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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
By Niall Green, 8 January 2009
Gas exports from Russia to Europe via Ukraine have come to a complete halt, according to Naftogaz.
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.
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.
By Simon Whelan, 10 November 2008
Journalists working for the BBC have unearthed evidence of Georgian war crimes against South Ossetian civilians.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
25 August 2008
RE: “Russia-Belarus talks signal renewed cooperation against US”, 27 December 2007
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Vladimir Volkov, 10 May 2008
Tensions between Russia and Georgia have intensified to the brink of open armed conflict.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
By Niall Green, 9 May 2005
This is the first part of a two-part series.
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.
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”).
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.