Daily Archives: September 20, 2013

After a testing two years for Vladimir Putin that saw the first serious protests against his rule, Russia’s president was back to his relaxed, confident and sometimes acerbic self at an annual meeting with academics and journalists on Thursday.

Though avoiding triumphalism, Mr Putin seemed to bask in his diplomatic success over the plan for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons. He also appeared to believe the sting had been drawn out of the demonstrations that followed parliamentary elections in December 2011 and his own decision to return for a third term as president. Read more

By David Gallerano

♦ Angela Merkel’s main competitor in Sunday’s election – Peer Steinbrück – is a man prone to gaffes. His party, the SPD, is desperately campaigning in Germany’s industrialised urban centres to mobilise “an estimated 10m” of voters “who have drifted from the party since 1998”.

♦ Hassan Rouhani’s victory in Iran’s recent presidential election and the war in Syria: two developments that “provide reason to think that diplomatic progress” between Tehran and Washington might be possible, according to the New York Review of Books. The first result of this détente – the New York Times says – might be an agreement over Iran’s nuclear programmeRead more


By Alice Ross
As Germany’s national elections approach on Sunday, what are the core issues that voters are concerned about? Do voters really admire what Angela Merkel has done for the eurozone, or are they more concerned about domestic issues like energy prices or the minimum wage? Read more

A protestor outside the Greek parliament (Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)

It’s no secret in Athens that austerity-weary Greeks would like to see a grand coalition emerge from Sunday’s elections in Germany. The participation in government of Peer Steinbrück and his Social Democrats, say café pundits, could bring a softening of the “keep-them-on-the-reform-treadmill” approach associated with Angela Merkel’s previous term as chancellor. Read more