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Chechnya an Unresolved Conflict in the Caucasus

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Chechnya today is a federal subject of Russia but long been a boiling point. Al Jazeera report point out that, “it remains a historic challenge for Russia”. The first and second Chechnya war respectively in 1991 and 1999 aimed to contain and crushed the ground gained for independence from the Russian Federation. Since the first Chechnya war more than 1,00,000 people were killed in that many of them were civilians.

Russia’s masterful man President Vladimir Putin has appointed its own man Ramzan Kadyrov in-charge of Chechnya in 2007. Since then Chechnya prevails with some sort of stability. However, the natural mindset of the Chechnya’s would be the real question. Russian troops today in Chechnya as peacemakers. However, the US embassy cables in 2006 said, Kremlin’s present tactics towards in maintaining stability in Chechnya has limited ability to respond. This projection has could be meant with based on two observations. Firstly, the present economic situation in Russia link with the Ukraine crisis. The sanctions on Russia by the EU and the US have made challenges and opportunities for Russia. Russia could not get market access from the near neighbor EU; however, on this shadow of the crisis it has earned more contracts from the Chinese to export for its liquid gas. Secondly, the capacity of Putin’s man Kadyrov dealing with grassroots challenges in making the region peace. Further, the accusation on Kadyrov for corruption and many other eventualities which has been buckled with mysterious assassination of opposition political leaders, human rights activists and media personalities have giving more pressure to Putin. Now Putin has no other choice but to lean on Kadyrov for the stability of the region gave more privileges to be enjoyed by Chechnya leader while compare with any other regional leaders in Russia. However, Moscow reluctant to criticize its proxy leader in Chechnya would be perceived the all whether ties between Putin and Kadyrov. Hence, reports climb that Kadyron himself as an increasing challenge to Kremlin. In future if the Chechnya leader goes against the strategic interest of Russia the perception would be Putin resist Kadyrov – perceived to be a jeopardy for the stability of Chechnya.

However, the present report admonishes that – though the concern is at large about the handling of human rights atrocity in Chechnya under the command of Kadyrov the present period would be described as relatively stable. This can be acknowledged as an advantage for Putin. It is true that the international community raise their strong concern against the suppressing on media freedom and human rights issue in Chechnya and criticizing Moscow. Further, though Putin relay on Kadyrov for the harmony in Chechnya always the Russian president keeps his eye on the region preciously. For Putin the advantage would be the free flow of information he has received helps him to theorize the reality in Chechnya in taking advance measures for avoid any farther conflict. This is because of his former designation as the KGP of Russia. The NATO stops at Ukraine would be converted as a strong hold for Putin tactical game in controlling Chechnya further. This should be the double victory for Putin.

During the 2015 the upheaval in the Middle East by the ISIS also has been reach out to Chechnya. The BBC report claims that during the last year “Jihadists, including those aligned with Islamic State and al-Qaeda, remain active in the region”. The philosophical terrorism is more danger than the institutional based, since the rise of the ISIS would be a bad news for Moscow. Hence, the takeover of Moscow theatre by the Chechen rebels in 2002 would be a prolong reminder for Russia. Furthermore, the separatist rebels occupied a school had taken hostages of more than 1100 people in 2004 required a bloody fight for evacuation. In this background the future security threat for Chechnya should be handled. Preventing this kind of atrocities from the rebels to sustain the peace should require a substantial strategy to give a hope for the civilians to keep their trust on Russia for their security.

However, to retain the present momentum in a sustainable format would require undisturbed focus on the region’s local issues, I hope Putin will demonstrate. What Russia should do to – keep its forces continue as the peacemakers in the Chechnya in the same number for the reasonable time – to support the ground level democratic process with in the frame work of Russia. At the same time Moscow should encourage its direct control in the region in support towards for more open dialogue. Further, this open dialogue would have a chance to facilitate to wider the path for most of ordinary Chechnya’s to accept their identity with in Russia. If this happens the more possibility of repels, separatists and terrorists wings would imperceptibly decline in getting their ground support. Hence, this would weak their decisions to fight the mighty Russian army in the future. Moreover, a separate special package of development fund would be a necessary step to reassure for the ongoing educational programmes without any hindrances. At the same time Moscow should keeps its eyes wider if any of the outsiders like the ISIS sympathies recruiting the unemployed youth for fighting outside or to fight inside. This continual momentum has required more funds from the Russian Federation budget, but it may have more chances of keeping the region more stable and under its rule as a unified Russia.

