US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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12.08.2019

"Russia's Opposition Has a Long Way to Go"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/08/12/russias-opposition-has-a-long-way-to-go-a66810

Mark Galeotti meint dagegen, dass die Position der russischen Regierung trotz der Proteste in Moskau nach wie vor stark sei. Politische Veränderungen ließen sich in der aktuellen Situation nur mit, nicht gegen den Kreml umsetzen. "This is not 1991. At present, although there is discomfort within the elite about current policy, their greatest fear is precisely systemic collapse. The security forces are disciplined and show no signs yet of being unwilling to play their role in the drama of repression. As for the economy, it is sluggish but not in crisis (...). The Kremlin's position is strong. However much neither man would like to acknowledge the parallel, though, Putin is in some ways like Gorbachev. He does not want to head a bloody-handed junta. He wants legitimacy both at home and abroad, and to fund his adventures, his cronies' embezzlement and his vanity projects, he needs a working economy, which in turn depends on many of those on the other side of the riot barriers. (...) So the challenge facing the protesters is not just to retain their enthusiasm, courage and momentum in the face of arrests and threats, on the one hand, shashlik and music festivals on the other. Arguably more difficult will be identifying a set of goals which slowly but genuinely advance their cause, but not leave the authorities feeling they cannot comply. The opposition has enthusiasm and right on their side. The authorities have ruthlessness and cosmonauts. Against this, the opposition has to play the long, clever game."

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23.07.2019

"The Specter of the Soviet Union Still Haunts the EU"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/23/the-specter-of-the-soviet-union-still-haunts-the-eu-a66522

Donald Tusk und andere EU-Vertreter werden in ihren Äußerungen gegenüber Russland offenbar immer noch vom "Gespenst" der Sowjetunion getrieben, schreibt Sean Guillory. Diese "Anti-Nostalgie" diene auch dem Zweck, von den internen Widersprüchen der liberalen Demokratie abzulenken. "In the EU debate, the Soviet Union serves as a form of anti-nostalgia. It’s a total rejection of a past without overcoming it. Like the nostalgic, the anti-nostalgic also has, in Boym’s words, 'a romance with the fantasy of the past.' Reducing the Soviet Union to 'prisons and gulags' relies such a fantasy (albeit a nightmarish one) that flattens the complexities of Soviet life not unlike the nostalgic does. (...) The communist phantom is a reminder of the good old days when liberal democracy was in an existential, global struggle with its antithesis. But the demise of Soviet communism as a victory of liberal democracy is wearing thin thirty years on. Liberal democracy lacks a worthy antipode to reflect its grandeur. Liberal democracy’s ideological providence needs a righteous foe to sublimate its own internal contradictions. (...) When Tusk called the collapse of the Soviet Union a blessing he was engaging in his own form of nostalgia. A romance with a fantasy of a past where the EU and liberal democracy broadly-offered a bright future for Central and Eastern Europeans, and Russians too. Thirty-years dead the Soviet bogeyman has lost much of its horror, and conjuring it will do little to strengthen liberal democracy’s appeal or rekindle its progressive promise in the face of the EU’s actually existing conditions."

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22.07.2019

"A Russian-American Deal Can Bring Stability to Syria, Weaken Iran"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/22/a-russian-american-deal-can-bring-stability-to-syria-weaken-ira
n-a66515

Ram Yavne hält einen amerikanisch-russischen "Deal" zur Beilegung des Syrienkonflikts trotz der Spannungen zwischen den beiden Großmächten immer noch für möglich. "The compromises required are within the realm of acceptability for both states. What would a Russo-American deal look like? First, it would recognize Assad’s regime for now and delay the United Nations-mandated political transition process in Syria. The signatories would agree to fund Syria’s economic rehabilitation process, providing Assad a major incentive to accept. (...) Why would Russian President Vladimir Putin agree to such a deal? Russia would achieve its objective of keeping Assad in power and reap some economic benefits during the rehabilitation process in Syria. It would also receive global and regional recognition for its major role in Syria, something Vladimir Putin is likely to value. (...) Second, the agreement would be a component in the campaign against the Iranian regional insurgency. Third, it will outline in clearer terms future American involvement in Syria and Iraq, with less direct deployment and involvement in Syria (while continuing American support for the SDF forces and communities) and give the needed focus for Iraq and other regional issues. (...) An agreement along these lines would benefit U.S. and Israeli interests, meet important Russian objectives and deescalate tensions in the region. Most of all, it would offer the prospect of stability and peace for the people of Syria. The alternative is grim indeed."

