Russia has long considered the so-called 'Near Abroad' of post-Soviet states to be its sphere of influence. But does it really have the will to assert hegemony? I'd suggest that it does not, in a whistle-stop tour from Belarus to Central Asia.
In the second part, I look at some books that are new, or new to me, and think are worth highlighting:
* No, not a typo. Don't ask me, but trust me, I have no time machine)
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