Owen Matthews

Russia's New Police State

In principle, Russia enshrines the same rights—against self-incrimination and the presumption of guilt—that Western nations do. In practice, two new laws that empower state security services do exactly the opposite.

Russia's Olympic Fear

Worry is rising over the risk of terrorism at Russia's 2014 Winter Olympics. Last week's deadly attack on a hydroelectric station in Russia's deep south only added to the concern. The number of attacks in the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus was up 57 percent last year, and unlike the Chechen wars of 1994–2001, these killings have been the work of a bewildering array of rebel groups, some motivated by radical Islam but others by separatism or clan warfare.

Regime Change Everyone Can Love

It's not often that Brussels and Moscow see eye to eye on the politics of the former Soviet Union. But both want Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko gone, preferably after elections slated for early 2011. The EU has long criticized Lukashenko for abusing opposition activists and censoring local media.

I Owe My Life to a Spy Exchange

In 1969, Britain traded two senior Soviet spies for a Russian student accused of passing information to the British—much like the exchange carried out today. Because the deal was so lopsided, Moscow threw in a few women who wanted to marry Britons. One of them was my mother.

How Kyrgyzstan Tamed Moscow

It's still not clear what sparked the ethnic pogroms in south Kyrgyzstan that left at least 124 people dead over the weekend and forced up to 75,000 Uzbeks to flee their homes. But the most surprising reaction so far has been from Russia.

Georgia Suffers in U.S.-Russia Reset

Washington's reset with Moscow has one very clear casualty: Georgia. The U.S. insists that it still supports Georgia's territorial integrity. But Washington also says that Russia's ongoing occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia "need no longer be considered an obstacle" to ratifying an agreement on joint civilian nuclear cooperation originally mooted after Russia's 2008 invasion.

Reaching Out to Russia

There's no love lost between Moscow and NATO. Over the past two decades, nine former Soviet states and satellites have joined the U.S. led alliance, and others have hinted at following suit.

Georgia's Separate Peace

Moscow and Tbilisi are still officially at war a year and a half after Russian troops rolled into the breakaway Georgian republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and declared them independent.

Turkey Cleans Up the Courts

Is Turkey's ruling AK Party trying to make the country more democratic or crush the last obstacles in the way of its Islamist agenda? A new package before Parliament aims to reform the judiciary by making it more difficult for courts to disband political parties and allowing military brass to be tried in civilian courts.