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17.07.2019

"Russia's Roadmap Out of the MH17 Crisis"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/17/russias-roadmap-out-of-the-mh17-crisis-a66453

Fünf Jahre nach dem Abschuss des Flugs MH17 in der Ukraine befinde sich Russland in einer strategischen Falle, schreibt Mark Galeotti. Eine offizielle Übernahme der Verantwortung für die Tragödie sei nahezu ausgeschlossen, da der Schritt aus Sicht Moskaus kaum zu einer Aufhebung westlicher Sanktionen führen würde. "The fifth anniversary of the tragic shooting down of the MH17 passenger flight, hit over the Donbass by a Russian-supplied missile, prompted the inevitable calls for Moscow to take responsibility. What are the chances the Kremlin could manage a resolution, or at least de-escalation of this issue? Not much, unless it is part of some wide deal over the Donbass. (...) Given the continuing annexation of Crimea and war in the Donbass, it is unlikely there would be any substantive shift on sanctions. If anything, the perverse outcome is that this would empower those hawks who believe that this is some kind of existential struggle between the Western liberal order and an evil Russia. You see, they would argue: the more pressure on the Kremlin, the more it is forced to concede."

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16.07.2019

"Russia’s S-400 Is 'the Best Missile System All-Around,' U.S. Firm Says"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/16/russias-s400-is-best-missile-system-all-around-us-intel-firm-sa
ys-a66429

Das russische S-400-Raketenabwehrsystem, dessen Installation in der Türkei zu einer NATO-Krise geführt hat, ist nach Ansicht von Experten des Beratungsinstituts Stratfor das derzeit beste Raketensystem der Welt. "Russia’s S-400 is the 'best all-around' missile defense system out there, the U.S. intelligence firm Stratfor has said in a new report, but it is severely limited if operating alone. Russia began delivering the S-400 surface-to-air system to Turkey last week, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling it 'the strongest defence system against those who want to attack our country.' The United States has opposed its NATO ally’s purchase of the Russian systems and is reportedly preparing sanctions against Turkey this week. (...) Konstantin Sokolov, geopolitical expert at the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, told The Moscow Times the missile system’s delivery marks 'a critical juncture in Russian-Turkish and Turkish-NATO relations.' 'The purchase of weapons — this is long-term cooperation and long-term policy — is a key moment because it shows that Turkey has pivoted toward Russia,' Sokolov told The Moscow Times."

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03.07.2019

"Is Putin Winning Against Liberal Democracy?"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/03/is-putin-winning-against-liberal-democracy-a66272

Russlands Präsident Putin habe sich zu einem Anführer der politischen Rechten entwickelt, schreibt Leonid Ragozin. Dies sei die Konsequenz einer "ideologischen Flexibilität", die Putins gesamte politische Karriere begleitet habe. "He was totally at peace with the liberal paradigm back in the 1990s; later he happily toyed with Soviet nostalgia, blood & soil ethnonationalism and Christian fundamentalism. He would turn liberal again if it helped keep his ratings afloat. (...) Putin wouldn’t have evolved into a far-right leader if not for the corruption, double standards and intellectual impotence of Russia’s liberals. The young Russian 'liberal' reformers of the 1990s are directly responsible for the emergence of oligarchic capitalism, which quite naturally led the country toward authoritarianism. (...) It’s much the same story when it comes to Putin confronting liberal democracy in the West. You can’t demand for Russia to ditch its nationalism and irredentism while you encourage far-right language and historical memory policies in Eastern Europe, or supply weapons to the Nazi-leaning Azov regiment in Ukraine. You can’t stop Russia from meddling in its neighborhood when you meddle all around the world, with grave results for local populations. You can’t tell Russia to stop farming trolls and spreading fake news, when your own partisan troll farms and infowar operations do that on a larger scale, using your own online platforms that you fail to regulate."

