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Russia’s involvement in Syria helps Vladimir Putin to distract Russians from their country’s economic woes. However, if wrong-footing the West may be good tactics in the short term, Russian power seems to have no long-term vision of its purposes. Русский
As Islam expands in the Ural Federal District, religious and political life there is evolving. Much of this expansion is due to the arrival of Muslim migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus, and some migrants bring with them religious radicalism—a challenge that requires a more effective official response. Русский
The current nuclear hysteria resides first and foremost in the minds of Russian and U.S. government officials. Fears of a nonnuclear, armed confrontation between Russia, on the one hand, and the United States and NATO, on the other, are also unfounded. Русский
Following the annexation of Crimea in March 2014, the Russian public has embraced an increasingly conservative and nationalistic ideology. Русский
Moscow does not want to escalate confrontation with the West over Syria beyond the current level without what it sees as good reason. In general, Russia’s behavior in the Middle East has been largely defensive, with only isolated and mostly inept attempts to inflict harm on the West. Русский
The world powers agree that the Islamic State must be defeated, even though they disagree on how to do it. In spite of Washington’s anger with Russian activism in Syria, a degree of coordination is advisable. Русский
Russia’s political elites and, particularly, its president have no strategic vision of the future and no adequate assessment of reality. The authorities are seeking to prolong the inertia model until the presidential elections in 2018, but afterwards the Kremlin will need strategic decisions.
The fact that the Kremlin has stepped up its military assistance to Syria demonstrates that Moscow has no intention of withdrawing its support from Assad.
While the Kremlin continues to score plenty of tactical victories in the political sphere, the regime has demonstrated no ability to think strategically. The lack of strategic thinking stems from the elites’ desire to preserve their own power and the whims of an authoritarian political system. Русский
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