March 24, 2013 |
MOSCOW - China's new president received a lavish welcome Friday as he made Moscow his first foreign destination, joining with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin in a pointed attempt to counter U.S. influence in Asia. Xi Jinping, who became president just last week, urged Russia to improve its foreign policy coordination to protect the two neighbors' joint security interests - comments that appeared to seek Russia's backing for his eagerness to reduce U.S. influence and challenge Japan over a set of disputed islands.
February 24, 2013 |
MOSCOW - A campaign of insinuation and insult has targeted Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and in a country where all power flows from the top downward, his boss, President Vladimir Putin, has done nothing all winter to stop it. Medvedev's failings get an airing in the press, and nasty, anonymous video documentaries accuse him of all sorts of treachery. Slights and humiliations are visited on him by the Kremlin. Governors go around him. Bureaucrats ignore him. Putin, in public, takes little care to hide his disdain.
December 9, 2012 |
MOSCOW - Hold the Botox! The latest rumors swirling around the Kremlin suggest Vladimir Putin needs a makeover, dropping his macho, macho man refrain in favor of some crinkly-eyed gravitas. Putin's usual sky-high ratings have been slipping, the people around him are constantly pestered with questions about his health, and gossip persists that powerful behind-the-scenes string-pullers, known as the elite, are locked in an ugly struggle over the country's direction. What's a 60-year-old president to do?
August 24, 2012
By Tobias Peter This isn't just a story about a punk band. Yes, the three women sentenced to two years in jail last week for criticizing Vladimir Putin are members of a Russian rock group called Pussy Riot. But their case shows not only that there is no freedom of speech in the country, but that life for its people has only gotten worse since Putin was elected president for the third time. The band members were arrested after they stormed the altar at a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow and belted out a "punk prayer" beseeching the Virgin Mary to rid their country of Putin.
June 15, 2012
This week - just as new revelations emerged of Syrian regime massacres of women and children - Moscow ordered the harshest measures against its own political opposition since Vladimir Putin first took power. What do the Syrian and Russian crackdowns have in common? The answer holds the key to preventing a Syrian bloodbath that will unsettle the entire Middle East. It's no accident that the Kremlin targets domestic critics even as it props up the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
June 12, 2012 |
MOSCOW - Police raided the apartments of a dozen or more activists Monday morning, seizing documents, ordering opposition leaders in for questioning and raising apprehensions about how harshly authorities would handle a big protest march planned for Tuesday. Ever since Vladimir Putin was inaugurated as president on May 7, Russians have nervously speculated about how he would deal with dissent. The raids Monday suggested he would do as many predicted - make an example of a few to frighten off the many.
April 23, 2012 |
MOSCOW - Tens of thousands prayed outside Moscow's main cathedral on Sunday to show their support for the Russian Orthodox Church in a controversy over a punk rock protest that has added to political tensions in Russia. Christ the Savior Cathedral was the scene of a brief surprise performance in February by a female punk rock group protesting Vladimir Putin's return to the presidency. Three members of the band Pussy Riot remain in police custody and face up to seven years in prison on charges of hooliganism.
March 16, 2012
Putin a safe, predictable partner Trudy Rubin is correct that the "reset" of U.S.-Russian relations depends less on rational factors and more on what is going on in the mind of Vladimir Putin ("U.S. will have struggle with hostile Putin," Sunday), only if one believes that his actions are not rational. What many analysts see in Putin is the embodiment of what they dislike: a patriotic leader who believes in, and upholds, the right of sovereign nations to be in charge of their affairs within their borders.
March 11, 2012 |
MOSCOW - Can Washington have a productive relationship with a Russian leader who thinks Americans are out to destroy him? After a week of listening to official anti-American rhetoric in Moscow, I find it hard to see how. Vladimir Putin, newly elected to a third presidential term (after an interval as prime minister), has made clear he believes Washington has him in its crosshairs. "Nobody can impose their policy on us," he proclaimed to a cheering crowd at his victory rally near the Kremlin.
March 8, 2012 |
MOSCOW - Vladimir Putin has won his third term in an unfair election, and the new Russian opposition seems confused about what to do next. Its first postelection demonstration was much smaller than any of the huge, unprecedented gatherings that erupted in December after a rigged parliamentary ballot. Yet, it would be a mistake to conclude that a brief "Moscow spring" has already ended. A week in chilly Moscow has made me optimistic that political change here is inevitable, whether or not Putin wants it. To paraphrase Bob Dylan: Something is happening, Mr. Putin, and you don't know what it is . Let me explain.