Political uncertainty in Russia fueling capital flight says NY-based Russian analyst

By Ted Regencia
Written for the Business and Economics Reporting Class
at Columbia Journalism School

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency for the third time is causing political uncertainty among Russia’s business elite, so much so that it is fueling a capital flight, a Russian energy analyst said.

Natasha Udensiva, a visiting Russian scholar at Columbia University’s Harriman Institute, said a retreat in direct investments particularly in the energy sector could cost Russia its current position as the number one oil-producing country in the world.

“There is a lot of outflow investment coming from Russia because there is no political stability,” Udensiva said during the forum, “Russian Energy Diplomacy under Putin,” in New York. “There is a lot of doubt how [Putin] will handle the economy.”

Putin was voted back to the presidency in March with over 60 percent of the vote. He is expected to take over the post from President Dmitry Medvedev on May 7.
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Violence erupts anew in Syria: Can U.S. intervention be justified?

An exclusive interview with Middle East Scholar and Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi

Text and photo by Ted Regencia

(An updated version of this article has been published in the online publication Your Middle East)

 

After a few days of relative calm, violence erupted anew in Syria with news reports claiming as many as 54 civilians killed on Wednesday despite a United Nations-backed ceasefire between President Bashar al-Assad and the rebel forces. On that account, calls for a U.S. led intervention, as a matter of “moral principle,” has resurfaced amidst diametric warnings on American forces being caught in another bloody quagmire.

It has been 14 days since special envoy and former U.N. chief Kofi Annan announced a truce on April 12. Since that day, activists have reported more than 460 casualties many in the besieged west-central city of Hama.

The fresh violence has prompted France to call for tighter sanctions against the Assad regime and issue a threat of arming the opposition. And here in the U.S., some segments in the foreign affairs establishment are advocating a muscular and military approach to the situation. Former U.S. ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker wrote in the Christian Science Monitor that America should not wait for another Bosnia to happen before acting. Writing for the Washington Post, columnist Charles Krauthammer also called on the U.S. government for the “organizing, training and arming” of the Syrian rebels.

Continue reading “Violence erupts anew in Syria: Can U.S. intervention be justified?”