By appointing Viktor Zubkov as premier, President Putin has skilfully reserved his options about the choice of a successor. But what comes next invites serious questions, including about the feasibility of strong government by any successor under the shadow of an ex-president.
With presidential elections looming, Georgia’s president Mikheil Sakaashvili is in a hurry to make good his promise to restore the country’s ‘territorial integrity’. Hence his diplomatic offensive over South Ossetia, which has not stayed fears of the use of force.
Pressure for a decision on the future of Serbia’s 'Albanian' province is raising the tension in Russian-Western relations. Russia backs Serbia’s territorial integrity and fears the effect of Kosovo independence on secessionist movements elsewhere. Some Europeans are worried, too
In an article in our partner publication Russia in Global Affairs, Russia’s foreign minister criticises ‘excessive alarmism’ over Russia’s relation with the US and Europe, and sets out its position on missile defiance, security co-operation, energy security and other matters
President Yushchenko’s announcement that ‘the crisis is over’ goes too far; pending elections, government and parliament will be paralysed for another three to four months. But hard-nosed economic interests might then prevail over politicking.
A report by the International Crisis Group casts doubt on Europe’s hope of securing future energy supplies independently of transit via Russia. It would be better to engage with Russia in eliminating ‘generalised instability’ in Central Asian energy states