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Russia

Putin's Ambitions

Vladimir Putin came to Geneva to tout his country's economic prospects, but Russians are wondering whether it was really an early stop on the campaign trail to take back the Russian Presidency in 2012.

Putin and his Akita guard dog
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Kremlin

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

GENEVA – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has always been a man of great ambitions – both for himself, and his country.

The latter was undoubtedly on grand display this week in Geneva, as Putin told a United Nations labor conference that Russia was on its way to becoming one of the world's top five economic powers in the next decade.

"Russia is the only country which has reformed its pension system during recession," Vladimir Putin has said. He also touted the relatively modest unemployment rate, and his government's role in preventing companies from going bankrupt.

But observers were also looking for signs at the Geneva appearance that Putin had come to help satisfy his own political agenda. The very fact that he came to the Swiss city to attend the UN labor meeting may be a way of gearing up to run next year for President, the country's top office that he held for the maximum two successive terms before making way for current President Dmitri Medvedev.

Deciding to speak to the international delegation about labor conditions was seen by some as an attempt to offer a softer public face for voters back home. Still, some Russian journalists picking apart the text of his speech saw signs that he may not seek the presidency. There is also the possibility that Putin has simply not decided.

The Prime Minister also suggested to the UN labor delegates that his country should host an International Decent Labor Conference in the fall of 2012. So whatever his own political future may be, no one can doubt that Putin will continue to have big plans for Mother Russia.

Read the full article in French by Stéphane Bussard.

Photo - World Economic Forum

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Geopolitics

For Erdogan, Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Is Perfect For His Reelection Campaign

Turkey's objections to Swedish membership of NATO may mean that Finland joins first. And as he approaches an election at home, Turkish President Erdogan is playing the game to his advantage.

For Erdogan, Blocking Sweden's NATO Bid Is Perfect For His Reelection Campaign

January 11, 2023, Ankara (Turkey): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the International Conference of the Board of Grievances on January 11.

Turkish Presidency / APA Images via ZUMA Press Wire
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — This story has all the key elements of our age: the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the excessive ambitions of an autocrat, the opportunism of a right-wing demagogue, Islamophobia... And at the end, a country, Sweden, whose NATO membership, which should have been only a formality, has been blocked.

Last spring, under the shock of the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin's Russia, Sweden and Finland, two neutral countries in northern Europe, decided to apply for membership in NATO. For Sweden, this is a major turning point: the kingdom’s neutrality had lasted more than 150 years.

Turkey's President Erdogan raised objections. It demanded that Sweden stop sheltering Kurdish opponents in its country. This has nothing to do with NATO or Ukraine, but everything to do with Erdogan's electoral agenda, as he campaigns for the Turkish presidential elections next May.

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