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  • 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.

  • 01.07.2016
    Imagined Integration: How Russia Can Maintain Its Influence in Central Asia Commentary

    Moscow should stop thinking of the other members of the Eurasian Economic Union as junior partners. Russian and Central Asian weakness vis-à-vis China should inspire consolidation and cooperation rather than competition.

  • 30.06.2016
    The Crime and Punishment of a Russian Liberal Commentary

    The timing of the very public arrest of Kirov region governor Nikita Belykh for corruption is opportune: the Duma election campaign is about to start, and the fight against corruption will be useful. Belykh—a liberal in government—is a convenient target: he held a prominent position and yet he was extraneous to the overall political system

  • 29.06.2016
    Russia’s No-Show at Pan-Orthodox Council Reveals Hopeless Lack of Unity Commentary

    Refusing to participate in the Pan-Orthodox Council is the most hapless and helpless choice possible, and the actions of the four churches are a fairly explicit nod to Orthodox fundamentalists who dismiss the council as iconoclastic and ungodly and say that the main objective of the Greeks is to “codify the heresy.”

  • 28.06.2016
    A Multipolar Europe: Why Russia Likes Brexit Commentary

    The Kremlin is enjoying the discomfort that Brexit is causing to the European Union. But that does not mean that it wants Europe broken up. It just wants a return to old-fashioned bilateral diplomacy.

  • 24.06.2016
    Waking Up to a New Britain Commentary

    The vote to Leave was mainly a protest vote. It was the vote of people who hated “Brussels” and the European Union, but hated London and the international financial system just as much. The black irony of this is that it is precisely the social category of working-class protest voters who are likely to suffer when Britain loses the privileged access it currently has to the EU’s single market.

  • 22.06.2016
    The Road From 1996: Russia’s Failure of Democracy Commentary

    Boris Yeltsin’s reelection in 1996, hailed as a triumph of democracy, now looks like a Pyrrhic victory. The means by which the process was manipulated set a precedent for the Putin era.

  • 21.06.2016
    The South Ossetia Referendum: No Rush for the Russians Commentary

    A referendum on South Ossetia’s incorporation into the Russian Federation has been postponed until after the presidential election in the region due in early 2017. This means that there is still a large question mark over the optimum relationship between Russia and South Ossetia.

  • 20.06.2016
    Worst Friends, Best Enemies: Trade Between the EU and Russia Commentary

    Trade relations between the EU and Russia will likely remain stable for many years, even as the overall volume of bilateral trade gradually contracts. The EU will grow less dependent on Russia for energy security, while Russia will become less reliant on European finance, industry, and infrastructure.

  • 17.06.2016
    The New Pipeline Making Gazprom Nervous Commentary

    The construction of a new pipeline that will send Caspian natural gas to southern Europe is making Gazprom executives uneasy. Once the pipeline is completed, Gazprom will lose its monopoly in southern Europe and may have to resort to price dumping to stay competitive.

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