Anna Dvoryanchikova

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African countries are looking at Asia for their development
Economy

Why Asia's Industrialization Model Won't Work For Africa

Africa must not be industrialized like the Asian dragons. Instead, the continent must invest in a high-quality educational system to adapt to a new global labor market.

PARIS African governments and development agencies want nothing more than to see the continent industrialize. In the search for ideas about how to make that happen, Asia is an obvious place to look, as Adesina Akinwumi, president of the multilateral African Development Bank (AfDB), pointed out at a conference this summer called "Accelerate Africa's industrialization" hosted in Busan, South Korea.

Akinwumi's is a seductive idea. The development of the dragons of the Far East has indeed been spectacular. The host nation of the latest AfDB gathering is a prime example. In 1962, less than a decade after the devastating war, South Korea had a per capita GNP of roughly $120 (compared to $160 in Liberia), according to the World Bank. By 2016, per capita GDP had risen to $27,690, extreme poverty was completely eradicated, and the unemployment rate stood at just 4.5%.

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Russo-American relations put to the test by mid-term elections
Geopolitics

A Russian Guide For Surviving U.S. Midterm Elections

A view from Russia on the topic of Russian-American relations: time to keep a low profile.

MOSCOW — The already shaken Russian-American relations are about to face new turmoil as Nov. 6 midterm elections to the U.S. Congress loom.

During Donald Trump's presidency, the legislative branch has taken the lead in defining American policy towards Russia. With Congress assuming many of the powers traditionally belonging to the executive branch, normalization of relations between the two countries has been hindered. Sanctions are fixed by laws. They represent an instrument of pressure not so much on Russia as on Trump.

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Putin in Vienna on June 5
ROSBUSINESSCONSULTING

French Revolutionary Lessons Of 1968 For Putin's Russia Of Today

MOSCOW — Fifty years ago, in May 1968, France was swarmed with such powerful mass protests that the government feared a full-fledged civil war or revolution. This popular unrest became a turning point in the history of modern France, and eventually brought about serious changes in the French state.

Vladislav Inozemtsev, a scholar writing for the Moscow-based RBC Media, looks at parallels between the situation in France in 1968 and today's Russia, finding some lessons that can be drawn from the "Paris spring" to help understand Russia's current prospects:

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Russian President Putin and his Venezuelan counterpart Maduro
Russia

Why Russia Is Not Like Venezuela — Yet

MOSCOW — Nicolas Maduro has been reelected as Venezuela's president for a new six-year term. Alexei Kolesnikov in the Moscow-based independent magazine The New Times looks at international reaction to the election, specifically as it relates to Russia:

"Last month's election of Maduro was clearly flawed and not recognized as legitimate by neither the country's opposition nor the vast majority of the global democratic community. Several authoritarian regimes, however, including Iran, North Korea, Syria and Russia, have recognized the election result, since these states have the same tyrannical, undemocratic nature and strive to sustain themselves as long as possible by creating the impression of "normality" of their illegal practices.

"It is especially interesting to compare Venezuela and Russia, which has long backed the Latin American country. What unites these two states? To begin with, they both have authoritarian regimes headed by dictators who hold on to power by resorting to electoral fraud.

In Caracas, Venezuela — Photo: Rayner Pena/DPA/ZUMA

"Russia and Venezuela are also both rich in oil resources that are actively exploited by the ruling class for its own benefit, not for the people's good. Furthermore, both regimes are built on propaganda: They convince people of the rightness of their harmful and unlawful policies by means of constant lies and perversion of reality.

"However, it is still incorrect to say that Venezuela and Russia are the same. Russia has not yet reached such a state of collapse as Venezuela. But it is similar to the Latin American country in respect to recklessness and shamelessness with which state and social structures are being destroyed. If nothing changes in Russia, it may some day catch up with Venezuela. But now Russia is still capable of providing economic support for its ally, which is absolutely irrational and unprofitable from the economic point of view. This support pursues solely geopolitical and propagandist goals. For Venezuela's regime this economic help is extremely important as without it (and without China's support, too) it would have already crashed.

