Stories about Russia

Will Crimea’s ‘strategic importance’ cost Putin his political future?

The moment you log on to an international news channel nowadays, two stories frequently flash on your screens: the missing Malaysian airplane and Crimea – the climax of the Ukrainian crisis. Although the agonising search for the debris of flight MH370 seems to be in its final stages with the latest Australian revelations, the Crimean crisis is still far from over. In the wake of the latest developments, the Russian State Duma has approved the treaty of making Crimea a part of Russia. The US, EU and the West called it an act of aggression, Mr Gorbachev called it a ‘Soviet era mistake corrected’, the Chinese remained mum and the Russians called ...

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Can Vladimir Putin pull off the Winter Olympics safely?

A couple of deadly bomb blasts in Volgograd in two days killing 30, coupled with disastrous floods in Far Eastern Russia were enough for the Russian President Vladimir Putin to change his years-old ritual of addressing the nation on New Year’s Eve from the Kremlin. For us Pakistanis, such events have become so common that even a series of blasts on festivals such as Eid may hardly affect our routine – as long as we don’t suffer directly. But for Russia, these events, especially the blasts, are national tragedies. Timing of the Volgograd bombings Russia is nearly a month away from holding the much awaited Winter Olympics ...

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Is it time for Pakistan to reconsider the US as its ally?

Close to 50,000 deaths, over $100 billion in losses, and growing insecurity and fear among the citizens with each passing day. These are few of the highlights of Pakistan’s involvement in the US-led war on terror that has now been fought for more than 12 years.  This war which was initiated to target the militants in Afghanistan has haunted and continues to haunt, many innocent civilians, not only in Afghanistan but also in Pakistan. The United States, along with its allies, began this war to hunt down the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden and to put an end to the Taliban regime and its activities. However, in ...

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Global powers have to stop playing political chess with Syria

It has been quite a while since the people of Syria began to assert their rights and demand freedom from the clutches of dictatorship. However, as time passed things have taken a turn for the worse. Although the initial uprising was inspired by Syrian neighbours – both, immediate and distant – unfortunately, this simple and just assertion was turned into a global issue by the Big Five countries in the United Nations. These nations played politics at the cost of innocent human lives and even Muslim countries have shown helplessness in stopping the ruthless and continuing massacre of Syrian civilians. On the one hand is Bashar ...

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Sense prevails over Syria, finally

It is commonplace to find Russia and America at odds with one another, especially in the recent past, from the Edward Snowden saga to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, relations between the two have generally been cold. In contrast, however, the latest development in relations between the two has been an amiable one, when Obama saw eye-to-eye with Putin’s proposal of disposing of Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision. The congress vote-in, which Obama was tipped to face stiff resistance on, has been put on hold to give diplomacy a chance. Incidentally, it seems that America ...

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The US at the G20 summit: Selling a strike on Syria

The G20 leaders met in St Petersburg where Obama’s drive to strike Syria was on the top of the agenda. However, his ‘coalition of the willing’ is rather weak and much divided with Vladimir Putin resolutely against any military intervention without a resolution from the United Nations Security Council.   My fear is that this summit could be the final step before another disastrous involvement by the West in the Arab world. The similarities of 2013 and 2003 are startling. Just like 10 years ago, with regards to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, John Kerry reassured the congress that the Assad regime is the ...

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NSA and PRISM: Say a wrong word and you’re on the watch list

Edward Snowden, a former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA), has created a nightmare for the United States government by leaking information about a programme called ‘PRISM’. The programme, run by the NSA, essentially aims at comprehensively monitoring all calls in and out of the US. It sifts through huge amounts of user data collected from cyber big wigs such as Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. Once the agency has this wild amount of data, it uses a sophisticated tool called ‘Boundless Informant‘ to make sense of it. I must admit, the uproar as a result of the PRISM leaks is ...

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So, why did Putin delay his visit?

In a surprising turn of events, Russian President Vladimir Putin deferred his visit to Pakistan, scheduled on between October 2 and 3. As a result, the quadrilateral summit for the Afghan Security Situation, having Tajikistan, Russia, Pakistan and Afghanistan as participants was postponed to an undisclosed date. Although Putin’s decision may raise serious concerns, the prevailing situation behind the scenes is quite different and, dare I say, positive. According to Moazzam Khan, the foreign office spokesman, Putin has written a letter to President Zardari expressing Russia’s desire to enhance cooperation with Pakistan. With this announcement, the Pakistani media outlets started to cite ...

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Welcoming Putin to Pakistan

Vladimir Putin, a former spymaster, known for his political struggle and his contribution to the uplift of his country after its disintegration in 1991, has been the president of Russia since May 7, 2012. Previously, Putin served as president from 2000 to 2008 and as prime minister from 1999 to 2000 and from 2008 to 2012. The Russian president is scheduled to visit Pakistan in the first week of October and this is a welcome shift in our country’s foreign policy. It is high time Pakistan develops cordial relations with other countries of the world to overcome its multiple challenges. While ...

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Blasphemy: Intolerance prevails from Russia to Pakistan

For the majority of us tolerance is not something we are born with. Intolerance, on the other hand, seems to come to us naturally, like aggression or desire, and manifests against that which is different or against our vested interests. To Pakistan, the story of intolerance is not new – we persecute any one whose beliefs are differentness from the mainstream ones. However, recently I stumbled upon a story from Russia, which reminded me starkly of my own country, Pakistan. Russia, hardly a bastion for modern western democracy, is currently facing its own challenges in dealing with intolerance in the shape of a ...

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