Elections in the Russian Federation tend to follow a familiar pattern, i.e. the oligarchic insiders decide when the election is to be held, who the winners are to be and – perhaps most important – how the exercise will be dressed up to look like real democracy. The situation is a bit more complicated this time round with the Kremlin script writers throwing in a new element that might be called the Sobchak effect. 

Former President Barack Obama’s envoy to Russia, Michael McFaul, raised the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin by immediately meeting with opposition politicians when Mr. McFaul first landed in Moscow in January 2012.

 

(Associated Press)

Focus at the moment in Kyiv are these street demos, which are pushing for much needed electoral reforms

There is increasing evidence that the self-serving fabrication known as the Russian World, dreamed up by a cabal made up primarily of Kremlin spin doctors and some of Patriarch Kirill’s more ill-advised and extremist elements in the Moscow Patriarchate, is wearing very thin with many of its early adherents who now perceive reality.

 

This report makes the case for increased Western support, and argues the EU has been too timid in applying its unprecedented political mandate to drive forward post-2014 reforms in the country.

Looking for the best way to keep abreast of the latest machinations of Vladimir Putin and his merry gang of thieves in the Kremlin? Let Paul Goble, one of the world’s best informed Kremlin watchers mark your cards on what this crowd is up to – or perhaps we should more correctly say – down to. Read on below but keep a barf bag handy - it’s a bumpy ride.

 

According to Wikipedia, Sergei Alexandrovich Markov [pictured] is a Russian political scientist, journalist and social activist. He is a Doctor of Political Science, assistant professor of Public Policy department of Faculty of Philosophy at Moscow State University, professor of the Faculty of Political Science at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University), and director of the Institute of Political Studies. This listing fails to mention the title that he has worked so hard to earn – and so-richly deserves - as Putin sycophant number 1.”

 

 

Milos Zeman may represent neither the majority opinion in his country nor official Czech state policy but that has certainly not slowed his pro-Russian pronouncements in European fora. [file photo]

 

To understand current events in Ukraine-Russia relations, one has to consider that there is a bill in the Russian Duma – offered by MP Konstantin Zatulin [pictured] – that would effectively legalize – at least from the Russian viewpoint – not just meddling but almost complete control of Ukraine.

 

Vladimir Putin has now served longer as head of the Kremlin power structure than anyone else, even outlasting the Brezhnev regime – that seemed much longer than it really was. However, Putin and Co. is busy trying to find some way to make it appear that things are happening – while avoiding any real changes.

 

 

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