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• Russia has contained the unrest seen in 2011 by limited reforms and by an appeal to conservative Russian nationalism in both domestic and international policy

• Corruption remains a severe problem and the Russian economy is relatively weak

• There have been moves to forge closer relationships with China as ties with the West are strained and further sanctions over Ukraine are threatened

• Observers are wary of new conflict as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia prepare to sign their Association Agreements with the EU on 27 June

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