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26.06.2019

"Why We Should Welcome Russia Rejoining PACE"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/26/why-we-should-welcome-russia-rejoining-pace-a66175

Nach der Übernahme der Krim ist Russland vor fünf Jahren das Stimmrecht im Europarat entzogen worden. Die Entscheidung ist nun trotz vieler Proteste und kritischer Medienkommentare rückgängig gemacht worden. Der russische Oppositionspolitiker Vladimir Ryzhkov begrüßt die Entscheidung, da ein Rückzug Russlands aus dem Europarat das Land weiter isoliert und die russische Zivilgesellschaft geschädigt hätte. "The vote and accompanying discussion showed that there is a deep rift in the Council of Europe — and in Europe as a whole — on the desirability of Russian participation in European institutions. An equally deep schism on the issue exists among the Russian elites. However, the decision has been made, and it will benefit both parties. (...) In general, part of the Russian elite sees membership in the Сouncil of Еurope as an unwelcome legacy of the 'wild 1990s,' something that prevents the Kremlin from having complete freedom of movement in both domestic and foreign policy. However, there is another influential part of the Russian elite that realizes leaving the Сouncil of Еurope would be a substantial blow to the national interest. (...) Under the Сouncil of Еurope, Russia has ratified and pledged to implement dozens of conventions that have a positive influence on processes taking place inside Russia. Russia’s permanent representative to the Council of Europe, Ivan Saltonovsky, stresses that the body 'is an extremely serious platform for dialogue with the participation of the Europeans, and an important part of our work on creating a single European legal and humanitarian space.'"

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24.06.2019

"Russian Church Seeks to Ban Blessings of Weapons of Mass Destruction"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/24/russian-church-seeks-to-ban-blessings-of-weapons-of-mass-destru
ction-a66116

Eine von der russisch-orthodoxen Kirche eingesetzte Kommission hat sich für die Abschaffung der bisher üblichen Segnung von Massenvernichtungswaffen ausgesprochen. "The Russian Orthodox Church seeks to stop the practice of blessing weapons of mass destruction under rules that could be approved later this summer, a senior church official has said. Over the years, Russian priests have been called to bless everything from tanks and missiles to cats and metro cars. (...) 'Weapons of mass destruction and non-personal weapons in general should not be 'sanctified,'' said Bishop Savva of Zelenograd, a senior official at the Moscow Patriarchy, citing the practice of blessing missiles, tanks and other large-scale weapons. 'This is where the commission’s position is at odds with practices of recent years.' The bishop added that personal weapons could still be blessed because they are used by soldiers on military service 'for the protection of the Fatherland.'"

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17.06.2019

"Russia Thwarts U.S. Cyber Attacks on Its Infrastructure — News Agencies"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/17/russia-uncovers-attempted-us-cyberattacks-on-its-infrastructure
-ria-a66034

Russische Behörden haben Berichten zufolge in den vergangenen Jahren immer wieder amerikanische Cyber-Angriffe auf kritische Infrastrukturen entdeckt und abgewehrt. "The disclosure was made on Russia's state-run RIA and TASS news agencies days after the New York Times cited unnamed government sources as saying that the United States had inserted potentially disruptive computer code into Russia's power grid as part of a more aggressive deployment of its cyber tools. (...) 'We see and note such attempts,' the Russian security source was quoted as saying in response to the report. 'However, we manage to neutralize these actions.' Foreign intelligence services have stepped up cyber attacks against Russia in recent years and are targeting mainly transport, banking and energy infrastructure, the source told TASS and RIA."

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12.06.2019

"Moldova is the One Thing Russia and the West Agree On"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/12/moldova-is-the-one-thing-russia-and-the-west-agree-on-a65970

Die verworrene politische Situation in Moldawien erinnere an die Krise in Venezuela, schreibt Leonid Bershidsky. In einem der ärmsten Länder Europas konkurrierten derzeit zwei Regierungen um die Macht. Die Situation sei auch bemerkenswert, weil der Westen und Russland ähnliche Positionen vertreten. "The confluence of Russian and European interests, backed by the U.S., is almost incredible in the current geopolitical climate. It shows Russia doesn’t have to be the West’s adversary and a corruption exporter banking on chaos and decay in neighboring countries. Even though its ulterior motives are expressly not the same as those of Western countries, it’s equally interested in stability in its immediate neighborhood – and in making sure political forces sympathetic to it have some say in governing the region. (...) For now, though, it’s  important to prevent violence. Russia and the West must combine their efforts to force Plahotniuc to stand down. Europe doesn’t really need a Venezuela of its own."

