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22.06.2018
The Boomerang of 1968: Reflections on Prague, Paris, and Moscow Fifty Years On

The Boomerang of 1968: Reflections on Prague, Paris, and Moscow Fifty Years On

The Prague Spring was the nobler and more enduring face of 1968. The Western protests were mostly about middle-class counterculture and were subsumed by a culture of consumerism, while the Eastern European tradition of anti-totalitarian dissent has endured.
21.06.2018
Expect No Changes From Russia’s New Presidential Administration

Expect No Changes From Russia’s New Presidential Administration

To predict what the Kremlin will do, we need look no further than the ambitious but unrealized initiatives of the mid-2000s, such as enlarging the regions and tax reforms. The same is true of the Kremlin’s staffing policy: even if there are some reshuffles, the positions of power go to experienced and well-known individuals. Vladimir Putin is comfortable talking to familiar people on familiar subjects. His closest associates are well aware of this fact and have adjusted to their boss’s preferences.
19.06.2018
A Russian Writes to European Friends

A Russian Writes to European Friends

There are several misperceptions about Russia that make relations with Europe worse than they need to be. Acknowledging these illusions is the first step to Russia and Europe being able to understand each other.
15.06.2018
Bullying the Big Cities: The Kremlin’s New Approach

Bullying the Big Cities: The Kremlin’s New Approach

The regional unification of record-high presidential election results has closed the Kremlin bureaucrats’ eyes to the diversity of different parts of the country, their elites, and the preferences of their electorates. In this model, regional masters of balance and public politics are extraneous. But the expulsion of old regional barons is risky: the banner of public pushback and local patriotism could be picked up by new regional politicians who might be even less convenient for Moscow.
13.06.2018
Everyone Wins: Russia, China, and the Trump-Kim Summit

Everyone Wins: Russia, China, and the Trump-Kim Summit

The summit of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore brought the Korean peninsula closer to peace, but it was more about symbolism than substance. Its most important outcome is to bring North Korea out of diplomatic isolation—something that is welcome to both China and Russia.
8.06.2018
Russian Oligarchs in the Era of Sanctions

Russian Oligarchs in the Era of Sanctions

The West’s economic sanctions against Russia have divided the country’s most prominent businessmen into those who would like to remain “private” and those who never needed this.
4.06.2018
Truth Without Borders: Why Faking a Journalist’s Death Won’t Help Ukraine

Truth Without Borders: Why Faking a Journalist’s Death Won’t Help Ukraine

As the world debates the danger of manipulating public opinion through fake news, Ukraine has created a false narrative of global significance. Blurring the borders of truth is unlikely to help Ukraine in the long run. But the country’s desire for a spectacular victory over its enemy outweighed other concerns.
28.05.2018
What Russia’s New Government Tells Us About Succession After Putin

What Russia’s New Government Tells Us About Succession After Putin

Now in his fourth presidential term, Vladimir Putin faces a succession problem: the constitution prevents him from running again in 2024. With few simple transition options available, Putin may choose a compromise: to hand some presidential powers to the prime minister, increase the ruling party’s role, and introduce a second center of power in the executive branch.
25.05.2018
The Balkan Cycle: Why Russo-Bulgarian Relations Are Growing Again

The Balkan Cycle: Why Russo-Bulgarian Relations Are Growing Again

The Bulgarian public and the country’s major political parties regret the deterioration of Russo-Bulgarian relations since 2009, when, under Western pressure, Sofia withdrew from almost all of its joint projects with Moscow, including the Belene Nuclear Power Plant and South Stream pipeline. These moves yielded no tangible benefits for Bulgaria and even had some adverse effects. Now, calls for a more pragmatic and self-centered approach to Bulgaria’s relations with Russia are gaining momentum.
25.05.2018
Political Dispersion: Russia’s New Cabinet

