Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko categorically rejected the possibility of a federalized Ukraine when asked about the possibility. Poroshenko intimated that the plan was merely an attempt to “destroy” Ukraine and capitulate to the perceived Russian goal of breaking parts of the country apart. Nevertheless, despite his rejection of a federalized Ukraine, Poroshenko expressed support for greater regional autonomy, including increased policy-making capabilities for regional governments.
The idea of decentralization is not a relatively new one, and has been addressed by US and European officials over the last year. Germany’s Vice Chancellor made headlines several months ago when he expressed support for decentralizing Ukrainian policymaking to allow for greater decision making throughout the country. As expected, the plan has been decried by the US as a possible vehicle for increased Russian involvement in the country. At this stage, the principal fear is that Russia would be able place pro-Russia individuals in power and thereby create an “extension” of Russia inside of Ukraine.
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- Members of the Afghan Taliban recently released reports insisting that its leader, Mullah Omar, is in fact alive, despite an utter lack of public appearances over a period of several years. Apparently to bolster these claims, the group released a strangely worded biography of the leader, insisting that the leader was alive and in tune with happenings in Afghanistan. Rumors of the Mullah’s death have circulated widely over the last several years.
- The Russian stock market is rising, new data suggests, leading US financier Jim Rogers to suggest investing in the Russian economy. The pillars of Roger’s argument are largely well known: Russian oil prices have hit bottom and will only go up in the near-medium term, the Russian stock market has shown signs of turning around, lower prices provide for more favorable pricing, etc., though Rogers admits that his views are not yet commonplace.
- Germany and Uzbekistan have reportedly reentered negotiations over Germany’s military presence in the country. Though little detail on the negotiations is currently available, it is believed that the talks center on a possible Uzbek rent increase. Currently, Germany rents a base near the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan border for between 10 and 15 million Euros per year.
- Russian revenue from its oil sector is rapidly decreasing, analysis published by Forbes suggests. The analysis goes on to state that, while reports of the Russian oil industry’s demise have thus far been greatly exaggerated, dropping production and restrictions on new projects portend graver things in the future. New projects will be hampered by the amount of capital required to start them, so while Russia possesses a staggering amount of crude, new development may prove problematic.