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  • Author: Michel Duclos
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Russia and Iran are allies in Syria not out of mutual sympathy, but for pragmatic reasons. According to many reports, Iranian leaders—notably including Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Al-Quds force of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC)—were instrumental in convincing Vladimir Putin to send his air force to Syria and save Bashar al-Assad’s skin in September 2015
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Author: Sergei Markedonov
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The outbreak of fighting in April 2016 between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh introduced new uncertainty to the South Caucasus. Russia’s policies are crucial here, just as they are in the region’s other ethno-political conflicts, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. This insider’s perspective on the Kremlin’s involvement in the South Caucasus highlights Russia's security concerns. The post-Soviet neighborhood's different conflict zones require a differentiated approach.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Tatiana Mitrova
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The fate of the “Russian Energy Strategy Up to 2035” paper—a key document defining the country`s strategic priorities in this critically important industry and submitted by Russia’s Energy Ministry every five years—illustrates well the contradictory predicament of Russia’s energy sector. In 2015, after two years of preparations, the latest version was submitted to the government, but national authorities have not approved it until now. Behind the scenes, many conflicting interests prevent the setting of a clear and coherent long-term vision.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Gaiane Safarova
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Like every country, Russia has a very specific demographic footprint; its fertility, mortality, and migration rates, as well as its age composition, all affect its performance domestically and on the world stage. Russia’s current demographics were shaped by its history, particularly crises like World War II, and its future will be deeply affected by conditions like its dropping fertility rate and aging population
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Paula J. Dobriansky
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy officials have embraced economic sanctions as a tool of choice for American foreign policy. Decisionmakers have deployed sanctions against strategic adversaries and national security threats ranging from Russia to non-state actors such as terrorist groups, drug cartels, and businesspeople who engage in corrupt activities. The appeal to both policy leaders and key constituent groups of the potent economic impacts of sanctions in several recent high-profile cases, particularly those of Iran, Russia, North Korea, and Venezuela, combined with broad bipartisan support for aggressive use of U.S. sanctions, suggests that the United States will favor this policy tool and be an active practitioner in the years ahead
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Marco Siddi
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Gas trade between the European Union and Russia increased considerably in both 2016 and 2017, despite the ongoing political crisis. Simultaneously, two long-standing disputes in the EU-Russia gas relationship – regarding Gazprom’s monopolistic practices and the EU’s third energy package – were settled. Russian companies have invested in new infrastructural projects for the export of gas to Europe, including the launch of the Yamal LNG terminal in December 2017 and the construction of the TurkStream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines. However, significant challenges remain for the relationship, most notably the intra-EU controversy on Nord Stream 2 and uncertainty about future gas transit in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, International Political Economy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kremlin has cast a cloud over the horizon for millions of Russian citizens. People do not perceive the forthcoming pension reform as a necessary measure for sustaining economic and social stability. Rather, it has ignited a collective sense of anger among the people that they have been cast adrift by the elite
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Barbara Kunz
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: France and Germany are key in shaping European policies toward Russia. However, while the general public is largely skeptical of Vladimir Putin in both countries, the picture is more diverse in the political realm. Whereas Germany remains focused on multilateralism and a rules-based international order, French political parties have been split on Russia. The differences between and within France and Germany impact on Franco-German relations and go beyond the question on how to deal with Russia.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Philip Breedlove, Alexander Vershbow
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: North Central Europe has become the central point of confrontation between the West and a revisionist Russia. Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia is determined to roll back the post-Cold War settlement and undermine the rules-based order that has kept Europe secure since the end of World War II. Moscow’s invasion and continued occupation of Georgian and Ukrainian territories, its military build-up in Russia’s Western Military District and Kaliningrad, and its “hybrid” warfare against Western societies have heightened instability in the region have made collective defense and deterrence an urgent mission for the United States and NATO
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Yotam Rosner, David Siman-Tov
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The indictment filed by the United States Justice Department on February 16, 2018 against 13 Russian citizens and three Russian companies regarding attempts to promote the candidacy of Donald Trump for the US presidency, amounting to intervention in the country’s political system, is a phenomenon enabling interference in the “consciousness” of another country
