Authoritarian regimes “do not fall by themselves,” and they do not fall when they first face public opposition, the commentator says. Instead, they collapse as wave after wave of opposition appears and as their opponents become more radical in their criticisms and in their demands. That was true of the Russian Empire and of the Soviet Union, and it is very much true of Iran now, [Avraam] Shmulyevich says.


The US constitutional crisis, U.S. conflict with North Korea, continued Ukraine-Russia conflict and other geopolitical issues are expected to affect markets.


"Well, I think Russia’s moved from what you might call plausible deniability to implausible deniability."

-- H.R. McMaster, U.S. national security adviser

There is some hope that new activism among Russian young people and the efforts of Aleksey Navalny to point to corruption will combine with the American sanctions program to give Russia a new chance to escape from this third and generally unrecognized form of colonial dependence.

This will not lead to a good end for either Trump or Putin. And it also means that the immediate future at least becomes “unpredictable in principle” as the two try to cope with a situation neither wants to be in. Many international events won’t appear to be about this but will affect their relationship at least indirectly,” Pastukhov [pictured] says.


You may not agree with blogger David Archibald but he makes some interesting points

“The incompetence of the individual now sitting in the White House is most clearly demonstrated on issues of international relations with the saddest consequences for all sides,” he says. Trump has violated the careful, perhaps overly so, policies of his predecessor by “violating the most important practical principles” that must guide a US interested in international security.


This seems as good a place as any to say a few words about the efforts of Paul Goble. In spite of age (which is a problem for all of us) and ill-health, Paul manages to work a schedule that would kill any self-respecting horse and provide an immense amount of extremely valuable information and analysis about the former Soviet Union. We at UBO tip our fedora to the dean of the analysts who keep an eye on the old empire and the efforts of the Putin gang to put it all back together again.


“…seizing the assets of Putin and other Russians held abroad via the new sanctions law will help promote the necessary changes in Russia and bring closer the day these assets can be returned.



In his latest Daily Vertical, Brian Whitmore comments on recent complaints being voiced by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. And it will come as no surprise that Russia’s government head doesn’t like the European idea that where pipelines go in European territory should be decided by the Europeans. 

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