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23.04.2019
Victory for Zelensky in Ukraine — But the Real Battle Starts Now

Victory for Zelensky in Ukraine — But the Real Battle Starts Now

Ukraine’s president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky has formulated his ideal country as one that is neither a “corrupt partner of the West,” nor “Russia’s little sister.” This pragmatic kind of civil patriotism is close to the hearts of most Ukrainians, for whom the most important task right now is to fix the country’s domestic problems following the crusade-like presidency of Petro Poroshenko.
19.04.2019
Russia’s Sovereign Internet Law Will Kill Innovation

Russia’s Sovereign Internet Law Will Kill Innovation

The Kremlin’s domestic policy bloc increasingly tries to run Russia as a corporation. It’s not surprising, therefore, that they have resorted to typical corporate methods in the field of Internet control, electing to use deep packet inspection (DPI) technology, which is not employed at a national level anywhere else in the world.
17.04.2019
Accelerating the Transition: What’s Behind Kazakhstan’s Snap Election?

Accelerating the Transition: What’s Behind Kazakhstan’s Snap Election?

Kazakhstan’s power handover increasingly looks like a trap for Nazarbayev. He wants the process to go smoothly, as planned, but the entire system only works when he is at the helm. There is no one capable of replicating precisely what the first president conceived. Nazarbayev has ruled Kazakhstan with an iron fist, but that fist is gradually growing weaker. As for Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Dariga Nazarbayeva, their influence can buy them respect, but it doesn’t inspire fear.
15.04.2019
The Ukrainian elite is preparing for Poroshenko’s election defeat

The Ukrainian elite is preparing for Poroshenko’s election defeat

With polls showing incumbent Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko heading for a major defeat in the runoff election, governors and ministers are looking for contacts with the likely winner and his team. The president has fired a series of governors to send a warning to the rest. But the message is too late and not convincing.
9.04.2019
Kremlin Scapegoat: Russia’s In-System Opposition Under Attack

Kremlin Scapegoat: Russia’s In-System Opposition Under Attack

A new criterion for distinguishing between in-system and non-systemic opposition is emerging: if a candidate or party list has caused any problems, it must be disloyal and outside of the system, so it needs to be punished. This categorization is a matter of pure chance: after all, candidates and parties can win by doing nothing.
5.04.2019
Grudges Before Politics: Arrests in Russia Are Increasingly Random

Grudges Before Politics: Arrests in Russia Are Increasingly Random

Abyzov’s arrest demonstrates that the prosecution of economic crimes is becoming chaotic, and that politics, which previously loomed large behind high-profile arrests, now appears only after the fact, as a secondary, albeit important, consequence.
2.04.2019
Ukrainian Candidates Set to Haggle Ahead of Presidential Runoff

Ukrainian Candidates Set to Haggle Ahead of Presidential Runoff

The clash between the new populism of Zelenskiy, who staked everything on Russian-speaking Ukraine, and Poroshenko’s national-patriotic conservatism is leading to a partial resumption of the old standoff between the two Ukraines.
28.03.2019
Making Sense of Ukraine’s Complicated, Highly Competitive Presidential Campaign

Making Sense of Ukraine’s Complicated, Highly Competitive Presidential Campaign

Ukraine is going to the polls amid stalled reforms, multiple corruption scandals, and low trust in political institutions. Despite this, more than 80 percent of voters plan to take part, and the election is truly competitive. And although one candidate is leading in the polls, top political operatives are predicting a different outcome.
26.03.2019
War of Words Pushes Belarus-Russia Relations to the Brink

War of Words Pushes Belarus-Russia Relations to the Brink

The nonchalance with which the Russian ambassador and his sparring partners in Minsk are raising the stakes in their rhetoric is a symptom of deeper forces at work in Belarusian-Russian relations. Both sides are starting to sense that they have reached some kind of historic threshold. But the old format of friendship is so worn out that there is little to lose.
22.03.2019
Why the Kazakh Experiment Won’t Work in Russia

Why the Kazakh Experiment Won’t Work in Russia

Unlike Nazarbayev, Putin was not as strongly affected by the death of the Uzbekistani President Islam Karimov and the ensuing division of power which ended badly for late president’s family. Will Putin even leave behind much that will need protection? It seems that his primary concern will not be family or the family business, but problems of another dimension: what will become of Crimea, Russia’s presence in Syria, and the country’s ability to assert its sovereignty and withstand the confrontation with the U.S. and NATO.
21.03.2019
Musical Chairs: Will a New President Change Anything in Kazakhstan?

