Russia: December 14, 2004


Russia has backed off on trying to prop up the corrupt, but pro-Russian,  leadership in Ukraine. Revelations of  Russian involvement in Ukraine, especially in the form of secret police and commandoes, had increased anti-Russian sentiment in Ukraine. This has been the case even in eastern Ukraine, which contains a large number of ethnic Russians. Russia will not soon give up attempts to reabsorb Ukraine, but is preparing to deal with a new government, once the Ukrainian opposition wins the re-run election. The Ukrainian parliament is supporting cleaning up election procedures, and running a clean election.

Meanwhile, in Chechnya, commandoes, secret police and securing forces recruited from pro-Russian Chechens continue to track down rebels and reduce the level of violence. But it may be a while before economic growth returns. At the moment it's basically a gangster economy, and you never know who you have to pay off from one week to the next. Chechnya will remain an uneasy place for some time to come.


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