Russian Ideology


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Splits Force Russia’s Opposition to Rethink

It did not need the intervention of the Kremlin for Russia's liberal opposition alliance to fall apart. A clash of personalities and ambitions looks to have doomed the alliance before the parliamentary election campaign has even got underway.

The Static Regime: Russia’s Reversion from Popular Autocracy

Russia has generally been a static autocracy throughout its history, rejecting the dynamic popular activism of Mao’s China or revolutionary China. The hybrid war in the Donbas was the occasion for a flirtation with extreme politics led from below. But the Kremlin has reverted to the norm, sensing the danger of giving its most loyal supporters too much power.

Two Years After Crimea: The Evolution of a Political Regime

The system, its leader, and the popular majority formed after Crimea will survive the 2018 presidential election. The existing regime is incapable of democratization. At the same time, it is dangerous to ratchet up repression. The government is trying to encourage inertia, but this is becoming increasingly difficult after Crimea, Donbas, Syria, and Turkey. Aggression is self-perpetuating.

Spinning Russia’s Syria Exit

Russian television has thrived for months on a diet of victories in Syria. Now that the time has come to spin the news of a withdrawal, the argument is being deployed that it is best to avoid a second Afghanistan. Better still, the exit is being presented as another case of Russia outsmarting the United States.
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