Russian Ideology

4.07.2016

Putin Indulges the Duma

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.
30.06.2016

The Crime and Punishment of a Russian Liberal

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

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.”
22.06.2016

The Road From 1996: Russia’s Failure of Democracy

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.
15.06.2016

Duma Elections: Crimea Effect Caps Protest Potential

The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 fundamentally changed Russia’s political climate: support for Vladimir Putin’s regime rose and remains high, despite a certain cooldown in recent months. Discontent is building but remains far from boiling point, and we are unlikely to see large-scale protest voting or mass rallies in the parliamentary elections this fall.
6.06.2016

Putin and the Greeks: The Limits of Orthodox Diplomacy

The central aim of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Greece was to declare the spiritual unity of two Orthodox nations, Greece and Russia. But Putin’s pilgrimage showed the limitations of that message. Greek Orthodoxy is fully compatible with its democracy and place in Europe.
3.06.2016

Out From the Underground: Russia’s New Propagandists

The new propagandists who dominated the Russian media were formed by the experience of the trauma of the 1990s and the loss of the certainties of the Soviet past. Their ideology is a fusion of Soviet and imperial Russian ideas. Its chief intellectual weakness is that it must link Russian success to the failure of the West and democracy.
2.06.2016

United Russia Primaries Open Pandora’s Box

The primaries have once again highlighted the Kremlin’s domestic policy tactics. First, the administration announces a large project, makes promises, and even begins to deliver on them. Then, fears of failure and loss of control set in, and all work grinds to a halt.
24.05.2016

Don’t Rock the Boat: How Long Can Putin Avoid Capsizing?

Some Russian experts are predicting that the current Russian regime will last another ten years. Change is inevitable, but no one can forecast what form it will take. In the short term, the trend is for inertia and no change.
17.05.2016

Crossing a Kremlin Red Line: The Attack on RBC

The RBC media group had developed a distinctive line in investigative fact-based journalism, which was much more dangerous to the authorities than radical opinions. It could no longer be tolerated by the Kremlin or supported even by its liberal oligarch owner.
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