Russian Foreign Affairs – July, 2016

Russian Foreign Affairs in the News
July 2016

Russian foreign policy and foreign policies concerning Russia have been of particular interest to those following world affairs lately. With Russia’s more assertive stance on the world stage, Russia’s absorption of Crimea, and resulting sanctions, arms buildups, and global geopolitical restructuring and repositioning, keeping a close eye on this part of the world is especially important to understanding global security and international politics.

This resource serves to track and analyze these issues as they develop in Eurasia.

 

SSI-banner Russia and Syria Blockade Aleppo

Syrian and Russian troops have blockaded the city of Aleppo in an effort to compel opposition groups to surrender. Safe exit corridors for civilians and certain armed groups have been provided; however, both Western and Russian sources report that the “humanitarian corridors” are not providing effective means of exit. According to the UN, Aleppo may now be the largest besieged area in Syria. The siege comes at a fragile point in the Russia- and US-brokered Syrian ceasefire.

Russia Suspected in DNC Email Hack

Russia has denied involvement in the hacking of a Democratic National Committee server and release of thousands of emails to WikiLeaks earlier this month. While private security firms have found evidence that those responsible are hacking groups within Russian intelligence agencies, other security analysts have argued that these findings are flawed and a hacker, claiming to be Romanian and unassociated with Russia, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Clinton campaign’s computer system was also hacked, evidently by the same source. Russian officials have denied US allegations that the Kremlin is attempting to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

Central-Asia-StudiesRussia-Turkey Ties On the Mend

Following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s apology last month for shooting down a Russian warplane in November 2015, relations between Russia and Turkey appear to be thawing. Putin has called for talks with Turkey on trade and economics, and Russia has resumed passenger flights to Turkey and, more significantly, have agreed to resume the Turkstream pipeline project and plans for a major nuclear power station to be built by Russia in Turkey. Following a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that the two nations should work together for a political solution on Syria. Russian economic sanctions on Turkey have been in place since November.

Increased Troop Deployment in Baltic Approved at NATO Summit

According to the Warsaw Summit Communiqué, four new battalions will be deployed to the Baltic beginning in early 2017. The increased NATO presence in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia will be led by the US, Canada, Germany, and the UK and is intended to “unambiguously demonstrate, as part of our overall posture, Allies’ solidarity, determination, and ability to act by triggering an immediate Allied response to any aggression.” Russia’s ambassador to NATO has described these developments as a threat to Russia and states that “NATO should realize that there will be military consequences.”

Other Articles

Russia and China Plan Joint Military Exercises in South China Sea
The stated aim of the exercises is to “consolidate and develop” military relations between the two powers and enhance their ability to counter threats. Earlier this month, China’s claims in the disputed region were dismissed by an international tribunal.

Russia and US Each Expel Diplomats
Russia has asked two US diplomats to leave Moscow following the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Washington. This comes after an altercation in which an alleged US spy was tackled by a Russian security guard outside the US embassy.

Putin’s Visit to Slovenia to Include Talks on “Bilateral Issues and Business Ties”
The Russian President’s visit to an annual war memorial event is also intended to maintain ties despite sanctions.

Policy and Conflict Post SovietAssad Says Russia Never Asked Him to Step Down
The Syrian president recently stated that his discussions with Putin have never included a request that he leave power. The remarks came as US Secretary of State Kerry prepared to renew Syria talks in Moscow.

Russia Reports State Computer Networks Affected by Spyware
According to officials, 20 state agencies and defense companies have been infected with spyware. No suspects were named.

International Olympic Committee Demands Russian Athletes Prove Drug-Free Status
In order to be allowed to compete in Rio, athletes must prove that they were not involved in the state-run doping scheme.

Russian Weight Lifters Banned from Rio
With the entire team banned, Russia’s eight spots in the Olympic weightlifting competition have been offered to other countries.

Swedish Prosecutors Release Man Wanted in Russia on Terrorism Charges
The man was arrested on a Russian warrant as he attempted to leave Sweden via Arlanda airport, and was released after questioning.

This entry written by Mae Liou.

Mae Liou earned a BA in philosophy at Boston University and ABD status in philosophy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. An alt-academic and humanities omnivore, she now teaches English, philosophy, film studies, and foreign languages at a school for gifted teenagers. She is currently a SRAS translation intern in St. Petersburg, and she hopes to translate essays and literary prose in the future.

About the Author

SRAS Students
SRAS students come from around the world to study, intern, or research in Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Poland, Georgia, or Russia. They often write while abroad - to complete class or scholarship requirements, or sometimes just because they are inspired to do so. This account will be used to publish exceptional examples of this student writing. Note that when SRAS students is indicated as the author, more specific author info will be made available at the end of the entry or article.