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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.
7.09.2017
Hybrid Cooperation: A New Model for Russia-EU Relations

Hybrid Cooperation: A New Model for Russia-EU Relations

Russia’s new relationship with the EU could be that of a hybrid vehicle that can run either off the old internal combustion model of East-West geopolitical division or off the new system of global, regional, and sub-regional regimes that preserve and expand the “shared spaces” of Russia and Europe.
29.08.2017
Russian Society Wants Change—But of What Nature?

Russian Society Wants Change—But of What Nature?

Sociological research shows that up to two-thirds of the population supports changes in Russia. But they are not necessarily the kind of changes that the democratic community likes to discuss, and the majority of those polled have no understanding of how their desired changes might come about.
28.08.2017
Alexei Navalny’s Techno-Populism

Alexei Navalny’s Techno-Populism

Is opposition leader Alexei Navalny a “Kremlin project,” a “future tyrant,” or “Russia’s only hope?” Conversations about Navalny often proceed along these moral lines, though it is Navalny’s practicality—especially in the technological realm—that has been the driving force of his popularity.
24.08.2017
Looking out Five Years: What Should Washington and Its European Allies Expect From Moscow?

Looking out Five Years: What Should Washington and Its European Allies Expect From Moscow?

Russians have become skeptical about a truly global order. At best, interactions with Western countries will be transactional, based on national interests when those happen to coincide or come close.
23.08.2017
Corruption Case Puts Sechin in the Spotlight

Corruption Case Puts Sechin in the Spotlight

The high-profile trial of former Russian economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev is not playing out according to the script that most analysts had expected. The prosecution’s case increasingly relies on the testimony of one man, state oil chief Igor Sechin, making this master of Kremlin intrigue potentially politically vulnerable.
22.08.2017
Looking out Five Years: Ideological, Geopolitical, and Economic Drivers of Russian Foreign Policy

Looking out Five Years: Ideological, Geopolitical, and Economic Drivers of Russian Foreign Policy

Putin has embraced patriotism and Eurasianism, but Russia must soon confront economic, security, and demographic headwinds, as well as the imperative of reform.
17.08.2017
Looking out Five Years: Who Will Decide Russian Foreign Policy?

Looking out Five Years: Who Will Decide Russian Foreign Policy?

Putin directs a foreign policy devoted to the concept of Russia as a great power. Even if he steps down as president in 2024, Putin will likely continue as Russia’s primary leader for years to come.
16.08.2017
Why China Censored Material About Putin on Social Media

Why China Censored Material About Putin on Social Media

China’s brief ban on social media posts mentioning Putin sheds light not only on Chinese Internet regulation but also on broader elements of Xi Jinping’s political system.
10.08.2017
Demands on Russian Foreign Policy And Its Drivers: Looking Out Five Years

Demands on Russian Foreign Policy And Its Drivers: Looking Out Five Years

Russia’s foreign policy priorities in the coming years hinge upon solidifying Russia’s great power status outside the post-Soviet space as well as reducing the country’s political isolation.
10.08.2017
Russia Sanctions and American Splits

Russia Sanctions and American Splits

The latest U.S. sanctions on Moscow and the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from Russia are not only hurting relations with Russia but also causing divisions between Western politicians.
9.08.2017
A New Russian for the Old President

A New Russian for the Old President

Vladimir Putin’s recent conversations with “ordinary Russians” are not an attempt to engage in direct democracy. Rather, they are intended to present the president with a new, artificial image of the Russian people; Kremlin officials are manufacturing conversations in which ordinary Russians are shown to be concerned with the same issues as their president.
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