"Today the example of Venezuela is a real source of inspiration for the world's autocrats, including the Russian one. It demonstrates that such inhumane regimes can survive for quite a long time and even conserve the appearance of popular support and legitimacy."

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Protesters during a rally to support Telegram in Kaliningrad on April, 30
Russia

Telegram: Why Russian Courts Can't Really Block The App

MOSCOW — On April 13, a Russian court decreed an immediate blocking of the app Telegram across the country. The decision came after the refusal of Telegram to provide Russian security services with access to users' private messages. The authorities said it was a necessity in the fight against terrorist threats. However, Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of Telegram, declared that the authorities' requirement would not improve Russia"s security, and would violate people's privacy and contradict the Constitution. He said the blockage was illegitimate and promised to do everything possible to prevent its implementation. So what happened next?

It is Roskomnadzor, the Russian communications regulator, that was charged with shutting down Telegram, a technical process of restricting the app was begun on April 16, 2018. The actions resulted in the hindering of functions of third parties but caused almost no problems for Telegram itself. A month has passed since the moment of the blockage of Telegram but Roskomnadzor has not managed to seriously limit access to the messenger. Experts say that further development of the situation does not depend so much on the authorities' actions, but on decisions of Apple and Google, which are still siding with Telegram.

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A file photo of an Uighur rights protest in Washington
Russia

Uighur Minority Rights: A Subplot To U.S.-China Trade War

Washington is threatening to use the so-called 'Magnitsky Act' to target Chinese officials for sanctions in response to Beijing's mistreatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in northwestern China.

MOSCOW — U.S. officials said last month that they're studying the possibility of introducing sanctions against China, targeted at individuals, in accordance with the Magnitsky Act, first adopted in 2012 to punish Russia. Washington's aim is to pressure Chinese officials to protect the rights of the Uighur minority Muslim population in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Over the last two years, having declared "a popular war against terror," Beijing has significantly toughened the security regime in the region. According to U.S. officials, restriction of religious freedoms and human rights violations have grown under the cover of the fight against extremism. But targeted sanctions by Washington risks further deepening a diplomatic rift over trade policy.

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Facing potential Second Cold War, participating countries strategize as if playing poker.
eyes on the U.S.

Russian Poker? Why The New Cold War May Be About To Thaw

-Analysis-

MOSCOW — The list is long: the scandal around the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, an unprecedented expulsion of Russian diplomats, sanctions leading to the fall of the ruble and a hit on aluminum giant Rusal, retaliatory sanctions, strikes on Syria and over-the-top rhetoric of official Moscow during and after all-the-above crises. Judging by these events, which cry out that we are in full "new Cold War" territory, a kind of turbo poker match is on with the participation of leading Western countries on one hand and Russia and Iran on the other. How will it play out?

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Rally against Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan in Yerevan on April 22, 2018
Geopolitics

After Sargsyan Resignation, What Next For Armenia-Russia Relations?

MOSCOW — Following a series of demonstrations against the political class that began across Armenia on April 13, the country's prime minister Serzh Sargsyan has resigned. His duties are being temporarily carried out now by First Deputy Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. In Moscow, the events in Armenia have prompted a public reaction from Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, who wrote on her Facebook page: "Armenia, Russia is always with you!"

Zakharova singled out the capability of the Armenian society to conserve unity amid internal political strife, adding that Moscow was willing to maintain good relations with Yerevan. But the longer-term question of how Sargsyan's resignation will influence bilateral relations may be more complicated. Konstantin Eggert, the former top editor of Kommersant, offered his analysis earlier this week on Kommersant FM.

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Dodon and Putin last year in Moscow
Russia

Moldova Movement Eyes Reunification With Romania (Not Russia)

As parliamentary elections nears, voter frustrations are fueling a campaign in the landlocked, former Soviet republic, to integrate with Romania and the EU.

KISHINEV — Moldovan President Igor Dodon may be all in favor of closer ties to Russia, but many of his countrymen, including the leadership in Sadovo, his hometown, have their hearts set on embracing an altogether different "motherland" — Romania.

Sadovo is one of 108 municipalities, mostly villages, that have expressed an interest in reuniting with their southwestern neighbor. The latest to sign the so-called declaration on reunification is the village of Malkoch, in the Yalovensky region.

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