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18.10.2017
Protests in Russia’s Far East Reveal the Dangers of Overcentralization

Protests in Russia’s Far East Reveal the Dangers of Overcentralization

In theory, the seizure of a greater share of Sakhalin’s resource wealth by the federal authorities could lead to a fairer distribution of wealth throughout the Russian Far East. The fear, however, is that further centralization of budgetary revenues will merely encourage the pursuit of vanity projects that will not come to fruition for over a decade, if ever.
16.10.2017
The Billionaire Adviser: A Story of Russia’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

The Billionaire Adviser: A Story of Russia’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

The story of the arrest of Oleg Korshunov, deputy director of Russia’s prison system, looks at first glance like a victory in an anti-corruption campaign. But the truth is much more complex. Korshunov merely operated too blatantly, his detention is unlikely to change much, and he may eventually get free on parole.
13.10.2017
Russia-UK Relations Post-Brexit: Opportunity or Dead End?

Russia-UK Relations Post-Brexit: Opportunity or Dead End?

The UK’s future security relationship with the EU will be of the utmost concern in light of Brexit. This will likely mean consistency in its foreign policy approach to Russia. That is not to say that constructive dialogue is not a genuine shared interest, but it will be in small measure at first rather than any post-Brexit grand agreement.
12.10.2017
The Fall of Russia’s Regional Governors

The Fall of Russia’s Regional Governors

Recent firings of regional governors have dealt yet another blow to Russian federalism. Russians are again being taught that regional autonomy is unnecessary because Moscow knows best.
11.10.2017
Putin’s Politicization of Soviet History

Putin’s Politicization of Soviet History

How does the Russian state manipulate history in its relations with society? Whom do Russians consider heroes, and what are the most sensitive historical topics in modern Russia? Andrei Kolesnikov explains how and why history is politicized in Russia today, and why this trend is unlikely to change.
10.10.2017
A Post-Soviet Anomaly: How Karabakh Could Bring Russia and the West Together

A Post-Soviet Anomaly: How Karabakh Could Bring Russia and the West Together

The conflict in Karabakh is the only one in the post-Soviet space where Russia and the West are ready to work together. But none of the mediators are currently discussing the core issues in the dispute.
9.10.2017
Sobchak for President: What the Rumors Reveal About Russian Politics

Sobchak for President: What the Rumors Reveal About Russian Politics

The possibility of TV anchor Ksenia Sobchak as a presidential candidate has morphed from the dream of one of Vedomosti’s Kremlin sources into a political fact and a model for all of Russian politics. It demonstrates the strategy and working style of the president’s administration and of Alexei Navalny, as well as the demand for any candidate other than Vladimir Putin.
6.10.2017
Looking Beyond 2018: Putin and the Technocrats

Looking Beyond 2018: Putin and the Technocrats

The 2018 Russian presidential election will be the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s presumed final act as he seeks to ascend to the pantheon of Russia’s great historical figures. But as Putin loses interest in some of the more down-to-earth details of government, the Kremlin is testing new models of technocratic rule in order to sustain the regime.
4.10.2017
Setting Conflict in Stone: Dangerous Trends in Russian-U.S. Relations

Setting Conflict in Stone: Dangerous Trends in Russian-U.S. Relations

Mutual lack of knowledge of the other and lack of institutional contact between foreign policy elites is promising an era of perpetual mistrust in U.S.-Russian relations.
3.10.2017
Diminishing Power of the Kremlin

Diminishing Power of the Kremlin

The Kremlin may refrain from curbing ultraconservative activism and Kadyrov’s insurgence because it is afraid of losing popular support. But perhaps more likely is that the regime fears engaging its supporters, as they may prove to be more powerful. The growing strength of radical actors has collided with an impotent regime and generated demand for an alternative force, creating an opening for the opposition.
28.09.2017
A U.N. Peacekeeping Operation Is the Only Way Forward In Ukraine

A U.N. Peacekeeping Operation Is the Only Way Forward In Ukraine

A complete cessation of violence in southeastern Ukraine, the essential first condition of Minsk implementation, requires nothing less than a full-scale peacekeeping operation authorized by the U.N. Security Council.
26.09.2017
Russia Needs to Think Small in Its Relations With the EU

Russia Needs to Think Small in Its Relations With the EU

Russia believes that it only makes sense to develop relations with major European Union powers, as it counts on the further weakening of the EU. But European institutions are designed so that large countries are unable to dominate them. Russia needs to change its attitude to small EU countries because it is they that will strive for greater unity in the spheres of defense and security.
22.09.2017
Court and Politburo: Putin’s Changing Inner Circle

Court and Politburo: Putin’s Changing Inner Circle

Vladimir Putin’s elite can be called a Politburo 2.0, whose members each have a delegated role in political life. But Putin also has a court, which shuns publicity and exercises informal power in everything from foreign policy to cultural life. This system looks increasingly difficult to manage as Putin approaches his fourth term.
21.09.2017
Setting the Boundaries: Russia’s New Cultural State Policy

Setting the Boundaries: Russia’s New Cultural State Policy

The Russian government is sending out the message that unofficial culture will be tolerated as long as it agrees not to seek state funding. But drawing the dividing line between official and unofficial will not be easy.
20.09.2017
The Active Minority and Passive Majority: Takeaways from Russia’s Regional Elections

The Active Minority and Passive Majority: Takeaways from Russia’s Regional Elections

Russia’s recent regional and municipal elections saw an increase in voting by the reform-minded minority and a decrease in voter turnout among Putin’s former majority. However, the Kremlin chooses to ignore these trends, turning a blind eye to the possibility that the active minority and the discontented passive majority may eventually meet.
18.09.2017
Atlantic Drift: Russia and the U.S.-Europe Divide

Atlantic Drift: Russia and the U.S.-Europe Divide

Relations between Russia, Europe, and the United States are in flux as none is able or wants to maintain what it once had. An attempt to revive the Cold War paradigm has failed, and a new framework of relations has not formed. This state of uncertainty will most likely endure until each player achieves a measure of domestic stability.
15.09.2017
Uzbekistan’s New Balance of Forces

Uzbekistan’s New Balance of Forces

The new leadership in Uzbekistan wants to replace the Soviet-era political-economic model, but Uzbek technocrats are still unable to effectively challenge the entrenched security chiefs. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is studying the experiences of Russia, Kazakhstan, and South Korea in hopes of bringing Westernized, apolitical economic specialists to Uzbekistan.
14.09.2017
Who Benefits from the Russian-Belarusian War Games?

Who Benefits from the Russian-Belarusian War Games?

Despite all the reputational risks posed by its war games with Russia, Minsk is trying to reap diplomatic benefits from them. The Belarusian military can show Western observers that Minsk’s guarantees can be trusted. On the other hand, it can convince Moscow that the country isn’t “going down the Ukrainian route,” because it isn’t afraid, despite the West’s concerns, to carry out major exercises with Russian forces.
13.09.2017
Why Russian Judges Don’t Acquit

Why Russian Judges Don’t Acquit

If Russian judges started acquitting defendants, far fewer suspects would end up in court because cases unlikely of leading to a conviction would be weeded out in advance. That would reduce the burden on judges and lead to a reduction in state funding for the judicial branch—something no judge wants to happen.
12.09.2017
Myanmar, Russia’s Muslims, and a New Foreign Policy

Myanmar, Russia’s Muslims, and a New Foreign Policy

Russian Muslims are protesting the situation in Myanmar. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is laying claim to a separate regional foreign policy based on the defense of Muslims abroad. It is a broader phenomenon than that and reflects the distinct identity of Russian Muslims and the failure to build a proper nationalities policy in Russia.
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