Cairo has made progress on returning to its pre-revolution economic levels, but censorship, surveillance, and other humanitarian abuses continue to accelerate.
The country’s financial health has improved significantly, largely returning to pre-revolution levels. The IMF projects growth to reach 5.3% this year and 5.5% in 2019—far above the 4.3% average during Hosni Mubarak’s presidency. Foreign currency reserves reached $44.5 billion last month, compared to $36 billion in December 2010. In early November, Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat noted that the number of foreigners visiting Egypt had increased by 40% from September 2017 to September 2018.
Although Egypt has made important strides in macroeconomic reform, political liberalization has regressed since Sisi took power. In a letter to Congress this August, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that “the overall human rights climate in Egypt continues to deteriorate,” with Cairo “enforcing legislation that conflicts with its human rights obligations.” Amnesty International concurred, characterizing the country as “an open-air prison for critics” in a September campaign.
A burgeoning military and political alignment between Russia and China has provoked alarmist headlines in various Western media outlets. But the reality in China is that its foreign policy community has other concerns; its officials and experts are still unprepared and unwilling to cultivate a full-fledged alliance with Russia.
In China’s international affairs community, Russia-China relations are far from being the hottest of topics right now. The problems and prospects of rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing are far lower on the list than the trade war between China and the United States, for instance, or the North Korean nuclear problem.
In Russia, China became a focus of considerable interest only with the beginning of the talk about a “pivot to the East.”
Therefore, the prospects of the Russia-China alliance are likely to remain at the level of newspaper headlines.
The Latvian Russian Union (LKS) and Headquarters for the Protection of Russian Schools (HPRS) organized a demonstration in the capital city of Riga, on September 15.
Undoubtedly, this international attention to the issue was profoundly boosted by the participation of Spanish MEP Ana Miranda (from the Galician Nationalist Bloc party), who came to Riga “to support Latvia’s severely discriminated-against national minorities”. In the European Parliament, Miranda belongs to the European Free Alliance (EFA) political coalition, which stands on the principles of independence movements, socialism, Euroscepticism, and left-wing nationalism.
It is important to note that ties between pro-Russian activists and Spanish separatists have a long history. For instance, while in the EP, Tatyana Zhdanok would visit Spain on numerous occasions to foster ties and expand cooperation.