Tag Archives: Power

Russia's entire cabinet resigned en masse in a plan that would help Putin keep power indefinitely. Here's everything we know.

Russia's entire cabinet resigned en masse in a plan that would help Putin keep power indefinitely. Here's everything we know.The resignation came moments after President Vladimir Putin Putin suggested big constitutional changes.



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Did Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Drop a Grim Hint About Putin’s Latest Power Grab?

Did Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Drop a Grim Hint About Putin’s Latest Power Grab?At a celebration of the Russian Orthodox New Year on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chose a grim message, the sarcasm of which left his audience on edge. But, then, Medvedev probably knew what Wednesday would bring—the resignation of his entire government—and the audience did not.Putin’s Power Play: Shuffle the Cabinet But Keep CommandOn national television, the prime minister read at length from Anton Chekhov’s story "A Night in the Cemetery," which suggests with ironic wit that celebrating the coming of the New Year is a foolish pursuit, unworthy of a properly functioning mind, since “every coming year is as bad as the previous one,” and the newest year is bound to be even worse. Instead of celebrating the New Year, Chekhov wrote—and Medvedev read—one should suffer, cry and attempt suicide. Every new year brings you closer to death, makes you poorer, your bald spots larger and your wife older, he said.Medvedev’s sour greetings brought on some awkward laughs and sparse applause from confused Russian bureaucrats in the studio audience, most of whom remained stone-faced. The prime minister seemed nervous and almost dropped his papers at the end of the speech.Then Wednesday dawned, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in his annual state of the nation address proposed a constitutional overhaul. It supposedly is designed to boost the powers of parliament and the cabinet, but more likely is intended to give Putin, 67, a firm grip on the country for many more years, even decades, to come. A few hours later, Medvedev submitted his resignation, and his entire cabinet submitted theirs as well. And while some of them may stay on, Medvedev, who once served a term as Putin's placeholder president, will move to a previously nonexistent post.Putin offered the prime minister slot to Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the Russian Tax Service, who has been described as “the taxman of the future,” digitally acquiring receipts of every transaction in Russia within 90 seconds. It's unclear whether Mishustin will be a placeholder technocrat or assume other responsibilities currently known only to Putin. But in his annual address, Putin articulated the need to identify any persons with current or former double citizenships and foreign holdings, eliminating them from government service. Mishustin might become instrumental in such a reshuffling of Russia’s power elites, who are perceived to be unpatriotic by maintaining residences or bank accounts abroad. The added pressure will also give Putin further leverage over them. In the past, Putin and Medvedev have choreographed moves that allowed Putin to remain in charge under different titles, swapping places to circumvent term limits.This time around, Medvedev will assume a newly created position as the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council and all current ministers will remain in an acting capacity until a new government is appointed.Meanwhile, the leader of Chechnya in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region, Ramzan Kadyrov has declared himself to be “temporarily incapacitated,” relegating his duties to the current prime minister of Chechnya, Muslim Khuchiyev.Putin’s sweeping changes are widely interpreted as designed to weaken his successor, reshaping Russia’s power structure in order to create additional opportunities for Putin's continued control over the government, even after the conclusion of his fourth presidential term in 2024. Putin proposed amending the Russian constitution to expand the powers of the legislative branch and investing additional powers in the State Council, leading to speculation Putin is contemplating his future return at the helm of a newly empowered Parliament, after the expiration of his current presidential term.Commentary on the Russian president’s likely intention to carve out a new position for himself has been skillfully avoided by the Russian state media. Instead, Kremlin-controlled news outlets chose to focus on promised subsidies for families with young children, designed to address Russia’s demographic crisis by boosting the birth rate, and the general claim that Putin has, as it were, made Russia great again.On the Russian state television show, The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, the host proclaimed, “The greatness of the country is indisputably tied to the name of Putin.” Soloviev argued that the Russian president “restored respect” towards their country globally. His take was echoed by the State Duma Deputy Chair Irina Yarovaya, who pontificated that Putin, having achieved his foreign policy and national security objectives, could now move on to his domestic agenda. Yarovaya said, “We remember statements by [U.S. President Barack Obama] in 2014—very recently—that Russia is a regional power of minor importance. We remember all of that. We remember how the sanctions started. We remember how we weren’t invited to the G8. And today there is a line of world leaders waiting just to talk to our president over the phone…”The sanctions started and Russia was disinvited after it seized and annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, then incited and abetted a separatist war in Ukraine's east. They were intensified after Russia's flagrant interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.Russian state media also highlight Putin’s promises of socioeconomic largesse and his prediction that “Russia's economy will grow faster than the global average in 2021.” During the last decade, the Russian leader has promised in vain that Russia will become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2024. It is currently ranked as the 11th largest economy in the world, with a smaller GDP than that of California. President Putin’s current growth prediction is much more modest. It’s still not realistic, but such promises had to be made as Russia’s declining standards of living have led to political unrest and mass protests.Without providing any direct answers as to his own plans, the Russian leader—who has now been in power for 20 years—created new venues for his continued reign in yet-to-be-revealed future capacities.Amid all the uncertainties, maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that Medvedev was reading Chekhov’s story about a blind drunk civil servant who stumbles out of a New Year’s celebration only to get lost in a graveyard—and then discovers in the morning he was somewhere else entirely.Russia Loves the Impeachment Hearings Because GOP Is Parroting Kremlin PropagandaRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Nuclear power plant in UAE risks sparking arms race, expert warns