Antony Clement is a Senior Editor (Asia-Pacific), Modern Diplomacy an online journal. He is a researcher in Indian Foreign Policy. He consults on academic development and he is currently working on two books - “Discover your Talents” and “Diplomacy in Tough Times”. His research centres on India’s diplomacy & foreign policy and extends to domestic politics, economic policy, security issues, and international security matters, including India’s relations with the US, the BRICS nations, the EU and Australia.

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No one will deter Russia in the Baltic region

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Recently researchers and analysts of the RAND Corporation issued the report “Exploring Requirements for Effective Deterrence of Interstate Aggression.”

The stated aim of this report is “to provide a fresh look at the subject in this context, with two primary purposes: to review established concepts about deterrence, and to provide a framework for evaluating the strength of deterrent relationships.” Chapter Four of the report is called “Deterring Russia in the Baltic Region” and presents analysis of security challenges in the Baltic States.

This particular report is interesting by the fact that it acknowledges the minimal likelihood of Russia’s military aggression in the Baltics. It is more than strange when take into account the previous report that insisted on high level probability of Russian aggression. This time experts consider the situation to be less dangerous for the Baltic Region.

According to the RAND Corporation analysts, Russia does not consider the Baltic States to be a strategically important region for itself.

Therefore, despite the Kremlin’s desire to change the balance of forces in Europe in its favor, Russia does not consider “aggressive actions in the Baltic States as a tool of achieving these goals.”

The US specialists have not found evidence of preparing the invasion of Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, and Russia’s buildup of military power on their borders.

They have made a conclusion that a more aggressive behavior of Russia towards the Baltic countries can occur in case of the anti-missile defense systems deployment on their territory.

Instead, experts recommend that the US authorities treat Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with understanding and condescension and even take into account that their eternal anti-Russian fears are associated with difficult common historical past. In other words, they advise to rather provide moral support.

The report of the RAND Corporation cannot be treated only as a private opinion of a non-governmental organization. The findings of this center of expertise usually anticipate and justify strategic decisions made by the United States.

Thus, two years ago RAND Corporation held a war game, which revealed that the Russian armed forces need only about 60 hours to occupy the Baltic States, and NATO allies would not physically have time to help Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The analysis of the results of the war game was one of the rationales for deploying four multinational battalion-size battle groups on their territory.

Today, the RAND Corporation concludes that Russia does not threaten the Baltic States, and military tensions over this region can arise only if the missile defense systems are deployed. It follows logically that the further militarization of the Baltic States is explosive and undesirable.

So, the US elites as well as NATO do not want to deal with the Baltic States. They do not want to be distracted by countries that are of no importance for Russia, their main antagonist.

The first recommendation made by the analysts of the RAND Corporation in the report is “to assess the motives of potential aggressors and ease security concerns. In Europe, this could include avoiding deployment of the most provocative U.S. systems in or near Eastern Europe, thinning Russian and Baltic forces, and working on a successor to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.”

In the case of military provocation in the Baltic Sea, similar to the one that occurred in the Kerch Strait, NATO, the US or the EU will not even provide the Baltic States with active diplomatic assistance, not to mention immediate military support. The RAND Corporation made this more than clear for the Baltic States.

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Russian Aluminium, Health Ministry Announce Ebola Vaccine

Kester Kenn Klomegah

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Russian Aluminium (RUSAL), one of the world’s largest aluminium producers, together with the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, announced the completion of the vaccination against the Ebola virus in the Republic of Guinea. Two thousand people have received the GamEvac-Combi vaccines during the testing programme conducted at the Scientific Diagnostic Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology (SDCEM) in Guinea.

The centre was an initiative of Russian business tycoon, Oleg Deripaska, and was built by RUSAL during the height of the Ebola epidemic in 2015. GamEvac-Combi vaccine was created in the Gamalei Federal Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. The vaccine is currently in the final round of testing.

“As part of the testing programme, the health of the vaccinated participants and the development of the immunity are monitored for one year. At the end of this period of monitoring, the vaccine will receive international certification making it available for use by the World Health Organisation and other organizations for the purpose of preventing the spread of the disease,” according to media release.

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, instructed the development of the vaccine following a request from the President of the Republic of Guinea Alpha Condé at the end of 2014.

In 2016, the vaccine was revealed during the World Health Assembly where the former WHO Director-General, Margaret Chen, was in attendance. The vaccine was registered in Russia at the end of 2015.

Along with developing the vaccine, RUSAL, as part of the public-private partnership supported by Oleg Deripaska, opened a research centre, an isolation ward and a hospital in Guinea. RUSAL’s commitment to fighting the epidemic was acknowledged by the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, who thanked RUSAL’s shareholder, Oleg Deripaska, for his contribution to the international effort against Ebola.

