Moldova drops 'Moldovan' language; Russia irked
The parliament of Moldova on March 17 voted to remove references to the "Moldovan" language from the country's constitution and enshrine Romanian as the official language for all legislation. Lawmakers asserted that "Moldovan" is actually indistinguishable from Romanian, and that the notion that it is a separate language is a product of Soviet propaganda. The vote was applauded by Romania, whose foreign minister Bogdan Aurescu stated that the Moldovan language is an "artificial construct."
Oil contracts at issue in Somaliland conflict?
Fighting continues in Somalia's northern breakaway state of Somaliland, where three eastern administrative regions—Sool, Sanaag, and Aynaba—have taken up arms in a bid to rejoin the internationally recognized Mogadishu government. Somaliland accuses the neighboring autonomous region of Puntland and the government of Ethiopia (which is officially attempting to broker a dialogue in the conflict) of intervening on the side of the re-integrationist rebels, who are headquartered in the town of Las Anod, Sool region. Somaliland has been effectively independent since 1991, and has seen a more stable and secular social order than the regions controlled by the Mogadishu government.
De-escalation on Kosovo-Serbia border —for now
Kosovo on Dec. 29 reopened its main border crossing with Serbia following calls from the international community to de-escalate rapidly rising tensions between the two countries. Serb protesters removed barricades along the border crossing following a meeting the previous night with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. An order issued by Vučić days earlier to increase the Serbian army's combat readiness was also revoked. However, Vučić insisted that Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008, is still a part of Serbia.
Podcast: can Russia foment civil war in the US?
In Episode 135 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg examines Russia's obvious attempt to bring about a return to power by MAGA-fascism in the US, or to have the country collapse into civil war—leaving Moscow considerably freer to carry out its campaign of reconquest in Ukraine and possibly beyond. This is the evident design of the FSB (neo-KGB) in coordination with a political network in the orbit of Alexander Dugin, the intellectual mastermind of Vladimir Putin's revanchist imperial project, and the strategy of building a "Red-Brown alliance" of the radical right and radical left against the "liberal order" of the West. How is it possible that Black Nationalists and supposed "progressives" are being taken in by the same FSB-backed astroturf organizations that are also grooming white supremacists and neo-Confederates? Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.
FBI raids Russian-backed Black Nationalists?
Federal agents executed search warrants July 29 at a Black Nationalist meeting place in St. Petersburg, Fla. The agents were seen carrying out unidentified boxes for hours at Uhuru House, local headquarters of the Uhuru Movement, an arm of the African People's Socialist Party (APSP). This is a pan-Africanist formation with separatist inclinations dating back to the early '70s. The Uhuru Movement is evidently the "US Political Group 1" named in a federal indictment unsealed that same day, formally charging a Russian national with spearheading a multi-year "influence campaign" in the United States. Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov is accused using three unnamed "political groups" to spread pro-Russian propaganda in the US and interfere in elections. Ionov, a Moscow resident, is founder and leader of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (AGMR), which the indictment says operates "in conjunction with" the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB, successor agency to the KGB).
Karakalpakstan retains right to secede after unrest
Following a day of angry protests that left 18 dead and hundreds wounded, Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on July 2 announced that he will not proceed with a planned constitutional change to revoke the right of the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan, in the country's remote northeast, to secede via referendum. The announcement came as Mirziyoyev made an emergency visit to Nukus, the riot-stricken regional capital of Karakalpakstan. He also imposed a month-long state of emergency in the region.
ICC issues warrants for crimes in Russo-Georgian War
The International Criminal Court's Pre-Trial Chamber I on June 30 issued arrest warrants for three individuals for alleged war crimes committed during the Russia-Georgia war in 2008. Russian nationals Mikhail Mayramovich Mindzaev and Gamlet Guchmazov, along with Georgian national David Georgiyevich Sanakoev are charged with various war crimes, including illegal detention, torture and inhumane treatment, hostage-taking, and illegal transfer of civilians. The ICC says the crimes were committed in August 2008, when the three were fighting for the Russian-backed South Ossetian separatist forces.
South Ossetia suspends referendum to join Russia
The de facto president of South Ossetia, Alan Gagloev, on May 30 suspended a planned referendum to determine whether the breakaway region of Georgia should join the Russian Federation. The referendum, scheduled for July, had been ordered by decree of Gagloev's predecessor Anatoly Bibilov, and was widely seen as a play to cement his grip on power. However, Bibilov lost his bid for reelection earlier in May, bringing his rival Gagloev to the presidency. In calling off the vote, Gagloev said that the Kremlin must be consulted on "issues related to the further integration of South Ossetia and the Russian Federation." Georgian officials had denounced any moves by South Ossetia to join Russia as "unacceptable."
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