Letter From the Editors: Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2016

Author: Laurence Bogoslaw

‘Let Me Jump in Your Game!’ Newcomers Jump Into This Week’s News From Russia

No, the expression "jump in your game" was not coined by Jim Morrison, but newcomers seem to be opening doors to fresh opportunities, according to recent Russian media coverage. For example, Nezavisimaya gazeta makes much of the fact that the foreign ministers of Germany and France invited their Polish counterpart, Witold Waszczykowski, to join their conversation about settling the eastern Ukraine conflict. Using its leverage in Eastern Europe, Poland could potentially break the stalemate in the Donetsk Basin by persuading the OSCE to send in peacekeepers. NG quotes political commentator Vitaly Kulik: "Neither the disengagement of the sides nor a full ceasefire is possible. I am here, and I can see what is happening with my own eyes. There will be no peace until armed. .. well-trained police under the auspices of the OSCE enter the region."

Elsewhere in the CIS, Uzbek President Islam Karimov has suffered a stroke. The longtime dictator has either died or is still recovering in the hospital (depending on which sources you trust). Either way, someone new will need to jump in to take his place. Some analysts speculate that Karimov’s successor might get Uzbekistan back in the game of post-Soviet solidarity by rejoining the CSTO - or perhaps even joining the Eurasian Union.

Another player who seems to crave a more active role in Eurasia is Japan, as evidenced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent overtures to Putin. Of course, writes the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Dmitry Trenin, Abe wants to persuade Russia to hand over the Southern Kurile Islands to Japan (an issue that has troubled relations for 60 years) while he is still prime minister. However, according to Vladimir Frolov, time is on Russia’s side. Putin’s diplomatic plan is as follows, he writes: "Let’s take our time with negotiations (the very fact ...

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