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Sergiy Gerasymchuk
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Slovak Foreign Policy Association
  • Abstract: Although the issue of hybrid war with its instruments and phases is well elaborated in the academic literature,the Russian invasion of Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea has introduced certain new aspects of hybrid and non-linear warfare to the international political and academic agenda. The author attempts to synthesze the existing definitions of hybrid warfare in the Western literature with the new generation warfare involving the Russian/Soviet concepts of deep operations, active measures and reflexive control, and non–linear war. By analyzing the so called Gerasimov Doctrine,the phases and sections of Russian hybrid warfare in Ukraine, and political developments in the Republic of Moldova, the author comes to the conclusion that the current situation in the Republic of Moldova can be characterized as the preparatory phase of a hybrid war that may shift into attack and stabilization phases in the following year when parliamentary elections are held in Moldova. In addition, the author argues that – despite a lack of certain key prerequisites for Russian hybrid war in Visegrad countries (such as a Russian ethnic population)– the V4 still faces the risk of a growing Russian influence, and that V4 countries can still be targeted by Russian non-linear warfare within the vulnerable spheres indicated. The author would like to express his gratitude to Alexander Duleba, Pavol Demeš, Juraj Marušiak, Kálmán Petőcz, and the SFPA team, for their consultations and advice
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Marcin Kaczmarski
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia and China play dissimilar roles in global governance and define their interests in this sphere in divergent ways. While the two states agree on certain international principles and norms, their engagement with global governance differs significantly. These differences pose the most serious long-term obstacle to closer cooperation between Moscow and Beijing
  • Topic: International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: IEMed/EuroMeSCo
  • Abstract: On 12 October ISPI in cooperation with the IEMed organised a workshop “New Euro-Mediterranean Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean”. The event was organised in the framework of the EuroMeSCo ENI Project, co-funded by the European Commission. This dialogue workshop aimed at discussing the initial research results of the Joint Policy Study and engaging the participants in analyzing and sharing their perspectives on whether the Russian moment in the MENA region corresponds to opportunism, a new strategy or it falls in between these options. Additionally, this workshop aimed at shedding light on the role Russia is currently playing, how this can influence the balance of power as well as how regional players look at Russia. The present report is a summary of main points raised in workshop discussions
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Ivan Timofeev
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: The article aims to highlight Russian approaches to Chinese One Belt-One Road initiative. It examines possible opportunities and challenges for co-development of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt project. Both projects and their co-development may reduce the uncertainty in Eurasia, caused by significant structural changes in international relations and the world economy, the emergence of new trade regimes and the erosion of leadership in international affairs. Russian interests in this regard are determined by the need for modernization and long-term development, which could also help to address acute security issues. These particular factors encouraged Russia to come up with an ambitious plan of the Extensive Eurasian Partnership, although the prospects of its implementation currently are uncertain. The present article argues that the success of Russia-China collaboration in Eurasia will depend crucially on the future dynamics of the Eurasian integration, as well as on the agreement to co-develop the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt Initiative with concrete and mutually beneficial projects.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Andrew J. Tabler
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: In this new Transition 2017 paper, Institute expert Andrew J. Tabler argues that Syria remains de facto partitioned, making the establishment of safe zones in non-Assad-controlled areas the Trump administration's most expedient course of action. Moreover, it would further Washington's cause to drive a wedge into the country's Russia-Iran alliance, and both isolate and pressure the Assad regime. If Washington's objectives in Syria are to defeat U.S.-designated terrorist groups and stem the outflow of refugees, President Bashar al-Assad is under no circumstances the right person to entrust with these missions. Simply in practical terms, he lacks the manpower to retake and hold the two-thirds of Syrian territory outside his control any time soon, despite having sufficient support from Russia and Iran to maintain control in large parts of the country. But more important, Assad is an avowed adversary of the West, undeserving of its cooperation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Civil War, International Security, International Affairs, Neoimperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Iran, Syria
  • Author: Mikhaïl Souslov
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institute Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: This paper traces the evolution of the diaspora policies and visions from the early 1990s to the present, and argues that the understanding of Russian “compatriots abroad” has never been the same; rather, it travelled a long road from revanchist irredentism of the red-brown opposition in the 1990s, to the moderately liberal pragmatism of the early 2000s, to the confrontational instrumentalization of Russian “compatriots” as a lever of Russia’s soft power in the late 2000s, and, finally, back to the even more confrontational, irredentist and isolationist visions after the Ukrainian crisis of 2014.
