Russia without Putin: A first approximation
Vladimir Putin is at the heart of Russia’s political system. But less and less of what is happening in the country depends on his personal vision and volition. The president looks increasingly disengaged, while his policy of confrontation with the West is a dead end. As the first outlines of a post-Putin order come into focus, it scarcely matters whether the president runs for another term. Even if he wins, the new era begins the day after the vote.
Opinion: Crimea as a freehold
What to do with Crimea is a seemingly insoluble problem. With patriotic Russian opinion firmly set in the “Crimean consensus,” returning the territory to Ukraine is out of the question. Letting it remain as part of Russia is equally unacceptable to Ukraine and the West. Perhaps the best place to start is with Crimea’s real owners – the peninsula’s 2.34 million residents.
Navalny: The black hole of Russian politics
In just four years, Alexey Navalny has taken Russia's political scene by storm. From a complete unknown, he has risen to the first opposition figure who can be legitimately regarded as a possible alternative to Vladimir Putin. But beyond his flashy anti-corruption campaign, even close political observers have little idea what Mr. Navalny stands for. Many cannot shake the feeling that he enjoys a special tolerance from the authorities.
Russian truckers test a new protest model
This spring more than a half million long-haul truckers went on strike in Russia. The immediate effect of the protests was relatively minor, mostly restricted to local food shortages, yet the authorities responded forcefully and imposed a near-total news blackout. What makes the strike so threatening is that it merges two swelling streams of opposition in Russia – middle-class revolt in the big cities and working-class revolt in the rustbelt.
Global Outlook 2017: Russia checklist
Russia enters 2017 with a sense of vague disquiet. With presidential elections a year away, not everyone is sure the “main candidate” will be Vladimir Putin. Concern is palpable inside the government and the security apparatus, as interest groups jockey for position.
Conflict in Donbass inches toward settlement despite ceasefire violations
Ukrainian leaders have claimed that Europe and its values are at stake in Donbass, and, more recently, that their country has been drawn into a ‘real’ interstate war with Russia. This rhetoric is harmful. It aims at extorting Western military support, which both United States' President Barack Obama and Nato at large have ruled out. It also makes the positions of R...
Putin learns from mistakes to tighten his grip on power
Russian President Vladimir Putin has learned from his mistakes. He remains in total control of Russia’s power and political life by neutralising any opposition. But speculation mounted when he disappeared for 10 days in March, 2015. Could his enemies remove him and how could this be achieved? Or is he here to stay? SPECUL...
Intimidation, not jail, keeps the Russian regime in control
Kremlin watchers were surprised in December 2013 by the announcement of immediate pardons for several leading regime opponents who had been imprisoned or held under house arrest for political reasons. But Russia has more subtle ways of keeping potential activists under control than simply jailing them. It uses threats and intimidation – and what is known in Moscow ...