This is the future for which so many former Soviet Republics strive, even now: A world where the past is honored, but new frontiers are broken, where men voluntarily work together to make a better world.
The last year has shown that Putin perceives that his strengths are paired with Western weaknesses; if the West is to seriously contest with him, it must become serious.
Gazprom fuels Russian military and political power; broken of that, Russia will be merely Venezuela with less political stability.
Dealing in Eastern European finance is a fast way to learn that outside of a few countries, the advantages of European ties are ephemeral at best.
Beneath the success of these individual stories is a somewhat odder truth: the Baltics only fit the European Union slightly better than they did the Soviet one.
It probably struck everyone involved as terribly clever, the problem is that someone left it to Kyrgyzstan’s government to execute it.
Mere money is not the same as the ability to hold a necessary resource hostage, and Moscow knows it.
Azerbaijan has made enormous strides over the last decade, but it is now a dual symbol: of what a former Soviet state can work to be, and how it can contribute to a European future
Officially, the mine accounts for 10 percent of GDP, and employs thousands of locals. Unofficially, its total impact on the official economy is 30 percent, and its impact on the shadow economy is even higher.
Getting completely out from Russia’s deeply unpleasant embrace should be Lithuania’s first, second, and third foreign policy and economic priorities.