January was marked, above all else, by renewed U.S.-Russian dialogue on a range of international issues, including Syria. For example, conditions were set for inter-Syrian dialogue, although hopes for success there are very small.
At the same time, the U.S. side is doing its share to ensure that initiatives for the positive development of U.S.-Russian relations become derailed by making provocative statements, such as the accusations made by U.S. Treasury Department official Adam Szubin about corruption within the Russian government. In the same vein, there was a change made to the military strategy of the European Command of the U.S. Armed Forces (EUCOM) that identifies Russia as a potential threat.
10. Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov’s visit to Indonesia
On Jan. 8, the Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov arrived on a visit to Indonesia. During the talks, he discussed prospective projects in railway construction, the mining industry, civil aviation, metallurgy, shipbuilding, nuclear power, the arms trade and a number of other areas.
During the visit, the Russian minister noted that the Eurasian Economic Union and Indonesia might soon start negotiations on the implementation of a free trade zone. Russia is stepping up its activities in the Asia-Pacific Region, where at this time a new rivalry between the U.S. and China is already unfolding.
9. Emir of Qatar’s visit to Moscow
Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani paid a visit to Moscow. He and Vladimir Putin discussed a number of important issues, including the price of gas and the situation in the Gaza Strip. However, the main topic of their conversation was Syria, in terms of the peace talks between Bashar al-Assad and the opposition that are just starting there.
The talks in Moscow were particularly important, because hitherto, there had been clearly noticeable divergences of opinion on many regional issues between Qatar and Russia. Although it is not possible to list any compromises reached, or any common positions established, the official declarations indicate, at the very least, the willingness to take into consideration each other’s positions.
8. Russia’s reaction to North Korea’s testing of a thermonuclear bomb
The DPRK announced yet another nuclear test – this time, a hydrogen bomb, which, according to North Korean authorities, moved the country’s potential “to a new level.” This event was often discussed between Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry, as well as during telephone conversations between Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama.
Obviously, this challenge to international security coming from North Korea could not pass unnoticed. On Jan. 28, the United States announced the tightening of sanctions against North Korea. However, it is clear that the sanctions path usually does not lead to any rapid and expected results.
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The EU has not yet realized the amount of yearly grants that Ukraine’s stabilization will require if the latter turns its back on the Russian support – and the Union is not ready to provide them. There is every reason to have doubts about Kiev’s actions over the long term. The internal antagonism in Ukraine between the East and the West of the country is growing further. The US has yet to act as a stabilizing force. Russia is taking measures to ensure its risks and to avoid damage to its assets. An impetus to strike a deal may only occur when the EU feels the damage to its energy security.
Waning of the Ukrainian crisis may recreate conditions favourable for the meeting between the Russian and Georgian leaders. However, normalization in relations of the two countries has distinctly set limits, for the global strategy of the Georgian leadership remains unchanged.
The German Eastern policy is coming to its end with Berlin and Moscow acting as opponents on the Ukrainian issue. The fact is no news, however, the world Media have been busy speculating on it lately. Harshness of Angela Merkel’s anti-Russian speeches in the Australian Brisbane or the German Bundestag may not be blamed on pressure from the US. It is of Germany’s own interests to curb the Russian influence in Europe.
The results of the June 7 Turkish parliamentary elections clearly demonstrated that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) founded by Recep Erdogan runs out of support from the population. According to the interim results, the party received less than a half of votes. That will limit the Party’s ability to govern the state without paying attention to the other political forces’ viewpoints.