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17.01.2018
An EU-Russia Modus Vivendi in the East?

An EU-Russia Modus Vivendi in the East?

There are signs that the EU and Russia are managing their relations better in their common neighborhood. Neither has achieved its ambitions in countries such as Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Although a “grand bargain” is not possible at the moment, the two sides have a common interest in halting a deterioration in relations.
16.01.2018
The Tragedy of Russian Foreign Policy. Book Review: “Different Times: Essays on Foreign Policy” by Anatoly Adamishin

The Tragedy of Russian Foreign Policy. Book Review: “Different Times: Essays on Foreign Policy” by Anatoly Adamishin

Russia is neither doomed to have adversarial relations with the West nor destined to have friendly ones with it: it is all in the hands of policymakers who need to learn, also from their own mistakes. Anatoly Adamishin’s book provides them with a rich body of experience to work from.
16.01.2018
Do Russians Want Change?

Do Russians Want Change?

Russians do not express an overwhelming desire for change. Few understand how it could occur in their country. But most recognize that Russia cannot move forward without reform.
28.12.2017
Right and Far-Right: What Does the New Austrian Government Mean for Russia and the EU?

Right and Far-Right: What Does the New Austrian Government Mean for Russia and the EU?

Austria’s new government is unlikely to prove as pro-Russia as many fear. It will neither take decisive action to lift sanctions, nor fundamentally realign the country. But it can serve as a bridge between Russia and the EU—provided Moscow can recognize the opportunity.
28.12.2017
A Life of Resistance: Remembering Arseny Roginsky

A Life of Resistance: Remembering Arseny Roginsky

Arseny Roginsky, founder of Memorial, was the embodiment of freedom. While Soviet authorities considered him to be anti-Soviet, he could best be described as, simply, not Soviet at all. Roginsky was a patriot of his country; his main goal being the protection of Russian history from the state’s attempts to obliterate its crimes.
21.12.2017
Between Night and Day: Who Will Control Putin’s Fourth Term?

Between Night and Day: Who Will Control Putin’s Fourth Term?

As President Putin approaches his fourth term, his personal power is diminishing. In the recent corruption case against Minister Ulyukayev, the licensing of European University, and lawsuits against Sistema Financial Corporation, Putin has been either unwilling or unable to interfere. With the president off to the sidelines, there are signs that Russia’s “night rulers” are expanding their power.
19.12.2017
President and Patriarch: What Putin Wants From the Orthodox Church

President and Patriarch: What Putin Wants From the Orthodox Church

The president’s speech at the Bishops’ Council will only exacerbate disagreements over the future of the Russian Orthodox Church between—and among—religious and secular Russians. The secular community feels he is drifting toward the church, while many in the religious community believe he is trying to establish government control over church activities.
15.12.2017
Russia Is The Honey Badger Of International Relations

Russia Is The Honey Badger Of International Relations

It claws and gnashes well above its weight. It can't kill a lion or an alligator, but it won't run away from them either. The honey badger is Russia in 2017.
14.12.2017
How Regime Self-Preservation Could Accidentally Democratize Russia

How Regime Self-Preservation Could Accidentally Democratize Russia

Political elites enjoy the best possible social status by virtue of their position, and by definition cannot want change. Long-term planning therefore shouldn’t be viewed in absolute terms, even if it’s reform-minded. Democratization is much more likely to be accidental, occurring when the regime takes steps intended to increase its authority that weaken it instead.
12.12.2017
The End of European Bilateralisms: Germany, France, and Russia

The End of European Bilateralisms: Germany, France, and Russia

Today German and French positions reflect much more the skepticism ingrained in the EU’s “five guiding principles for relations with Russia” than previous ideas of a strategic partnership with Moscow. This will render it impossible for Russia to simply return to traditional bilateralism. If, at some point in the future, a Russian leadership wants to normalize relations with the EU and rebuild European security, it will have to take into account, among many other things, the almost complete collapse of trust in its relations with Germany and France.
7.12.2017
Armenia’s “Both/And” Policy for Europe and Eurasia

