Eurasian Affairs- May 2019

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting. Photo source: https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/17/pompeo-names-3-national-interests-us-shares-with-russia-a65629

Eurasian Affairs looks at the wide expanse of Eurasia, but particularly focuses on those issues affecting relations between Eurasian states and the US and/or with Russia. Also of specific interest within that focus are issues that might affect global economic, human rights, or military concerns.

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

Global

China, Russia and the United States Contest a New World Order
Moscow and Beijing will continue to have their differences, and they are not entirely free from reciprocal phobias, but the chances of a China–Russia collision over those differences are being minimized by the US policy of dual containment.

 

Asia

Making Peace Treaty Agreement with Japan Remains Difficult Task
Reaching an agreement with Tokyo on the peace treaty issue remains a difficult task, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

– Central Asia 

Taliban, Russia Demand Foreign Troops Leave Afghanistan
The Taliban and Russia have jointly called for the withdrawal of U.S.-led coalition troops from Afghanistan.

– China

Did China Break the World Economic Order?
America’s continued drive to levy penalties is less about fixing a trade problem than about changing China’s investment rules.

“Russia Sees Major Integration Capacity in China’s One Belt One Road Project- Putin” – Interfax
The relations between Russia and China are developing successfully, while Moscow views China’s One Belt – One Road initiative as fruitful and substantive.

 

Europe

Poland Overtakes Russia to Become Ukraine’s Biggest Trade Partner in February
Poland displaced Russia as the top buyer of Ukrainian goods in February according to the latest data available from Ukrstat.

Golden Keys to the EU’s Back Door
EU members including Bulgaria and Hungary have taken steps to end their investment for citizenship programs as governments that have extended such schemes come under increasing pressure from the European Commission.

Tight Race for Lithuania’s Presidency
No revolution is expected as a result for the country of 2.8mn that the outgoing head of state Dalia Grybauskaite affirmed as one of the most pro-EU in the crisis-ridden bloc and a staunch Nato ally.

Polish GDP Growth Surprises to the Upside, Flash Estimate Shows
Polish GDP grew a seasonally adjusted 4.6% y/y in the first quarter, maintaining the expansion rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Moldova’s President to Dissolve Parliament Unless Deadlock Settled by Mid-June
Moldova’s President Igor Dodon will dissolve the parliament unless the lawmakers elect their leading bodies.

       Middle East

Young Arabs Admire Russia, at Least in Theory
Surveys show respect for Putin and his country surpassing longstanding faith in the U.S. It probably won’t last.

Military

US: We’ll Pay Countries to Ditch Russian, Chinese Arms
The U.S. State Department wants to expand a little-known effort that offers countries cash to buy American-made weapons if they give up Russian-made arms.

Just Say Nyet: Russia Wants to Become a Stealth Fighter Superpower
Vladimir Putin made a big show on May 14, 2019 of visiting the 929th Chkalov State Flight-Test Center in Russia’s Astrakhan region.

World Military Expenditure Grows to $1.8 Trillion in 2018
Total world military expenditure rose to $1822 billion in 2018, representing an increase of 2.6 per cent from 2017.

Nuclear

A US-Russia-China Arms Treaty? Extend New START First
New reports indicate that President Trump has ordered his administration to begin thinking about how to negotiate a new multilateral nuclear arms control agreement with Russia and China.

Nuclear Weapons Are Getting Less Predictable, and More Dangerous
Facing steerable ICBMs and smaller warheads, the Pentagon seeks better tracking as the White House pursues an unlikely arms-control treaty.

 Arctic

The US is ‘Operating Blind’ in the Arctic
When it comes to predicting fluctuations in Arctic weather, the United States is “operating in the blind,” the U.S. Navy’s chief meteorologist said.

Inside the West’s Plans for Arctic War Against Russia
Moscow is growing belligerent in its quest to pry open the icy route to the Atlantic. The U.S. and Britain are racing to catch up, but is it too late?

No Final Declaration After Arctic Council Meeting As U.S. Refuses Mention of Climate Change
The participants at the Arctic Council meeting in Finland’s far northern town of Rovaniemi have failed to issue a final declaration reportedly due to a U.S. refusal to mention climate change.

