ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Rama Sampath KumarSubscribe to Rama Sampath Kumar

Kremlin Comeback: The Putin Overdrive

With a weak opposition and consistent economic growth, the 2012 presidential elections were widely expected to be a cakewalk for Vladimir Putin, allowing his executive tenure to continue for another 12 years under the constitutionally revised extension of the presidential term. However, the plummeting of support for his United Russia Party in the State Duma elections and mass demonstrations against widespread vote manipulation may force the Russian leader to look at reinventing himself.

From Kosovo to Georgia: The US, NATO and Russia

Separatist movements across the globe are demanding self-determination and independence, prompting major powers who are seeking geopolitical advantage to intervene in these regions. The endorsement of Kosovo's independence by the United States and the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia over separatists in South Ossetia have set precedents for others. If the major powers continue to involve themselves in such issues, there is the danger of the tensions deepening and spreading to a wider canvas.

Aral Sea: Environmental Tragedy in Central Asia

The Aral Sea, a terminal lake fed by two major rivers, the Syrdarya and Amudarya forms a natural border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. In 1960 it was the fourth largest lake in the world; today it is on the verge of deteriorating into a small and dirty waterhole. The destruction of the Aral Sea is an example of how quickly environmental and humanitarian tragedy can threaten a whole region. The destruction of the Aral Sea is a textbook example of unsustainable development.

Central Asia: Impact of US-Led War on Terrorism

The war on terrorism after September 11 has brought a deepening of the US involvement in the central Asian region. This projection of American power into the centre of the Eurasian land mass has no historical precedent. With central Asian nations relying heavily on the US, its military presence there has been legitimised.

Russia : Putin's Confrontation with Oligarchs

Much of the debate on privatisation of health care has been based on the assumption that the private sector provides a better quality of services than the public sector. Efforts are on to restructure public institutions on market principles to promote efficiency. However, a recent report on Delhi's private hospitals is a shocking reveletion of their questionable management practices with regard to workers as well as patient care.

President Putin

Putin is a president who has risen with the help of the Russian political establishment and yet is expected to knock down the power structure that elected him. He has inducted reformist economists even while continuing with some of the Yeltsin coterie.

Walking the Economic Tight-Rope-Challenge before Russia s New Prime Minister

Russia ended with the appointment of Yevgeny Primakov as prime minister on September 11. The political deadlock compounded by the collapse of the financial system was driving the country to ruin. At one stage analysts worried about possible unrest on a scale seen in Albania and Indonesia. It weakened Boris Yeltsin, the president, who was forced to make unprecedented concessions to the communist- dominated Duma, including withdrawing his first choice for premier, former prime minister Victor Chernomyrdin. The new prime minister now faces the toughest task of his life pulling Russia out of a deep economic crisis. This very mission has doomed Russia's last two prime ministers. He also has to forge political co-operation to tackle Russia's economic fiasco. Unless he can hold the political strings together, implementation of economic recovery programmes will not be easy. Although a competent administrator he has no formal business training and lacks experience in the private sector of a market economy. His success will therefore depend heavily on the team that is entrusted with economic policy. If his career graph is any indication then one can depend on him to show results as he is very experienced and his expertise lies in his diplomacy; besides he is an old fox in the political arena.

Chechnya Russian Fiasco

Chechnya: Russian Fiasco Rama Sampath Kumar THE administrative units of the Russian federation are composed of 55 provinces or regions, 2 cities (Moscow and St Petersburg), 21 republics, and 11 autonomous formations.' The division into various administrative units, based on the Soviet nationality policy, influenced regional politics through the Soviet years.3 The centrifugal pressure in Russia is strongest among the 21 republics, and they enjoy fuller rights to self- government than the others.3 These republics can be roughly divided into three main groups: (1) the regions with below-average incomes, where the Russians are a minority. These are ethnic trouble spots and most of them, including Chechnya, are situated in the Caucasus; (2) the second group comprises of resource rich, large republics in the north - Komi, Karelia and Yakutia. They have above- average incomes and the ethnic Russians are the majority. Their restlessness is purely economic; (3) The third group is the republics along the Volga, which are rich in oil and arc home to most of Russia's 18 million Muslims. Tatarstan and Bashkorostan fall in this category, and this group is the real threat to Russia's integrity. The railways and pipelines connecting Siberia to European Russia pass through this region.

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