Has the Winter Olympics proved a success for Putin?
Blog / Russia and Eurasia

Sochi Olympics: Putin’s Success Story?

Has the Winter Olympics proved a success for Putin?Photo source: www.kremlin.ru via Wikimedia Commons.

So the Sochi Winter Olympics has drawn to a close and across the country Russian officials must be breathing a sigh of relief. For other than a malfunctioning snowflake during the opening ceremony, everything seems to have gone off without …

Blog / Russia and Eurasia

Questions unanswered in Ukraine

Photo Source: Mstyslav Chernov/Unframe via Wikimedia Commons.

The events of the last few days in Ukraine seem to travel at the speed of light. One moment Victor Yanukovich was signing an agreement with the opposition to end the violence on the streets of Kiev, the next moment Yanukovich was in hiding and the opposition took …

Asia / Blog

Game & First Set, Authoritarianism: Central Asia, the U.S. and the failure of Democracy

National flags at the UN Building in Geneva. Photo Source: Yann via Wikimedia Commons.

Despite some very limited improvements to public freedom and electoral legitimacy, authoritarianism has proved exceptionally durable within Central Asia in the two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The methods of electoral fraud, suppression of opposition, legislative …

Blog / Middle East and North Africa

Why the Sochi Winter Olympics is triggering an ethno-nationalist identity in the Middle East

Photo Source: Geagea via Wikimedia Commons.

“Today, as the Sochi Olympics approaches, Circassians seem to be carrying their own torch”, writes Jordanian-Circassian Merissa Khurma. For many Circassians, the Russian winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi has brought up bitter memories and triggered a world-wide renewal of an old identity. “For most sports worldwide, this flame marks …

Asia / Blog

Xi Jinping, Central Asia and Russia: Misguided Speculation over a New ‘Great Game’

BRICS leaders at the G-20 Summit in St.Petersburg. Xi Jinping then travelled to several Central Asian republics. Photo Source: Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR, Agência Brasil via Wikimedia Commons.

Much attention has been paid to a series of visits undertaken by the new Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Central Asian republics last month. Notwithstanding the ostensible …

Blog / Russia and Eurasia

European Union versus Russia

EU President José Manuel Barroso and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo source: www.kremlin.ru via Wikimedia Commons.

Russia and Europe have always had their differences. However, given the globalised world that we live in, one would have thought that Russia and the West may finally put to bed their historic hostility towards each other and cooperate …

Blog / Environment & Energy

Ghosts of Chernobyl

Photo from Adam Lenton ©

It’s not often a chance to visit a place like Chernobyl crops up, and naturally I jumped at the chance. My main motivation for visiting was to see the abandoned city of Pripyat, untouched since the time of the Ukrainian SSR when its 50,000 inhabitants were forced to evacuate.

The trip …

Blog / Russia and Eurasia

A New United States of Russia?

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have come together to form a Union which is being predicted as a new foundation for a renewed USSR. Analysts and Politicians around the world have expressed distrust and worry about this “Eurasian Union”, but what exactly does it entail?