Current political affairs and long-term trends – including the evolution of Russia’s leadership structure – are studied in depth and in comparative context. The program studies Russia’s political institutions, shifting balances of power between the federal center and the regions, changing public attitudes towards democracy, and theoretical issues of politics, economics, power and business.
A generational shift will take place if young Russians decide to break with the values of an antiquated state. This process could take a very long time and include periods of regression, but it could also happen much quicker than expected.
Since arresting Alexei Navalny on his return from Germany and hastily packing him off to prison, the Russian authorities have turned the country's politics into a binary affair: you are either with Navalny or with President Vladimir Putin. And that is a contest that Putin is no longer confident he can win.
The prison sentence for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny handed down by a Moscow court last week is an even more radical move than last year’s attempt to poison him. By putting Navalny behind bars for at least two and a half years, Vladimir Putin’s regime is creating far greater risks for itself than if it had managed to secretly do away with him.
Putin’s willingness to resort to police batons has polarized society and radicalized those who are dissatisfied with his rule. The moral cause of those taking to the streets across Russia is undermining the foundations of the Putin regime.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the energy and scale of Saturday’s angry protests all across Russia against the imprisonment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny. But it would be rather short-sighted to forget that the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin long ago mastered the art of dealing with manifestations of popular discontent. The Kremlin has barely started to tap its vast toolkit for violence and intimidation.
The Kremlin’s approach to Navalny is a natural by-product of a political regime in which the initiative and locus of most decisionmaking concerning the real opposition or any criticism has shifted to the FSB.