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31.01.2018
Changing Speeds: What Do Debates on EU Reform Mean for Russia?

Changing Speeds: What Do Debates on EU Reform Mean for Russia?

Russia should do its best to stop being one of the threats that the EU takes into account when determining its development trajectory. Long-term modernization and reform programs are long-term specifically because they structure cooperation for decades ahead, building paradigms that are difficult to escape from, even for the mutually beneficial improvement of relations.
29.01.2018
The Grudinin Effect: A Populist Shakes up Russian Politics

The Grudinin Effect: A Populist Shakes up Russian Politics

The Communist Party’s new presidential candidate is far from a dull apparatchik. He’s a populist whose criticism of the authorities can appeal to different electoral groups. There has always been a demand for populism in Russia. If Pavel Grudinin can run an effective campaign—and his previous political experience suggests he can—it could lead to serious changes in the Russian political landscape.
25.01.2018
Project Inertia: The Outlook for Putin’s Fourth Term

Project Inertia: The Outlook for Putin’s Fourth Term

Do not expect modernization after Putin’s 2018 reelection. Instead, the system he built will function on autopilot as the Russian leader continues to lose direct control over events, ideas, and actions. But that doesn’t imply democratization. In essence, the head of state finds himself chained to the galley that he built himself.
24.01.2018
The Moldova-Transdniestria Dilemma: Local Politics and Conflict Resolution

The Moldova-Transdniestria Dilemma: Local Politics and Conflict Resolution

Moldova may appear to choose a geopolitical direction in the 2018 elections. A victory for the Socialists will be interpreted as a win for Moscow. Conversely, victory for either Plahotniuc’s or Sandu and Nastase’s followers will be trumpeted as a win for pro-Western forces. In either case, it is unlikely that the 2018 election will alter the fundamental divisions and balance in the Moldovan population. Only real reform, economic growth, and an end to the endemic corruption are likely to change that enduring reality.
23.01.2018
Navalny’s Blinkered Economic Program

Navalny’s Blinkered Economic Program

Most of Navalny’s economic proposals are seriously concerning and evocative of left-wing populist slogans. The policy platform contains outright errors, but its greatest problem is that it attacks all vocal parts of society in favor of a mythical “people.” Attracting voters with such a platform will prove to be difficult.
22.01.2018
The Problem With the Russian Judiciary

The Problem With the Russian Judiciary

The Russian court system paralyzed itself a long time ago. It doesn’t need outside experience; it doesn’t need experienced lawyers. It needs efficient personnel who know how to follow orders. The average judge renders a not-guilty verdict once every seven years. Judges understand that such a verdict will always be repealed and the repeal of a sentence is a stain on a judge’s record that could lead to penalties and even dismissal.
19.01.2018
ASEAN, Uzbek-Style: Tashkent’s New Ambitions in Central Asia

ASEAN, Uzbek-Style: Tashkent’s New Ambitions in Central Asia

Tashkent is trying to get across the message to its neighbors that economic prosperity is the key to everything, and that this goal is worth forgetting other petty grievances and putting major problematic issues on hold. By proposing the development of unified approaches to the joint exploitation of transboundary rivers, the integration of the national economies of countries in the region, and the development of cross-border trade, Uzbekistan hopes that it can fashion a new format of cooperation with Central Asia’s other republics.
18.01.2018
Putin 4.0: The President’s New Modus Operandi

Putin 4.0: The President’s New Modus Operandi

Vladimir Putin is sending out signals about how he sees his fourth presidential term. Domestic initiatives are not a presidential priority and will be dealt with at the technocratic level. In the political sphere, the real threat to Putin’s power comes from the moderate opposition. Above all, there is to be no more democratic window dressing. Preparations are well under way for a new act.
17.01.2018
An EU-Russia Modus Vivendi in the East?

An EU-Russia Modus Vivendi in the East?

There are signs that the EU and Russia are managing their relations better in their common neighborhood. Neither has achieved its ambitions in countries such as Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Although a “grand bargain” is not possible at the moment, the two sides have a common interest in halting a deterioration in relations.
16.01.2018
The Tragedy of Russian Foreign Policy. Book Review: “Different Times: Essays on Foreign Policy” by Anatoly Adamishin

The Tragedy of Russian Foreign Policy. Book Review: “Different Times: Essays on Foreign Policy” by Anatoly Adamishin

Russia is neither doomed to have adversarial relations with the West nor destined to have friendly ones with it: it is all in the hands of policymakers who need to learn, also from their own mistakes. Anatoly Adamishin’s book provides them with a rich body of experience to work from.
16.01.2018
Do Russians Want Change?

