FROM Marshall Goldman
Europe Shivers without Russian Gas During a bitter cold snap, countries from France to Turkey are faced with growing shortages of natural gas. Ukraine says Russia's Gazprom monopoly has cut off all shipments to Europe. Russia insists it's Ukraine that has shut down pipelines that cross its territory. The European Commission calls it " unacceptable " for Europe to be a hostage to the dispute. Marshall Goldman, senior scholar in Russian studies at Harvard, is author of Petrostate : Putin, Power and the New Russia.
Russian Democracy and Putin's Power Politics He's seen in the West as a throwback to the days of the Soviet Union: centralized power, control of the media, stifling of political opposition. But since Vladimir Putin was elected President , the economy has been booming and his combative behavior has persuaded Russians they're back as a world power. Putin has turned this weekend's parliamentary elections into a referendum on his two terms as President. Opposition rallies have been broken up, and leaders have been jailed. Former chess champion Gary Kasparov was sentenced to five days for protesting the conduct of the election. With the Kremlin determined to boost the turnout, many Russians say they're being pressured to vote at work, with the implicit threat of losing their jobs if they don't support Putin's party, United Russia . Will this weekend's parliamentary elections consolidate Putin's power, even as the Constitution requires him to step down? Will US and Russian relations continue to deteriorate, while both countries undergo political transitions?
East Asia: President Trump's first foreign policy test Starting with North Korea's latest test of nuclear missiles, a chain of events is causing instability in Asia. Could it turn into the first real foreign policy crisis of the Trump Administration?
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."
The airline electronics ban and what it means President Trump's Department of Homeland Security has banned all electronic devices larger than cell phones on some foreign airlines flying direct to the US. It's causing confusion as well as inconvenience. Is the motive really just increased security?