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04.06.2019

"What Russia After Vladimir Putin Might Look Like"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/06/04/what-russia-after-vladimir-putin-might-look-like-a65879

Leonid Bershidsky stellt eine neue Studie der in Washington ansässigen Free Russia Foundation vor, die sich mit der langfristigen Entwicklung Russlands beschäftigt hat. "The authors include some of the most insightful anti-Putin commentators today: political analyst Alexander Morozov, media expert Vasily Gatov, economists Vladimir Milov and Vladislav Inozemtsev, social anthropologist Denis Sokolov and energy expert Ilya Zaslavskiy. While the report makes no attempt to mask the authors’ clear differences of opinion, there is some consensus about the key points of tension in Russia’s immediate future. These are: Russia will still depend on energy exports. (...) Russia will increasingly come under China’s sway. (...) No high-cost military adventures, but watch Belarus and Kazakhstan. (...) No elite rebellion. (...) The picture that emerges from the report is one of a mature, stable system geared toward a relatively smooth succession when Putin moves on. For the West, the best outcome would be if a still authoritarian and highly centralized Russia decided, out of self-interest, to be less outwardly assertive, giving up on the eastern Ukraine project and abandoning attempts to sow discord in the Western through propaganda and cyber activity."

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28.05.2019

"Russia Unlikely to Stay Neutral if U.S. and Iran Go to War"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/28/russia-unlikely-to-stay-neutral-if-us-and-iran-go-to-war-a65771

Pyotr Kortunov und Abdolrasool Divsallar erläutern, warum ein Sturz des Regimes in Teheran keineswegs im Interesse Russlands wäre. Die USA könnten in diesem Fall eine Sicherheitsarchitektur im Nahen Osten installieren, die Washington großen Einfluss garantieren würde. Im Fall eines Kriegs der USA gegen den Iran würde es Moskau deshalb wohl nicht bei diplomatischer Unterstützung für Teheran belassen. "Over the past years, Moscow and Tehran have institutionalized their military coordination through an unprecedented amount of regular high-level military and intelligence contacts. This could also contribute to Moscow’s willingness to expand her assistance to Iran beyond diplomatic measures. Furthermore, the global ambition Russia is acting on today demands that Moscow makes an appropriate response to any radical U.S. policy towards Iran. One of Putin’s key aspirations in regard to foreign policy is asserting Russia as a globally recognized superpower. (...) Russia’s direct involvement in the U.S.-Iran conflict, should such a confrontation take place, is highly improbable. However, Moscow may take certain cautious steps in order to strengthen Iran's deterrence capacities. It is doubtful that Moscow will make any radical changes to her policy of not supplying Tehran with offensive weapons, but that doesn’t mean Russia cannot enhance Iran’s defense capabilities."

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21.05.2019

"Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Asks U.S. for Stronger Anti-Russia Sanctions On First Day in Office"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/21/ukraines-zelenskiy-asks-us-for-stronger-anti-russia-sanctions-o
n-first-day-in-office-a65665

Bei einem Treffen mit US-Vertretern hat der neue ukrainische Präsident Volodymyr Zelenskiy härtere Sanktionen gegen Russland gefordert. "'I would like to urge you that the United States keeps increasing sanctions against [Russia],' Zelenskiy said in a meeting with U.S. lawmakers and Trump administration officials, including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, Monday. During the meeting, Zelenskiy noted that Washington is 'a powerful and very serious partner in overcoming Russia's aggression.' He voiced a similar 'hope' that the European Union will continue sanctions pressure on Russia in talks with European energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic later that day."

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20.05.2019

"Corruption and Populism Are the West's Weaknesses, not Moscow’s Invention"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/20/corruption-and-populism-are-the-wests-weaknesses-not-moscows-in
vention-a65643

Der Skandal um den österreichischen FPÖ-Politiker und mittlerweile zurückgetretenen Vizekanzler Heinz-Christian Strache bestätigt nach Ansicht von Mark Galeotti, dass Korruption und Populismus in Europa keine Erfindung Russlands seien. "The Freedom Party in Austria, the Lega and Five Stars in Italy, the Brexit Party, Alternative for Germany and so forth all have their roots in the generalized legitimacy crisis gripping the West, not Russian subterfuge. By failing to modernize our political systems, by letting constituencies come to feel left out and overlooked, by allowing the narratives of globalization, migration and harmonization to be hijacked and defined by the populists, the mainstream has shaped its enemies, empowered them, and handed them to Moscow or any other foreign backers — from Steve Bannon to Xi Jinping — willing to stroke their egos and back their campaigns. Likewise, while it has become fashionable in some circles to assert that 'corruption is the new communism' — in other words, that the world can be divided between the 'kleptocratic East' and the 'liberal West', and that countries such as Russia seek to 'export corruption' abroad — this is evidently also a home-grown problem. No one tied Strache to a chair and forced him to listen to the Russian's pitch."

