Turkey’s Purchase of a Russian Missile System, Explained
Russia sent Turkey a seventh batch of components for the S-400 missile defense system over the weekend. According to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, all S-400 missiles will be deployed by April 2020.
Erdoğan has also said he is planning to send specialists to Russia for training on how to operate the S-400s.
The deal has met stiff resistance from NATO allies, who are threatening to kick Turkey out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program. So why is it going ahead with the purchase? Read more
Lithuania’s Presidential Election Is Boring — And That’s Fine
Former finance minister Ingrida Šimonytė and economist Gitanas Nausėda have advanced to the second round of Lithuania’s presidential election. Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis placed third and has announced he will step down in July.
The remaining candidates are both center-right, so the outcome of the runoff on May 26 should not affect Lithuania’s politics in a major way. Even so, the result is largely a happy one. Read more
Three Challenges for Ukraine’s Sitcom President
In Ukraine, a sitcom is turning into reality as Volodymyr Zelensky becomes the sixth president in the country’s post-Soviet history.
Before running in this year’s election, Zelensky starred in the political comedy Servant of the People, where he portrayed an ordinary teacher who had become president of Ukraine. His character’s attempts to fix the country run into strong opposition from corrupt oligarchs.
As president, Zelensky’s challenge will be much the same: defeating the oligarchs who have so far blocked reform in addition to managing Ukraine’s relations with Russia and building a political support base of his own. Read more
Estonia’s President Sends Wrong Message Meeting Putin
For the past decade, the Baltic states have maintained a strict policy toward Russia: no official state visits by presidents, prime ministers or other high-ranking officials.
That changed last week, when Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid visited a newly renovated embassy in Moscow and stopped by the Kremlin for a cup of tea with Vladimir Putin.
In itself, the meeting does not carry much weight, as nothing crucial was said or done. But it sent the wrong message. Read more