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8.08.2017
Russia and China Join Forces in Attempt to Dominate the Skies

Russia and China Join Forces in Attempt to Dominate the Skies

Considering the close attention that Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are paying to their countries’ joint jumbo jet project, it is clearly political. Russia and China have grand ambitions: they want their own civil aviation industries to be on a par with those of industry leaders like the United States and France. Moscow and Beijing are willing to team up for the sake of these ambitions, since neither can catch up to Boeing or Airbus on its own.
7.08.2017
Never Sans Sheriff: Consolidating Power in Transdniestria

Never Sans Sheriff: Consolidating Power in Transdniestria

Former president Yevgeny Shevchuk’s flight from Tiraspol may signal the culmination of Sheriff’s consolidation of power in Transdniestria, giving the country’s leaders a chance to devise a strategic development program for the first time in twenty years.
24.07.2017
How the Gulag Lives On in Russia’s Prison Economy

How the Gulag Lives On in Russia’s Prison Economy

When the state has mineral resources, it hires a company like Royal Dutch Shell to extract the oil and share the profits. But when it has an abundant supply of labor, it turns a blind eye to its resources being used in tolling schemes right out of the 1990s. The existing penitentiary system is not in the interests of the state or the prisoners.
21.07.2017
Russia’s Choice of Moral Rhetoric Over Pragmatism Is a Ticking Time Bomb

Russia’s Choice of Moral Rhetoric Over Pragmatism Is a Ticking Time Bomb

The demise of pragmatic politics will only amplify discontent with the regime and benefit populist opposition politicians. The public will no longer tolerate the regime’s strategy of tackling material problems with spiritual discourse, and will demand immediate practical solutions. As public discontent with the old regime grows stronger, new politicians will have an easy time promising quick material gains.
17.07.2017
Keeping Moscow Focused on China

Keeping Moscow Focused on China

Now that Chinese big investment projects have all but dried up, Moscow risks turning its attention away from Asia. Once again, Russia may miss the opportunity to profit from one of the world’s largest markets—and an especially important one for Russia in light of continuing Western sanctions.
14.07.2017
Misremembering Russia’s War

Misremembering Russia’s War

The increased frequency in Russia of military ceremonies and parades removes the need to reflect on the real history of the Great Patriotic War against Germany. Nowadays, even the anniversary of the German invasion of June 22, 1941, no longer presents an opportunity to commemorate and mourn.
13.07.2017
Making the Best of a No-Win Encounter: Putin and Trump Meet

Making the Best of a No-Win Encounter: Putin and Trump Meet

Expectations of the first meeting between presidents Putin and Trump were low, and the U.S. president stood to lose out however the encounter went. But any agreement to manage the risks in the relationship counts as an achievement.
12.07.2017
The Boundaries of Friendship: Russia’s Border Dispute with Belarus

The Boundaries of Friendship: Russia’s Border Dispute with Belarus

The dispute over newly established security zones on the Russia-Belarus border reveals that Moscow no longer sees Minsk as a reliable defense partner.
11.07.2017
Suspense in Kyrgyzstan: Who Will Be the Next President?

Suspense in Kyrgyzstan: Who Will Be the Next President?

In any other post-Soviet country, the president’s choice of successor would have informed the choice of the ruling party, but not in Kyrgyzstan. There is a flurry of activity in Bishkek, which foreshadows a sharp collision at the Social Democratic party convention, and possibly a fracturing of the ruling party. As a result, the authorities may back a completely different candidate.
10.07.2017
The Real Story of North Korean Labor Camps in Russia

The Real Story of North Korean Labor Camps in Russia

The U.S. State Department’s effort to portray North Korean migrant labor in Russia as slavery is misguided; working abroad is one of the only ways for North Koreans to climb the social ladder and provide their families with a modicum of financial stability.
5.07.2017
The Chimera of Chinese Investment in Russia’s Far East Ports

The Chimera of Chinese Investment in Russia’s Far East Ports

China has no port of its own on the Sea of Japan, and Russia could use this to its advantage. But for Russia to attract Chinese cargo, it is essential to simplify customs controls and seriously invest in roads and ports. Considering that both of these factors are Russia’s responsibility, the completion of the Primorye transport corridors has been stalled for a long time.
26.06.2017
Putin’s Post-Political Government

Putin’s Post-Political Government

This year’s Direct Line with Vladimir Putin revealed that politics has been entirely removed from the public sphere in Russia. Government decisions are now made with zero input from the people.
23.06.2017
Bigger, Not Better: Russia Makes the SCO a Useless Club

Bigger, Not Better: Russia Makes the SCO a Useless Club

The Kremlin is still anxious about the expansion of Chinese influence in Central Asia, which is why it has turned the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, set up in order to work out widely accepted rules of the game for Eurasia, into a useless bureaucracy. Now, Beijing can develop relations with other SCO members without worrying about what Moscow thinks.
22.06.2017
The Accidental Formation of Russia’s War Coalition

The Accidental Formation of Russia’s War Coalition

The Ukraine war that broke out in 2014 became possible due to the governmentalizing of the Russian economy during the 2008 crisis. But these actions didn’t anticipate war. The manual control of the Russian economy formed to fight the crisis became an important component in fighting sanctions, and even in equipping the Donbas. But it was initially planned for different needs.
20.06.2017
Alexei Navalny’s Protest Gambit

Alexei Navalny’s Protest Gambit

Russians are engaging in increasingly confrontational forms of protest, choosing to voice their discontent with the regime at unauthorized rallies rather than at state-sanctioned gatherings. As arrests and restrictions on civil liberties mount in response to the rallies, the authorities will seem ever more hostile and unjust.
16.06.2017
Volodin vs. Kiriyenko: The Battle for Influence in Russia’s Power Vertical

Volodin vs. Kiriyenko: The Battle for Influence in Russia’s Power Vertical

The State Duma has joined the presidential administration as the second source of power in Russian domestic policymaking, and the tension between the two is threatening to open up a rift in Putin’s power vertical.
13.06.2017
Moscow’s Man in Moldova

Moscow’s Man in Moldova

Moscow’s support for Moldovan President Igor Dodon doesn’t mean that it is trying to pull Chisinau away from the EU. The Kremlin realizes that its options in Moldova have become more limited in recent years, and it has tempered its expectations accordingly. Now, the Kremlin is trying to find a way to let Moldova enjoy free trade agreements with both the EU and the CIS.
8.06.2017
When Propaganda Backfires: Why Russia’s Politicization Is Unavoidable

When Propaganda Backfires: Why Russia’s Politicization Is Unavoidable

In 2014, ordinary people in Russia were called upon to be active and create history. But you can’t be active on the geopolitical stage while remaining passive in domestic politics. People are starting to apply their newly found political activity to the agenda at home.
6.06.2017
Macron’s Grand Gesture Toward Russia Might Just Pay Off

Macron’s Grand Gesture Toward Russia Might Just Pay Off

By inviting Putin to Versailles, Macron threw his hat in the ring for the role of a new geopolitical leader in Europe. He made this decision in the context of not just bilateral relations but also France’s relations with the West and the EU. Macron is trying to demonstrate his ability to confront the bad guys, draw red lines, and differentiate between pragmatic objectives and overarching values.
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