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19.05.2019

"How One Village on the Volga Sowed Chaos in Europe’s Oil Market"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/19/how-one-village-on-the-volga-sowed-chaos-in-europes-oil-market-
a65641

Jake Rudnitsky hat das russische Dorf Nikolayevka besucht, das als Ursprung des aktuellen "Chaos" auf den europäischen Öl-Märkten gilt. "It’s here, just east of a looping bend in the Volga River, that authorities say corrosive chlorides entered Russia’s 40,000-mile network of oil pipelines, causing the first-ever shutdown of the main export artery to Europe. President Vladimir Putin was quick to lash out at national operator Transneft, saying April 30 that the crisis was causing 'huge' damage. Eight days later, investigators blamed a band of black marketeers working in concert with a local company that had access to Transneft’s system through feeder lines in Nikolayevka. (...) Russia’s Investigative Committee accuses the group of stealing at least 1 million rubles ($15,400) of pipeline-ready oil, covering their tracks by replacing it with a similar volume of a liquid mixture consisting of raw crude and organic chlorides. The scheme lasted about 10 days and ended up tainting as much as 5 million tons of exports through the Druzhba link to Belarus and beyond, affecting refineries throughout Eastern Europe."

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09.05.2019

"In Venezuela, Geopolitics Obscure the True Prize: Oil"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/09/in-venezuela-geopolitics-obscure-the-true-prize-oil-a65513

Max Hess rät dagegen von einer amerikanisch-russischen Debatte über Einflusssphären ab. Er meint, dass die USA Russland zur Kooperation in der Venezuela-Krise bewegen könnten, wenn Moskau eine Beteiligung an der künftigen Ölproduktion im Land in Aussicht gestellt würde. "Moscow’s sizable investments in Venezuela are the most likely explanation for its commitment to shoring up the Maduro regime. The imagery of standing up to the United States and 'protecting sovereignty' are added benefits. Moscow has spent the last few months signaling that it is willing to hold talks over Caracas’ fate while expanding support to Maduro, which would raise American costs in case of U.S. intervention. (...) offers should be made along the lines of what Rosneft really wants to gain: continued control over major assets in Venezuela’s oil sector. If that were to be accompanied by a face-saving political transition, new capital for the country’s hydrocarbon sector and perhaps the potential for sanctions relief, a deal could be in sight. It would also carry far fewer geopolitical costs than those promulgated by proponents of 21st-century spheres of influence."

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05.05.2019

"Putin Is Ready to Give Up Venezuela for the Right Price"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/05/putin-is-ready-to-give-up-venezuela-for-the-right-price-a65487

Die russische Regierung hat Vladimir Frolov zufolge mittlerweile erkannt, dass die Krise in Venezuela in der US-Außenpolitik mit der neu beschworenen "Monroe-Doktrin" eine zentrale Rolle spielt. Moskau könnte demnach versuchen, die USA durch eigene Zugeständnisse von Konzessionen in der Ukraine zu überzeugen. "Bolton’s invocation of the Monroe Doctrine and his 'spheres of influence framing' makes Moscow believe that, if done on an equal basis, a similar right should be recognized for Russia in Ukraine and other parts of the 'near abroad'. For Moscow, a deal of equals on Venezuela where Russia helps the U.S. diffuse the crisis by engineering a constitutional transition, should involve an equally significant concession by the U.S. (on a par with JFK-Khrushchev deal to remove nuclear missiles from Cuba and Turkey) to pressure Kiev into fully implementing the Minsk-2 agreements that would truncate Ukraine’s sovereignty and allow Moscow to retain some degree of control over Kiev’s security policies. (...) Moscow is ready to sell its stake in Maduro, but it is still unclear whether Washington is ready to offer the right price."

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24.04.2019

"Kim Jong Un Looks to Putin for Help Dealing With Trump Whiplash"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/24/kim-jong-un-looks-to-putin-for-help-dealing-with-trump-whiplash
-a65364

Nordkoreas Staatschef Kim Jong Un erhofft sich von seinem Besuch in Russland diesem Bericht der Moscow Times zufolge einige konkrete Zugeständnisse Moskaus. "Here’s what Kim wants: 1. Diplomatic lifeline (...) Kim wants to protect the diplomatic profile he built during a series of unprecedented trips abroad last year and demonstrate to Trump that he has friends beyond just China. (...) 2. Sanctions relief (...) Russia has pledged to abide by Security Council resolutions and there’s no sign Putin would take the risk of violating them. 3. Guest worker exceptions. One North Korean sanctions complaint that could find a receptive audience in Russia is the Security Council requirement that countries expel North Korean guest workers by the end of the year. (...) 4. Transportation links. Decades of sanctions, stagnation and excessive military spending have left North Korea’s infrastructure in bad shape. And Russia, which shares a 17 kilometer (11 mile) border with the country, wants it upgraded to gain access to the North and South Korean markets. (...) 5. Barter system. With trade between them down more than 56 percent last year, Russia and North Korea are working on a mechanism to stimulate commerce without violating sanctions, the Kommersant newspaper reported Tuesday."