  • Topic: International Relations, Migration, International Affairs, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Dmitry Streltsov
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: International analytical center “Rethinking Russia” presents a commentary of Dmitry Streltsov, doctor of history, head of the Department of Oriental studies of the MGIMO University, on the results of Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan
  • Author: John R. Haines
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The Hungarian proverb Madarat tolláról, embert barátjáról translates roughly as “You can tell a bird by its feathers, and a person by his friends.” If so, it says much about Hungarian President Viktor Orbán. Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked during a 12 April interview with Russia’s MIR television and radio network whether “relations deteriorated with Trump in office from what they were under his predecessor?” He answered, “We could say that at the working level, the degree of trust has dropped, especially in the military area. It has not improved and has probably worsened.”[1] Mr. Putin premised this appraisal with an extended dissemble about “several versions” about “the chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province, which led to the US air strike on a Syrian air base:”
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Hungary
  • Author: Sergey Markedonov
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Abstract: The South Caucasus continues to be critically important to Eurasian security. The outbreak of fighting in April 2016 between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh introduced new uncertainty and confrontation to the region. Russia’s policies here are crucial, as they are in the region’s other ethno-political conflicts, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Sergey Markedonov offers an insider’s perspective on the Kremlin’s involvement in the region, highlighting its security concerns and stressing that Russia is not taking a universal approach to all of the post-Soviet conflict zones. While the “Western” political and expert community often assumes that territorial revisionism is a kind of idée fixe within Russia, this is far from the case. Each situation demands an indi- vidual response from Moscow, as it weighs and pursues its own interests. This in turn explains the improbability of “Crimean situations” multiplying in the South Caucasus. The region undoubtedly harbors risks of confrontation – not only between Russia and the countries of the immediate region but also with such large powers as the US, the EU, Turkey, and Iran – but it also holds several opportunities for cooperation.
  • Topic: International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Zvi Magen, Udi Dekel
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The arrangement between the United States and Russia over southern Syria represents a test, both for the chances of jumpstarting a coordinated process between the world powers over a future settlement in Syria and for the relations between them on other contested issues. Israel was not mentioned in the context of the ceasefire arrangement, but it has scored several achievements. Nonetheless, Israel is likely to confront an attempt by President Assad to advance forces to southwest Syria and the Golan Heights. Because Assad’s forces rely on help from Iran’s proxies – Shiite militias and Hezbollah – Israel may have to fulfill a counter-threat if any of the red lines it announced are crossed.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Nicolò Fasola
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute of International Relations Prague
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to identify the enduring principles at the basis of Russian military thought, offering an alternative to the contemporary analytical mainstream – which deems Moscow’s military behavior to be revolutionary and unprecedented. This is based on comparative analysis of Russian official military discourse and practice between 2008 and 2016. Critical inspection of the two Military Doctrines approved during this timeframe and of various military drills will reveal a series of rhetorical and operational recurrences. Notwithstanding numerous changes at the international and domestic levels that could have had an impact on Russian military behavior, no substantive shift is distinguishable. These empirical findings will constitute the basis for a reconstruction of Russian military thought. Through a deductive method, we will be able to reconstruct the ultimate assumptions granting them logical coherence and legitimization. Far from being incomprehensible, Russian military thought will be presented as the adaptation of classical strategic principles to contemporary contingencies.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Russia recently conducted military strikes on several fronts in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria, especially to the south in the border town of Boukamal. These strikes were conducted to retake ISIS’ last strong- holds in Syria after the liberation of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital, in mid-October by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led militia. The militia, backed the US-led coalition, controls the east side of the Euphrates river in Deir Ezzor and now is in a frantic race with al-Assad’s forces to recapture Boukamal, where Russia’s use of air and naval re- power aims to settle the battle and consolidate its presence ahead of the coming political milestones in Syria.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With the International Olympic Committee excluding the Russian national team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, the importance for Russia’s authorities of the FIFA World Cup is increasing. World Cup competition will be held from 14 June to 15 July 2018. The tournament will be used in Russia’s internal politics, especially in the presidential campaign, and in relations with other countries to strengthen bilateral contacts and portray Russia as a country with a strong international position.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Eugene B. Rumer
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Deception and active measures in all their incarnations have long been and will remain a staple of Russia’s dealings with the outside world for the foreseeable future.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Security, International Affairs, Elections, Democracy, Post Truth Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Future for Advanced Research and Studies (FARAS)
  • Abstract: Turkey and Russia recently announced that their talks about the delivery of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system to Ankara were now at a nal stage. That is a sign that a key element of the deal, estimated at USD 2.5 billion, has already been achieved. According to statements delivered by Sergei Chemezov, the head of Russia’s Rostec state corporation, in Moscow one week before the MAKS-2017 air-show, the two countries resolved technical issues regarding the con- tract of the four missile interceptor batteries, with only administrative issues remaining. His statement indicates that the serious steps have been already taken towards implement- ing what can be described as a done deal.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey
  • Author: Elizabeth Rosenberg, ​Neil Bhatiya, Edorado Saravalle
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: Congress adopted new sanctions in late July to codify and significantly expand U.S. financial restrictions on Russia and tightly constrain the president’s exercise of policy in this domain. The sanctions bill was driven by concerns over Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and destabilizing aggression abroad, as well as a broadly held belief by legislators that the president is mishandling critical national security issues. With these new sanctions authorities, Congress is taking an unprecedented step to assume greater control over a domain of foreign policy
  • Topic: International Relations, International Trade and Finance, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Franklin Kramer, Laura Speranza
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Since its takeover of Crimea in 2014, Russia has become increasingly emboldened, undertaking actions that, rather than propping up a failing regime, strike directly against the functioning of Western democracy. Employing a combination of "hybrid" actions–political, diplomatic, informational, cyber-, economic, covert and low-level force–the Kremlin has targeted countries not only on the fringes of its sphere of influence, but in the heart of Europe and even the United States.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Roman Bäcker
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: Questions regarding definitions of authoritarianism and totalitarianism date from the interwar period. This article draws on the classic approaches and argues that the definition of Juan Linz, with changes suggested by Roman Bäcker (2011), and may o er a solid base for understanding the location of each non-democratic regime on a continuum determined by two extreme ideal types: authoritarianism and totalitarianism. e former is de ned here by three essential features: bureaucratic sovereignty (or siloviki), social apathy and emotional mentality. e latter is identified by references to: state-party apparatus sovereignty, mass and forced mobilisation, and political gnosis. these categories are useful to deal with the research problem considering where Russia is on this continuum, after the annexation of Crimea. It requires, however, carrying out an in-depth analysis on three levels: sovereignty, social behaviour and social consciousness. is article aims to reveal how to identify and approach these analytical levels.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Rudolf Pikhola
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: On 25 September 1990, one of the rst meetings of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Russia was held in the building of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. e agenda consisted of the issue of ensuring the economic sovereignty of Russia in the USSR. Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Yuri Skokov, responsible for industrial policy, spoke with bitterness about his meeting with Minister of Metallurgy of the USSR Seraphim Baibakov: “We spoke to him about our sovereignty, and he said: ‘I’m sorry, but last year I became an owner of property and a legal successor of state property.’ Kolpakov became Krupp. Now he creates 10-15 companies, leaving a small management structure. It is presidential rule in the steel-casting complex.”
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
30. Forward
  • Author: John S Micgiel, Pawel Kowal
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre for East European Studies, University of Warsaw
  • Abstract: Twenty- five years ago, we bade farewell to the Soviet Union, but after a quarter- century we still feel how much of its empire it left behind. It was not an “ordinary” empire because its essential feature was a totalitarian system. ideological pressure of Soviet Russia has changed the social structures of great swathes of the globe. e legacy of the USSR is a fascinating research topic, unfortunately today one rarely raised by researchers.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Anna Kuleszewicz
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Polish Political Science Association (PPSA)
  • Abstract: This paper aims to explain that the stable situation of Belarus is important for Western Europe and why any fluctuations may present a challenge for European integrity and stability. Belarus, since the beginning of its independence in 1991 seems to show a great willingness to cooperate closely with Russia, claiming Western Europe and NATO as a potential enemy. In reality, the Belarusian position is much more complicated and ambiguous. Despite it’s close military cooperation with Russia, different tensions between Minsk and Moscow regularly happen and Belarusian authorities are still looking for new foreign partners and new energy suppliers (what was clearly visible in the last months of 2016 and the first period of 2017). Russia, old Belarusian partner, may actually even pose a threat for Belarus, so the country’s authorities have a hard challenge to maintain its stability. Western countries may be open for a new chapter of cooperation with Minsk but any rapid changes in Belarusian foreign preferences may result in unpredictable results and Moscow reaction that – in turn – would be very challenging for the whole European stability and security
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Veera Laine
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In recent years, the Russian state has been described as becoming “more nationalistic”. In the time period encompassing the Sochi Winter Olympics, the occupation of Crimea, the war in Donbas that continues to this day, air strikes in Syria, and the state seeking new legitimacy during the deepening economic crisis in Russia, many notions have been connected to growing nationalism. But nationalism as such is an ambiguous concept. Moreover, there is hardly any state in today’s global system that could be said to be totally devoid of nationalistic argumentation. Therefore, the way in which the Russian state leadership is using nationalism in order to achieve its political goals requires a critical empirical study. Authoritarianism, conservatism, and even imperialism have been discussed as “new” features of the Russian state. But the change in the self-understanding of the Russian state is not a result of one factor, such as strengthening national pride, but rather a wide range of ideas that have been reshuffled in relation to each other. This Working Paper focuses on the state-led nationalism in this changing ideational environment between the years 2012 and 2016, and how it has been received by the people.