Armenia’s “Both/And” Policy for Europe and Eurasia

Four years ago, Armenia’s failure to sign the EU Association Agreement was an early indication of the impending Ukraine crisis. Now, an Association Agreement-lite has been signed with Brussels. While this doesn’t represent a normalization of relations between Russia and the EU in the post-Soviet space, it’s important symbolically. Rather than an “either/or” approach to integration, the EU and Russia are gradually moving in the “both/and” direction.
5.12.2017
Why Belarus’s Leader Rejected a Long-Awaited Invitation to Brussels

Why Belarus’s Leader Rejected a Long-Awaited Invitation to Brussels

Alexander Lukashenko, who used to take offense at not being invited to the Eastern Partnership summits, declined an invitation to last month’s summit. This clearly demonstrates that the initiative has lost its value even in the eyes of its members, but it doesn’t mean that closer cooperation is impossible for Belarus and the EU. Both parties are simply coming to the realization that quick breakthroughs won’t happen.
1.12.2017
From Ambition to Style to Substance: Emmanuel Macron Makes His Mark on French Foreign Policy

From Ambition to Style to Substance: Emmanuel Macron Makes His Mark on French Foreign Policy

With Chancellor Merkel visibly weakened as a result of the recent Bundestag elections, President Macron has been free to take the lead in managing Europe’s difficult relations with Russia. His announced participation in the St. Petersburg Economic Forum in May 2018 can signal the resumption of full-scale dialogue between the estranged former partners, which might bring better understanding of the existing political differences between Europe and Russia, while allowing for expanded commercial and cultural contacts between them.
30.11.2017
Russia’s Regions Strike Back: Provincial Leaders Want More From Moscow

Russia’s Regions Strike Back: Provincial Leaders Want More From Moscow

Russian regional leaders are rediscovering their power and their ability to fight with Moscow over budgets and autonomy. Discontent over Moscow siphoning off regional funds has reached a breaking point, while Tatarstan is in a new contest with the center over regional language rights.
29.11.2017
The Luhansk Coup: Why Armed Conflict Erupted in Russia’s Puppet Regime

The Luhansk Coup: Why Armed Conflict Erupted in Russia’s Puppet Regime

Last week’s events change little on the ground in the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic.” They do, however, demonstrate the degree to which Moscow cannot control the strategically important region. Despite the Kremlin’s best efforts, conflict between local authorities grew so out of hand that Moscow was forced to send armed reinforcements.
28.11.2017
Nobody’s President? Putin Enters the Era of Transition

Nobody’s President? Putin Enters the Era of Transition

The 2018 election in Russia is turning into a real political event. Putin is an undeclared candidate and Navalny is an unregistered one, who will have a real influence. The Kremlin is now run by regents around a diminished president, and discussion is already focusing on what the post-Putin era will look like.
27.11.2017
Nobody’s Revolution: The Russian State and the Fight for Memory

Nobody’s Revolution: The Russian State and the Fight for Memory

In Russia, there is no particularly tense strife between supporters and opponents of the hundred-year-old revolution. But there is competition among the ruling political establishment and the oppositional intelligentsia on the topic of political repression. The regime is fighting back against the opposition’s monopoly on the right to represent the victims and name the state as the executioners’ successor.
22.11.2017
The Transnistrian Deadlock: Resolution Impalpable, War Improbable

The Transnistrian Deadlock: Resolution Impalpable, War Improbable

The conflict in Transnistria is far from both resolution and explosion. Convergence of international players’ interests in maintaining peace and high levels of connectivity between the Moldova and Transnistria has resulted in stability. But a conflict management strategy that relies upon a sub-optimal equilibrium is hardly enough—more needs to be done to prepare for a settlement in the long term.
21.11.2017
How Transitional Institutions Could Transform Russia’s Economy

How Transitional Institutions Could Transform Russia’s Economy

Transitional institutions cannot be effective unless economic agents are confident that the state will fulfill its commitments and that the rules of the game do not depend on the discretion of a ruler. Empirical evidence shows that democracy protects investors from expropriation better than dictatorships do, thereby resulting in faster economic growth.
16.11.2017
Alisher Usmanov: Uzbekistan’s Oligarch of Choice

Alisher Usmanov: Uzbekistan’s Oligarch of Choice

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is growing closer to Uzbekistan-born Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, who could help the president solidify his power as he continues to struggle against the Uzbek National Security Service (SNB) and its chief, Rustam Inoyatov. However, any belief that oligarchs will help modernize Uzbekistan is naïve. They will simply assume the power once wielded by the SNB.
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