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22.04.2019

"Ukraine President-Elect Zelenskiy’s Positions on Russia, Explained"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/22/ukraine-president-elect-zelenskiys-positions-on-russia-explaine
d-a65341

Die Moscow Times hat die bisher geäußerten Positionen des designierten ukrainischen Präsidenten Wolodymyr Selensky zu Russland zusammengetragen. "Positions on Crimea and Donbass: — Zelenskiy said that he had a plan for a 'powerful information war' to achieve a ceasefire in the Donbass. The plan includes launching pro-Ukrainian, Russian-language broadcasts in the region and worldwide. — Zelenskiy ruled out granting special status to the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, whose Kiev-controlled parts went heavily in Zelenskiy’s favor during Sunday’s runoffs. He said there’s 'no point' in negotiating directly with the Moscow-backed rebels and endorsed deploying UN peacekeepers in the region. — He has said that Crimea’s return to Ukrainian control would only be possible under new leadership in Russia. 'The so-called ‘referendum’ cannot be considered as an act corresponding to the free will of Crimean residents.'"

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15.04.2019

"Russia Has Ceased 'All' Cooperation With NATO, Foreign Ministry Official Says"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/15/russia-has-ceased-all-cooperation-with-nato-foreign-ministry-of
ficial-says-a65238

Nach der Warnung des scheidenden NATO-Oberbefehlshabers vor einer mangelnden Kommunikation zwischen Russland und den USA hat der stellvertretende russische Außenminister Alexander Grushko bestätigt, dass es zwischen der NATO und Moskau gegenwärtig keinerlei Kooperation gebe. "Russia has stopped all cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said in an interview with state media on Monday. The Western alliance suspended military and civilian cooperation with Russia in the spring of 2014 in response to Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Several disputes, including a naval standoff in the Kerch Strait and the U.S. withdrawal from a Cold War-era nuclear treaty, have further strained ties between Russia and the 70-year-old bloc. 'NATO has itself abandoned a positive agenda in its relations with Russia. It doesn’t exist,' Grushko told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. Grushko, Moscow’s permanent representative at NATO between 2012 and 2018, said the current standoff mirrors the Cold War “status quo” that brought about NATO’s creation in 1947. The diplomat warned NATO against military conflict with Russia, saying 'all sensible people hope it doesn’t happen.'"

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01.04.2019

"Treaty's End Would Give U.S., Russia Impetus to Make More Nukes – Study"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/01/treatys-end-would-give-us-russia-impetus-to-make-more-nukes-stu
dy-a65028

Dem Ende des INF-Vertrags könnte bald das Ende des "New START"-Abkommens folgen, so die Sorge vieler Abrüstungsexperten. Eine neue Studie der CNA Corporation warnt vor den Folgen des Auslaufens des Rüstungskontrollvertrags im Jahr 2021. "The New START treaty required the United States and Russia to cut their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades, and limit delivery systems — land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers. It also includes extensive transparency measures requiring each side to allow the other to carry out 10 inspections of strategic nuclear bases each year; give 48 hours notice before new missiles covered by the treaty leave their factories; and provide notifications before ballistic missile launches. Both sides must also exchange data declaring their deployed strategic nuclear warheads, delivery vehicles and launchers, as well as breakdowns of how many of each are located at individual bases. All of that would end if the treaty expires. (...) Without the data, the United States would have to reassign its overworked satellites, possibly devoting more surveillance to Russia and less to China, Iran and North Korea. Another casualty of the treaty's expiration could be global nonproliferation, making non-nuclear states doubt the United States and Russia will keep working toward nuclear disarmament under the NPT, the study said."

