On April 12, 2016, the website of the pro-Kremlin think tank Valdai Discussion Club published an article by Fyodor Lukyanov, academic director of the Valdai Discussion Club, chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and editor-in-chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal. In his article, titled “The End of the G8 Era: Russia Does Not Need Western Hierarchy,” Lukyanov argues that there is no reason to revive the G8 after Russia’s 2014 suspension from it following the Russian annexation of Crimea. Noting that “the G8 reflected a certain period of history when Russia really wanted to be integrated into the so-called Extended West,” he adds that since Russia’s suspension from the G8, it has become clear that Russia does not “fit into the Western community.” Continue reading
Russia last month completed the first land link that North Korea’s Stalinist regime has allowed to the outside world since 2003. Running between Khasan in Russia’s southeastern corner and North Korea’s rebuilt port of Rajin, the 54-kilometer rail link is part of a project President Putin is pushing that would reunite the railway systems of the two Koreas and tie them to the Trans-Siberian Railway.
That would give Putin partial control over links to European train networks 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) away. The route is as much as three times faster than shipping via Egypt’s Suez Canal, which handles 17,000 ships a year, accounts for about 8 percent of maritime trade — and is increasingly beset by pirates and political instability in Egypt and Syria. Continue reading