Belarus, the Borderlands and the U.S.-Russia Standoff

Eugene Chausovsky By Eugene Chausovsky – Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Like other states in the European borderlands, Belarus will continue to seek to take advantage of the Russia-West standoff to meet its strategic interests.
  • Moves by Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine to elicit greater security assistance from NATO and the United States are compromising Belarus’ efforts to serve as a mediator between Moscow and the West.
  • Belarus and the other borderland countries will be unable to escape their geopolitical vulnerabilities, because their fates are shaped by the larger powers surrounding them.

Belarus

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To Russia With Caution

Scott Stewart By Scott Stewart – Re-Blogged From Statfor

Highlights

  • Tensions between the West and Russia are ratcheting up in the wake of the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal.
  • The heightened hostilities will make day-to-day operations more challenging for foreign companies, nongovernmental organizations and journalists working in Russia.
  • In addition to the threat of government surveillance and harassment, foreigners will likely be the targets of increased violence from nationalists and nationalist gangs.

At a newsstand in Moscow, a paper announces Russian President Vladimir Putin's re-election.

(KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)

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The U.K. Measures Its Response to the Poisoning of a Former Russian Spy

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Stratfor’s geopolitical guidance provides insight on what we’re watching out for in the week ahead.

The poisoning of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia has exacerbated the already tense relationship between the United Kingdom and Russia. As a result, British Prime Minister Theresa May said her government was reviewing a range of diplomatic, financial and economic responses to the likely Russia-backed poisoning, which took place in her country. And the United Kingdom requested that the Kremlin hand over materials and samples of its military grade nerve agent, Novichok, by the end of the day on March 13. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry has denied receiving the request and in turn has asked for full access to the investigation and samples of the nerve agent, since Yulia is still a Russian citizen.

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Taking the Temperature of the Ukraine Conflict

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

As highlighted in the 2018 Annual Forecast, progress toward a deal to deploy U.N. peacekeepers to intervene in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is distinctly possible. Recent signs of compromise over other aspects of that conflict, such as prisoner exchanges, indicate that the forecast is on track.

See 2018 Annual Forecast

 The idea of deploying U.N. peacekeepers to Eastern Ukraine was broached several months ago amid growing intensity in diplomacy surrounding the conflict between Russian-backed separatists and pro-government forces there. This weekend’s Munich Security Conference will offer a chance for more talks over the issue, but given the differences of opinion over the size, scope and mission of any U.N. force, there’s no guarantee that an agreement will be struck. But some signs of compromise over the peacekeepers issue — and the opportunity offered by the security gathering that will attract representatives from key powers — make real movement on the issue a possibility.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Former French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L-R) attend a meeting in February 2015 to discuss the conflict in Ukraine.

(MYKOLA LAZARENKO/AFP/Getty Images)

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Russia Won’t Sit Still for Additional U.S. Sanctions

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Washington will increase pressure on Moscow in 2018 through a series of expanded sanctions aimed at Russia’s financial stability, elites, reputation and defense industry.
  • Russia will weather the increased pressure by further insulating its economy, oligarchs and companies, placing additional responsibility for the country’s stability on the Kremlin.
  • The Russian government can maintain its position next year, though its resources are growing slim and the Kremlin faces a pivotal series of elections. 

Russia has begun insulating its economy from additional U.S. sanctions.

(MARK KOLBE/Getty Images)

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Making Sense of the Attack in St. Petersburg

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Russia is no stranger to terrorist attacks. But for the past four years, the country (beyond its restive North Caucasus region) has been free of the kinds of large assaults that have periodically rocked Europe and the United States. Then on Monday, an explosion ripped through a subway train in St. Petersburg, killing 11 people and injuring nearly 50 more. (A second device was reportedly found and dismantled at a nearby metro station.) Russia’s Investigative Committee quickly declared the incident a terrorist attack, and media outlets across the country have proposed different theories to explain who staged the attack and why. Though some scenarios are more plausible than others, each comes with its own set of consequences for the Kremlin and the country.

The Final Flush Is At Hand!

By Bill Holter – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

This past week, the following article was forwarded all over the internet

http://investmentwatchblog.com/if-deutsche-bank-goes-under-it-will-be-lehman-times-five/ as Deutsche Bank is “all of a sudden news”. Maybe this is a “German thing” with the latest out of Volkswagen? Deutsche Bank is not “all of a sudden”, they have been a derivatives monster for years and were saved in 2008 with part of the $16 trillion the Fed generously sprayed all over the world. The title suggesting DB will be the equivalent of five Lehmans is on the right track but not nearly severe enough. They are tied with JP Morgan as THE largest holder of derivatives in the world. Should Deutsche Bank fail, EVERYTHING FINANCIAL FAILS! It can even be said, “the entire world is Lehman” just waiting for their credit line to be cut 48 hours before complete failure.

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