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25.03.2019

"Mueller Provides Scant Real Relief for Russia"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/03/25/mueller-provides-scant-real-relief-for-russia-a64948

In den russisch-amerikanischen Beziehungen wird sich trotz des Mueller-Berichts in den kommenden Jahren kaum etwas ändern, erwartet Mark Galeotti. "Moscow is not off the hook, as there are also the heavily-documented cases of social media interference and the hacking and then leaking of emails, but the claim that the Donald and the Vladimir plotted together to steal the American presidency appears to have been scotched. So is that an end to it? Hardly. First of all, especially until the full report is released (at least to Congress), there will be those who claim that Attorney General William Barr — a Trump appointee — might be selectively summarising Robert Mueller’s words to clear his boss. Secondly, given the narrowness of the margin by which Trump won his electoral college victory, there will be many who would rather blame Russian meddling than an awkward Democrat candidate with a flawed campaign strategy, and a groundswell of resentment at the status quo that a demagogue vowing to 'drain the swamp' could channel. Finally, there is the fact that even without collusion, Moscow did seek to influence the election. (...) while the Mueller report is undoubtedly a momentous procedural step in America’s polite and political civil war, it is unlikely to make any impact on U.S.-Russian relations, dominated as they are by the subjectivities of mutual paranoia, scapegoating, and mistrust."

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25.03.2019

"R.I.P. Russiagate. Here's What We Learned"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/03/25/rip-russiagate-heres-what-we-learned-a64944

Leonid Bershidsky meint in seinen Schlussfolgerungen aus dem Kollaps der Russiagate-Verschwörungstheorie, dass sowohl die USA als auch Russland künftig besser darauf verzichten sollten, externe Feinde für ihre innenpolitischen Probleme verantwortlich zu machen. "(...) the most important learning I draw from Russiagate is about the search for external enemies as a political method beloved of both Russian and U.S. politicians. Russiagate fueled that love in both countries. It allowed the domestic Russian propaganda to portray the U.S. as inherently Russophobic and willing to disregard or twist facts in fits of McCarthyism. The excesses of Russiagate reporting made easy targets for state-owned Russian media. Even anti-Putin Russians like myself often had to shake our heads in disbelief over what we read. On the other hand, it distracted many Americans from the real causes of Hillary Clinton’s defeat and Trump’s victory. (...) Both countries’ biggest enemies, of course, are inside, not outside: Corruption in various forms, and policy failures. Tackling them simultaneously would probably turn the U.S. and Russia from adversaries into allies. That, however, can only happen with different presidents; the natural collusion of two wrong-headed leaders is worse than a legally provable conspiracy would have been."

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16.03.2019

"Has Russia Finally Found its Niche in the World?"

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/03/16/has-russia-finally-found-its-niche-in-the-world-a64830

Alexei Levinson stellt fest, dass die Übernahme der Krim in der russischen Bevölkerung fünf Jahre später immer noch auf große Zustimmung stoße. Russland habe die Folgen der Entscheidung offenbar akzeptiert. "Since March 2014, when the takeover of Crimea was essentially completed, the Levada Center pollster has regularly posed Russians the question: 'Do you support the accession of Crimea to Russia?' The proportion of those who answer 'yes' has never sunk below 83 percent (and never risen above 88 percent). Over the last five years, there has been no other indicator of public opinion and mood that has shown this kind of consistency. The lack of public division in opinions on Crimea is very telling. (...) Russia has found its niche, and this suits Russians. If it is a position of 'we stand alone, everyone opposes us,' then we are a heroic minority. If it is a position of 'we stand against the West, but China and India are with us,' then we are in a victorious majority. In either case, it is cause for self-esteem. And for those who still pine for the great power of the Soviet Union, this is something of which they are in great need."

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22.01.2019

"Putin Doesn’t Have Clout to Get Deal With Abe"

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/putin-doesnt-have-clout-to-get-deal-with-abe-op-ed-64250

Leonid Bershidsky glaubt, dass es Präsident Putin aufgrund seiner innenpolitischen Situation nicht riskieren wird, Japan wesentliche Zugeständnisse im Kurilenkonflikt anzubieten. "For Putin, an agreement with Japan would be both strategically and tactically beneficial. (...) but the moment to cut through the Gordian knot appears to have passed, at least temporarily. Putin is, somewhat unexpectedly, living through one of the worst moments of his presidential career. (...) The last thing Putin needs now is the instability that would be fostered by a deal with Japan that requires Russia to surrender territory. (...) This is simply not the moment for Putin to cede anything to Abe. So earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after meeting with his Japanese counterpart that Japan would need to recognize Russian sovereignty over the disputed islands as a precondition of peace. This is unacceptable to Abe, but Russia has never promised to hand over the islands, preferring to discuss all sorts of compromise arrangements such as the joint development of the disputed territories."

