ukraine: Parliamentary election fails to resolve political crisis

By Markus Salzmann, 11 October 2007

A third election within three years has proved incapable of resolving the deep political crisis in Ukraine. Once again, it has become clear that the struggle between rival political cliques, carried out at the expense of the broad population, has nothing in common with democracy.

Disarray in Putin regime’s cover-up of murder of Anna Politkovskaya

By Andrea Peters, 13 September 2007

On August 27, Russian General Prosecutor Yuri Chaika announced the detention of 10 people for the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, insisting that the case had been “solved.” In his statement about the arrests, Chaika repeated the position taken by the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the immediate aftermath of Politkovskaya’s murder—that the mastermind behind the slaying was someone overseas, who commissioned the crime in order to discredit Putin.

Russia: The political significance of the strike at the auto plant in Togliatti

By Vladimir Volkov, 28 August 2007

On August 1, workers at AvtoVAZ, the largest Russian producer of automobiles since Soviet times, carried out a warning strike. The action pointed to growing social and political ferment among workers in Russia.

Putin, Bush talks fail to dispel mounting tensions

By Bill Van Auken, 3 July 2007

In a brief but tense summit at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, Russian President Vladimir Putin blindsided his American counterpart George W. Bush for the second time in less than a month.

Russian mine disaster kills at least 38

By Bill Van Auken, 25 May 2007

A gas explosion in a Siberian coal mine Thursday morning claimed the lives of at least 38 miners, while leaving several others injured.

The bitter legacy of Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007)

By Vladimir Volkov, 26 April 2007

The first president of post-Soviet Russia, Boris Yeltsin, died on April 23 in a Moscow hospital of heart failure at the age of 76. He will go down in history as a world-class political criminal.

Ukrainian political crisis deepens after Yushchenko dissolves parliament

By Vladimir Volkov, 17 April 2007

The political crisis in Ukraine, which had been brewing for several months, reached the boiling point April 2 when President Viktor Yushchenko signed a decree dissolving parliament and setting May 27 as the date for an early election. Supporters of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, Yushchenko’s bitter rival, flocked to Kiev in large numbers to protest the decision.

Russian trans-Balkan pipeline to skirt Turkey

By Vladimir Volkov, 29 March 2007

On March 15 in Athens, the heads of state of Russia, Greece and Bulgaria signed an agreement of cooperation in the construction and exploitation of an oil pipeline from Burgas, Bulgaria to Alexandroupolis in Greece. Connecting the Bulgarian port on the Black Sea with the Greek port on the Aegean, it will provide for a transport route for Russian oil to the Mediterranean that would bypass Turkey and the Bosporus Straits, which Turkey controls.

Russia: Deadliest mining disaster in 60 years claims 107 lives

By Cezar Komorovsky, 21 March 2007

In the deadliest mining disaster in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, 107 miners have lost their lives in a gas explosion that ripped through a mine 60 kilometers south of the southern Siberian town of Novokuznetsk early Monday morning.

Russian oil pipeline interruption intensifies struggle for raw materials

By Peter Schwarz, 10 January 2007

The interruption of oil supplies through the most important pipeline between Russia and Europe has unleashed a vigorous debate over the future supply of power to Europe.

Growing energy conflicts across Eurasia:

Gazprom wrests control of Sakhalin-2 gas project from Shell

By Niall Green, 9 January 2007

The state-owned Russian energy conglomerate Gazprom has taken majority control of the multibillion-dollar Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project, previously majority-owned by the Anglo-Dutch firm Royal Dutch Shell. Months of negotiations, threats of legal action and government pressure from Russia, Japan, Britain and Holland ended on December 21 with Shell acquiescing to Gazprom’s offer of $4.1 billion for half of its previous 55 percent stake in the venture.

An appeal to the Orange Revolution’s paymaster

Ukraine’s president writes in the Washington Post

By Niall Green, 7 December 2006

Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-Western president of Ukraine, wrote an opinion column in the Washington Post on November 29 marking the second anniversary of the so-called Orange Revolution, the American-orchestrated coup that brought him into power.

