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  • 28.09.2016
    Looking to 2018: The Kremlin Plans Its Next Election Commentary

    The Russian authorities delivered a resounding victory for the ruling party in the 2016 parliamentary election after reaching the conclusion that they showed weakness in 2011 and the Russian opposition exploited that. This will shape their strategy for the next presidential election in 2018.

  • 27.09.2016
    Russia’s Next Move on Ukraine Commentary

    The most likely scenario for eastern Ukraine is that a low-level conflict will continue to simmer. Moscow needs to give up its pipe dream that a pro-Russian government will come to power in Kiev, and forget its convenient but misleading stereotypes about its large neighbor.

  • 22.09.2016
    Why Did Lukashenko Allow the Opposition Into Parliament? Commentary

    In light of Minsk’s strict control over the electoral process, the election of two oppositionists to Belarusian parliament suggests that President Alexander Lukashenko is looking to improve relations with the West. How far will he go?

  • 21.09.2016
    Authoritarianism by Stealth: Russia After the Duma Elections Commentary

    The look of Russia’s parliamentary election was different, even if the results were the same. Russia’s ruling regime is trying to preserve its legitimacy by being more flexible and more respectable. This system may eventually contain the seeds of its own transformation.

  • 19.09.2016
    Russia’s Lost Liberals Commentary

    Russia’s parliamentary election campaign again dealt a crushing blow to the country’s liberal parties, which still believe the key to their success is appearing on television, whether in commercials or in debates. This is a losing strategy; liberals must learn to listen to the Russian people’s needs to garner support.

  • 16.09.2016
    The Hidden Agenda of Russia’s Parliamentary Elections Commentary

    The detailed results of the forthcoming elections to Russia’s lower house of parliament are less important than the conclusions the Kremlin draws from them. Vladimir Putin’s system is less and less interested in old-style political competition. The new Duma can become a launching pad for those who want to make their careers in the new Putin elite that forms after the 2018 presidential election.

  • 15.09.2016
    The Wrong Forum: Russian Engagement in the Asia-Pacific Commentary

    Though it serves to gain from greater engagement in the Asia-Pacific, Russia’s policy toward the region has been highly inconsistent. Why doesn’t Putin attend the East Asia Summit or participate in other important regional initiatives?

  • 14.09.2016
    Dictatorship 101 Commentary

    Some degree of isolationism—“sovereignty,” in official political parlance—is necessary for every authoritarian regime to survive. But elites and societies as a whole don’t want full-blown isolationism. In Russia and elsewhere, “authoritarian internationalism”—an alliance of quasi-democracies—has come to the rescue.

  • 13.09.2016
    Why China Subsidizes Loss-Making Rail Transport via Russia and Kazakhstan Commentary

    Transporting Chinese goods to Europe by rail is far less profitable than sea transport, yet China subsidizes it to achieve its geostrategic goal of making a cluster of countries in the wide Eurasian space from China to Europe dependent on the Chinese economy and capital.

  • 12.09.2016
    Russia’s Militant Anti-Atheism Commentary

    Public expression of atheism can now get a Russian citizen punished by the state. The jailing of a young blogger in Yekaterinburg is symptomatic of a culture of intolerance in which church and state work hand in hand.

  • 09.09.2016
    Preserving the Calm in Russia’s Muslim Community Commentary

    Events in the Middle East and Russia’s participation in the Syrian conflict have left the majority of Russian Muslims indifferent and have not inspired them to take any particular action, let alone protest. Even the hundreds of militants who have returned from fighting for the banned Islamic State terrorist organization in the Middle East are behaving passively.

  • 06.09.2016
    Who Will Be Uzbekistan’s Next President? Commentary

    The struggle to succeed Islam Karimov is heating up. Rustam Inoyatov, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and Rustam Azimov—three of the most powerful men in Uzbekistan—are the leading contenders to assume the throne in Tashkent.

  • 05.09.2016
    Russia’s Foothold in Iran: Why Tehran Changed Its Mind Commentary

    Perhaps Iran’s leaders would have suppressed popular indignation and Russian bombers would still be taking off from the Shahid Nojeh airfield now had it not been for Russian media playing up the prospect of establishing a military base in Iran, no matter how limited its resources and capabilities. The idea of handing over any part of its territory to foreigers is unacceptable to the Iranians

  • 01.09.2016
    Heirless in Tashkent: How Autocratic Regimes Manage a Succession Commentary

    Change is coming to the regimes of Central Asia, with Uzbekistan only the first state to experience a succession crisis. The departure of a long-standing leader can result in regime consolidation, but a struggle for power can also lead to a period of glasnost and democratization.

  • 31.08.2016
    A New Russian-U.S. Nuclear Treaty or an Extension of New START? Commentary

    The most advantageous option for Russia and the United States is to sign another START agreement on more cuts in nuclear weapons. However, if that is not possible, it makes sense for the two sides to extend the current treaty signed in 2010.

  • 30.08.2016
    The Battle for Bashneft Commentary

    In the past, business deals could be secured if Putin endorsed them personally. Now, the Russian president seems to have stopped making promises to anyone; no deal is ironclad anymore.

  • 24.08.2016
    Out With the Old, In With the New for Russia’s Political Elite Commentary

    Putin won’t take all the members of the old guard with him in 2018. They will be replaced by a generation of special service operatives, security guards, and technocrat-apparatchiks in their forties and fifties, who will stand by Putin in 2018 and beyond

  • 23.08.2016
    Russian-Turkish Relations: Quick to Destroy, Slower to Mend Commentary

    While the Erdogan-Putin summit in St. Petersburg on August 9 aimed to end the conflict between the two presidents triggered by Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet last year, upbeat reports and promises of eternal friendship conceal a long list of problems that can’t be solved any time soon

  • 19.08.2016
    The Crimean Saboteurs and Russia’s New Ultimatum Commentary

    The Kremlin is using the alleged terrorist plot in Crimea as way of delivering an ultimatum to its Western partners. It’s saying: “You said yourselves that there can be no military solution to the deadlock over Crimea and Donbas, so go ahead and broker a peaceful settlement. If you can’t, Russia reserves the right to make the next move.”

  • 16.08.2016
    Putin’s New Personnel Policy Commentary

    The Russian political system is changing from within. As Putin continues to appoint new personnel—including a new chief of staff—the divide between insiders and outsiders is disappearing; everyone is becoming part of the system, cogs in the United Putin machine.

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