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  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Vladimir Putin is exploiting the Ukrainian revolution-specifically, by manufacturing "crises" in Crimea and eastern Ukraine and nationalist euphoria and anti-Western paranoia at home-to fashion a more repressive and increasingly unpredictable Russian dictatorship for life. With the Russian economy heading for recession, the Putin regime's popularity largely depends on Russia's foreign policy successes, which Putin hopes to achieve by humiliating, destabilizing, and eventually derailing Ukraine; by cajoling the West into rejecting sanctions against Russia; and by fueling Russian patriotism. The West should, in an effort spearheaded by the United States, aim its sanctions at increasing the costs of the regime's malignant transformation rather than simply attempting to dissuade Moscow from further action in eastern Ukraine.
  • Topic: International Law, Sovereignty, Territorial Disputes, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Ukraine
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Every Olympiad is a complex and, until the end, uncertain endeavor. In the case of the 2014 Winter Games, which begin February 7 in Sochi, Russia, the challenges and vulnerabilities are far more significant and numerous than usual. It will be the first (and almost certainly the last) Winter Games in the subtropics. Virtually the entire infrastructure had to be built from scratch and in haste, with abuse of laborers and corruption overhead likely further compromising the construction. While various interest groups exploit every Olympiad to draw international attention to their causes, protests in Sochi could be particularly intense. Finally, and most ominously, Sochi is next door to a fundamentalist Islamic uprising in which terrorism claims victims almost daily. For the sake of the athletes and millions of fans, one hopes that none of these potential problems will precipitate a disruption, much less a crisis or bloodshed. Yet in their choice of location and the manner in which they have gone about organizing the Games, the Russian authorities have greatly increased that risk. By highlighting some key features and practices of Vladimir Putin's regime, a major setback at the Olympiad could deal a serious blow to the regime's legitimacy, prompt national soul searching, and trigger another round of civil resistance in search of reforms.
  • Topic: Corruption, Islam, Insurgency, Infrastructure, Governance
  • Political Geography: Russia