Russia moves toward military conflict with Georgia

By Vladimir Volkov, 30 October 2006

During his October 25 nationally televised “talk with the Russian people,” President Vladimir Putin confirmed the intention of his regime to defend the provincial autonomous administrations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia in the event of military action against them by the Georgian government.

Putin and the murder of Anna Politkovskaya

By Patrick Richter, 19 October 2006

More than a week after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, there is still no definite evidence to indicate who was responsible. However, when one poses the question of who stood most to benefit from silencing a prominent and courageous opponent of the terror being carried out in Chechnya, then the answer is the ruling clique surrounding President Putin and his governor in Chechnya, Ramsan Kadyrov.

Anti-Putin journalist murdered in Moscow

By Patrick Martin, 10 October 2006

The assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya is an ominous warning to working people and intellectuals in Russia and throughout the world of the lengths to which the regime headed by the former KGB agent Vladimir Putin will go to suppress criticism and political opposition.

Behind Georgia’s spy scandal: Growing conflicts between Russia and the US

By Simon Whelan, 6 October 2006

Georgia’s decision on October 3 to release four Russian military intelligence officers, arrested last week on charges of spying, has not lessened hostilities between the two states.

A tale of two elections: the US and Ukraine in 2004

By Andre Damon, 14 September 2006

With the approach of the November midterm elections, the Democratic and Republican parties are redoubling their efforts to curtail the American people’s voting rights, through both the direct disenfranchisement of voters and the denial of ballot access to third parties.

Tensions between Georgia and Russia escalate

By Simon Whelan, 21 August 2006

Consultations have begun in Moscow between representatives of the Joint Control Commission (JSS) for a settlement of the Georgia-South Ossetia conflict.

Ukraine: “Orange Revolution” leader Yushchenko accepts coalition with pro-Russian rival

By Niall Green, 7 August 2006

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has accepted his arch-rival Viktor Yanukovich, leader of the Party of the Regions, as prime minister. After four months of political stalemate following elections to the parliament (Rada), the president’s Our Ukraine party agreed to form a coalition government with Yanukovich’s pro-Russian party.

Ukraine: Constitutional crisis deepens as Orange parties jostle for power

By Niall Green, 27 July 2006

A coalition of the Party of the Regions, the Communists and the Socialists—which together hold a majority of seats in the Ukrainian parliament (Rada)—continues to be prevented from forming a government by the leaders of the “Orange Revolution,” President Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko.

Pro-Russian party set to form government in Ukraine

By Niall Green, 25 July 2006

Viktor Yanukovich, leader of the Party of the Regions, is set to become the next prime minister of Ukraine.

Government crisis continues in Ukraine

By Niall Green and Julie Hyland, 6 July 2006

Talks are continuing between Ukraine’s parliamentary factions to resolve the standoff that has held up the formation of a new government more than three months after elections.

Putin’s speech to the nation: Tensions increase between the US and Russia

By Patrick Richter, 22 May 2006

The timing could have hardly been more apposite for addressing the increased tensions between Russia and the US. On May 10, one day after ceremonies to mark the 61st anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared in his annual speech to the nation, “The stronger our military is, the less temptation there will be to exert such pressure on us.” He continued, “As the saying goes, Comrade Wolf knows whom to eat. He eats without listening and he’s clearly not going to listen to anyone.”

Spelling freedom as O-I-L

Cheney lectures Russia on “democracy”

By Bill Van Auken, 6 May 2006

In a carefully scripted political provocation, US Vice President Richard Cheney delivered a bellicose speech in Lithuania condemning Russia for violating the democratic rights of its people and using energy resources to “blackmail” other nations.

Bush courts Azerbaijani president as part of build-up against Iran

By Simon Whelan, 27 April 2006

Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev is to meet President George W. Bush on April 28 in Washington. The surprise invitation extended to Aliyev is wholly due to Azerbaijan’s geographical proximity to Iran, Washington’s next likely military target.

Behind the collapse of Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution”

By Niall Green, 6 April 2006

Ukraine’s March 25 parliamentary elections and the subsequent back-room deals between the main political actors have exposed the fraudulent nature of the so-called “Orange Revolution” of November and December 2004.

