Stories written by Kester Kenn Klomegah
Kester Kenn Klomegah is the IPS Moscow correspondent. He covers politics, human rights issues, foreign policy and ethnic minority problems. His research interests include Russian area studies and Russian culture. Kester has worked for several years with the Moscow Times. He has studied social philosophy and religion and spent a year at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He is co-author of ‘AIDS/HIV and Men: Taking Risk or Taking Responsibility’ published by the London-based Panos Institute. In 2004, he was awarded the Golden Word Prize for excellence in journalism by the Russian Media Union, a non-governmental media organisation in Moscow.

RIGHTS: Death Penalty Lingers in Former Soviet Republics

The executions of two Belarus citizens in March and calls by Russian senators to reintroduce capital punishment for terrorists are being seen as indications that the death penalty is not about to fade out soon in the former Soviet republics.

RUSSIA: Outpaced by China in Africa

Russian efforts to acquire oil and gas fields in Africa and prospect for minerals on the resource-rich continent have yielded little success over the past decade due to lack of a coherent national strategy, experts say.

Albert Bakov: 'Africa has great potential.' Credit:

Q&A: Heavy Vehicle Market Taking Off in Africa

Russian president Dmitry Medvedev’s recent official visit to a handful of African countries has provided new impetus to Russian business’s interest in the region.

TRADE-AFRICA: Russia “Could be Left Behind”

Russia should reconsider its trade policy towards African states if it wants to keep up with the likes of China, the European Union (EU) and the U.S., say experts.

RUSSIA: The Language of Influence Weakens

Nearly all of the former Soviet republics have adopted native languages that were suppressed during the communist era at the expense of Russian. This is affecting Russia's influence over the commonwealth of independent states.

RUSSIA: Some Partial Resetting at Last

Russia and the United States have made a breakthrough by signing a new strategic arms reduction agreement after several months of diplomatic negotiations, closing some of the pages of the past and opening a new chapter for the future.

Viktor Polikarpov: Technology should form part of Russia's collaboration with South Africa. Credit:  Kester Kenn Klomegah/IPS

TRADE: Crisis Pushing Emerging Markets to Move Beyond the Dollar

The global economic crisis is pushing countries in regions with emerging markets, such as Russia and South Africa, to together move beyond the dollar-based economic model. Given their politico-economic similarities, these two countries should build on opportunities to share expertise and technology.

RUSSIA: Hoping for Much, Expecting Little

U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Russia next week is expected to bring significant but limited improvement in troubled relations between the two giants.

TRADE: Russia Joining, Joining…

After years of negotiations on joining the WTO, Russia is still far from meeting the requirements set forth by the organisation.

(L-R) South African ambassador Dr Mbeki Langa, Namibian ambassador Dr Sam Mbambo and Zimbabwean ambassador Phelekezela Mphoko at the Russia-South Africa Business Council business conference. Credit:  Kester Klenn Klomegah/IPS

TRADE-RUSSIA: ‘‘Africa Should Shake off Mineral Dependency’’

A group of Russian executives from industry, investment banks and commercial enterprises are seeking Russian government support for a five billion dollar investment in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) under the auspices of the Russia-South Africa Business Council.

EUROPE: Democracy Failing Under Russian Shadow

Eighteen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many of the newly created republics are still struggling to find a working democracy amidst failing economies.

Alexander Antonenko: Keen to collaborate with African enterprises Credit:  Kester Klenn Klomegah/IPS

Q&A: Russian Company Is Ready to Excavate African Potential

At a glance, trade between Russia and African states is still at low levels, which experts attribute to an inadequate flow of information and lack of interaction.

Greta Bagdasarian, an Armenian survivor of domestic violence Credit: Amnesty International

HUMAN RIGHTS: Ominous Silence About Domestic Violence

Over a quarter of Armenian women have been hit or beaten by a family member and about two thirds have experienced psychological abuse, yet the state grossly fails to prevent, investigate and punish domestic violence, say researchers and rights activists.

ABKHAZIA: Russia Offers a Boost

Russia is stepping up investment in Abkhazia and South Ossetia after recognising their independence last year.

TRADE: ‘‘Russia Should Extend More Preferences to Nigeria’’

As cooperation between Nigeria and Russia is strengthened, Russia should consider extending preferences to some goods from Nigeria to further boost trade between the two oil producers, according to the deputy director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’s Institute for African Studies, Professor Dmitri Bondarenko.

RUSSIA: In a New Gas War with Ukraine

The Ukraine-Russia gas dispute has boosted plans for construction of the South Stream and North Stream gas pipelines that would eventually divert Russian gas supplies through the Black Sea and the Baltic seabed respectively to European consumers.

ETHIOPIA: Russian Business to Showcase Goods at Addis Ababa Fair

When the 13th Addis Ababa International Trade Fair officially opens tomorrow, the Russian trade delegation hopes to make its presence felt with participating industrial companies and business enterprises.

RUSSIA: Problems Rise With Falling Oil Prices

The Russian economy is plunging into a crisis as oil prices fall and the government digs deep into its reserve fund.

RUSSIA: Looking for a Handshake with Obama

Russian leaders are looking for new opportunities for improved relations with the U.S. under President Barack Obama, after a period of increasing tensions between the two countries.

TRADE: Russia Supplying Legal And ‘‘Illegal’’ Arms to Africa

Russia's state arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, plans to grow the volume of Russian armament and military equipment to Africa over the next four to five years. This comes on top of allegations that Russia is selling arms to smuggling and contraband rings, thereby contributing to conflict on the war-torn continent.

RUSSIA: Migrant Workers Forced to Head Home

The worsening recession is hitting foreign workers from the ex-Soviet republics far harder than it is affecting Russians.

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