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Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Obama and Russia: Untying the Gordian Knot

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Nothing much has changed to reduce US-Russian tensions with the election of Obama -- yet, opines Eric Walberg

13/11/8 -- Russian President Dmitri Medvedev gave his state-of-the-union address the day after the US elections in November 2008, just a few hours after Barack Obama's historic electoral triumph, and pointedly refrained from mentioning it, though he is on record as hoping for an Obama presidency. "It would be easier to work with people with a modern outlook, rather than those whose eyes are turned back to the past,"

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The quiet Russian

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The UN vote to refer Kosovo's legitimacy to the ICJ reveals a new political constellation taking shape, observes Eric Walberg
 
16/10/8 -- In October 2008 Serbia's neighbours Montenegro and Macedonia recognised Kosovo, the world's newest country -- leaving aside South Ossetia and Abkhazia, bringing the number of its official friends to 48. However, after expelling Macedonia's ambassador in a huff, Serbia was soon all smiles as the United Nations General Assembly supported its request that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rule on the legality of Kosovo's independence -- by an impressive vote of 77-6.
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The ghost of Stalingrad

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Russia is determined to bring NATO's expansion eastward to a halt. Can it prevail, asks Eric Walberg

18/9/8 -- NATO's metamorphosis from Cold War Euro-policeman into the unabashed global military arm of the United States over the past 18 years has left a trail of debris from the Balkans to Afghanistan that will take decades to clear. It is a flagrant violation of the agreement James Baker III made with Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev that the US would not extend the borders of NATO eastwards in return for Moscow allowing a united Germany to be a member of NATO

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Georgia's war against Russia: 'Wag the Dog' Part II

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Was an independent Ossetia inevitable after Kosovo or is it a US election ruse gone wrong, asks Eric Walberg
 

4/9/8 -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gave a gritty, straight-talking 30-minute interview with CNN this week in Russian. It was not translated or reported on widely in the US media, which is a shame. He charged that US military personnel were in South Ossetia during the attack, and lectured about such topics as Ossetia's long membership in the Russian empire (since 1801) and Ossetians' age-old resentment of Georgian chauvinism, especially following the 1917 Russian revolution and the 1990 declaration of Georgian independence. A South Ossetian legislator has already mooted the possibility that it will eventually become part of the Russian Federation.

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Ossetia: Diplomatic rubble

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Russia's firm response to the Georgian gamble in Ossetia is being interpreted in various ways, but the reality is clear, says Eric Walberg

21/8/8 -- Analogies of the Ossetia fiasco and its fallout with past events are coming thick and fast. Condoleezza Rice -- bless her heart -- says, "This is no longer 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia." James Townsend, a former Pentagon official now with the Atlantic Council, compared the situation to Hungary in 1956. In both cases, the Russians being, well, the Russians. Neocon Charles Krauthammer says Georgia needs "equivalent of the Berlin air lift". The Baltic statelets and Poland go back further yet, arguing it is a replay of Hitler and Stalin's invasions of their territory, prompting Poland to quickly sign on the dotted line for US missiles (against the Iranians, of course).

But the most telling analogy is with Iraq and its ill-fated invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

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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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