The strong relationship that RUSAL has established with the Republic of Guinea is something that Oleg Deripaska often speaks about. He recently highlighted RUSAL’s commitment to helping the population of the country hit by the virus; “When the outbreak of the fever came, we made every effort to help”, said Oleg Deripaska.

“Currently the vaccine is administered to the Russian medics and other specialists going to the regions where there is a high risk of Ebola contagion”, said Veronika Skvortsova, the Minister of Health of the Russian Federation. “During the Ebola outbreak, the centre has shown the best results in terms of the number of Guinean persons wholly recovered: 62.5% of the SDCEM patients with a confirmed Ebola fever diagnosis have been successfully treated”.

The advantages of GamEvac-Combi vaccine

The vaccine was developed using a biotechnology method without using the pathogenic Ebola virus. The base of the vaccine is the genetic material of an adenovirus and vesicular canker virus, safe for humans, modified with a gene containing the information about the structure of the GP protein of the Ebola virus.

Pre-clinical and clinical studies have proven the safety of the vaccine and have shown that it stimulates the immune system more efficiently than foreign vaccines. Another important advantage of the vaccine is its more favourable transportation and storage conditions: GamEvac-Combi can be transported and stored at the temperature above -16◦C – and similar foreign vaccines require the temperature of less than – 60 ◦C for storage, which is difficult to implement in the hot African climate.

The SDCEM centre, that will continue to do medical examinations for the Guinean population, is the most advanced and biologically safe facility in the Western Africa. The centre was created in line with all international humanitarian organizations’ recommendations and is equipped with modern medical and laboratory equipment. RUSAL invested more than US$10 million in the construction of the SDCEM.

Currently, SDCEM is the leading centre in the field of investigating and preventing infectious diseases in Guinea. It also serves as the training facility for the national epidemiologists.

RUSAL has been active in Guinea since 2001 being one of the largest foreign investors in the country. In Guinea, RUSAL owns Kindia Bauxite Company (KBC) as well as the bauxite-alumina facility Friguia. RUSAL continues implementing projects to launch the world’s largest bauxite mines Dian-Dian in Boké region.

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Putin, United Russia and the Message

Kester Kenn Klomegah

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On Dec. 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the plenary meeting of the 18th United Russia party congress, reiterated the key challenges, problems and accomplishments for the nation. The congress delegates identified the challenges and priorities in the party’s work for the coming year.

Putin acknowledged the party’s support during his presidential election campaign, saying it was “a momentous thing shaping the top institution of power” in Russia. This concerns the president, the government, the region – any level, down to the local or municipal one.

Putin further referred to an action plan that was presented in a condensed form in the Executive Order in May 2018 and that set out in national projects drafted by the Government (the majority in the Government are United Russia members) and was supported by legislators (United Russia holds the majority in the State Duma). He pointed to the fact that there would not be any success without United Russia’s backing at the regional and municipal level.

“The United Russia party plays a special role. For a number of years the party has been showing its competence, its ability to make responsible decisions, explain these decisions to the people,” Putin told the party delegates during his address, while acknowledging frankly that there have been pitfalls and problems in the political leadership.

Leadership means making responsible decisions the country needs. This leadership is an enormous resource to achieve dynamic and substantive change that can ensure a radical improvement in the quality of life and greater well-being of the population.

Putin reminded the party meeting that the entire world going through a dramatic situation. In his words: “the world is undergoing a transformation, a very powerful and dynamically evolving transformation, and if we do not get our bearings, if we do not understand what we need to do and how, we may fall behind for good.”

He suggested that United Russia with its tremendous legislative, organisational and human resource potential must fully utilise it and consolidate all of society, in solving development issues, in implementing the nationwide agenda.

Putin told the party delegates never allow any sort of rudeness, arrogance, insolence towards people at any level – at the top level and the lowest, municipal level. This is important because it does the country a disservice, it is unfair to the people and it denigrates the party to the lowest of the low. The public demands fairness, honesty and openness.

What is “society” after all? It is the people. Thus, one key factor here is that people’s opinions and attitudes must necessarily be taken into account. There must be commitment to implementing people’s initiatives, and their initiatives must be used in attaining common goals, especially at the municipal level, according to the Russian leader.

The most crucial thing for a political party is a steady standing of its representatives and that United Russia does not have to fear change but rather work strategically towards making a change for the better.

Putin further asked the delegates to work relentlessly for a free democratic country, development of nationwide tasks, realisation of new ideas and approaches. Discussions and competition, including within the party itself are very efficient tools for solving problems in the interests of the nation. United Russia has to do everything needed to instil both inside the party in particular and in society in general this political culture, an atmosphere of dialogue, trust and cooperation with all political forces of Russia.

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