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How Russia sees Kurdish quest for autonomy

Russia is carefully crafting its policies regarding Kurds, seeking to take a leadership role in the Syrian situation without actually offending anyone.
Participants pose for a picture during a ceremony opening a representative office of Syrian Kurdistan in Moscow, Russia, February 10, 2016. Syrian Kurdistan is also known as Western Kurdistan or Rojava region - the term commonly used by Kurds living in Syria. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov  - RTX26BWH

As Russia and the United States continue discussions on what a real cease-fire in Syria might look like, Moscow insists that Kurds be included in the Geneva peace talks. The idea, by and large, is shared by the moderate Syrian opposition and Washington, while Ankara understandably opposes the idea.

At the same time, Russia's position on the Kurds is more nuanced than it may seem. In their relations with Kurds, Russian decision-makers face two major narratives that are creating a dilemma.

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