Recidivus: Who will succeed Mugabe?

After 35 years at the helm, Robert Mugabe shows no interest in giving up the big seat. Even at 91, Mugabe’s will remains steadfast – perhaps more so than his body. He has expressed his intention to stand for re-election in 2018 when he will be 94 if he’s still around. The ruling party, Zanu-PF, has just endorsed his candidacy. Despite how strong President Mugabe claims to be, the party apparatus has endured spasms over the question of succession. The first candidate, Joice Mujuru, was knocked out of the race last year. She was purged for supposedly plotting against the … Continue reading

Putin’s wager

14601882594_755c854526_o

Since the invasion of Crimea, Putin’s popularity has soared. The results of the Crimean referendum were obviously welcomed in Russia. Putin gave a speech the next day, proclaiming that the languages of Russians, Ukrainians, and Crimean Tatars, would now be recognised. These events have been interpreted in the West as an illegitimate annexation. However, the Crimean peninsula has only been a part of Ukraine since 1954 when it was amalgamated into the state by Nikita Khrushchev as a gesture of goodwill. This didn’t really matter under Soviet rule, but the post-Soviet era has made Crimean independence a sorespot in the region. … Continue reading

Yeltsin Nostalgia

Президент США Джордж Буш и президент РФ Борис Ельцин

Today’s tensions with Vladimir Putin probably make American policymakers nostalgic for the days of Boris Yeltsin. If we wish to understand today’s Russia, we have to look at the way the Federation emerged from the tumultuous collapse of the USSR. Putin’s allegiances were clear from the beginning. He was not a mindless KGB thug, as he is often portrayed. His intelligence career ended with a principled stance in support of Mikhail Gorbachev, and against his superiors, when he opposed the Communist attempt to overthrow the leader and turn back the tide in 1991. Years later, much of his ideology would … Continue reading