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  • 05.02.2016
    Web of Control: the Future of the Russian Internet Commentary

    The Russian government continues to see the free Internet as one of the main threats to its survival. There are three realistic scenarios of how it will see to control it in the future.

  • 27.01.2016
    Kadyrov’s Calculated Provocation Commentary

    Pro-Moscow Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has begun 2016 by picking fights with Russia’s opposition. Although they see it as a sign of his political strength, the new row reveals his weakness: Kadyrov is anxious to get renewed political and economic support from the Kremlin for Chechnya’s “special status.”

  • 26.01.2016
    The Russian Oil Industry in the Era of Cheap Crude Commentary

    A recent slight increase in Russia’s oil output is likely to be short-lived. Oil production may start to decline by the end of the year, falling almost twofold by 2035 due to a lack of financing for new field exploration and development.

  • 22.01.2016
    Russia’s Waiting Room Commentary

    The Russian system is in a crisis whose outcome is uncertain. But social protest is unlikely to deliver change. Change is more likely to come about through modernization from above.

  • 21.01.2016
    Islamic State Menaces Dagestan Commentary

    The Russian authorities have been reluctant to admit that an attack in southern Dagestan on the eve of New Year was the work of Islamic State. The organization is making a bid to play a role in the North Caucasus.

  • 18.01.2016
    By Bread Alone: Why Poor Russians Aren't Protesting Commentary

    Russians are tightening their belts and forgoing luxuries to cope with the new economic crisis. But they are conditioned to avoid protest. The government has little to fear, but the result is systemic poverty and economic stagnation.

  • 12.01.2016
    From Isolation to the Board of Directors: Why Russia Supported the United States at the UN Commentary

    The goal was to return to the club where the destiny of the world is being discussed, not as an ally (because given the current economic disparity, one could only be a subordinate ally) but as a “partner”—a word that is invariably spoken in Russia with phonetic quotation marks: a disobedient, sometimes blunt neighbor with whom considerations of the world order must be shared.

  • 04.01.2016
    What’s in Store for the Russian Economy in 2016? Commentary

    There is no reason to expect any serious changes in the Russian economy in 2016. The coming year is likely to see a behind-the-scenes struggle between two special interest groups: those who will profit if industries are nationalized, and those who will benefit from foreign investment.

  • 18.12.2015
    No Longer the People's President: the New Putin Commentary

    Vladimir Putin has stopped being the charismatic champion of the people and become the champion of the elite. He has changed into Putin the Strategist, focused on geopolitics. Losing interest in the detail of domestic policy, he has become part of the oligarchic system he created.

  • 17.12.2015
    Russian Truckers Shout, the State is Silent Commentary

    Truck drivers have staged the biggest anti-government protest in Russia since 2012. But the logic of their discontent is one they are so far unprepared to accept: that the whole political system is at fault.

  • 16.12.2015
    Caught in the Middle: Central Asia and the Russia-Turkey Crisis Commentary

    The Kremlin has embarked on an anti-Turkish campaign that does not differentiate between the government and ordinary people, the economy and cultural ties, or even the concepts of “Turkish” and “Turkic.” This approach risks alienating Moscow from its most loyal allies in Central Asia.

  • 15.12.2015
    Russia Needs a Plan C Commentary

    In the middle of a prolonged confrontation with the West, Russia cannot revive its Western-oriented or Eurasianist foreign policy concepts. In foreign relations, crisis-avoidance mechanisms must be the priority while Russia seeks a new strategic concept. That rethink must be underpinned by domestic reform; otherwise, the Russian state could share the fate of the Romanov regime in World War I.

  • 09.12.2015
    Boomerang Sanctions: Russia Punishes Turkey Commentary

    Turkey is one of Russia’s strongest trade partners. Imposing economic sanctions on yet another country is likely to hurt Russia itself the most.

  • 09.12.2015
    The Montenegro Gambit: NATO, Russia, and the Balkans Commentary

    Montenegro’s veteran leader has maneuvered his country into NATO. Russia is upset, but unlikely to respond in a serious manner.

  • 07.12.2015
    Putin’s Theater: Signs and Slogans for the Russian Elite Commentary

    President Putin’s annual national addresses are short of ideas, but serve the purpose of sending signals to the Russian elite. This year, Putin underlined the idea of Russia as a nation under siege.

  • 01.12.2015
    Where Does the Truck Stop? Russia’s New Social Protests Commentary

    The strikes by Russian truckers are a new challenge for the Kremlin and represent a breach of the government’s social contract with its citizens. But the regime has learned how to deal with these protests and how to stop them from becoming politicized.

  • 27.11.2015
    Azerbaijan in an Era of Cheap Oil Commentary

    The double blow of falling oil prices and a decrease in remittances from Russia is making Azerbaijan economically fragile. Azerbaijan’s leaders have not prepared the country for future shocks.

  • 25.11.2015
    The End of a Russian-Turkish “Golden Age” Commentary

    The downing of a Russian plane by Turkey is jeopardizing the strong business and political relationship built by Ankara and Moscow. The two countries’ clash over Syria suggests that relations will get worse before they get better.

  • 25.11.2015
    The Crimea Blackout: Electrifying Maidan Commentary

    Kyiv seems to view the Crimea blockade as a pressure release valve - a way to allow agitated nationalists to blow off steam without sacrificing its own power. As such, the blockade is vastly preferable to some of the alternatives – namely allowing nationalists to vent their grievances in the Donbas, which would invite reprisals from Russia and the EU alike.

  • 25.11.2015
    Crimea Struggles With Ukraine’s New Energy “War” Commentary

    Ukrainian political activists have stepped up their campaign to isolate Crimea by sabotaging its electricity supply. Ordinary residents of Crimea are hostages of a hybrid political struggle between Ukraine and Russia.

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