189

I was an observer yesterday in 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 Yavlinsky. As an observer, I had the right to make suggestions to the Chairman of the Voting Station Committee. In case a suggestion is not considered, an observer ...


157

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 a quintessentially political act. These chemical and radioactive weapons seem unusual, complicated, and draw attention. This is a feature and not a bug. ...


155

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 another country uninvited, and the word is "war". To make matters worse, this killing was carried out using chemical weapons. These are Weapons of Mass ...


109

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 editorial independence is the key. If the UK Prime Minister tells (say) an employee of MI6 or the Foreign Office to do something, that person is required to ...


109

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. So the comparison between Putin 2018, Putin 2012 and Medvedev 2008 is not necessarily appropriate. Trump is under suspicion of colluding with the Russian ...


109

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 the Soviet Union (which was a union of multiple soviet republics) dissolved, Russia claimed itself as the successor state on the grounds it contained 51% of the ...


100

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 they reserve for themselves a monopoly on the use of force within their boundaries. Many governments refuse recognition of the various aspirational Palestinian ...


99

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 pardoned and exiled to the UK as part of a prisoners exchange. So he is unlikely to still possess any not yet revealed intelligence which still has any value. ...


91

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 international stage is an expression of deep concerns.) It makes RF look more peaceful than it is, implicitly puts a defensive spin on some of the military ...


86

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 enemies (see here). Yet, Russia does not interfere when Israel operates in Syria against them. Russia is also a significant importer of Israeli produce, as well ...


78

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 were able to describe the operation by piecing together surveillance videos, which were released to the public. Israel was subject to widespread international ...


77

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 prevent the football players from attending the World Cup in Russia. The government can attempt to influence the football association, but it is not a matter ...


68

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 Putin, the election of Donald Trump may undermine the NATO military alliance. Trump has said that the U.S. would not automatically defend its treaty allies ...


63

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, Germany and the UK have larger economies than that of Russia, why do they spend less in defense than that of Russia and always seem to be scared of Russia? ...


61

When country A imposes sanctions on country B, both suffer (though the suffering may not be equal). The main reason these sanctions are more damaging for Russia than for the US is that it isn't just the US that's imposing sanctions on Russia. There are also the EU, Japan, Canada, Australia, Norway, to name just a few other countries. Consider the extreme ...


57

The short answer is yes. It does matter where the information comes from There is a legal difference because a campaign cannot take something of value from a foreign agent. But that is off topic. It makes a big difference politically because of the ongoing investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian Government. As such it fits a ...


57

Everyone knows what a gun looks like They are relatively easy to detect, and security personnel may be trained to better spot those carrying a gun. Acquiring a gun, especially for foreigners, can be especially difficult. Sneaking one into the country is more difficult. Knives are similarly "obvious", and require a close range attack. In either case ...


57

It may help to turn it around. Suppose Vladimir Putin is poisoned and Russia suspects the UK as the culprit. How would Russia respond to a suggestion from the UK that they "help" Russia investigate? From Russia's perspective it would probably seem to be a pretty disingenuous invitation as it would do nothing but give the UK leverage over the investigation to ...


56

A missile defence system that can intercept ICBMs is a tricky proposition. ICBMs move very high (above the atmosphere) and fast. Hitting them in the orbital coasting phase is nigh-on impossible, certainly for ground-based interceptors. Hitting them in the terminal phase is possible, since their trajectory is well defined at that point, but problematic ...


55

Update - WH Statement According to the White House spokesperson Sean Spicer, Trump seemed to have requested the resignation of Flynn due to a "trust issue". President Donald Trump asked for Michael Flynn's resignation after he lost trust in his national security adviser for misleading Vice President Mike Pence over his calls with Russia's ambassador, the ...


55

Top five trading partners for the United States by imports: China Mexico Canada Japan Germany If we replace Germany with the European Union as a whole, the EU would be second. Top five trading partners for Russia by imports: China Germany US Belarus Italy The US is Russia's third largest foreign supplier, even with sanctions. And two US allies (...


55

First of all, there's a difference between recognizing that Crimea is a Russian territory and recognizing that Crimean residents are Russian citizens. Taking up the Russian citizenship was voluntary and the EU or the US cannot dictate whether or not a given person can become a Russian citizen by choice. There are still hundreds of thousands of dual Ukrainian-...


51

There is currently a power-play going on between the EU and Russia concerning the political influence over the countries between them. The most visible struggle is certainly the Ukraine conflict. But there are also other countries in the geographic region of not-quite-Europe-not-quite-Asia which are currently wondering whether they should side with Russia ...


51

Using chemical weapons crosses a line in international agreed norms. In this case the use of them killed a British Civilian, compounding the seriousness. This is a continuation of previous behaviour - at some point you have to say 'No' loudly enough or else Russia will take it as open season on anyone it wants to murder. 'Why the big deal' - I'd argue not ...


49

Telegram is a lot more popular in Russia compared to Whatsapp within the opposition circles. It is used by many people whom the Russian government wants to keep track of, as evidenced by the fact that two factor authentication was added as a response to hacking attempts against Russian activists. Telegram was founded by an opposition activist Pavel Durov ...


47

Leaders of democracies are expected to advocate Human Rights and democratic processes, at least by words. This doesn't mean all diplomatic connections need to be broken with autocrats, but at least to refrain from supporting repression or clear infringements of democratic principles. One of the most important of those principles are fair elections. Because ...


45

The spin on Navalny For the question of why Navalny is labeled by western media as Putin's main opposition rival is an issue of framing. If you look at the two candidates who were ahead of Navalny last he was included in opinion polls on the link you provided - Zyuganov (now Grudinin) and Zhirinovsky, members of the Communist party and the populist-...


43

In addition to @Philipp's answer: Poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal was close to {an unnamed} consultant who was linked to the Trump dossier — The Telegraph If the above allegation is true, it could be that Skripal was somehow related to the Collusion, and the poisoning of him could be just a revenge for his betrayal. Since the recent events are ...


43

Probably First, the report was heavily redacted. As such, some information is missing. Further, much of the information available in the Mueller report was previously available, so I won't try to determine which information is new, but rather summarize the evidence in the report. Was there a group based in Russia conducting social media operations? Yes. ...


42

There are multiple reasons, both tactical and strategic. The main ones are: Geopolitics. Basically, Russia has no natural defensive perimeter of its core. Thus, its permanent strategy is to surround itself with satellite states which provide defense in depth and natural defensive perimeters of their own. This is elaborated extensively on in Statfor ...


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