207 votes
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What can an independent election observer in Russia do if they notice irregularities?

I was an observer yesterday at a Yekaterinburg voting station. I had been trained at a local Alexey Navalny headquarters (video example of training), but was officially an observer from Grigory ...
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171 votes
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Why are states purportedly performing assassinations with chemical and radioactive weapons?

The reasons given by @zidadawatimmy's answer aren't wrong, but the points made in the original post are also well taken. As your decision to post this question in this forum illustrates, this is also ...
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158 votes
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"Putin enters a bar and proclaims, 'Next round's on the house!'" What's the point of this popular Russian joke?

This relates to the Russian government's controversial decision to declare that the majority of workers should not go to work in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while also mandating that these ...
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155 votes

Why raise so much fuss about the Skripal poisoning?

What's the big deal? The UK government believes that the government of Russia sent military personnel onto its territory to kill UK citizens. There's a word for one country sending its military into ...
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  • 7,172
148 votes

Why does the US keep announcing what they think Russia is going to do in Ukraine?

I think that the motivation is mostly to make it very hard for any Russian narrative to gain traction in the international public opinion, including in Russia. From a political perspective, Russia ...
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113 votes

Why was President Trump heavily criticized for congratulating Putin on winning the election?

After the Crimea annexation, the social media trolling during the US election and the recent Skripal incident, the public image of the Russian government in the western world turned from bad to worse. ...
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113 votes

How did Russia retain the UNSC veto power of the Soviet Union?

Essentially, you got a permanent seat on the Security Council if you were one of the major powers who won WW2 and went about setting up the post-war peace organisation, i.e the United Nations. When ...
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110 votes
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Why does the US treat the problems of Russia and Ukraine as its own?

The 1994 Memorandum on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is an agreement between Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the ...
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  • 8,464
109 votes
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Why shouldn't BBC have to register as a foreign agent?

The relevant US law is the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which covers agents who act "at the order, request, or under the direction or control" of a foreign power. Therefore, institutional and ...
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104 votes

What would the Kremlin stand to gain from killing the ex-spy Sergey Skripal?

Skripal was a double-agent who used to work for the Russian secret service GRU but defected to the UK intelligence service MI6. He was arrested by the Russians in 2004. In 2010, he was officially ...
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100 votes
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Why raise so much fuss about the Skripal poisoning?

One of the primary functions of government is to protect its residents from capricious actions of foreign governments. In fact, one of the tests for a government to be recognized as sovereign is that ...
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99 votes
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Why does the US keep announcing what they think Russia is going to do in Ukraine?

This is fairly common political technique called 'poisoning the well'. The US is laying out all of the actions and steps that Russia has been taking — and some that they expect Russia will take if ...
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91 votes
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Why doesn't Russia build more missile defense systems instead of complaining about NATO's systems?

Complaining is Cheap, Building is Expensive Simply put, it takes very little money and effort to complain, even on a diplomatic stage. (This is also why the most common reaction to a problem on the ...
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89 votes

"Putin enters a bar and proclaims, 'Next round's on the house!'" What's the point of this popular Russian joke?

This is how I see it: The joke works just as well in English as it does in Russian. It is making fun of Putin (and maybe at the same time complimenting him), but how? Suppose a rich man walks into ...
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  • 1,590
88 votes

What would Ukraine gain by joining the European Union rapidly?

The simple fact is that it is not feasible. Even if everybody agreed in principle, the EU was ready to waive some of the requirements and ignore all other political considerations, it would still take ...
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87 votes

Why is it not an invasion if Russia sends troops into Ukraine?

If the breakaway 'republics' are sovereign, which Russia now accepts but which the international community does not accept, Russia would be defending two allies at the invitation of those allies. Not ...
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86 votes
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Why has Israel not expelled Russian diplomats in response to the Skripal poisoning?

Israel has a complicated relationship with Russia, which it doesn't want to hurt. Russia is a major supporter of Assad's regime in Syria, which is aligned with Iran and Hezbollah, Israel's bitter ...
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  • 2,588
83 votes

Why is Russia still welcome on the ISS despite geopolitical tensions?

In addition to RedGrittyBrick's correct answer, also do not forget that between 2011 and 2020, russian Soyuz rockets were how to get to and from the ISS. If tensions between the US and Russia had ...
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81 votes
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Why is Russia still welcome on the ISS despite geopolitical tensions?

Ownership Russia owns a significant part of the ISS Treaty Access to the ISS is governed by an international treaty, the Space Station Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) Article 9 (Utilization) Clause ...
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80 votes
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Why didn't Western countries boycott the 2018 World Cup?

For many countries, the decision to attend or not is deferred to the national football association. The countries that you mention don't require exit visas, so it would require an exceptional act to ...
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78 votes

Why has Israel not expelled Russian diplomats in response to the Skripal poisoning?

In January 2010, a team of Israeli government agents travelled to Dubai, UAE and, in a highly-sophisticated operation, assassinated a senior official of the terrorist organization Hamas. Dubai police ...
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78 votes
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What would Ukraine gain by joining the European Union rapidly?

Zelensky does not actually expect that Ukraine will be able to join the EU right now. However, even starting the application process now brings benefits, even more given the expected response by the ...
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  • 6,900
76 votes
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Why does Germany ban RT but not France24 or Voice of America?

First a little clarification: It's not the original English-language RT which is banned in Germany. The English version of RT is actually available via satellite and in some regions of Germany via ...
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69 votes

What is the motivation for the expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, at the risk of starting a hot war with Russia?

However, what NATO was doing in the recent years seemed to raise the risk of hot war with Russia. For example, NATO tried to build missile bases in Eastern Europe and even trying to include Ukraine, ...
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68 votes
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Why does Russia view missile defense as a strategic threat?

The logic behind nuclear peace is mutually assured destruction: Anyone who uses nuclear weapons will also be destroyed by the counter-strike. As long as there are multiple nuclear powers who all have ...
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  • 67k
67 votes
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Why might the Russians want Trump to win?

While Trump in general has been supportive of Putin and the Russian government, there are several specific policy reasons that they supported him. Trump will weaken US commitment to NATO For Vladimir ...
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  • 7,487
67 votes
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Why don't the other countries of Europe maintain as massive a military as Russia does?

This is a great question about both politics and history. It relates directly to the changing nature of what a "country" is. First, let me directly answer your questions: Given that France, ...
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  • 1,794
67 votes

Why does Russia view missile defense as a strategic threat?

In 1914 the defensive technology (trenches, machine guns) was more effective than the offensive (infantry charge). It lead to quagmire and stalemate. Clearly, the effective defence did not prevent ...
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