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The Putin Doctrine

By Leon Aron

Much in Russian foreign policy today is based on a consensus that crystallized in the early 1990s. Emerging from the rubble of the Soviet collapse, this consensus ranges across the political spectrum -- from pro-Western liberals to leftists and nationalists. It rests on three geostrategic imperatives: that Russia must remain a nuclear superpower, a great power in all facets of international activity, and the hegemon -- the political, military, and economic leader -- of its region. This consensus marks a line in the sand, beyond which Russia cannot retreat without losing its sense of pride or even national identity. It has proven remarkably resilient, surviving post-revolutionary turbulence and the change of political regimes from Boris Yeltsin to Vladimir Putin. READ MORE

Vladimir Bespalov: Germany Shall Maintain Neutrality about Presence of Russia in Arab States

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By Vladimir Bespalov

Expert-germanist Vladimir Bespalov analyzed economic relations of Russia and Germany as the ground of political dialogue for “NewsBalt”.  READ MORE

Ukrainian dilemma

Tentatively in April, President of Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus will discuss the issue of Ukraine's accession to the provisions of the Customs Union. According to an UNIAN correspondent, told the president of Ukraine, returning from Moscow. Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yanukovych discussed the format of Kiev with the Customs Union (CU) and agreed to continue to work not only for governments, but also with the involvement of the executive body of the Customs Union. While Moscow is offering Kiev to join the Customs Union, which will reduce the price of purchased natural gas in Russia. In Kiev, still hoping to sign an association agreement and a free trade area with the European Union and offer sectoral cooperation with TC under a "3 +1", but Russia is not satisfied. READ MORE

EU-Russian cooperation needed to stop Baltic Sea becoming ‘green soup’

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Regional co-operation around the Baltic has helped spur trade growth, but more co-operation is needed, especially with Russia, if the region is to avoid the sea from becoming over-fished and polluted, argue two foreign ministers. READ MORE

Schengen will be available at the visa centers in Russia and Ukraine

Applications for issuing Schengen visas in Russia and Ukraine can apply not only to the Embassy of Lithuania, but also in the 28 visa centers. READ MORE

Russia and Central Asia: Missed Opportunities and New Prospects

By Alexei Vlasov

What is Russia's role in Central Asia? How do those in Central Asia perceive Moscow's policies? What is at the core of this relationship: labor migration, multimillion loans, or Russia’s security umbrella? READ MORE

The Irtysh River in Hydropolitics of Russia, Kazakhstan and China

By Arthur Dunn

China has signed no international-legal documents on transboundary water objects. READ MORE

US, Chinese Plans for Rail Links with Central Asia Triggering ‘Railroad War’ and Reducing Russia’s Influence

By Paul Goble

United States plans to link the countries of Central Asia by new rail lines with Afghanistan. At the same time, Washington opposes neither the construction of a railway corridor from Central Asia through Iran, nor Chinese extensions of its national rail system into the area. Nevertheless, according to analysts at the Moscow Strategic Culture Foundation, these overlapping transportation development projects threaten to spark a new “railroad war” in the Central Asian region—one that in the absence of counter-efforts by the Russian Federation is likely to result in a sharp reduction of Moscow’s influence over the countries there. READ MORE

Lithuania Wants to get Free of Energy Hegemony

By Thomas Jarvi

Till 2014 Lithuania intends to build a terminal of condensed natural gas (CNG) in Klaipeda in order to reduce the dependence of supplies from (yet the only source) Russian gas. Meanwhile Russian gas giant Gazprom loses European market rapidly, giving the way to other suppliers, for example, Qatar and is concerned about the issues of terminal construction by Lithuania. READ MORE

Russia Eyes Stronger Economic Engagement with Central Asia

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By Sergei Blagov

Russian authorities reiterated, on January 22, pledges of increased economic engagement with Central Asia. The foreign ministry advocated plans to develop economic and trade ties with the region, while other officials urged the creation of a Russian state corporation that would encourage economic development there (Regnum, January 22). READ MORE