Alexei Navalny’s arrest has galvanized dissent action against the Putin Administration. With anti-corruption and “Free Navalny” protests in all eleven time zones, these protests have been further exacerbated by the release of a now-viral documentary “Palace for Putin, The History of the Largest Bribe” produced by Navalny’s company and freely available on YouTube. Over 4,000 people were arrested in Russia on 30th January for participating in pro-Navalny protests.
The impact on business interactions with Russia may need revising. The sanctions on Russia, remain as of 29th of January 2021, but the EU is refraining from further sanctions hoping this leads to Navalny’s release. The UK is still considering its position. Organizations with assets in Russia keep vigilant as Navalny is still incarcerated and sanctions are likely to be imposed.
China and Taiwan
Tensions in the region between the two states have been heating up. China has been conducting military exercises and war games in and around the territorial space of Taiwan, after sensing that the government in Taipei is leading the country to a formal declaration of independence.
Currently, China has warned that a declaration of independence by Taiwan could lead to war within the region. Therefore, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the US has pledged its support for Taiwan, sending an aircraft carrier group to patrol the South China Sea in reaction to China’s military maneuvers. Similarly, the Australian Defence Forces have sent ships and aircraft to the region, to monitor the situation. It is uncertain whether Australia and America are going to have joint exercises in the coming days.
United States of America
Joe Biden became the 46th president of the USA on 20th January. Before this, events such as the Capitol riots and the call to action to have mass protests against the election’s validity in every state capital are evidence of a divided nation.
Although the inauguration ceremony in Washington DC ran, for the most part, smoothly with the noticeable absence of Trump and his followers, the lack of Trump[ism] should not be overlooked.
The divisive nature of the last four years coupled with the elections has fermented and split the country. The rise of QAnon and other far-right groups has led the FBI and other domestic security organizations to look at the very credible threat from far-right domestic terrorism. It is yet to be seen whether the Biden administration will have a Hawk or a Dove approach to governing the US, but his history in politics suggests he will be more Dove-like, but with states such as China and Russia his stance could change.
Uganda & Africa
Uganda has just had an election that has been marred by civil unrest. The victor of this election was Yoweri Museveni, the same man who has been ruling the African nation since 1986. The election has been accused of being fraudulent with widespread malpractice. The US and EU are urging an investigation into the election as there is alleged evidence of abuses of power by the regime by suppressing, through detention and separation the opposition rallies.
In contrast, countries whose leaders have aligned with autocratic regimes such as Russia and China have issued their congratulations to Museveni. The day after the election the main opponent Bobi Wine, who had been gaining support, amongst the young population of Uganda, was and put under house arrest. His house arrest has since been lifted as of 20th of January after a Supreme Court ruling.
Before the election, there was unrest in the country often resulting in mass arrest and injury. The likelihood of more unrest is a very real possibility. Uganda is bordered by several countries which have suffered unrest in recent years, leading to Uganda has one of the highest refugee populations globally. Due to the current climate within the region, organizations transiting or working in the area should consider extra security precautions.
James Fergusson – Security Analyst
The TRIP Group
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