'There are other influential opposition leaders, some of whom have more influence on the regular street protesters, but the government has so far been unwilling to talk to figures who have tougher demands than Wefaq,' said Jane Kinninmont.
'Absent major league reform and an entire removal of the Russian elite who do not desire any significant structural change – because it would be fundamentally contradictory to their interest – you're just not going to see a Russia which moves on,' said James Nixey.
'Ever since Putin came in, he's been trying to impose Russian rule on the North Caucasus area,' says Andrew Wood... 'The very brutal war in Chechnya, in particular, had the result of squeezing out resistance from Chechnya to other areas in the region,' says Mr Wood.
'It has proven very difficult to get big projects like that off the ground as apart from the problems with the lack of infrastructure, the poor irrigation and low technology, you also need to deal with the local population and their issues,' said Rob Bailey.
As a 2013 Chatham House report by Ben Shepherd points out, the delay is a frustration and a blessing. Commercially viable oil in Uganda was discovered in 2006, since when the country has had time to prepare for the production phase, says Shepherd.
Western policymakers focused on Syria should drop their mixed messages and revise their view of both the United Nations and the role of sectarianism, according to a report on the crisis by Chatham House.
'It is no longer necessarily the fears that the Russians are going to be swamped by gazillions of Chinese,' said Bobo Lo. 'Now it is slightly different, and more that the Chinese are a rising economic power, that part of Russia is struggling and China will inexorably take over.'