KGOU

Vladimir Putin

Rebecca Cruise talks with energy analyst Andreas Goldthau, who says if Europe embraces technology like hydraulic fracturing, it’ll reduce the reliance on Russian oil and natural gas.

But first, Joshua Landis analyzes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s surprise visit to Moscow this week to brief Russian President Vladimir Putin on both current and future military operations in Syria. 

Syrian protesters hold signs with the faces of president Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Damascus - March 4, 2012
Freedom House / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad made a surprise visit to Moscow this week to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin. It marks the first time he’s left the county since the civil war began in 2011.

Suzette Grillot talks with Thomas Fingar, the former head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. In the months leading up to the 2003 invasion, he cast doubts on whether or not Iraq had nuclear weapons.

But first, Rebecca Cruise and Joshua Landis discuss President Obama’s meetings with Chinese president Xi Jinping about cybersecurity, and Russian president Vladimir Putin over renewed tension in Syria.

President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at his dacha outside Moscow, Russia, July 7, 2009.
Pete Souza / The White House

Next week President Obama plans to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin at the United Nations to discuss efforts and support in Syria. Russia has been backing the Syrian administration of Bashar al-Assad since the civil war began more than four years ago – sending planes, tanks and troops to bolster Bashar al-Assad’s government and tenuous hold on power in the troubled country. But the rise of Islamic State militants has created even more questions about who to stand behind in the Middle East.

University of Oklahoma political scientist Paul Goode joins Rebecca Cruise to discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Italy this week.

Then we’ll hear Suzette’s conversation with journalist Barbara Slavin. They’ll discuss what the ongoing nuclear talks mean for U.S.-Iranian relations and the possibility for diplomacy.

Italian newspaper reporters speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin
Press Service of the President of Russia / Wikimedia Commons

Russia may have been excluded from this week’s G7 summit in Germany, but with EU sanctions against Russia up for renewal this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin used a visit to Italy on Wednesday as a platform to speak out.

Conditional Ceasefire Reached In Eastern Ukraine

Sep 5, 2014
Insurgents in Donetsk.
Andrew Butko / Wikimedia Commons

The Ukrainian Government announced Friday it signed a preliminary protocol to start a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels.

Brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk, Belarus, the ceasefire went into effect at 6 p.m. local time (10 a.m. Central). Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the agreement on Twitter:

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot focus on the aggression in the east of Ukraine, and the well as the historical importance of Ukraine in Russian history. They also discuss how the war in Syria has affected the country’s ancient history and cultural heritage.

And later, a conversation with Israeli scholar Zaki Shalom. He says the Arab Spring has shifted focus away from the Middle East’s more long-standing discord.

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 29, 2009.
World Economic Forum / Flickr Creative Commons

After hours of negotiations Thursday, top diplomats from the United States, Europe, and Russia agreed to halt any violence, intimidation or provocative actions in Ukraine.

University of Oklahoma historian Joshua Landis, a regular contributor to KGOU’s World Views, says a Ukrainian use of military force could provoke a Russian counterattack, but Putin still has his eye on Eastern provinces.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot focus on the dozens of nations involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, and why it's difficult for countries to cooperate during international tragedies.

Later, Cruise talks with Baylor University political scientist Serhiy Kudelia about the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, and what comes next in Ukraine.

The aftermath of protests in Kiev's Independence Square - February 26, 2014.
Sasha Maksymenko / Flickr Creative Commons

Once the dust settles in Eastern Europe and the dispute over Crimea moves off the front pages of international media, Ukraine still faces a long road trying to right itself from teetering toward becoming a failed state.

Baylor University political scientist Serhiy Kudelia describes the movement as a revolution, rather than a coup, because of its policy-oriented focus and grassroots nature. But he says the inclusion of far-right nationalist representatives in the new government may become problematic.

We retopped this post at 12:25 p.m. ET.

Responding to the news that Russian President Vladimir Putin has put his army on alert in what seems to be a bid to influence events in Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. is "not looking for [a] confrontation" with Moscow.

And, in a reference to the Cold War days of the past when the rivalry between two superpowers would find its way into popular culture, Kerry tried to cool things down.

"This is not Rocky IV," he said, during an MSNBC interview.

Joshua Landis and Rebecca Cruise explain how Syria’s civil war is expanding into a region-wide conflict, and what affect two suicide bombings in Russia this week could have on the upcoming Winter Olympics. 

Later, a conversation with longtime Afghanistan observer Andrew Wilder about this year’s scheduled U.S. combat troop withdrawal, and April elections to replace the term-limited Hamid Karzai.

Russian President Vladimir Putin inspects ski jumping slides at one of the sites for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Press and Information Office of the President of Russia / kremlin.ru

The Russian city of Volgograd is still reeling from two suicide bombings this week at the main railway station and on a city trolleybus that killed dozens and wounded scores more.

No claim of responsibility has been made for either attack, but they come a few months after the leader of an Islamic insurgency in Russia's south called for attacks in the run-up to February's Winter Olympics in the resort city of Sochi.

The remaining members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot have been released from prison in Russia, a few months short of serving their full two-year sentences for "hooliganism" — a charge that the band's supporters say was just a trumped-up effort to quash free speech.

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