Municipal officials in the Latvian capital Riga last fall quietly decided to remove citywide public-service billboards that promoted tolerance. A factor in the removal was that some civic groups did not like the fact that gays were among the groups of citizens that the billboard campaign said were deserving of a greater level of acceptance.
With a high-profile trial in Armenia set to resume in which a Russian soldier stands accused of murdering a family of seven, observers wonder whether the loose ends connected to the case will ever be wrapped up. Russia is not eager to see light shined on systemic flaws within its military structure.
MOSCOW -- Sergei has watched in horror as Russian television has been flooded with harrowing stories about vicious debt collectors terrorizing households with threats and violence in order to recover overdue loans. He worries his family could be next.
Some Russian writers and independent journalists assert that incumbent Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin is doing an excellent imitation of long-dead Soviet party boss Leonid Brezhnev, who presided over the country’s steady decline during a period known as the Stagnation Era.
With Russian-Turkish relations bottoming out after Turkey’s downing of a Russian military jet last November, Ankara is scrambling to reduce its dependency on Russian gas. But the help it needs from post-Soviet energy producers may not be swift in coming.
The United States has struggled in the post-Soviet era to define a durable framework for its relations with Central Asian states. Initially, securing the Soviet Union’s nuclear legacy was the main focus of US policy. Then, after 9/11, policy was shaped by Washington’s need for Central Asian support for US military operations in Afghanistan.
Policymakers in Armenia are wary of the risks of the country getting caught up in deepening Russian-Turkish rancor. But some observers see opportunity for Armenia to advance its interests amid the geopolitical falling out.
A British inquiry has concluded that the Russian government was behind the 2006 poisoning death of former Russian security agent Aleksandr Litvinenko and that President Vladimir Putin "probably approved" the killing.
A prominent European think tank contends that the Russian economy may be entering into a death spiral, driven by a combination of factors, including low energy prices, government mismanagement, a collapse in the Russian ruble’s value and Western sanctions.