20 Years of Leading Analysis
 
  • A Battle For Russia

    3 Posted by: Dmitri Trenin July 28, 2014

    Last week, the Russian security chiefs were put on the European Union's sanctions list. The foreign ministry in Moscow reacted angrily. Anti-terrorist cooperation between Russia and the West is now a thing of the past. The sanctions will not stop there, however. This week, the EU is likely to finally begin imposing Tier Three sanctions, capable of doing considerable damage to the Russian economy. The United States, which had long been leaning on the EU to adopt a tougher approach toward Russia, should feel relieved that it has avoided transatlantic divisions on an issue of principle.

    Moscow must have seen it coming. The recent meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation apparently discussed the country's strategy under Western sanctions. In all probability, this is a long-term strategy, embracing all major areas: economics and finance, military power and foreign policy, domestic politics and information warfare. With the downing of MH17, a crime of which "Putin and the Russians" were accused by Washington ahead of the completion of an international investigation, the Ukraine crisis has just reached a new phase.

    The chances for accommodation between Russia and the United States now seem more remote than ever since February 22. Secretary John Kerry and Minister Sergey Lavrov may talk the talk, but they will not walk the walk. Europe will not be able, or willing, to play a mediating role. The Kremlin sees the U.S. goal as being not so much stopping the Russian support for the Donbass rebels, or even getting Moscow to withdraw from Crimea, but as the toppling of the Putin regime by means of economic pain and popular discontent wrought by the sanctions. Even if no pro-Western leader replaces a Putin in the Kremlin as a result, the narrative goes, Russia will succumb to another period of turmoil, making it to focus on itself, rather than creating problems for Washington.

    That said, expecting Putin to back off, or for his close friends to persuade him to change tack, or else for the "oligarchs" to pressure the Kremlin into beating a retreat betrays a lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation. It is no longer the struggle for Ukraine, but a battle for Russia. If Vladimir Putin manages to keep the Russian people on his side, he will win it. If not, another geopolitical catastrophe might follow.

     
     
     
  • From Fergana Valley to Syria—the Transformation of Central Asian Radical Islam

    Posted by: Bayram Balci Friday, July 25, 2014

    The radical jihadi group known as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. A little bit more than twenty years after it first appeared, this on-going transformation has made it less connected to Uzbekistan, and more to a global jihad.

     
     
  • The New Indian Authorities Know Russia Firsthand

    Posted by: Petr Topychkanov Thursday, July 24, 2014 7

    Some may call Narendra Modi’s international relations’ expertise into question. In reality, Modi and his associates do have foreign policy experience. This experience will guide them toward a balanced policy in which Russia will play one of the key roles.

     
     
  • Heirs of the ’93 Russian White House

    Posted by: Thomas de Waal Wednesday, July 23, 2014 4

    The leaders of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Borodai and Igor Strelkov, are both Russian citizens who worked for the intelligence services, fought in Chechnya, spent time in Transnistria and worked for the ultra-nationalist newspaper, Zavtra. Putin must know that they have become a toxic liability.

     
     
  • Is There a Solution?

    Posted by: Sergei Aleksashenko Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    Ukraine’s position as an important transport corridor for Russian gas has resulted in various periods of conflict between Ukraine and Russian-state owned gas companies. But, even though both recognize they will not reach a long-term agreement quickly, one can easily see that the number of disagreements between them is not great. Both realize the need to compromise.

     
     
  • Midsummer Blues

    Posted by: Dmitri Trenin Monday, July 21, 2014

    MH17 may well be a turning point in the Ukraine conflict, but President Putin remains unlikely to back down despite economic pressure from the West. Russians may look back to the summer of 2014 years from now as a game changer.

     
     
  • Malaysia and Ukraine

    Posted by: Dmitri Trenin Friday, July 18, 2014 2

    The downing of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane over Eastern Ukraine catapults the crisis there onto the global plane. The tragic and sudden loss of so many innocent lives should put a final point to the armed conflict—or it may put the international conflict over Ukraine on a much higher and more dangerous level.

     
     
  • Time for Russia to Reconsider Its Arctic Strategy

    Posted by: Brock Bodine Thursday, July 17, 2014

    Tensions in Ukraine threaten to alter the security environment in the Arctic. Russia must, therefore, proceed with caution if it wants to maintain previous levels of cooperation. Only time will tell if the hawks in the Kremlin will be willing to engage in cooperation rather than see the region as a zero-sum game.

     
     
  • EU and Ukraine: Bumpy Road Ahead

    Posted by: Balázs Jarábik Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Ukraine is certainly a different country compared to seven months ago. The challenges of implementing the EU Association Agreement that it signed on June 27 are still tremendous, though. Reform, management of expectations, and reality is what is needed now.

     
     
  • In Time of Sharp Tensions, Islamist Extremism Continues to Unite Russia and the United States

    Posted by: Alexei Arbatov Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    The problems arising across the globe from militant radical Islam cannot be dealt with at a later date. Russia and the West have vital mutual interests, since they share this common enemy. Given the extent of its involvement, Russia should take the initiative.

     
     

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