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  • 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.

  • 10.08.2016
    Can Russia’s Military Save the Disputed Kuril Islands? Commentary

    The Kremlin’s new development program for the Kuril Islands is as generous and extensive as its predecessors. The key difference, however, is that now the military—the one area seemingly immune to cutbacks—will be responsible for making sure the program is implemented.

  • 08.08.2016
    Russia and NATO Must Communicate Better Commentary

    The risk of outright conflict in Europe is higher than it has been for years and the confrontation between Russia and the West shows no sign of ending. To prevent misunderstandings and dangerous incidents, the two sides must improve their methods of communication.

  • 04.08.2016
    Why are Russians Ignoring the DNC Hack? Commentary

    Even if Putin didn’t know about the cyber initiative, what‘s truly important is that he is seen as omnipotent by the media and the politicians in the West. Perhaps the blame is undeserved, and Putin’s power is once again being overstated. But that’s the price you pay for creating a political system where everything hinges on the whims of one man.

  • 03.08.2016
    Following Orders: Putin’s New Strongmen Governors Commentary

    President Putin has appointed military and security strongmen to be governors in three regions and removed an unpopular local leader in Sevastopol. He wants to tighten control ahead of the parliamentary elections.

  • 29.07.2016
    Why Turkey’s Military Coup Is Impossible in Russia Commentary

    The military takes over when it feels superior to the rest of society. Its perceived superiority lies in the view of the army in developing nations as the primary instrument of modernization. The Turkish coup failed because soldiers have lost that status in Turkish society—a process that happened long ago in Russia.

  • 28.07.2016
    Lukashenko and the Reformers Commentary

    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his administration have increasingly divergent views about reform. Why hasn’t Lukashenko sacked his freethinking ministers? Is “Europe’s last dictatorship” actually liberalizing?

  • 27.07.2016
    Armenia’s Changing Culture of Protest Commentary

    The armed seizure of a police station in Yerevan conceals wider problems in Armenia. The country is used to public protests, and the Armenian authorities are used to overcoming them. But a younger generation is both more radical and more hostile to Russia than its predecessors.

  • 26.07.2016
    Drug Testing the Kremlin Commentary

    Russia’s doping scandal has shown how sports mirror politics when they become matters of national importance. Like the regime, Russian sports are now mired in fraud, deception, hysterical patriotism, and oversensitivity.

  • 25.07.2016
    Referendum Fails to Unite Divided Abkhazia Commentary

    The main debate in Abkhazia today isn’t about whether partnering with Russia is good or bad; it’s about the quality of independence (albeit, only partially recognized). Abkhazia has escaped Georgia’s political sphere of influence, but it hasn’t resolved the stalemate between the quest for statehood and factual dependence on Russia in the financial, defense, and security sectors.

  • 22.07.2016
    Relegitimizing Russian Power Commentary

    Although Russian officials were initially shocked and concerned about the military coup in Turkey, it has in fact given them a formula for strengthening their gradually declining regime: all they have to do to restore their vanishing legitimacy is declare themselves defenders of democracy.

  • 20.07.2016
    YouTube Spawns New Generation of Russian Political Stars Commentary

    The Russian electorate has regressed in its demands and gullibility to where it was in the early 1990s, when firebrand politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky had his first success. Russian society has a soft spot for wisecracking politicians who give populist speeches and bash the government, even if they tend to contradict themselves.

  • 19.07.2016
    Can Russia’s Aviation Industry Compete? Commentary

    The Russian government has ambitious plans to rebuild the country’s aviation industry. Despite state subsidies for manufacturers, leasing companies, and buyers, however, Russian planes aren’t selling abroad—even in countries like Iran, with which Moscow has strong political ties.

  • 12.07.2016
    The Black Hole Where Russia’s Ethics Should Be Commentary

    In the current Russian political climate, ethical reasoning is no longer a recreation but a necessity. Although the country is stuck in a moral quagmire, a new system of ethics is being born—through contrariness.

  • 07.07.2016
    Killing Russian Criminal Law Commentary

    The “Yarovaya laws” threaten to undermine the core principles of Russian criminal law. With the Criminal Code stripped bare and the revival of a number of notorious Soviet legal principles—including the ability to hold people criminally responsible for withholding information—legal textbooks will soon have to be rewritten.

  • 05.07.2016
    Russia and China: Little Brother or Big Sister? Commentary

    Russian foreign policy is so fixated on the idea of equal partnership that it has lost sight of the pragmatic tasks of how to benefit from the partnership with China most effectively and with minimal risks.

  • 04.07.2016
    Putin Indulges the Duma Commentary

    Putin’s address was deeply conservative in content and artfully liberal in rhetoric. He frames being elected to the Duma as being elevated to the ranks of the chosen few. The right to be a Putinist is celebrated, and it’s out of the question that the institution might let in “irresponsible forces”: real threats to power.

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