Vladimir Kara-Murza, writing on World Affairs:
Russian officials have a selective approach to holidays. When it came to arrestingopposition leader Boris Nemtsov on New Year’s Eve and sentencing him on January 2 (a Sunday), no effort was spared. Yet when it came to hearing his appeal, Tverskoy Court remembered that January 1 to 10 is a period of vacation. By law, an appeal against administrative arrest must be heard within 24 hours. The former deputy prime minister has been in detention since December 31, but his appeal has still not been reviewed due to “holidays.” On January 8, another attempt to vindicate Nemtsov’s legal rights ended with Mr. Nemtsov’s lawyer, Timur Onikov, being escorted out by bailiffs. On January 11, the appeal was admitted as a priority case — by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Carl Bildt, Foreign Minister of Sweden, writing in the Moscow Times:
Pushing the “reset” button on diplomatic relations is a popular endeavor nowadays. U.S. President Barack Obama just journeyed to Moscow in order to reset strained U.S.-Russian ties. The European Union, though not in need of a reset because of strained ties with its eastern neighbors, is involved in a deep strategic reconstruction of those relations.
When the EU launched its new Eastern Partnership in May, the purpose was to promote further integration with the union’s six immediate eastern neighbors — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The global financial crisis had made an updated and strengthened policy for the EU’s eastern neighborhood an urgent need. Equally important was the fact that all the countries concerned expressed an ambition to move closer to the EU.