Russia

The Abduction of Eston Kohver: Consequences and Significance

At around 9:00 am on September 5th, Internal Security Service (Kaitsepolitsei) officer Eston Kohver was abducted by representatives of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) on Estonian territory near the village of Miikse and the Luhamaa border crossing. The Russian operatives undoubtedly acted very quickly, supposedly using smoke and/or shock grenades in addition to light weapons. It now seems that the Russians are not only capable of surprising almost everyone by seizing territories of neighbouring countries (e.g. Crimea) in a few days, but also of kidnapping people—and not just anyone, but a professional—outside Russia’s territory in a few minutes.

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Call Putin’s Bluff on Natural Gas

The EU has convinced itself that its dependence on Russian natural gas supplies deprives it of leverage over Russia, thereby limiting its response to Russia’s hybrid warfare against Ukraine. In reality, however, Russia is locked into Europe as the main export market for its natural gas for decades to come.

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Minsk Meetings and the Rising Costs of War

On August 26, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko met twice in Minsk: both within the Customs Union-EU-Ukraine format, and more importantly, in a separate one-on-one session. While Minsk may now become a permanent location for Ukraine negotiations, and while the parties promised to continue trade talks, there were too few key results from these meetings. On the military conflict, the parties seem to have reached an agreement to resume talks within the “contact group” format, i.e., with separatist representatives but without either the EU or the US, notwithstanding the fact that prior talks in this format have already proven ineffective.

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French politician and businessman to build historical theme parks in Russia and Crimea

Russia needs now more than ever supporters in the West. Or rather any well-known Europeans who would readily accept Russian money and Byzantine courtesy, and above all turn a blind eye to the Russian parallel reality and the serious threat posed by Muscovy to Ukraine and Europe as a whole. Putin seems willing to generously reward, and obviously let exploit by his propaganda machine, any new Schröders and Depardieus. To give to the Russians the false impression that he is still accepted and even praised by Western personalities and celebrities, and to seed as much discord as possible in European politics and public debate.

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