Letter From the Editors: June 27-July 23, 2016

Author: Matthew Larson

Brexit Begins to Sink in; Russian Antiterrorism Legislation Stirs Controversy

The world is still reeling from Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Assessments in Russia are mixed: Aleksei Mukhin calls the vote a result of Europe’s traditional arrogance toward other countries, while Yulia Latynina calls it a British rebellion against Brussels’s socialist agenda and growing bureaucracy. Aleksei Pushkov says Britons were feeling helpless in the face of a tide of migrants from war-torn Syria and Libya, and feeling trapped by an "establishment system" that had robbed them of their sovereignty. Aleksandr Dudchak says Brexit opponents are certain to somehow blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for the referendum result, but Russian-European relations may nevertheless enter a more pragmatic phase as European politicians sober up. However, he warns that NATO may be strengthened as it comes to be viewed as the sole stable supranational organization in Europe, so Russia must respond appropriately.

Brexit could also have an unforeseen effect on Turkey’s relations with Russia, which soured last year after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane at the Turkish-Syrian border. The Turkish side has issued a formal apology, which Kirill Martynov says was partly prompted by the UK referendum, since its associate EU membership prospects are now in doubt because of Brexit. This is forcing the Turkish leadership to extend an olive branch to Russia in order to restore the country’s economic and political ties with an alternative partner. At any rate, Maksim Artemyev says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once seen as the most successful Turkish leader since Ataturk and a regional powerhouse, is now facing a political impasse, confronted with growing terrorism threats and regional isolation on account of his support for moderate Islamists in the region. What does this mean for Russia? According to Vladimir Frolov, it offers Putin a chance to show the world that Russia is an agreeable partner, ...

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