The other Russia: Siberia as a model
Some call Siberia Russia's blessing, others its curse. But this vast region’s real buried riches can be found in its political culture. The Siberian values of individual freedom and political autonomy have so far not been overcome by Russia's statist centralism. Once the country's current policies run their course, this essential Russian region could replace them with its own unique democratic principles.
Kadyrov’s Chechnya poses a growing risk for Putin
In Ramzan Kadyrov, Russian President Vladimir Putin has found someone who can both keep Chechnya under control and supply ruthless troops for conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. But the Kremlin's hold over its Chechen warlord is tenuous and risks backfiring in the long term. Acting now could have dire consequences as well.
GIS Dossier: Ukraine
Four years after the Maidan revolution swept President Viktor Yanukovych from power, Ukraine remains suspended between Russia and the West. The protracted armed struggle to break free of Moscow’s orbit has helped forge a Ukrainian nation, but its politics and economy remain as dysfunctional as ever. This survey looks at reports published by GIS on Ukraine since 2012.
Oil market rebalancing and the future of ‘OPEC+’
In 2016, some oil-producing countries that were not part of OPEC joined with the cartel to agree on production cuts to shore up oil prices. At the time, plenty of observers were skeptical the group would hold together. But not only did it manage to implement the reductions (and extend them twice), it has put a floor under oil prices. Now that prices are rising, many again doubt the alliance will survive. But the realities of the oil market continue to make cooperation beneficial, especially for the two leading countries: Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Opinion: The Kremlin Report – a big, fat nothing
Anyone hoping the U.S. Treasury’s “Kremlin Report” would show insight into Russia’s inner workings has been sorely disappointed. It shows little understanding of who the real power brokers are in Moscow, and cements the U.S.’s reputation as a bull in a china shop. Europe could have helped spur constructive dialogue, but continues to follow Washington’s lead. The possibility of even modest steps to ease Russia’s confrontation with the West looks increasingly improbable.
Opinion: Do not underestimate Russia’s fear
Russia is at a dead end. Paralyzed by fear that the process of its disintegration that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union has not run its course yet, Russia’s ruling elite is uncertain of the country’s future and its own legitimacy. Hence the besieged fortress mentality, aggressive posture abroad and oppressive policies at home. Perceiving reforms as risky, the Russian civilization concentrates its waning energy on trying to maintain the status quo.
2018 Global Outlook: Four dangerous dynamics in the Middle East
Early 2018 finds the Middle East at a singular moment in its history. It is hard to recall a period when so many fundamental geopolitical shifts have occurred just as societies, states and alliances in the region were all starting to fall apart. Four disruptive trends can be identified, any one of which would have sufficed to produce regional instability in the not-too-distant past. Today, their combination creates a formidable dynamic for armed conflict.
VIDEO: The post-Putin Russia: signs of transformation | GIS: Global Trends Video Reports
For 17 years, the Russian political regime has been continually changing. And each time the best barometer has been how the role and image of Vladimir Putin himself has shifted. Signs of another transformation are gradually accumulating. Surprisingly, the man at the center is becoming less important.
2018 Global Outlook: North Korea and the U.S.-China-Russia triangle
Tensions between the United States and North Korea are having a big impact on the relationship between Moscow, Beijing and Washington. China has every incentive, but few options, to rein in its neighbor, while pressure on the U.S. to escalate increases. Russia is playing a double game by which a conflict in Northeast Asia could help it attain its goals in Ukraine. Any major shock to today’s delicate balance could have drastic consequences.
No solution in Donbas
A close look at how events are unfolding in the Ukraine conflict makes clear that the Minsk agreement and the Normandy format, which were supposed to help lead to a resolution, are irrelevant. Russia is digging in, while the West has few strategic options. The most likely scenario now is one where the conflict remains frozen and the Kremlin retains a de facto veto over any Ukrainian move toward the West.