A quick snap analysis on the likely outcome of the UK’s National Security Council meeting, presided by British PM Theresa May, today regarding sanctions on Russia, leads to grim conclusion and more than a wartime rhetoric. This is probably the most evident proof of the weakened geopolitical posture of Britain following the Brexit. While NATO’s coordinated response – Britain can still invoke article 5 – is still the first and preferred option – EU’s coordination is essential as effective responses lie beyond the military spectrum – in what hurts Putin most – money and image. A boycott of the Moscow World Cup seems almost inevitable. I can’t simply see England’s team playing soccer at the Luzhniki pretending business is as usual. If they leave – other’s will follow
– What is fundamentally new with the new round of US sanctions – scope or impact? How far are secondary sanctions likely to reach given the less than warm welcome for US sanctions in parts of the EU? – Politically and psychologically the most fundamental is Section 242 – personal sanctions against top Russian political/business figures. As for secondary sanctions European companies will be bound to take them into account, otherwise they will be automatically punished financially by losing their contracts. – We understand apart from Russian companies and individuals, there are Ukrainian and Polish companies? How likely is that more CEE partners of Russian companies could join the list notably if they continue business as usual with Russian state companies? What will be the effect on Nord
Saakashvili’s arrest marks a turning point in Ukraine’s history and its relationship with the West. The trigger – the legislation in the Verkhovna Rada seeking to remove the head of the anticorruption body – NABU – Artem Sytnyk is an undeniable watershed. Despite President Poroshenko’s desperate attempts to portray himself as a champion of anti-corruption and pro-Western Ukrainian drive, the public trust in him and his regime has been irreversibly eroded. The Kiyv Post headline says it all – “Corrupt Empire strikes back”. Attempts to label Saakashvili as a Kremlin agent ring hollow. His record as Odessa Governor and his open disagreements with President Poroshenko over oligarchs’ privileges and corruption in Ukraine are too strong for the Ukrainian president’s snap kompromat to hold water. The country has
The geopolitical and geo-economic context of the Belene project has changed in many respects, but at the same time, it has retained some permanent and stable features. Some of them stem from the link between the civilian and military nuclear programs of leading countries and from the aspirations of global military-political alliances to “keep an eye on” the development of nuclear energy, not only in respective member states, but also around the world under the nuclear non-proliferation regime. As in the past, the nuclear programs in the military and civilian fields operate in tandem, intertwined at R & D, manufacturing and operational levels. In fact, civil nuclear power is a by-product of military nuclear programs – which are both natural spin-offs of the nuclear arms race, but also
On August 1st 2017, with official ceremonies and solemn declarations, the governments of Bulgaria and Macedonia signed a Friendship, Neighborhood and Cooperation Agreement between the two countries. The Bulgarian public welcomes this treaty as the opening of a new page in the relations between the two states. One of its most important clauses for bilateral relations states that Bulgaria will share its experience and support and assist Macedonia’s accession to the European Union and NATO. However, the treaty has yet to be ratified by the two parliaments and has not entered into force. Setting these events in the current political context is important for understanding the political aspects of the problem with the canonical recognition of the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) in its entirety. The autonomy of the
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This article is based on Alex Alexiev’s presentation to the “Russia After Putin” conference of the Bulgariaanalytica.org on Oct. 2. 2017 in Sofia. All citations are from the “Russia in Decline” publication by the Jamestown Foundation, edited by Enders Wimbush and Beth Portale, March 2017. Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia in 1999, a period of time which in many ways determined the course of his rule. The major, if not decisive reason for that, was that 1999 and the eight years that followed, were a period during which the prices of oil and gas rose dramatically from an average of $12-$14 dollars per barrel (USD/bbl) in 1999 to $147/bbl in 2008. This increased Russian export earnings nearly tenfold over this period and led Putin to