tip off

G20 fails to deliver — but not for lack of Australia trying

The government was right to push for growth at the G20 summit but the minds of international leaders are no longer focused on the forum, write Bernard Keane and Glenn Dyer.

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Russian media shrugs at Australian hunt for Red November

The Australian media has whipped itself into a frenzy over Russian warships off the Queensland coast, but as Crikey intern Andrey Rodionov explains, the Russian media sees it as business as usual.

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From ‘shirt-fronting’ to ‘the sidelines’: how Russia reported the Putin-Abbott chinwag

The Australian media has raved about the meeting between Vladimir Putin and Tony Abbott, but Russian media was more interested in Putin’s chivalry, writes Crikey intern Andrey Rodionov.

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A quarter-century after the Wall fell, Europe hunkers down along old battle lines

In the 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe, some countries have sunk back into old tyrannies.

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Poll Bludger: Abbott’s ‘shirt-fronting’ machismo pleases men and women

Tony Abbott’s personal approval ratings have been enjoying a boost ever since international conflicts distracted from domestic issues. Interestingly, both men and women have bought the tough-guy shtick.

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Elvis on the grassy knoll

Crikey readers talk health messages at the opera and MH17.

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Some propaganda with your morning paper? Why Fairfax is spruiking for Putin

It’s easier than you think to get published in the world’s best newspapers, as the efforts of Russia Beyond The Headlines show. Myriam Robin and Glenn Dyer report.

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‘We don’t know what to do’: Ukraine’s desperate cry for help

Russia has invaded Ukrainian sovereignty, and without help it is unlikely Ukraine can hold off the Russian bear. Freelance journalist Charles McPhedran reports from Kiev.

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Follow Friday: @NataliaAntonova on the horror of watching the world collapse

If you’re looking for a unique take on current events in Russia, the Twitter feed of Ukrainian-born, US-raised, ethnically Russian journalist and playwright Natalia Antonova is a good place to start.

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With Europe on the brink, MH17 is Putin’s watershed moment

Vladimir Putin has built up enormous popularity based on Russian nationalism. To take a soft approach in Ukraine risks that, but to go hard risks war with Europe, explains Thomas Ambrosio, professor of political science at North Dakota State University.

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MH17: decency and respect needed for victims — but it may be too late

There are procedures in place to honour those who have died in and ensure a fair and proper investigation. But so far, the Russian-backed separatists have not shown much willingness to abide by them.

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Rundle: Cold Warriors rattling kalashnikovs can’t give MH17 meaning

MH17 was almost certainly not shot down by the Russian military in a deliberate act of war against any nation with a citizen on board. But tell that to the Right.

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MH17: why a commercial jet was flying over a war zone

The Russian separatists who shot down MH17 allegedly thought it was a military target — though it was easily distinguishable as a commercial plane.

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Follow Friday: @KevinRothrock, explaining the RuNet

If you want to know what’s happening in Russia, go straight to the source. Kevin Rothrock explains the “Wild West” of Russia’s internet.

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Look at the map, Ukraine’s separatism may have a life of its own

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lost control of the battle for hearts and minds in Ukraine. The situation in the divided nation is now even more complicated.

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Putin a 21st-century tsar, with Russians happy to trade freedoms for security

Russia’s default state is not that of a democracy; its authoritarianism has deep roots. And Russians are more than happy to trade liberties for security, says political academic Thomas Ambrosio.

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An unwilling Ukraine being taught its role in a Slavic tragedy

The end game for Russia and President Vladimir Putin is not one that subsumes the Ukraine, but makes it more sympathetic to the Russian cause. It’s a deadly game of chess.

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Russia won’t invade Ukraine — as long as everyone does what Putin wants

Russia is still massing troops on Ukraine’s border. Most of the posturing is for effect — but if push comes to shove, Russia will be the one doing the shoving.

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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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