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RFE/RL Russia Report: From Moscow to Damascus, The Kremlin Has Its Hands Full


Opposition leader Alexei Navalny's supporters stage a protest on Bolotnaya Square, Moscow, September 9, 2013.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny's supporters stage a protest on Bolotnaya Square, Moscow, September 9, 2013.

How influential is Russia? Recent developments in Moscow, with its neighbors, and beyond provide striking commentaries on current Kremlin influence.

# Syria says it accepts Russia's proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control, and then destroy them. But how practical is Russia's plan?

# Armenia dropped a bombshell last week by announcing it intends to join the Eurasia Union, an economic and political body proposed by Russia that would bring together several former Soviet nations. The decision came as a surprise, as the Caucasus country was poised to sign a key political and free trade deal with the European Union at a summit in November -- and Brussels and Moscow have said countries can't have both. Will this stalemate lead to renewed polarization in the region if Russia's former satellites are forced to choose between political alliances and economic models?

# Meanwhile, in an interview with RFE/RL, Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he will also not exclude that his country will one day join the Eurasian Union, and pledges to steer his country toward European integration while calling for warmer relations with Moscow.

# Belarus's economy has been on the brink of collapse for years, and is threatened again by the failure of a lucrative joint exporting deal with Russia -- a situation so serious that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka seems prepared even to challenge Vladimir Putin.

# But in its own backyard, the Russian establishment saw the status quo shaken as "Generation N" pushed opposition hero Aleksei Navalny beyond expectations in the Moscow mayoral race, and maverick activist Yevgeny Roizman claimed mayoral victory in the country's fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg.

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