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17.01.2019

"Russians’ Belief in Country’s Superpower Status Reaches 20-Year High – Poll"

https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russians-belief-countrys-superpower-status-reaches-20-year-high-poll-6416
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Einer neuen Umfrage zufolge sind 75% der Russen vom "Supermacht"-Status ihres Landes überzeugt. Die Zahl habe in den vergangenen 20 Jahren stetig zugenommen, berichtet Alexander Avilov. "When asked which historical event they feel most proud of, the overwhelming majority of respondents – 87 percent – named the Soviet victory in World War II. The country’s achievements in space and the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, which Moscow views as reunification with Russia, lagged behind as the next most popular responses at 50 and 45 percent. Overall, 75 percent of respondents said they believe Russia is a superpower. The number has climbed steadily over the past two decades, from a low of 30 percent in November 2005. The number of respondents who say Russia must preserve its status as a great power also reached a historic high in the latest Levada survey, with 88 percent subscribing to the view, up from a low of 72 percent in April 1992."

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28.12.2018

Europe Should Woo Russia When Putin's Gone (Op-ed)

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/europe-should-woo-russia-when-putins-gone-op-ed-63990

Nach Ansicht von Leonid Bershidsky sollte sich Europa bereits jetzt auf einen Abtritt von Präsident Putin und einen neuen Annäherungsversuch gegenüber Russland vorbereiten. Eine enge Kooperation mit Moskau hätte für die Europäer demnach erhebliche strategische Vorteile. "Europe has a lot to gain if it has the courage. Drawing Russia in could solve some of the European Union’s fundamental problems. With its massive natural-gas reserves, Russia could propel Europe faster toward hard-to-reach environmental goals. With its untapped economic potential and need for immigrants to develop its vast territory, it could be a big help in resolving migration issues. With its recent investment in agile, modern military power — yes, in the Avangard, too — it could provide a backbone for a joint European military. Establishing a vast European common market including Russia wouldn’t be impossible: Even despite Putin’s hostility toward the West, Russia has adopted many European technical standards as it moved away from obsolete Soviet ones. All of this, of course, would only make sense for Europe if Russia were prepared to yield some sovereignty, accept some rules of conduct and adopt Europe’s values. That’s difficult to imagine today, but then the current EU would have looked fantastical as recently as 30 years ago. If European leaders were more farsighted, they’d be working on a comprehensive trade and security offer to Putin’s successor."

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11.12.2018

"The Yellow Vests Aren’t Imported from Russia"

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/the-yellow-vests-arent-imported-from-russia-op-ed-63784

Leonid Bershidsky bezweifelt, dass russische Medienberichte oder Internetaktionen bei den französischen Gelbwesten-Protesten eine wesentliche Rolle gespielt haben. "(...) maybe it’s time for democratic leaders and dictators alike to realize something important about the modern brand of protest, no matter where it takes place – in Cairo, Moscow, Kiev or Paris. If pro-establishment U.S. voices or Russian propaganda channels cheer it on, that doesn’t make it an import. It’s not a conspiracy instigated by foreign enemies even if, outwardly, it appears to serve the interests of Putin, Trump or George Soros. (...) the core reasons for the protests are domestic, as Macron clearly realizes given his belated – and likely misguided – attempt to appease the protesters. Faced with a version of the Yellow Vests, any nation’s elite must look inward; the question to answer is, 'What have we done wrong?' Once a satisfactory answer is found, there’ll be plenty of time to investigate foreign interference."

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29.11.2018

"Containing the Kerch Crisis"

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/containing-the-kerch-crisis-63649

Wenn die ukrainisch-russische Krise in der Straße von Kertsch kontrolliert werden soll, müsse der Unterschied zwischen völkerrechtlichen Positionen und geopolitischen Realitäten beachtet werden, meint Dmitry Trenin vom Carnegie Moscow Center. "Legal positions and geopolitical realities are different things. No one besides Turkey recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Only a handful of countries apart from Russia back the sovereignty of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo, which is also not a member of the United Nations. Nagorno-Karabakh is formally regarded by everyone as part of Azerbaijan. Yet any attempt to substitute the legal position for the geopolitical reality in any of these cases is bound to lead to a collision. Crimea belongs in the same category, only the consequences of the collision are likely to be on a much higher order. (...) Ukrainian leaders should not get the idea that whatever they do to provoke the Russians to 'show their true colors' will pass. The 2008 experience of Mikheil Saakashvili, who started a war to liberate part of Georgia’s sovereign territory only to discover that the U.S. forces were not rushing to his rescue, should serve as a warning. The Georgia war was brief and securely contained. Ukraine, God forbid, would be anything but."

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