F
or the past five months since the Council in Crete, concerns about a possible split have been making rounds around the Orthodox world. Indeed, opinion of the majority of the episcopate wasn't presented at the Cretan Council, as four Autocephalous Church – and inter alia the Russian Orthodox Church with the majority of Orthodox Christian believers in the world and more than one third of all Orthodox Christian bishops, – didn't consider it possible for themselves to take part in the event (at least in the one that was supposed to be held as of June 18).

T
he fact that Russians were closely watching US election was not a surprise to anyone. First, it can be concluded from the way the Russian media was broadcasting the event. For example, the channel Russia One which is the main pro-government channel had a full day timer sticker, timing live the remaining hours till the end of the Election Day. This was a feature that they missed even for their own legislative election that took place in September 2016.  

A
peaceful dissolution of the USSR according to the agreement between Mikhail Gorbachow and Ronald Reagan in 1988 in Reykjavik brought a new dimension of a global geopolitics in which up to 2008 Russia, as a legal successor state of the USSR, was playing an inferior role in global politics when an American Neocon concept of Pax Americana became the fundamental framework in international relations.

A
merican President Barack Obama who is enjoying his last days at White House as US president and the custodian of it, completing two terms and literally the world leader and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin met in Lima, Peru's capital for around four minutes on November 20 at the APEC summit in what is likely to be their last in-person meeting before Obama leaves office. The two leaders met at the start of the summit meeting and reportedly briefly discussed about Syria and Ukraine. They exchanged pleasantries and remained standing as they spoke.

Authors: Hasan Ehtisham and Usman Ali Khan

R
ussian involvement into Levant which began on September 30, 2015, is very important in the context of Kremlin focusing towards its South, particularly the Middle East. According to a German analyst, Russian current rapprochement over Middle East policy is a manifestation of how Moscow can catch the West by surprise. In the current scenario of disorder in the region, Moscow can be appreciated as a systematised force to find a peaceful solution to conflicts in the Middle East.

"I think [NATO’s expansion] is the beginning of a new cold war. "I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. NATO expansion was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs."--George Kennan

Russia has been looking for right opportunities to regain its lost status as super power by resorting o all sorts of combinations and permutations with some success. President Putin could not make much of his open support for the USA over Sept 11. Later, Russian actions in Crimea further complicated its relations with USA wanting to control entire Europe as the winner of World war and Cold war.

Over the last few years international media, diplomats and strategic experts across the world have much debated the possibility of the Cold War returning. The post-Cold War international system demonstrates that the United States holds the title of sole superpower, with Russia continually attempting to resurrect her former glory.

In an unforseen decision last August, Iran allowed Russian warplanes to conduct several missions over Syria from the Shahid Nojah Air base in Iran. Russian tactical bombers took off from the airbase and targetted several spots related to ISIS and Jabhat Al Nusra. As surprising as it seems, observers and policy makers did not expect such move given the long unstable relationship between Russia and Iran, often associated with tension and uncertainty.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the two Russia-backed breakaway regions of Georgia were recognized by Russia as independent states following the Russia-Georgia war of August, 2008 in a hasty and emotional rather than rational move. The recognition must be reviewed in the light of the annexation of Crimea and the two brutal and bloody wars Russia had waged against its own breakaway region Chechnya.

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