Stuff keeps happening in the world outside Iran.

And I immediately do in the headline what I have criticized others for: relegate Estonia to a lesser status without thinking. Why Estonia’s not worried, despite its neighbor to the east.

More trade with Iran means more petroleum on the market. It will take a year or more for Iran to ramp up production, but the price of oil isn’t going to rise any time soon. That’s not good news for Russia. Russia has been announcing oil deals with China and that it plans to build lots of fancy new military equipment. Maybe not, both the pipeline to China (top photo) and a new bomber. Russia is claiming an “ultra pure” nickel alloy that will extend the life of nuclear reactors, but has no plans for installation of the first pressure vessel made with it. What?

Here’s a very good analysis of Russian strategy and what may happen next. It rings true to me, but I am always wary of analyses of Russian strategy on general principles. There is too much we don’t know about what is driving Vladimir Putin and the people around him. Given that it suggests that conquest of another Ukrainian town is likely to be too costly to Russia, we should look with some skepticism on reports like this, which don’t bother to consider that 9000 troops is an awfully thin force to try to take Mariupol. I tweeted my troop analysis to another Times reporter last week. It hasn’t made any difference that I’ve seen.

Russia’s scientists fall silent.


Long Reads: Mark Galeotti on why Kiev needs self-criticism and tough love. Over corruption and other things.

Timothy Snyder on universalist Ukraine and provincial Russia. Snyder is able to recast events in a context informed by his deep understanding of the history of this part of the world. This is a hard article to read because its approach to the Russia – Ukraine relationship is so different from the common wisdom. I had to read it twice, slowly. But it’s worth it.

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