Every week I plan to provide a roundup of the best blog posts about Russia and its surrounds.
The big story of the past few days has, of course, been the spat between Russia and Britain over British Council offices in St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg (more from Siberian Light here and here).
I wondered whether Russia had ‘won’ this round of the ongoing Russo-British feud but, actually, I think Red Exile has absolutely nailed it with his summary of the outcome – a tie:
Seen from the perspective of us Brits living in Moscow, this looks like a classic UK New Labour spin doctors game: adopt a position certain to provoke a Russian reaction and then pretend to take the moral high-ground and spin out how while not conceding Moscows point London has shut down the two complained of offices (as initially instructed) in the interests of staff safety. It is exactly how I would have played it. As chess moves go, there have been no missteps here, by either side. This game has played out in a way that each side can exploit to the full.
I was also amused by Robert Amsterdam’s wry observation of Russia’s approach to disuptes:
It’s difficult to think of any other government that actually threatens to “invent” new tax issues as a way to leverage their interests.
David McDuff has spotted what appears to be a concerted and perhaps pre-planned campaign by Russian activists:
An interesting feature of the present crisis, which was obviously prepared in advance by the Russian authorities, is the flooding of British media comments boards (the Mail and Telegraph are the two leading examples at present) with anti-UK and pro-Putin messages posted by Russians posing under English-sounding names.
It’s not all about the British Council though, so moving right along, Moscow Through Brown eyes considers migration and racism in Russia.
Its hard to imagine that 2008 won’t give 2007 a run for its money as the bloodiest year for ethnically-motivated violence in Russia.
The last 12 months in Central Asia, viewed through the lens of NewEurasia.
The Streetwise Professor asks: “Stalin and Putin: Great Leaders of Great Blunderers?” He opts for the latter, but I was amused by this nice little put-down of Putin:
By comparison to Stalin and his stupendous mistakes, Putin is a piker in the blunder department.
Grigory Pasko wishes Russian prisoners a happy old new year.
And, finally, Svet writes about Russia’s Winnie the Pooh – Vinnih Puh. Don’t forget to watch the video she’s posted.