Political Dispersion: Russia’s New Cabinet

The political and administrative dispersion of governance is under way in Russia: regulatory functions are being scattered among government and near-government players, which will inevitably result in the formation of first moderate and then increasingly pronounced polycentricity within the state. Initiative will eventually stop being punishable.
23.05.2018
Respecting Migrants: A New Approach for Conflict Resolution in Eastern Europe

Respecting Migrants: A New Approach for Conflict Resolution in Eastern Europe

The priority in conflict resolution in Eastern Europe should shift from helping the territories affected by the conflicts to helping the people affected by the conflicts. Population mobility in the conflict zones is increasing so rapidly and the population is shrinking so swiftly that in a generation or two there will be no one living there, regardless of the results of conflict resolution.
21.05.2018
For Navalny, Foreign and Domestic Policy Are One

For Navalny, Foreign and Domestic Policy Are One

Alexei Navalny believes that Russia spends too much effort and money on foreign adventures. Yet he cleaves to many establishment ideas about Russia’s role in its neighborhood and is far from advocating the kind of rapprochement with the West for which many foreign observers hope.
17.05.2018
A Letter to John: Where Are U.S.-Russia Relations Headed?

A Letter to John: Where Are U.S.-Russia Relations Headed?

In the decades I spent working with the United States, I acquired quite a large circle of contacts in Washington. Collectively, they represent the so-called American establishment. Today, I’d like to address these Washingtonians as one individual, whom I’ll name John for the sake of simplicity.
16.05.2018
What to Expect from Armenia’s New Leader

What to Expect from Armenia’s New Leader

It’s hard to call Pashinyan left- or right-wing, pro-Western or pro-Russian. He has two images: one of a charismatic revolutionary, capable of getting people on the streets to rally behind him, and the other as a pragmatic politician ready to make compromises and form tactical unions.
15.05.2018
Creative Reporting: What to Expect From the Russian Government in Putin’s Fourth Term

Creative Reporting: What to Expect From the Russian Government in Putin’s Fourth Term

The new Russian government will cease to be a place for formulating strategies and implementing policies. Instead, it will focus on creatively calculating and reporting Russia’s accomplishments to technically meet the president’s expectations.
14.05.2018
The East-West Divide in Europe’s History Wars

The East-West Divide in Europe’s History Wars

Diverging narratives about history and about World War II in particular are causing a widening rift between the post-Communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the older Western European nations of the EU.
7.05.2018
Armenia’s Revolution and the Legacy of 1988

Armenia’s Revolution and the Legacy of 1988

The unexpected collapse of Armenia’s ruling regime is better understood if you study the story of Armenia’s break with the Soviet regime in 1988. The country has a legacy of peaceful protest, national solidarity, but is also trapped by a strong nationalist discourse.
3.05.2018
How Western Sanctions Will Alter Ties Between Russian Big Business and the Kremlin

How Western Sanctions Will Alter Ties Between Russian Big Business and the Kremlin

The United States’ latest round of sanctions has hit Russia hard. In the future, the Russian state will have to share the emerging risks and minimize socioeconomic consequences for the impacted regions and industries. This will lead to a new wave of property redistribution based upon state — not economic — interests.
23.04.2018
Russia’s Ban on Telegram Has Politicized the Workspace Overnight

Russia’s Ban on Telegram Has Politicized the Workspace Overnight

The banning of Telegram, one of the most popular messaging apps in Russia, is a serious blow to the public loyalty of ordinary people to the authorities. Ways of getting around the ban are being widely discussed in non-politicized chat groups, and even representatives of the powers that be are expressing discontent, both privately and in public. The move to block the secure messaging service has shown that people are prepared to ignore the ban and enter a gray area—and it’s the authorities themselves who have goaded people into this.
20.04.2018
Permanent Stagnation: Putin’s Invisible Fourth-Term Agenda

Permanent Stagnation: Putin’s Invisible Fourth-Term Agenda

The symbolic and real dimensions of Russian politics are in radical contradiction of each other.
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