Musical Chairs: Will a New President Change Anything in Kazakhstan?

Prior to his resignation as president of Kazakhstan this week, Nursultan Nazarbayev had predictably become head of the country’s security council. After that, the post of president had largely become an encumbrance. His status as head of the security council provides him with a separate lever for controlling the country’s repressive machinery, while his status as leader for life of the Nur Otan ruling political party gives him control over lawmakers.
21.03.2019
Arms Control Is Dead. Long Live Arms Control

Arms Control Is Dead. Long Live Arms Control

Traditionally, Moscow has insisted on arms control agreements being enshrined in legally binding documents, while Washington has been more open to political deals. Nevertheless, a new, more flexible approach could find support with the Russian leadership.
19.03.2019
Abandoning United Russia Is the Road to Nowhere for the Kremlin

Abandoning United Russia Is the Road to Nowhere for the Kremlin

Rejecting party affiliations at regional elections is a threat to the power vertical. The disgruntled public ask global questions: Why is the retirement age being raised? Why are prices and utility bills increasing, while salaries are not? Is it worth spending so much on Syria, Venezuela, and the arms race? Independent candidates running for governor or regional legislator can answer them easily by saying, “That’s a federal issue for which I’m not responsible, but I’ll try to solve local problems.” As a result, all grievances are automatically redirected to the Kremlin.
18.03.2019
The Troika Scandal: Is It Really What It Seems?

The Troika Scandal: Is It Really What It Seems?

An impartial reading of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project investigation into Troika Dialog can offer only one conclusion, and it is not remotely innovative: financial institutions where compliance procedures were far less stringent ten years ago than European regulators insist on today could be used for money laundering. That is no more original than concluding that knives can be used to stab people. Yet it hasn’t occurred to anyone to blame crime on the creators of its weapons.
13.03.2019
A More Assertive EU in a Volatile World

A More Assertive EU in a Volatile World

As Europe is taking more responsibility for its own security, the debate on European strategic autonomy has moved to the fore and not without controversy. However, at its heart is a simple reasoning: when needed, Europeans must be able to protect and defend European interests and values and have the capacity to act. We want to be able to cooperate with third countries on our own terms.
12.03.2019
How Petro Poroshenko Became Ukraine’s Top Patriot

How Petro Poroshenko Became Ukraine’s Top Patriot

For Ukraine’s patriotic voters, the war with Russia is the defining issue in the upcoming presidential election. The country is choosing a leader at a time when being the commander in chief is not simply a title and honorary regalia, but the president’s primary responsibility. This factor may win incumbent President Petro Poroshenko a second term.
22.02.2019
Moldova’s Critical Elections

Moldova’s Critical Elections

On February 24, Moldovans vote in parliamentary elections, which are seen by many as critical to the country’s future. The ruling Democratic party and its de facto leader have been accused of abuse of power and facilitating corruption. The EU has suspended its financial assistance program. The party faces a challenge from the Socialist Party led by President Igor Dodon, who is more sympathetic to Russia, and a new pro-European bloc named NOW.
22.02.2019
No Country for Investors: Russia’s Latest Shock Arrests

No Country for Investors: Russia’s Latest Shock Arrests

The state is one of nothing other than arbitrariness. After the lawlessness of the mid-1990s in Russia, many hoped that competition between various groups of the elite would force them to create a system of laws and rules to protect them (and everyone else) from arbitrariness. But it didn’t turn out that way: one of the groups—the one furthest from both honest business and from society—won the battle and made arbitrariness the guarantee of its position.
19.02.2019
Overhyped: How “Putin’s Chef” Became One of the Most Influential People in Russia

Overhyped: How “Putin’s Chef” Became One of the Most Influential People in Russia

Businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin used to avoid the spotlight. Much of his work—the Russian internet troll factory, the Wagner private military company, and political research in Africa—required secrecy. But all that changed when Russian and Western media exaggerated his role in Russian politics and essentially forced him into President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
14.02.2019
Russia and Ukraine: A Lethal Codependency

Russia and Ukraine: A Lethal Codependency

The Russia-Ukraine relationship has moved from cozy mutual exploitation to lethal hostility. Neither side is prepared to admit its deep dependence on the other.
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