Russia Geopolitical Watch – from 25 February to 3 March 2023

Russia Watch Team:  Arnaud Huss, Nicolas Girard, Corentin DelonErwann Leyral, Emeline Palvany, led by Ilinka Léger and Enzo Padovan.

The files we follow:Russian economy; Russian domestic politics; Defence and military in Russia; Russian diplomacy in Africa and Asia; Soft power and Russian influence; Russia and multilateralism.

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28/02/2023: American actor Steven Seagal decorated by President Vladimir Putin – Corentin Delon

On February 27, the President of the Russian Federation decorated Steven Seagal with the prestigious Order of Friendship medal. The actor, known for his role in Trap on the High Seas, has had Russian citizenship since 2016 and has been working as a “special envoy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for humanitarian relations with the United States and Japan since 2018“, according to The Moscow Times. This distinction, ratified by a presidential decree published on the government information portal and relayed by The Moscow Times, rewards an “immense contribution to the development of international cultural and humanitarian cooperation.”

This nomination comes in a particular context where the actor is working on a documentary on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Last August, Steven Seagal went to the theater of operations and in particular to the Olenivka prison, suspected by international authorities of harbouring war crimes. The actor had also recorded a video on the occasion of Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday in which he said “I really hope and pray that he receives the support, love and respect he needs. And that all the current tribulations will soon end, that we will live in a peaceful world”.

02/03/2023: State Duma votes a bill banning “discreditation” of anyone participating in the special military operation in Ukraine – Nicolas Girard

On 2nd March, the State Duma voted a bill expanding the ban on discreditation

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China Geopolitical Watch – From 25 February to 3rd March 2023