 Cyber

Time to Pursue an International Cyber Treaty?
The Mueller report findings show a cyber “wild west” is not in the US national interest.

Business in Need of Cyber Rules
Why is the business community interested in setting rules in the cyber environment? There are many reasons for this.

Russia’s Would-Be Windows Replacement Gets a Security Upgrade
For sensitive communications, the Russian government aims to replace the ubiquitous Microsoft operating system with a bespoke flavor of Linux, a sign of the country’s growing IT independence.

Russia’s Sudden Change of Heart on AI
Vladimir Putin asserted that “the future belongs to artificial intelligence” and added that “whoever leads in AI will rule the world.”

Ukraine

Long Line for Russian Passport Applications Forms in Donetsk on First Day of Expedited Citizenship Process
The first office in Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk region to offer expedited Russian citizenship applications opened for business on May 3.

Getting Aid to Separatist-held Ukraine
The front lines in eastern Ukraine are slowly freezing in place, as is civilian deprivation in the conflict zone.

Ukraine Opens High Treason Case Against Poroshenko Over Kerch Strait Incident
Ukraine’s state investigation bureau investigates crimes committed by the country’s top officials.

       Presidency

Ukraine’s New President Will be a Challenge for the West, Too
There are those who see the electoral defeat of Poroshenko as a defeat for the West’s whole post-Euro-Maidan policy in Ukraine.

The Sitcom that Spawned a President
Ukrainian audiences liked the TV character played by Volodymyr Zelenskiy so much, they elected him.

Ukraine Parliament Schedules Zelenskiy’s Inauguration Ceremony for May 20
The inauguration of Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy will take place on May 20.

Ukraine Faces Political Crisis as Newly Sworn-In President Zelenskiy Dissolves Parliament
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced the dissolution of the nation’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, immediately after he was sworn in on May 20.

“Zelenskiy Calls for Tightening Anti-Russian Sanctions at Meeting with U.S. Delegation” – Interfax
Zelenskiy thanked the U.S. for its leading role in regaining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the assistance in promoting domestic reforms.

 

US

A Boom Time for US Sanctions
The explosive growth in their use has prompted questions about how much is too much

Moscow’s ‘Butina List’ and Russia No Longer Among Top Five Defense Spenders
Authorities in Moscow may compile what they dub as a ‘Butina List’ to include US officials who violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of Russian citizens.

Washington Sees Immortal Regiment Procession Fourth Time
About one thousand people gathered in the center of Washington near the White House for the Immortal Regiment march commemorating World War II heroes.

US to Vet More Trading Partners for Currency Manipulation
The Trump administration will expand the number of countries it scrutinizes for currency manipulation in an upcoming report.

Will Putin Meet Pompeo and China Stands Its Ground in Trump’s Trade War
Experts interviewed are skeptical about the prospects for resumed dialogue between Russia and the United States.

Biden’s Ukraine Problem Has Nothing to Do with His Son
The former vice president showed poor foreign policy judgment in his bungling, boastful dealings with Kiev.

Russia, US Extend Agreement on Astronauts’ Travels to Space Station on Board of Soyuz
Russia and the United States have agreed on two additional places on board of Soyuz carrier rockets for journeys of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

Americans Want to Stay in Nuclear Arms Control Agreements
A new poll suggests that the public favors a more constrained nuclear posture and is growing more skeptical of weapons that are in the U.S. arsenal already.

Judge Orders Florida- Based Broadcast Company To Register As Agent for Russia
A U.S. judge has backed a Justice Department ruling that Florida-based RM Broadcasting must register as an agent of Russia under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Pompeo in Russia: Key Takeaways on Bilateral Priorities
Though the atmosphere in the seaside Russian resort town of Sochi was upbeat and conciliatory, it nonetheless could not hide all the many differences between Moscow and Washington.

About the Author

Morgan Henson
Morgan Henson is a second year dual-degree master’s student at the University of Texas at Austin. He is studying Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies and Global Policy Studies. As a Home and Abroad Scholar, he is focusing on policy issues in Eurasia. The scholarship will help fund his participation in SRAS’s Economic Development in the Russian Far East program at Vladivostok State University of Economics and Services during the Spring 2019 Semester. In his free time, Morgan enjoys watching movies and exploring new locations.