Why has BBC Panorama gone after Putin?

Last week, BBC Panorama exposed President Putin, and allegations of corruption against him. At first the programme focuses on Putin’s lifestyle – his expensive watches and tracksuits – and quickly moves on to hearing journalists, former allies and politicians dredge up old accusations: $40 billion in assets and the Cape Idokopas palace. It notes that the CIA and the FBI agree that Putin may be worth $40 billion in assets. We’ve heard much of this before. However, Panorama does flesh out its coverage with new goodies for its viewers. The US Treasury’s Adam Szubin makes an appearance to call Putin … Continue reading

Catastroika

So Russia is now an active participant in the Syrian civil war. The pretext is standard: Islamic State must be defeated at any cost to the Syrian people. Yet the bombs are falling on other rebel targets – al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, no doubt – and civilian targets are not out of bounds. Russian bombs have already hit hospitals and medical centres. These incidents will only increase as the bombing continues, and the war continues to hurtle onward. As I wrote before the Russian army began bombing Syria, Vladimir Putin has a more coherent strategy than the Western powers – which … Continue reading

Syria in Russian

In realpolitik minds, Vladimir Putin casts the shadow of a shrewd player on the world stage. He opposes ‘humanitarian interventions’, while he aggressively defends Russia’s national sovereignty. Even still, it’s true Putin understands power as well as he wields it. Putin’s primary interest is in the consolidation of the state and the maintenance of its power. As recent events in Ukraine, and less recently in Georgia, demonstrate, Putin wants to secure the body national above all else. So why is there a Russian military presence in Syria? For decades, the Assad regime maintained itself as a wedge between the Sunni … Continue reading