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The new tri-polar world: why Russia can do whatever it likes

The United States is effectively powerless in the empire-building of Russia. There’s three sherifs in the world right now, and America might not even be the most influential.

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Don’t overthink Russia, we’re all Transnistrians now

Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea because Kosovo. Because Mom jeans. Because shirt off. The neocon Right projects its own failed fantasies onto cautious Russian realpolitik.

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Follow Friday: @MarkAdomanis, injecting nuance and numbers into Russia debate

There’s plenty of myth and misinformation around Russia and the Ukraine. Writer Mark Adomanis wants to move beyond a debate which tends to be black and white.

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Crimea vote: Russia’s big win, but what now for Ukraine?

The people of Crimea have, overwhelmingly and expectedly, voted to throw their lot in with Russia. But there were a litany of problems in a referendum that was technically unconstitutional.

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In Russian-speaking Odessa, a call for calm as Putin advances

The Ukrainian town of Odessa has traditionally continued with business as usual even during times of war. But Ukrainian journalist (and chess grandmaster) Mikhail Golubev says Russian aggression has spurred the town into action.

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Cornered, the Russian bear likely to show its teeth in region

Russia’s increasing aggression in the Ukraine is a result of its deep-seated fear of outside aggression. Without a pliant Ukraine, Russia may take more drastic measures.

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Age of empires: Ukraine high-stakes chess game against Russian grandmaster

Russia and Ukraine are on the brink of war, but few in the West have any concept of Russia’s end game. The Russians saw this coming and are strategically placed for any eventuality.

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The battle for the Crimea: Ukraine v Russia in bloody tug-of-war

Ukraine is split, and the Russians are lurking. The history and political context of the Crimea is the source of much of the current conflict. Crikey explains the background.

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The president is gone, but Ukraine’s democracy hopes in tatters

Don’t think that Ukraine’s social unrest will usher in a golden era of social democracy. Unfortunately for the former Eastern bloc state, its future is likely to be more of the same.

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Follow Friday: @MarkGaleotti, explaining Russia and the Games

Mark Galeotti is an important voice on the Sochi Olympics, Vladimir Putin’s overarching ambition and all things Russian. Crikey’s Follow Friday series explains why you should add him to your feed.

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Frigid relations threaten to sink Antarctic conservation efforts

An international commission is set to decide on increased protections for the marine environment around Antarctica later this week. But freelance writer Karl Mathiesen says realpolitik could undermine the commission itself.

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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits

The reality behind the rhetoric to get rid of the mining tax is now becoming apparent — state governments still get the money.

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Russia the real winner of Syrian negotiations

Russia has returned from being a struggling second-rate international power to again strutting the international stage as, more or less, the equal of the United States.

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Russia may yet offer US a Syrian lifeline

The United States may have been given an opportunity to avoid military intervention in Syria while saving face. But will Bashar Al-Assad really play ball?

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Pause for thought on Syrian chemical attacks — and reprisals

There’s still no clear evidence on which group was responsible for a chemical attack in Syria. This lack of information makes Western intervention risky, argues Crikey’s foreign affairs writer.

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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits

Labor’s Kevin Rudd bounce seems to have reached its peak, though the Coalition is still favoured to win. Plus other political snippets noted along the way.

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Oh, those propagandising Russians …

Crikey readers are talking Russian propaganda, asylum seekers and whether Guy Rundle gets it wrong.

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The Age and SMH’s latest byline: Vladimir Putin?

Why are stories sponsored by the Russian government running in supplements in Fairfax newspapers? Melbourne freelance journalist Sasha Petrova, who speaks Russian, asks some questions.

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Escalation in Syria may (or may not) be a step to peace

The Syrian conflict is beginning to look a lot like a proxy war between Russia and the West. Is this a return to the Cold War?

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Hope for peace in Syria fades as Russia backs away

Fighting has escalated in Syria, and Russia has started to arm pro-Assad forces. A peaceful end to the civil war is looking less and less likely.

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Boston and the expanding danger of Chechen Islamist jihad

Chechen Muslims have been increasingly melded with jihadist Islam, and now it seems the US has its own brush with homegrown Islamist terrorism.

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Exiled punk rockers are just the beginning in Putin’s Russia

Terrible conditions inside Russian prison colonies and a bust-up with lawyers. Russian-born freelance journalist Sasha Petrova discovers that things aren’t looking so good for punk band Pussy Riot.

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What life in a Siberian gulag will mean for Pussy Riot

The lawyer for two jailed Pussy Riot singers speaks to Crikey as her clients are transported to a Siberian penal colony. Russian-born journalist Sasha Petrova finds out what conditions the women will face.

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Crikey Blogs | FOOD & TRAVEL|

Crimea, the Russian Riviera

Crimea is a beach holiday destination for many from the former USSR, but it’s the site of a former nuclear power plant that most captured K Johnson’s attention — and frustration.

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Russia’s feminist punk ‘hooligans’ charting their own path

Courtney Love might not like P-ssy Riot, but the Russian “militant, feminist, street rock” act — three of whom face jail in Moscow — fights a worthy cause. Andrew Newman writes from Berlin.

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Womens Agenda

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