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Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Kyrgyzstan: Picking up the pieces

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Kill the victim and go to his funeral. Is NATO poised to move into the heart of Central Asia, even as its war in Afghanistan implodes, marvels Eric Walberg

Kyrgyzstan joined the rank of failed states this month: its central government lacks legitimacy and depends heavily on external aid, with the US base looming large, while the people are largely destitute, harassed by local thugs and drug barons, and looking to Moscow for a way out.

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Kyrgyzstan: Eurasian geopolitics 101

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The war in Afghanistan is officially spreading to the Central Asian republics. First stop, Kyrgyzstan, warns Eric Walberg

For the moment, the Pentagon is breathing a sigh of relief. Vital US fuel supply flights from its Manas base to Afghanistan resumed last week even as Kyrgyzstan slid into chaos.

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Russia-US-Iran: Nuclear juggling

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Relations between Russia and Iran highlight the intractable problems of nuclear diplomacy, reflects Eric Walberg

Brazil accused the US of double standards, and Turkey insisted Thursday that rejecting the deal with Iran, which calls for Tehran to ship around half its stock of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for enriched uranium suitable for research and medical use, would be “unreasonable” and said that a US push for fresh sanctions on Tehran was creating an “absurd situation”. “Those who speak to this issue should eliminate nuclear weapons from their own country and they should bear the good news to all mankind by doing that,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said while attending a UN conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Now it is the turn of Iran to accuse Russia, ever so politely, of double standards.

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Russia-America: Rediscovering realpolitik

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As Russia returns to its logical, regional, strategic roots, the US under Obama is slowly waking up after its neocon nightmare, argues Eric Walberg

The irony in current relations between Russia and America is that the US has been far more ideological, perversely so, in the past two decades than Soviet foreign policy ever was. Russia is now expanding its economic and political relations with its former comrades both in the “near abroad” and in the Middle East without any of the scheming subtexts of Washington’s manoeuvring in the recent past

 

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Kyrgyzstan: Another colour revolution bites the dust

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So what’s the real story behind the coup in Kyrgyzstan? asks Eric Walberg

The pretense that the leader of a modest country like Kyrgyzstan can play his own little game in big league politics is shed with the ouster of the tulip revolutionary president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, after last week’s riots in the capital Bishkek that left 81 dead and government buildings and Bakiyev’s various houses trashed.

Bakiyev tried to have the best of both big power worlds, last year brashly threatening to close the US airbase, vital to the war in Afghanistan, after signing a cushy aid deal with Russia, and then reversing himself when the US agreed to more than triple the rent to $60 million a year and kick in another $100m in aid. As a result he lost the trust of both, and found himself bereft when the going got tough last week, as riots exactly like those that swept him to power erupted.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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