Author: Tatyana Stanovaya

PUTIN IS LATE AGAIN - THIS TIME IN FOREIGN POLICY. (By Tatyana Stanovaya. Slon.ru, Dec. 1, 2015. https://slon.ru/posts/60600. Complete text:) The fall of 2015 has become a geopolitical storm for Vladimir Putin: a historic speech at the UN General Assembly in New York [see Current Digest, Vol. 67, No. 40, pp. 3-6]; the first relatively constructive meeting with [US President] Barack Obama, which took place without acute public criticism or attempts to contain Russia; the subsequent onset of the military campaign in Syria; and [a meeting of the] Normandy Four [France, Germany, Ukraine, Russia] in Paris that formalized a tacit consensus on the Donetsk Basin (the postponement of elections in the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics in exchange for the extension of the Minsk agreements [see Current Digest, Vol. 67, No. 41, pp. 7-10]). It seemed that Putin had outplayed everyone yet again.

But then bad news started flowing in: the A321 airplane bombing; the terrorist attacks in Paris that enabled [French President] François Hollande to take the initiative and push Russia to the antiterrorist periphery; the downed Su-24 and the "war" with Turkey [see, respectively, Current Digest, Vol. 67, No. 44-45, pp. 11-12, No. 47, pp. 3-6, and No. 48, pp. 3-7]. [Yesterday's] trip to Paris, which was supposed to resume the series of success stories, was overshadowed by this flock of "black swans."

The [UN] climate conference is a global event for which France has made thorough preparations. During these days, Paris is hosting over 130 world leaders, including from all the largest world powers. It was not known until early November whether Putin would go to Paris, even though François Hollande had personally invited the Russian leader. On Nov. 6, Barack Obama announced his participation, and on Nov. 8 it became known that Putin would also attend. The doubts were probably dispelled after important bilateral meetings were set - with Barack Obama and ...

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