A closer Russia-China “strategic partnership” cemented with oil and gas

By John Chan, 4 April 2006

The visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to China on March 21-22 was a further sign that Moscow and Beijing are moving closer to one another in response to Washington’s increasingly hostile stance toward the two countries.

Forbes’s billionaires list and the growth of inequality in Russia

By Vladimir Volkov, 3 April 2006

The American business magazine Forbes recently published its list of the world’s billionaires for 2005, which included 33 Russian citizens, illustrating once again how the political life of contemporary Russia, under the leadership of President V. Putin, is aimed, first and foremost, at the satisfaction of the interests of post-Soviet big business and oligarchs.

The Ukrainian parliamentary elections and the fraud of the “Orange Revolution”

By Patrick Richter, 29 March 2006

The Ukrainian parliamentary elections, held March 26, have thoroughly deflated the myth of the “Orange Revolution.” Just 15 months after Victor Yushchenko was elected president in what his American and European backers proclaimed an epochal popular and democratic revolution, his party has been routed, with a strong plurality voting for the purported vote-rigger and despot whom he ousted.

Wagging the dog in Belarus

By Tom Carter, 27 March 2006

On March 19, elections were held in Belarus in which the incumbent president, Alexander Lukashenko, was reelected. Since Lukashenko was declared the winner, public officials and media pundits in the US and western Europe have launched a major public offensive to brand the election results “fraudulent” and “illegitimate.”

Belarus: imperialist intervention in presidential election

By Niall Green, 18 March 2006

In the presidential election being held Sunday, March 19, in the former Soviet republic of Belarus, incumbent Alexander Lukashenko faces three rival candidates.

Russian gas supplies resume, but relations with Georgia and Armenia remain tense

By Simon Whelan, 9 February 2006

Gas supplies restarted to Armenia and Georgia on January 30, just over a week after attacks on Russian pipelines had cut off the two countries.

The gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine

By Peter Schwarz, 5 January 2006

The halting of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine for three days this week brought to a head a long-smoldering conflict between the two successor states of the former Soviet Union.

Oil pipeline completed: a sign of rising great power rivalry in Central Asia

By Peter Symonds, 31 May 2005

Last week’s ceremony in the Central Asian republic of Azerbaijan to open the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline received scant coverage in the international press. Nevertheless the completion of the US-backed pipeline, which has taken a decade to construct, will inevitably accelerate the scramble for oil and gas in the Caspian Basin region and heighten the potential for conflict among rival major powers.

Bush visit to Georgia increases tensions with Putin government

By Simon Whelan, 18 May 2005

Speaking in Tbilisi on May 10, President George W. Bush quipped that he was in the neighbourhood and “thought we’d swing by.” However, his visit to the capital of Georgia was anything but casual. Amidst the self-satisfied bonhomie, Bush and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili discussed issues with potentially explosive ramifications for the struggle between Russia and America for dominance over the Caucasus and all the territories that once made up the Soviet Union.

More than 500 killed, thousands wounded

Uzbekistan: US “war on terror” yields a bloodbath

By Bill Van Auken, 16 May 2005

The Bush administration’s “global war on terrorism” has recorded one of its bloodiest victories yet with the slaughter of several hundred men, women and children in the Uzbekistan city of Andijan.

Uzbekistan: US-backed dictator drowns uprising in blood

By Bill Van Auken, 14 May 2005

Local hospitals reported that dozens of people were shot to death and scores more wounded by Uzbekistan government forces in the eastern city of Andijan Friday after protesters stormed government offices and a jail, freeing thousands of prisoners.

Victory Day celebration in Russia reveals deepening political and social tensions

By Andrea Peters, 11 May 2005

While Russia’s President Vladimir Putin had intended the 60th anniversary of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany as an occasion to boost Russia’s standing in world affairs, the day’s events largely served to reveal the depth of the political and social tensions wracking the country.

On the 60th Anniversary of the victory of the Red Army over Nazism

Anti-Russian nationalism in the Baltic States

Part two

By Niall Green, 10 May 2005

This is the concluding part of a two-part series. Part one was posted May 9.

