Seagal, Afghanistan, Syria, and Guriyev

May 29, 2013
Kadyrov and Seagal/Kadyrov's Instagram Account

– It seems that C-list action star Steven Seagal is now trying his hand at diplomacy. Seagal, coming off of his recent ventures helping Putin promote school physical education and posing with Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, attempted to organize a Congressional fact-finding trip in the aftermath of the Boston bombings to the volatile republic. As reported by Politico: “The CODEL’s [Congressional Delegation] visit to Chechnya was facilitated by Steven Seagal. He has an established friendship with Putin and others in the Russian government and assisted in accommodating the CODEL’s request to visit the region,” said Tara Setmayer, a spokeswoman for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.).”

– With America’s impending departure from Afghanistan, and the security vacuum that could potentially follow, Russia is increasing its preparations to limit the spread of violence. Putin met Tuesday with other Central Asian leaders, who together make up the Russia led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), to talk about the implementation of security measures in the wake of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Moscow Times reported that CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha stated at a press conference that, “The issue of strengthening border control and supplying the [CSTO’s] Collective Rapid Reaction Force with modern military equipment, as well as cooperation of relevant services in countering extremism, were discussed in particular.”

– The seemingly endless diplomatic wrangles over Syria continue with Russia chastising the U.S. over its draft resolution to the U.N. Human Rights Council on abuses by the Syrian regime. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that this measure, while ignoring the pacific qualities of supplying arms like the S-300 air defense systems to Syria, limits the chances for a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing conflict. Reuters reports on Lavrov’s statements in Moscow: “He said the draft was ‘unilateral and odious’ and likened it to a U.N. General Assembly resolution adopted earlier this month that he said was aimed at creating obstacles to U.S.-Russian efforts to foster a peaceful solution.”

– It seems that there is yet again another example of the targeting of critics of the regime by the Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin. The well-known and respected economist, Sergei Guriyev, was questioned over his alleged links to Yukos, the now defunct oil company which was taken over by the state controlled Rosneft. It looks as if his real transgression may have been his support of the vocal and regime irritating opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Reuters reports that the rector of Moscow’s New Economic School has fled the country, “”He (Guriyev) defended Khodorkovsky and said that the case was fabricated. An enemy? Of course,” Boris Nemtsov, said. “He fights corruption? That betrays our fundamental ideals!”