For the Belarusian opposition, the lesson of the parliamentary non-election should be straightforward: against the backdrop of irrelevant discussions, unnecessary divisions, and petty factionalism, its Western supporters will be forced to seek engagement with Minsk even if it will mean shifting from a bad policy to a worse one.
By Vitali Silitski
There can be no return to “business as usual” for as long as Russia acts as an occupying power in Georgia and refuses an internationally brokered solution to the conflict. The upcoming EU emergency summit must send a clear signal to this effect.
By Ralf Fücks
Only if Georgia succeeds in building a dynamic and attractive democracy, the populations of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will have a real choice – between a democratic Georgia and an authoritarian Russia.
By Paata Zakareishvili
The EU should readjust its relations with Russia. In this it must bear in mind that Moscow no longer rules out military confrontations as a means of pursuing its interests. Accordingly the EU has to more clearly define its external policies. Should a country like Georgia, which has strategic importance for the West, be left to a Russian sphere of influence?
By Roderick Kefferpütz and Iris Kempe
Russia has slammed a draft resolution presented by the EU to the UN human rights commission, which accuses Moscow of human rights violations in Chechnya, describing it as "a form of encouragement to terrorism".
By Sharon Spiteri
Masha Lipman, Chefredakteurin der vom Moscow Carnegie Centre herausgegebenen, russischsprachigen Vierteljahreszeitschrift Pro et Contra, kommentiert den Zustand des russischen Justizsystems. Anlass ist die Verurteilung des Wissenschaftlers Igor Sutjagin wegen angeblicher Spionage zu 15 Jahren verschärfter Lagerhaft Mitte April durch ein Moskauer Gericht.
By Masha Lipman
Rows are prompting the EU to push a tougher line in its policy towards Russia. In a document unveiled yesterday the EU has signalled it will press its neighbour on human rights, Chechnya and Russia’s 'near abroad'.
By Andrew Beatty
Jens Siegert deals critically with the concept and its (malign) consequences for the development of civil society in Russia. At the core of “steered democracy” is a concentration of power within the Kremlin vis-à-vis the regions, democratic institutions (most notably the Duma), the media and societal organizations. This ambivalent position of President Putin raises the question if German foreign policy faces a trade-off between supporting true democratization in Russia and pursuing its other major objectives: security and stability. From Siegert’s point of view, Berlin has clearly set its priorities: “German policy (…) has concentrated on three issue areas: Stability, the war on terrorism, and the economy.”
By Jens Siegert