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Belarus foreign minister's "sudden" death drives speculation

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.

What's really happening in Belarus?

Well, a mysterious thing happened. I mean, the foreign minister, Mr. Makei, who's been healthy and no problem whatsoever, died very, very suddenly the other day. He's been a loyal lieutenant of Lukashenko, no question about that. Also, during the sort of, the crackdown time over the last few years, but he has been under the cover, he has sort of been maneuvering. And he's been, in private conversation with me and others, very, very explicit on Moscow's imperial designs. So, there's a lot of speculation what really happened. And according to rumors, these are rumors, Mr. Lukashenko has changed all of his kitchen staff lately.

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Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon, and Turkmen President Serdar Berdymukhamedov pose for a picture during the Central Asia-Russia summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.

REUTERS/Turar Kazangapov

Bickering picks up steam in Russia’s backyard


Since it invaded Ukraine, Russia hasn't just been making enemies – it’s also been losing friends. Some Central Asian countries – considered part of Russia’s backyard thanks to their Soviet heritage – have begun distancing themselves from Moscow.

Tensions have been building: In October, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon told Vladimir Putin at a summit that his country needs “more respect.” At September’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization conference, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov kept Putin waiting before a meeting. And last week, four of Russia’s treaty allies – Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan — abstained from a vote in the UN General Assembly that demanded Moscow pay war reparations to Ukraine.

“Central Asian Republics have always wanted to be free of Russian influence. Seeing Russia falter in Ukraine, they sense their opportunity,” says Husain Haqqani, director for Central and South Asia at Washington’s Hudson Institute.

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Why No One Approved of Olaf Scholz’ Trip to China | GZERO World

Why no one approved of Olaf Scholz’s trip to China

Why did German leader Olaf Scholz decide to make a solo trip to Beijing earlier this month? It's a question that many Germans, even within his own administration, are asking. GZERO's Alex Kliment takes a closer look.

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Who Blew Up the Nord Stream Pipelines? | GZERO World

Who blew up the Nord Stream pipelines?

The controversial Nordstream pipeline that connects Russia to Germany made headlines last September when segments of it mysteriously exploded, deep under water.

Who was responsible?

"My guess is the Russians," says German diplomat Christoph Heusgen tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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Why Russia's War is Going "Very Badly" For Putin | GZERO World

Why Russia's war is going "very badly" for Putin

Is there any end in sight for the Russia/Ukraine war? Not according to German diplomat and Munich Security Conference head Christoph Heusgen, who spoke to Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

"I believe this will go on for some time. Putin is not ready to give in and Zelensky will continue to fight."

With both sides dug in, the only certainty is that more people will die as winter descends on the region. And while Western Europe's resolve for Kyiv's cause remains strong, there may be some cracks beginning to show.

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Biden & Xi Meet in Bali | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Biden and Xi meet in Bali

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: The G-20 of course is in full swing in Bali, Indonesia, and the first face-to-face meeting that Biden has had with Xi Jinping as president. And we shouldn't underestimate this. It's quite unusual. I mean, really unheard of, unprecedented that the two most important leaders on the global stage would have not met in person for two years. And that is indeed the case for Xi Jinping and President Biden. And it's particularly important because these are two leaders that know each other quite well and for a long time. When Biden was vice president, he had a lot of face time in many different venues with then-Vice President Xi, and they got along quite well. They actually like each other, they respect each other. I wouldn't go so far as to say they have a strong relationship of trust, but they enjoy each other's company.

And that's something that you get from Biden when you talk to him. You get the sense that he actually finds that Xi is someone he can deal with. And Biden's perspective on the world is informed by this "great man theory" of international diplomacy, that if you spend enough time with another human being, usually you can improve the relationship. And certainly, I think a big part of this meeting, a three-hour meeting that these two leaders just had on the sidelines of the G-20 is going to make a difference in slowing the escalation and the deterioration of the relationship between these two countries.

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Europe’s Tough Decisions: Russia, China, & EU Unity | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Europe’s tough decisions: Russia, China, and EU unity

Winter is coming and for Europe, a bleak winter it may be.

The escalating Russia/Ukraine war has united European support to Kyiv’s cause, but it’s also brought a plethora of economic, political, and social challenges. Inflation, a sinking Euro, and the possibility of an energy crisis brings to question just how long Europe’s support for Ukraine will last?

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer speaks with German diplomat Christoph Heusgen, who served as his country’s ambassador to the United Nations and is now chairman of the Munich Security Conference.

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Ukraine’s Kherson Victory Is a Turning Point in the War | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Ukraine’s Kherson victory is a turning point in the war

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.

What's the importance of Putin losing the city of Kherson?

Major, I would say. I mean he lost, first, the battle for Kyiv immediately after launching his invasion. Then he lost the battle for Kharkiv, the second largest Ukrainian city. And now he lost the absolutely key city of Kherson, where he had said even that it's an exit to Russia. He is totally absent from the issue in the Russian media, blaming it all on the military, but it's a turning point in the war. Very big. More to come.

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