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Russia President Vladimir Putin with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban - one of 'Russia’s most important partners' (photo:dpa)

Russia sows discord in search for economic allies

With Russia’s economy heading for recession and isolation from markets in the West, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is cultivating alternative friendships in and around Europe. Although the rewards may be meagre, what is likely to be achieved is mischief. The European powers’ efforts to maintain a common EU policy on Russia is already shaky with several governments questioning the wisdom of sanctions. The Kremlin is playing into whatever cracks it can find.

THE SERIOUS deterioration in relations between Russia and the European Union has forced Moscow to embark on a search for economic allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to the rif...

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
Today, Mr Putin's circle of close friends has narrowed to Hungary and Serbia, and increasingly also Greece. These new friends offer little economic benefit, to offset losses from reduced trade with the main European economies
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