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  • Dinner with Putin: And What About Russia's Foreign Policy?

    Last Friday, this author had the opportunity to dine in the company of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, his senior staff, and the attendees of the annual Valdai Club meeting at Le Cheval Blanc, a gourmet restaurant in Moscow. Responding to the Valdai Club report that found Russia’s “managed democracy” … More

    Putin Is Back "Seriously and for a While"

    Last Friday, this author had the opportunity to dine in the company of Vladimir Putin, his senior staff, and the attendees of the annual Valdai Club meeting in Moscow. Despite its location at an upscale riding club, the dinner was delicious, and horse meat was not on the menu. Responding … More

    Putin to Coordinate Oil Production with OPEC?

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that his country, the world’s leading oil and gas producer, plans to work closely with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the oil cartel. Russia has long spoken about linking up with OPEC, but at this point the extent of its participation has … More

    Is Russia Becoming Iran's Diplomatic Godfather?

    Moscow has shown yet again that it is determined to protect Iran’s controversial nuclear program. Russia and China have asked Yukiya Amano, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) director general, to stall U.S.-backed plans to publicize information on Iran’s nuclear program. This information is available in a diplomatic note acquired … More

    Russia’s African Expansion Boosted by New BRICS Stock Market

    Russia is bemoaning the passing of Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi, an old friend and client of the Soviet Union and a reliable customer for Russian arms sales. But Qadhafi belongs to the 20th century. In the 21st, Russia has new interests in Africa, and the Libyan strongman’s passing will not … More

    Kudrin’s Dismissal Projects Future Instability in Russia

    On Monday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev forced Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin to resign. Medvedev’s harsh treatment of Kudrin was a response to the statement Kudrin made over the weekend. Following the announcement of Vladimir Putin running for president in the upcoming presidential elections and Medvedev’s future job as the prime … More

    What Putin's Return to the Presidency Means

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s return to power means stability—and stagnation—for Russians and a tough counterpart for both America and Russia’s neighbors. Putin’s nomination to the Russian presidency means that he may become the longest-serving Russian leader since Joseph Stalin, who ruled for almost 30 years. Putin, who has held … More

    Russian–North Korean Naval Maneuvers Endanger Peace in Pacific

    Yesterday, the State Department released an official reaction to media reports on upcoming joint naval exercises between Russia and North Korea. The U.S. declared that “any engagement with the North Koreans should be conducted in a way that does not detract from the international community’s clear message of concern about … More

    Prokhorov’s Ouster a Blow to Obama’s Russia Policy

    Last week, Russian political scandal season reached a boiling point. On September 16, Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia’s third richest man (with an estimated personal net worth of $18 billion), promised revenge against Vladislav Surkov, deputy chief of the presidential administration, after being ousted from the helm of Right Cause, his own … More

    Total’s Caspian Gas Discovery

    Total, Europe’s third largest oil company, announced last Friday that they have made a major gas discovery in the Caspian Sea. The discovery, made in the Absheron block off the coast of Azerbaijan, is thought to have large pockets of gas spread over a 270-square-kilometer field and holds about 350 … More