Do Russians Want Change?

Russians do not express an overwhelming desire for change. Few understand how it could occur in their country. But most recognize that Russia cannot move forward without reform.
28.12.2017
Right and Far-Right: What Does the New Austrian Government Mean for Russia and the EU?

Right and Far-Right: What Does the New Austrian Government Mean for Russia and the EU?

Austria’s new government is unlikely to prove as pro-Russia as many fear. It will neither take decisive action to lift sanctions, nor fundamentally realign the country. But it can serve as a bridge between Russia and the EU—provided Moscow can recognize the opportunity.
28.12.2017
A Life of Resistance: Remembering Arseny Roginsky

A Life of Resistance: Remembering Arseny Roginsky

Arseny Roginsky, founder of Memorial, was the embodiment of freedom. While Soviet authorities considered him to be anti-Soviet, he could best be described as, simply, not Soviet at all. Roginsky was a patriot of his country; his main goal being the protection of Russian history from the state’s attempts to obliterate its crimes.
21.12.2017
Between Night and Day: Who Will Control Putin’s Fourth Term?

Between Night and Day: Who Will Control Putin’s Fourth Term?

As President Putin approaches his fourth term, his personal power is diminishing. In the recent corruption case against Minister Ulyukayev, the licensing of European University, and lawsuits against Sistema Financial Corporation, Putin has been either unwilling or unable to interfere. With the president off to the sidelines, there are signs that Russia’s “night rulers” are expanding their power.
19.12.2017
President and Patriarch: What Putin Wants From the Orthodox Church

President and Patriarch: What Putin Wants From the Orthodox Church

The president’s speech at the Bishops’ Council will only exacerbate disagreements over the future of the Russian Orthodox Church between—and among—religious and secular Russians. The secular community feels he is drifting toward the church, while many in the religious community believe he is trying to establish government control over church activities.
15.12.2017
Russia Is The Honey Badger Of International Relations

Russia Is The Honey Badger Of International Relations

It claws and gnashes well above its weight. It can't kill a lion or an alligator, but it won't run away from them either. The honey badger is Russia in 2017.
14.12.2017
How Regime Self-Preservation Could Accidentally Democratize Russia

How Regime Self-Preservation Could Accidentally Democratize Russia

Political elites enjoy the best possible social status by virtue of their position, and by definition cannot want change. Long-term planning therefore shouldn’t be viewed in absolute terms, even if it’s reform-minded. Democratization is much more likely to be accidental, occurring when the regime takes steps intended to increase its authority that weaken it instead.
12.12.2017
The End of European Bilateralisms: Germany, France, and Russia

The End of European Bilateralisms: Germany, France, and Russia

Today German and French positions reflect much more the skepticism ingrained in the EU’s “five guiding principles for relations with Russia” than previous ideas of a strategic partnership with Moscow. This will render it impossible for Russia to simply return to traditional bilateralism. If, at some point in the future, a Russian leadership wants to normalize relations with the EU and rebuild European security, it will have to take into account, among many other things, the almost complete collapse of trust in its relations with Germany and France.
7.12.2017
Armenia’s “Both/And” Policy for Europe and Eurasia

Armenia’s “Both/And” Policy for Europe and Eurasia

Four years ago, Armenia’s failure to sign the EU Association Agreement was an early indication of the impending Ukraine crisis. Now, an Association Agreement-lite has been signed with Brussels. While this doesn’t represent a normalization of relations between Russia and the EU in the post-Soviet space, it’s important symbolically. Rather than an “either/or” approach to integration, the EU and Russia are gradually moving in the “both/and” direction.
5.12.2017
Why Belarus’s Leader Rejected a Long-Awaited Invitation to Brussels

Why Belarus’s Leader Rejected a Long-Awaited Invitation to Brussels

Alexander Lukashenko, who used to take offense at not being invited to the Eastern Partnership summits, declined an invitation to last month’s summit. This clearly demonstrates that the initiative has lost its value even in the eyes of its members, but it doesn’t mean that closer cooperation is impossible for Belarus and the EU. Both parties are simply coming to the realization that quick breakthroughs won’t happen.
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