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Blogs by Neil Barnett

Neil Barnett has 15 years' experience as a journalist in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) 
and the Middle East, writing for the Telegraph, the Spectator and Jane's Defence 
Weekly. He covered the 2004 Orange revolution in Ukraine and the conflict in Iraq and 
has written a biography of Tito. 
He now runs Istok Associates, a risk consultancy specialising in CEE and the Middle 
East.

  • A British policy for countering Russia: A new Jackson-Vanik amendment

    A British policy for countering Russia: A new Jackson-Vanik amendment

    | Foreign Policy
    During the annexation of Crimea, the invasion of eastern Ukraine and the Syrian campaign, Britain was less involved in Ukraine than its European counterparts despite being  a member of the UN Security Council. While Merkel and Hollande negotiated the Minsk accords with Ukraine and Russia, the British government originally confined ...
  • Germany's deal with Russia

    Germany's deal with Russia

    | Energy
    Energy secretary Amber Rudd yesterday announced that the UK would increase its consumption of gas, as coal-fired power stations are phased out in the next decade. But in recent weeks it has become clear that Germany and Russia are effectively conspiring to dodge the EU's energy rules and build two ...
  • Russian-financed extremist parties bid for respectability

    Russian-financed extremist parties bid for respectability

    | Foreign Policy
    Since Russian financing of the French National Front was uncovered last year, the Kremlin’s sponsorship of extremist parties in Europe has ceased to be a matter of speculation and become a matter of fact. Which other pro-Russian fringe parties receive Kremlin funds is unclear, but our earlier piece on the ...
  • Greece, the EU & NATO

    Greece, the EU & NATO

    | Europe
    The election of the leftist Syriza-led government in Greece is potentially a turning point in the history of the EU. The Mexican standoff between Greece and its bailout creditors is just one manifestation of a profound challenge: how does Europe’s political, economic and security architecture withstand the election of a ...
  • Why Ukraine matters

    Why Ukraine matters

    | Foreign Policy
    After more than a year of the crisis in Ukraine, some people are asking how soon it can be brought to a close and we can return to business as usual with Russia. The French and Italians are both lobbying in Europe for sanctions on Russia to be eased, and ...
  • Why the Saudis want the oil price to keep falling

    Why the Saudis want the oil price to keep falling

    | Energy
    Since March we have suggested, and then witnessed, a Saudi-US policy of pushing down oil prices to rein in Russia. Nevertheless, Saudi motives in doing this have mystified many observers. On the face of it, this mystery ended on 22nd December when the Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi gave a ...
  • Saudi Oil Weapon Bites On Russia’s Strategic Projects

    Saudi Oil Weapon Bites On Russia’s Strategic Projects

    | Foreign Policy
    As I have argued since March, a Saudi-US policy of depressing oil prices combined with sanctions is the best way to push back at Russian revanchism. Recent updates have followed the arrival of these falling prices, but this update looks at the tangible effects of the policy.The effect on the ...
  • Russian sponsorship of the European far right

    Russian sponsorship of the European far right

    | Foreign Policy
    Amid the sinister circus of Russian-sponsored ‘elections’ in eastern Ukraine last weekend, the Russians have done us a small favour. In an effort to legitimise the votes, ‘election observers’ were brought in via Russia. The identity of these ‘observers’ serves as a handy guide to Russian influence networks in Western ...
  • Saudi oil: the secret weapon against Russian encroachment

    Saudi oil: the secret weapon against Russian encroachment

    | Foreign Policy
    This article was an exclusive for CapX.As oil prices remain depressed, my Centre for Policy Studies paper from March, ‘Deploying the Saudi Oil Weapon’, appears prescient. The aim of this article, however, is not to crow, but to examine the reasons for falling oil prices, and to look at why we need ...
  • Is the US priming the Saudi Oil Weapon?

    Is the US priming the Saudi Oil Weapon?

    | Energy
    In March the Centre for Policy Studies published my paper, Deploying the Saudi Oil Weapon Against Russia. The report suggested that the best means of stopping Russian aggression in Ukraine was for Saudi Arabia to increase oil production and depress oil prices. The logic behind the strategy is that Russia ...