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Russia: How Putin has rekindled the cold war

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Russia: How Putin has rekindled the cold war

A Russian bomber TU-95. For a year, not a week goes by that we learn new air incident between Russia and the West.

REUTERS / Defense Ministry of Japan

Ukrainian crisis, accidents or flight near misses, opponents kept at bay, while others are murdered, as Boris Nemtsov. Hints of a new Russian glaciation are numerous. It's been ten years since the first fruits of this new Cold War emerged, says a report by the British House of Lords in February, which deplored the "sleepwalking" of Europe and Moscow. The relationship with the EU was based on a "optimistic assumption", analyzes the document, according to which Russia was engaged on a path to greater democracy.

But soon after coming to power, Putin has gradually tightened its iron grip on the country and blocking tendencies of autonomy of the former satellites of Russia. The main steps of this new polar era.

2003 and 2004: the first opponents embastillés or eliminated

Domestically, since 2003, all of those who place themselves on the road of the Russian president paying the price. The leader of the party "Liberal Russia" Sergei Iouchenkov, is the first of a long series of opponents mysteriously murdered, including journalist Anna Politkovskaya denouncing the "dirty war" in Chechnya, and former secret agent Alexander Litvinenko . The obstinacy of oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, to engage in the political arena against Putin earned him ten years of camp.

2007: Putin's speech against a world "unipolar"

In the "near abroad" of Russia, the "color revolutions" that brought to power the pro-European government in Georgia in 2003 (the "Rose Revolution") and Ukraine in 2004 (the "Orange Revolution" ) awaken the ire of the Kremlin convinced that they are sponsored by the West to encircle his country.

In February 2007, Putin pronounced "the most aggressive speech from a Russian leader since the end of the Cold War," the Republican John McCain, on the occasion of the Munich Security Conference. Russian President denounces it -not unfounded facing the war policy of the administration's claims Bush- Washington to erect a world "unipolar" and the enlargement of NATO, which has "nothing to do with the modernization of the Alliance nor with security in Europe. "

2008: Georgia reined in

Russia implements in 2008 in Georgia, a tactic that will renew later in Ukraine. At the end of military intervention initiated in the name of protection of Russian minorities, Moscow recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This is for Putin to explain to former satellites of the USSR he still has a say on their fate.

2009 failed attempt to "reset"

After the Bush years that the missile shield project is seen as an anti-Russian provocation by Moscow, Barack Obama is trying to coming to power in 2009, a policy of "reset" (restart) of US-Soviet relations. He gives the missile shield, signs a new Start treaty on nuclear disarmament with Russia that includes the World Trade Organization. The effects of this attempt to relax remain limited.

2011: the beginning of the reset

The boss of the Kremlin committed from 2011 a program to modernize 70% of military equipment from Russia in 2020. Moscow is increasing its military spending by 44% in 3 years and plans to devote nearly 72.4 billion euros per year to its armed forces by 2016, stated a report from the Jane's Defence Review, published in early 2014, "which places Russia ahead of the United Kingdom, Japan and France," the military blog

2013: threats against Ukraine

The prospect of Ukraine's Association Agreement with the European Union is a casus belli for the Kremlin, which intended to make Kiev the backbone of a "Eurasian Union" with former satellite countries of Russia.

From summer 2013, the Kremlin expressed his hostility to the choice of Kiev. Russia multiplies the economic reprisals against Ukraine. In September 2013, Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to Putin, warned the Ukrainian government that it "makes a huge mistake if they think the Russian reaction will be neutral." The counselor discusses -déjà- "the possibility of the emergence of separatist movements in the Russian-speaking Ukraine," the Guardian, and "suggests that the bilateral treaty defining the border between Russia and Ukraine could be challenged. "

2014: annexation of the Crimea

The decision of the Ukrainian President Yanukovych to abandon the agreement with the EU leads the uprising of the square Maidan, decried by Moscow. Upon removal of Yanukovych in Kiev, February 22, trouble broke out between pro-Russian Crimea and proKiev. Armed men took control of government buildings, organize a referendum and ask the union with Russia, once officially recorded by Vladimir Putin. A step which threatens the regions of the former USSR, Moldova, Baltic States, populated by Russian speakers, repetition of this scenario.

2014-2015: War in Ukraine

Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow has constantly blowing hot and cold, taking a step back in its support for separatists when Western countries raise their voices, before advancing two steps as soon as the pressure is released. The two cease-fire agreements Minsk (September 2014 and February 2015) illustrate this: the pro-Russian rebel benefit every time, with the support of Moscow, to advance their pawns. Taking the railway junction Debaltseve by separatists few days after the truce is the latest example.

2014-2015: strategy of tension in the air space

Vis-à-vis Europe, Russia multiplies, military provocations. Russian planes graze on numerous occasions the airspace of the European countries of the western Baltic -Country, UK or France. At the point of narrowly avoid twice an accident with a Swedish airliner.

The Cold War by the waves

Military provocations, the Kremlin says the use of "soft power", an area where he can compete with the great American rival. Media orders multiply diatribes against internal and external enemies, and Western Ukrainians. Among the zealous propagandists, the head of the news agency Rossia Segodnya Dmitry Kiselev, agitates the atomic threat and ironic about the opportunity to "reduce the US nuclear powder."

Many believed in the West, that the economic difficulties of Russia combination of sanctions and the falling prices of oil, would bring the Russian President to loosen the grip on Ukraine. Some analysts now fear, conversely, that the Russian economic failure will encourage Putin to engage more in the war rhetoric.

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