Nuclear power plant in UAE risks sparking arms race, expert warnsFour nuclear reactors being built in the United Arab Emirates could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and leave the Persian Gulf at risk of a Chernobyl-style disaster, a leading nuclear scientist has claimed. In a report, Dr Paul Dorfman, chairman of the Nuclear Consulting Group, warned the UAE's Barakah nuclear power plant lacks key safety features, poses a threat to the environment, is a potential target for terrorists and could be part of plans to develop nuclear weapons.  "The motivation for building this may lie hidden in plain sight," Dr Dorfman told the Telegraph. "They are seriously considering nuclear proliferation."  Dr Dorfman, who is also an honorary senior research associate at University College London's Energy Institute, has served as a nuclear adviser to the British government and led the European Environment Agency response to the Fukushima disaster. However, the UAE has stressed that it is committed to "the highest standards of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation." The UAE hired the South Korean firm Korea Electric Power Corporation to build the Barakah – "Divine Blessing" in Arabic, plant in 2009. It will be the first nuclear power plant in the Arabian peninsula, and has fuelled speculation that Abu Dhabi is preparing for a nuclear arms race with the Islamic Republic. The UAE has denied allegations by the Qatari government that its power plant is a security threat to their capital of Doha and the Qatari environment, dismissing any causes for concern. Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan photographed in Germany earlier this year Credit: Reuters  However, Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed they hit the Barakah nuclear power plant with a missile in 2017. The UAE denied that the rebels fired any such missile, adding that they had an air defence system to deal with such threats. Dr Dorfman said that scrambling fighter aircraft or firing surface to air missiles in time to intercept an incoming strike would be difficult. In September, Saudi air defences failed to stop a drone attack on oil processing facilities. Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for that attack, though Saudi Arabia blamed Iran. The increase in transportation of radioactive materials through the Persian Gulf when the plant goes into operation could also raise the risk of potentially fatal collisions, explosions, or equipment and material failure. Any radioactive discharge resulting from accidents could easily reach population centres on the Gulf coast and have a potentially devastating impact on delicate Gulf ecosystems, including rare mangrove swamps. The plant is also vulnerable to climate change and extreme temperatures that could affect its cooling system, Dr Dorfman's report says. The International Panel on Climate Change has said that extreme sea level events are now likely to happen more frequently, meaning coastal power plants such as Barakah could become defenseless against rising sea levels, tidal ingress and storm surges. High average sea water temperatures in the Gulf could also make it more difficult to cool the reactor using sea water. The cost of the 1986 Chernobyl accident has been recently estimated to be around $ 235 billion (£179 billion). The Japanese Centre for Economic Research has said the 2011 Fukushima accident cost over 81 trillion YEN(£567 billion), although the Japanese government has put the cost at YEN 22 million (£142 billion). The United Arab Emirates Foreign ministry had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.



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Quake strikes near Iran nuclear power plant

Quake strikes near Iran nuclear power plantAn earthquake struck Iran on Friday less than 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the country’s only nuclear power plant, monitors said. The US Geological Survey said the 5.1 magnitude quake struck 44 kilometres (27 miles) from the southwestern city of Borazjan and at a depth of 38 kilometres. Its reported epicentre is 45 kilometres east of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, on the southwest Gulf coast.



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POWER RANKING: Here's who has the best chance of becoming the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee

POWER RANKING: Here's who has the best chance of becoming the 2020 Democratic presidential nomineeWe've combined Insider polling and results of Morning Consult's daily survey to create a weekly power ranking of the potential 2020 candidates.



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A floating nuclear power plant that activists dubbed 'Chernobyl on ice' has started producing electricity in Russia. Here's what it looks like.

A floating nuclear power plant that activists dubbed 'Chernobyl on ice' has started producing electricity in Russia. Here's what it looks like.The plant sailed 3,100 miles to a remote area in northern Russia in the fall. But environmentalists say floating nuclear plants are risky.



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Nancy Pelosi's power play to delay the Senate impeachment trial could backfire and play into Trump's hands

Nancy Pelosi's power play to delay the Senate impeachment trial could backfire and play into Trump's handsTrump and his allies will likely seek to portray a possible delay to Trump's impeachment trial as obstructionism.



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A new Fox News poll found that a majority of voters think Trump abused his power and should be impeached

A new Fox News poll found that a majority of voters think Trump abused his power and should be impeachedFifty-three percent of registered voters polled by Fox News last week said President Donald Trump abused his power, with 54% supporting impeachment.



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Will the Navy's New LRASM Missile Change the Balance of Power?

Will the Navy's New LRASM Missile Change the Balance of Power?Or will it keep the status quo?



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In 2030, What Countries Will Have the Most Power Airforces?

In 2030, What Countries Will Have the Most Power Airforces?We can tell you.



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