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Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Russia, Turkey and the Great Game: Changing teams

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Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s visit to Turkish last month shows that Turkey and Russia are rapidly developing close economic and political ties, notes Eric Walberg
 
For all intents and purposes, Turkey has given up on the European Union, recognising it as a bastion of Islamophobia and captive to US diktat. As Switzerland bans minarets and France moves to outlaw the niqab, the popular Islamist government in Istanbul moves in the opposite direction -- supporting the freedom to wear headscarfs, boldly criticising Israel and building bridges with Syria. This is nothing less than a fundamental realignment of Turkish politics towards Turkey’s natural allies -- the Arabs ... and the Russians.
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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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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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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html