The recent deal between Cyprus and Russia may seemingly have no real short-term impact on the EU or Russia's politics in the Balkans. But it is in fact part of Russia's grand design to bypass the sanctions, stabilize and increase its foreign expansion in the EU, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.
MOSCOW -- Today's Russia rejects Western-style competition, the rule of law and independent institutions while allowing capitalism and certain changes to economic and social policy under strictly controlled limits. The result is an attempt to strengthen the Soviet experiment and take it to its logical conclusion. Thus, the Putin regime defines "better" not in absolute terms, but as improving upon the performance of former Soviet leaders.
Today, there is no evidence showing that Arab leaders or Sunni leaders in Arab countries, Turkey, and Pakistan have a calculated long-term strategy. The political and security strategy against the US Iranian deal and to counter Iran's regional expansion is absent both as far as the near and long terms are concerned.
In order to understand what is going on in Ukraine, history matters and the narrative of the other as well. Putin is a brutal leader yet his popularity rose as a result of the crisis. Not necessarily because he is a new Hitler as many argue but because he managed to inscribe his narrative in a Russian narrative with deep historical roots.