On the 60th anniversary of the victory of the Red Army over Nazism

Anti-Russian nationalism in the Baltic States

Part one

By Niall Green, 9 May 2005

This is the first part of a two-part series.

Kyrgyz president forced to flee as opposition seizes power

By Andrea Peters, 28 March 2005

On March 24, rioting protesters forced Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev to flee the small Central Asian republic over which he has presided for 15 years. In the wake of his departure, a loose coalition of opposition forces under the leadership of Kurmanbek Bakiyev seized power, setting up an interim government in the capital city Bishkek. New presidential elections have been scheduled for June.

US money and personnel behind Kyrgyzstan’s “Tulip Revolution”

By Andrea Peters, 28 March 2005

The interim government established in Kyrgyzstan in the aftermath of the overthrow of the regime of President Askar Akayev is largely the product of US intervention (See: “Kyrgyz president forced to flee as opposition seizes power”).

Ukrainian President Yushchenko presses for closer ties with European Union

By Patrick Richter, 24 March 2005

New Ukrainian president Victor Yushchenko visited Berlin two weeks ago, under conditions in which the foreign policy of the German government of Gerhard Schröder, with its orientation towards Russia, is coming increasingly under pressure. A section of the ruling elite in Germany and Europe as a whole wants to use the change of government in Kiev to prosecute, alongside the US, a more aggressive foreign policy in eastern Europe.

Wealth and poverty in modern Russia

By Vladimir Volkov and Julia Denenberg, 11 March 2005

Since the beginning of the year, protests have been under way, primarily by pensioners, against the transformation of social benefits into substantially smaller cash payments. (See: “Russia: wave of protests against welfare cuts,” 27 January, 2005; and “Russia: Putin lays siege to social benefits,” 21 September, 2004.)

Two mysterious deaths in Georgia’s “Rose Revolution” regime

By Patrick Richter, 16 February 2005

On the night of February 3, 41-year-old Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania was found dead at the home of a friend and fellow party member, 25-year-old Raul Yusupov. Apparently, he had indicated he would stay “only briefly” in the flat, but then failed to make contact for a number of hours. His bodyguards, who were waiting outside, made their way into the dwelling and found the two dead, the friend lying in the kitchen, Zhvania in an armchair in the living room.

By Justus Leicht and Peter Schwarz, 31 January 2005

Following his January 23 inauguration as Ukrainian president, Viktor Yushchenko travelled to Moscow for his first official visit and assured his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that Russia would remain Ukraine’s “eternal strategic partner.” These words were largely a matter of diplomatic protocol, however, motivated by Ukraine’s heavy dependence on the economy of its biggest neighbour. Russia has long been Ukraine’s most important economic partner.

Abkhazian elite come to settlement with Kremlin

By Simon Whelan, 27 January 2005

After a debacle lasting three months, a new government has finally been established in Abkhazia. Georgian authorities, including President Mikhail Saakashvili, denounced the elections as unlawful, but the Putin government in Russia congratulated the new incumbent Sergei Bagapsh, who takes over from Vladislav Ardzinba.

Russia: wave of protests against welfare cuts

By Stanislav Smolin and Vladimir Volkov, 27 January 2005

Since the beginning of January, a growing wave of protests has developed in Russia against the so-called monetarisation of social security benefits.

Oil giant Yukos and the struggle for Russian energy sources

By Ulrich Rippert, 10 January 2005

On December 23, the American government renewed its sharp criticism of the action taken by Russian authorities to break up the oil company Yukos. Adam Ereli, US State Department deputy spokesperson, told journalists in Washington that the takeover of Yuganskneftegas, the most important Yukos production company, was “not open or transparent.”

US client Yushchenko to assume Ukraine presidency

By Justus Leicht, 6 January 2005

Nothing now stands in the way of a change of power in Ukraine following decisions by both the Ukrainian Supreme Court and central electoral committee rejecting objections raised to the result of the repeated presidential election of December 26. The defeated candidate, Viktor Yanukovich, resigned from his post as prime minister on New Year’s Eve. Officiating president, Leonid Kuchma, who has held the post for the past decade, also accepted the election result.