Russia’s Cossacks evoke extreme opinions among observers: some see them as a marginal social phenomenon, a kind of political folklore; others as a morally and physically healthy part of the nation, a pillar of the modern paramilitary formations which defend the national and cultural borders of the Russian Federation.
The annexation of Crimea and Russia’s military action in the Donbas in 2014 have revealed a major potential for a revival of nationalist sentiments in Russian society.
On 6 December Vladimir Putin announced that he will run in the presidential election to be held on 18 March 2018.
2017 has seen a wave of dismissals of the heads of Russia’s regions – the largest in the past five years. This is linked primarily to the preparations for the presidential election.
On 15 December, the district court in Moscow found Alexey Ulyukaev, the former Russian minister for economic development, guilty of accepting a bribe of US$2 million.
The Republic of Turkey has been undergoing a thorough transformation since 2002 under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). On the ideological level this transformation entered a decisive stage after the coup of 15 July 2016 which was thwarted by the government’s supporters.
On 7th – 9th December the SPD held its convention in Berlin. Delegates reelected Martin Schulz as the party’s leader (with support at 82%).
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Greece on 6–7 December. This was the first visit of a Turkish president to this country since 1952.
Vladimir Putin visited Cairo on 11 December. The main effect of the visit was the signing of four contracts linked to the construction of the El Dabaa nuclear power plant.
In its time in power, which is shortly to end, the CDU/CSU-SPD coalition introduced key legislative changes enabling a further transformation of the energy sector.