Deciphering Russian aims

There are indeed some elements of a Kabuki play in the latest developments of the Japan-Russia controversy. Both countries are, for different political reasons, under the spell of frustrated public opinion due to international economic uncertainties, widening social gaps and domestic difficulties. Therefore, it is quite natural for authorities of both countries to try to demonstrate their toughness rather than their flexibility in dealing with foreign affairs — to partially canalize domestic frustration to the outer world.

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