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  • 28.04.2016
    The Static Regime: Russia’s Reversion from Popular Autocracy Commentary

    Russia has generally been a static autocracy throughout its history, rejecting the dynamic popular activism of Mao’s China or revolutionary China. The hybrid war in the Donbas was the occasion for a flirtation with extreme politics led from below. But the Kremlin has reverted to the norm, sensing the danger of giving its most loyal supporters too much power.

  • 28.04.2016
    Is Investment in Infrastructure the Answer to Russia’s Economic Problems? Commentary

    It will be nearly impossible for Russia to revive its economy through state investment in infrastructure alone. Conservative estimates suggest that Russia would have to invest 15 percent of its GDP in infrastructure annually for many years to have a significant effect on the economy.

  • 26.04.2016
    Asia’s Rise, Russia, and the Future of the Global Order Commentary

    This week, Kevin Rudd, president of the Asia Society Policy Institute and former Australian prime minister, will be visiting Moscow. Speaking at the Carnegie Moscow Center on February 18, 2016, Kevin Rudd outlined Chinese foreign policy under Xi Jinping. In a new article written exclusively for, he articulates his vision for Russia’s possible role in Asia.

  • 22.04.2016
    A Pivot to Nowhere: The Realities of Russia’s Asia Policy Commentary

    Two years after the Kremlin’s rift with the West, Moscow’s hopes that a new business relationship with Asia would make up for Russia’s losses have not materialized. President Putin and other members of the elite did not commit themselves strongly to the idea of a “pivot to Asia.” Only certain parts of the private sector have benefited.

  • 20.04.2016
    China Steps Into the Soccer Spotlight Commentary

    Unlike Russia, China has succeeded in creating a sports industry that is more than a prestige project: it has the potential to accelerate China’s international integration and to cultivate national unity and a shared passion for the game among China’s growing middle class.

  • 19.04.2016
    What Would Economic Disintegration in Russia Look Like? Commentary

    Russia’s economy will likely contract gradually over the next three to four years and then become increasingly socialized, as the government implements price and currency controls, monopolizes foreign trade, embarks on a large-scale nationalization of private industries, and increasingly regulates salaries and consumption.

  • 15.04.2016
    Putin, the Caring Candidate Commentary

    Vladimir Putin’s performance at the annual nationwide “direct line” phone-in shows he is again prioritizing domestic politics. His answers signaled the start of a 2018 reelection campaign, as he presented himself not as the global strategist of last year but as a domestic manager once again concerned with ordinary people’s problems.

  • 15.04.2016
    Unfreezing the Status Quo in the Caucasus Commentary

    The warring parties in the Karabakh conflict, especially the Azerbaijani side, have decided to shake the status quo in the Caucasus. Violence could recur at any time and the latest fighting clearly demonstrates that the combined goodwill and cooperation of Moscow and Washington is no longer sufficient.

  • 14.04.2016
    Economic Triage: How Russia Could Cope With the Crisis Commentary

    The Russian government will attempt to increase state revenues without meaningfully reforming its economic or social welfare system. Its main objective will be to preserve the stability of the regime while continuing to provide support and sources of substantial profits for elite interest groups.

  • 13.04.2016
    Putin’s National Guard Gambit Commentary

    President Putin’s formation of a new National Guard gives him extra powers as a time of political uncertainty begins. It also helps him cut some strong individuals down to size.

  • 12.04.2016
    Dutch Unease: Why the Netherlands Turned Away From Ukraine Commentary

    The Dutch didn’t reject the EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine because they are sympathetic to Russia. They rejected it because they believe that Ukraine, like Russia, is unprepared to join the European community.

  • 08.04.2016
    Revealing Russia’s Offshore Addiction Commentary

    The Panama Papers cannot do much damage to the reputation of Putin and his friends, and they have not exposed criminal activity by prominent Russians. But they shed light on a fundamental problem: not even elites trust Russia’s economic, legal, or political system.

  • 06.04.2016
    Europe’s Last Dictator Comes in From the Cold Commentary

    Lukashenko’s fortunes have changed. Once known as “Europe’s last dictator,” he has won friends in Europe, while antagonizing his traditional ally, Russia. It’s a situation that has left the Kremlin in a difficult positon: should it punish Belarus for its pro-Western tendencies? Or should it continue to prop up the Belarusian economy rather than risk further unrest in the region?

  • 04.04.2016
    Poroshenko Empty-Handed in Washington Commentary

    President Poroshenko’s failure to move ahead with reforms or to resolve decisively the political crisis in Ukraine has dismayed his U.S. partners. That made for a difficult visit to Washington.

  • 02.04.2016
    Dangerous Days in Karabakh Commentary

    The twenty-one-year ceasefire in and around Nagorny Karabakh had been looking very precarious. A tragic outbreak of fighting there could be dangerous for the whole region.

  • 30.03.2016
    Avoiding the Blame for Russia’s Economic Woes Commentary

    As Russia enters its second year of economic malaise, elite interest groups that rely on revenue streams from the federal government continue to oppose state budget cuts. But they have successfully managed to escape responsibility for the economic crisis.

  • 25.03.2016
    Magna Carta, Not Money: Putin’s Privatizations Commentary

    The Russian budget won’t be saved by the new round of privatizations announced by the Russian government. What’s more important is how they set out the rules of behavior in the Russian elite.

  • 24.03.2016
    Ins and Outs of the Russian Economy Commentary

    External factors are having little impact on the health of the Russian economy. Sanctions and counter-sanctions are not a big factor either. An effort to make Russia self-sufficient and rely on import substitution poses a much bigger danger.

  • 22.03.2016
    Resisting Reform in 2016 Commentary

    The Russian economy is unlikely to suffer any dramatic reverses this year. But there will be no reform and ordinary citizens will bear the brunt of the economic downturn.

  • 21.03.2016
    Two Years After Crimea: The Evolution of a Political Regime Commentary

    The system, its leader, and the popular majority formed after Crimea will survive the 2018 presidential election. The existing regime is incapable of democratization. At the same time, it is dangerous to ratchet up repression. The government is trying to encourage inertia, but this is becoming increasingly difficult after Crimea, Donbas, Syria, and Turkey. Aggression is self-perpetuating.

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