Letter From the Editors: Feb. 22-28, 2016

Author: Matthew Larson

Matters of Consideration.

Could the most devastating armed conflict in recent memory soon be over? A ceasefire brokered by Russia and the US, if actually implemented, could be the beginning of the end of the five-year civil war in Syria. The plan hashed out by Moscow and Washington gives the numerous opposition factions fighting in Syria the opportunity to join the truce, suspending fighting with government forces. At the same time, it allows for the continued bombing of ISIS and other terrorist groups. Vladimir Frolov calls the ceasefire a gambit motivated by Russian geopolitical considerations.

Unfortunately, not all tragedies have a resolution in sight. Questions still linger one year after prominent Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered near the Moscow Kremlin. Investigators have traced the assassination back to a group of thugs for hire who are formally part of a Moscow-based Chechen security force. What role each member of the group played in the killing is unclear. Is that due to a lack of hard evidence, or are political considerations a motivating factor?

The same question could be asked about the arrest of Dmitry Kamenshchik, owner of Moscow's Domodedovo airport, who has been booked on charges of maintaining a lax security environment at the airport, which contributed to the loss of life in a 2011 terrorist attack at the airport. Peter Hobson of The Moscow Times believes the successful businessman is being prosecuted for refusing to sell his business to Kremlin insiders.

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russian courts arbitrarily applied the law when trying Aleksei Navalny and Pyotr Ofitserov for what the ECHR called "acts that are indistinguishable from regular commercial activities ." While the ECHR didn't rule on the political motivations in this case, its decision clearly alludes to them.

The Russian Finance Ministry sent Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev a letter outlining ...

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