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American Conservative: U.S. Policy On Georgia And Russia

posted by eagle on February, 2011 as ANALYSIS / OPINION

U.S. Policy on Georgia and Russia

Daniel Larison     February 16th, 2011

Last week I read an article in The New York Times on Georgia’s potentially dangerous policy towards the North Caucasus, which I previously discussed here, and I noticed that Center for American Progress was putting together an extensive report to be released later in the month. The report is now online, and this is a introduction to their arguments. The authors, Samuel Charap and Cory Welt, present two possible scenarios for the future of the region. In the first, the conflicts continue unresolved and drag on indefinitely, and the other involves a "process of conflict transformation that reduces tensions, brings people together across the conflict lines, creates trust, builds trade links, and normalizes contacts among authorities.” When things are presented this way, there is no question that the second scenario is more desirable for all parties, but it’s not clear to me that the best way to realize it is for the U.S. to be more "proactive.”

The authors make some interesting proposals, but it is almost ...

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Window On Eurasia: Growing Nationalism Reflects Russians’ Sense Their Country Is Going In The Wrong Direction, Gudkov Says

posted by eagle on as ANALYSIS / OPINION


Window on Eurasia: Growing Nationalism Reflects Russians’ Sense Their Country is Going in the Wrong Direction, Gudkov Says

Paul Goble

Staunton, February 12 – Nationalist sentiments among Russians as measured by expression of support for the slogan "Russia for the [ethnic] Russians” have reached 58 percent, tying the previous high of a decade ago, a trend that reflects their sense that Russia is headed in the wrong direction.

According to Lev Gudkov, the director of the independent Levada Center polling agency, "this idea has passed from the arsenal of the more radically inclined and intolerant groups into the more moderate and careful strata – and consequently” support for this term may not mean exactly what it did before (

Instead, the sociologist suggested in an interview given to "Svobodnaya pressa” and described by the New Region agency, what most Russians mean by giving their support to this term now means what earlier surveys captured as "’Russia for the [ethnic] Russians in moderation.’”

Thus, the polls capture a ...

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DNA: Russia's Muslim Elite Vows To Tackle Extremism

posted by eagle on as ANALYSIS / OPINION

Russia's Muslim elite vows to tackle extremism
Published: Thursday, Feb 10, 2011, 22:28 IST 
Place: Moscow | Agency: Reuters

Russia's Muslims on Thursday set up a council of experts to devise ways to tackle extremism, two weeks after a suicide bomb attack on the country's busiest airport killed 36.

"People need to be protected from extremism and terrorism, and educated away from this," said Ravil Gaynutdin, the chief Mufti of Russia, which is home to some 20 million Muslims, or a seventh of the population.

"These experts will play a very important role towards making things better... for Muslims to be more involved in Russian society," Gaynutdin, clad in a flowing black robe and crowned by a silk white hat, said in an interview before chairing the council's first meeting.

He added that the council, comprised of 38 Russian Muslims involved in politics, law and media, will regularly meet to analyse how Muslims live in today's Russia and make recommendations to government on how their lives can improve.

Initiatives could include offering ...

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FOREIGN POLICY: Has Russia Brought Terrorism On Itself?

posted by eagle on as ANALYSIS / OPINION

Has Russia Brought Terrorism on Itself?

The Domodedovo suicide attack is just the latest sign that 10 years of Russian influence in the benighted region has only made a bad thing worse.


For over a decade, suicide attacks have been a persistent and macabre feature of Russia's battle with militants in the North Caucasus. The suicide bomber who took the lives of 35 people in the arrival hall of Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Jan. 24 provided only the latest chapter in a dark history that, for many Russians, is also the history of Chechnya's struggle for national self-determination. In reality, however, the violence is no longer political -- for the residents of this troubled region, it has become something much more noxious and potentially unsolvable.  

Under Vladimir Putin, whose rise to power was intertwined with Russia's second invasion of Chechnya in October 1999, Moscow marginalized the nationalist, secular wing of the Chechen rebel movement. The conflict's unapologetically violent extremists, inspired by the language ...

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Window On Eurasia: Nemtsov Outlines Ten Ways In Which Yeltsin Was Different And Better Than Putin

posted by eagle on as ANALYSIS / OPINION


Window on Eurasia: Nemtsov Outlines Ten Ways in Which Yeltsin Was Different and Better than Putin

Paul Goble

Vienna, February 1 – In a posting on his Ekho Moskvy blog today, Boris Nemtsov, who is a leader of the Solidarity Movement, outlines ten ways in which Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first president, was different and better than his successor, Vladimir Putin, a list that has already sparked outraged reactions from many of the latter’s partisans.
First of all, Nemtsov says, Yeltsin "inherited a bankrupted Soviet Union: there was no money, no gold reserves, no bread and now fuel.” Moreover, oil prices were relatively low. Putin on the other hand came to office when the Russian economy was growing and when the price of oil was rising to new records (
Second, he points out, Yeltsin dealt with his opponents in a very different way than Putin. He released from jail the leaders of the August 1991 putsch and the October 1993 rising, even though the latter would ...

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