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TINA for Putin – Or is there an alternative?

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EU relations with Russia hit the news headlines this week. The visit of EU High Representative Josep Borrell, launched in a constructive spirit, ended up in a diplomatic catastrophe. The Navalny saga and the recent weekly demonstrations all over Russia have been commented on at length in the Western press. What is going on in Russia? How to interpret the recent surge of aggressiveness of the Russian authorities? Are the protests just a small hiccup in a stable Putin regime, or is something more going on? To be clear, this is neither the end nor, probably, the beginning of the end of a regime. But the events are far from insignificant. In this article I look at the ongoing events from three angles: what is the Putin regime up to? What is behind the recent wave of protests? And what are the implications for the EU’s relations with Russia?

(Photo credit: photo with EU flag, © European Union, 1995-2019, and photo of Vladimir Putin 2020-02-20; and photo of Alexey_Navalny_2017 Wikimedia Commons by Evgeny Feldman)