Russian President Vladimir Putin goes on a three-day visit to Crimea, Putin’s inner circle gets a shake-up, and Russian consulting group Minchenko Consulting releases a ranking of political stability in the South Caucasus.

Video by Pavel Gazdyuk

Putin in Crimea

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Crimea this week to once again show the world and the local population that the formerly Ukrainian peninsula is now a part of Russia.

His visit coincided with the 170th anniversary of the Russian Geographical Society. As part of the celebration, Putin descended below the waters of the Black Sea to explore an ancient ship that had sunk there about ten centuries ago.

Putin’s visit to Crimea, as might be expected, was met with anger in Kiev.

Putin’s inner circle gets a shake-up

One of Russia’s most powerful people, Vladimir Yakunin, might be leaving his post as the head of Russia’s main railroad company Russian Railways and might run for a post in the Federation Council.

Yakunin, as a member of Putin’s inner circle, was placed on the U.S. sanctions list after the Crimean referendum. As a result, Russian Railways was deprived of access to Western loans.

Yakunin’s reported resignation might signify the start of the unraveling of crony capitalism in Russia. To find out more, go to our website to read the story:

UPDATE: resignation of Yakunin is officially confirmed.

New research on political stability in the Caucasus

Russian consulting group Minchenko Consulting has released this week a ranking of political stability in the South Caucasus. The report says that Azerbaijan is the most stable state in the region while Armenia is the least stable. Overall, the report underlines that the crisis in Ukraine has escalated tensions within the entire post-Soviet space. An increased threat from the Islamic State in the south also is leading to destabilization in the region.