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Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Ukraine elections: Yanukovich -- Man for all seasons

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Ukraine's new president -- unless there is another Orange Revolution -- has fashioned a comeback worthy of Nixon, marvels Eric Walberg

Ukraine's presidential elections Sunday were remarkable in more ways than one. The winner of the first round and favourite to lead Ukraine at a crucial moment in its history is the one politician observers long ago dismissed as a has-been. Viktor Yanukovich is mocked by his opponents as an illiterate bumpkin, a puppet of Ukrainian business magnates, a former criminal and communist, a conspirer against the brave democrats of the legendary Orange Revolution of 2004. Have I left anything out? Does he kick dogs or beat his mother?
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Reagan’s ghost: Starwars stops START

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Russian confidence that US President Barack Obama might represent a fundamental change in the direction of US foreign policy is fast eroding. Even pro-Western analyst Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Centre reflects, “The people who see Russia as a problem are still at the Pentagon,” and he predicts that even if Obama lasts another seven years, the Russians are coming to the conclusion that “he may not be able to withstand the pressures on him.”

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Russia, NATO and Afghanistan: High stakes Great Game

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What did Medvedev have up his sleeve when he welcomed Obama's new surge in Afghanistan, wonders Eric Walberg

US President Barack Obama's now expanding war against the Taliban is garnering support from liberals and neocons alike, from leaders around the world, even from Russia. “We are ready to support these efforts, guarantee the transit of troops, take part in economic projects and train police and the military,” Russian President Dmitri Medvedev declared in a recent press conference with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Moscow and Washington reached an agreement in July allowing the US to launch up to 4,500 US flights a year over Russia, opening a major supply route for American operations in Afghanistan. Previously Russia had only allowed the US
to ship non-lethal military supplies across its territory by train.
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Terror in Russia: Nothing comes from nothing

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The worst terrorist attack to hit Russia in five years, the bombing of the Nevsky Express train last week, was almost certainly by Islamist extremists, and security forces are just not prepared for these less spectacular acts of terrorism, Russian security experts say.

The cause of the crash was identified as a homemade bomb that exploded on the tracks between Moscow and St Petersburg, killing 26, wounding scores and raising fears of a new era of terrorism in Russia.

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Russia-India-China: The Bush curse

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Moscow is trying to draw India and China closer to put out the flames now flaring across the continent, from the Caucasus and Central Asia, to Iran and Pakistan, notes Eric Walberg

United States President Barack Obama has shown a flicker of independence in shaping US Eurasian politics. To secure transit routes through Russia to Afghanistan, he loudly proclaimed the end to US missile base plans for Poland and the Czech Republic, and downplayed any further NATO expansion in Russia’s backyard. He resisted jumping on the Gates-Clinton-McChrystal escalation bandwagon, insisting that it would be counterproductive to blindly back the thoroughly discredited Karzai, and hinting that negotiations with the Taliban and Iran could mean an about-face on the Bush strategy of total war in the region.

Obama’s strategy is now described as focussed on securing the main cities in Afghanistan,

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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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