  • Topic: Nationalism, International Affairs, Power Politics, Authoritarianism, Neoimperialism
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Toivo Martikainen, Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia has perceived itself as a great power and has sought international acknowledgement of its status for years. The fact that Moscow regards the post-Soviet space as its sphere of ‘privileged interests’ and the sovereignty of the other post-Soviet states as subordinate to Russia’s national interests is nothing new. Likewise, Russia has persistently objected to the dominant role played by the US in world politics, and the enlargement of NATO. It has attempted to influence the security policy orientation and political choices made by post-Soviet states, and other states neighbouring Russia, such as Finland. These goals are well-established and are likely to remain fundamentally un- changed for years to come.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland
  • Author: Kirill Rogov
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The recent 2016 Duma elections were planned by the Kremlin to attest to the fact that the period of troubled political development – which began during the previous 2011 Duma elections – is over. Further, the elections served to test Putin’s consolidated authoritarianism on the eve of the forthcoming presidential elections in 2018. While successful in terms of preserving full control over the new Duma, the election results nevertheless demonstrated that the patriotic enthusiasm evoked by the annexation of Crimea has largely been exhausted. The pressure on the opposition, new electoral rules and reliance on regions with so-called “administrative voting” secured a victory for the party of power, but in urban regions the turnout was very low and voting for the Kremlin’s party did not differ much from 2011 patterns. Although the direct effect of the economic crisis on people’s political attitudes is still moderate, the continued long-term stagnation in the Russian economy that started even before the fall in energy prices remains the major challenge for regime stability. Ambiguous election results force the Kremlin to seek new instruments of political consolidation. The Kremlin’s most probable strategy may be to combine toughening authoritarian institutions with maintaining high tension in the international arena in order to prolong the ‘rally around the flag’ effect domestically, by attempting or promising “authoritarian modernization” to gain support in urban regions. As the presidential election date approaches, both Putin’s foreign and economic policies could become even riskier than they have been to date.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Political Economy, International Affairs, Elections, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Yan Vaslavsky
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Vladimir Putin delivered his Annual Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly at St. George’s Hall of the Great Kremlin Palace on December 1. The state-of-the- nation address is regarded as a major speech over a 12-month period. It usually recounts the progress and outlines national priorities and the development agenda for the near future. This format is not unique1, but it tends to command attention of the general public at home and abroad as well as of parliamentarians to whom, judging by its very name, it is addressed.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Matthew Crosston
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Vyacheslav Volodin was elected as head of the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s Parliamentary Assembly during the 9th Plenary Session of the CSTO’s PA in St. Petersburg on November 24th. Thus concludes a relatively fast and interesting transition personally for the influential Volodin, who in just three months has gone from the first deputy chief of President Putin’s staff in the Kremlin to being elected to the Russian Duma from his native Saratov to quickly becoming that body’s Speaker, officially putting him fourth in line in terms of Russian political power, behind the President, Prime Minister, and speaker of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the national parliament.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Political Theory, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Flemming Splidsboel Hansen
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Senior researcher and research coordinator Flemming Splidsboel Hansen explores Russia’s Syria agenda as part of a DIIS initiative to understand the geopolitics of nonwestern intervention in Syria. The Kremlin presents Russia’s political and military involvement in Syria as an unconditional success. Its overall aim of putting Russia firmly back on the geopolitical map has been met. It is now clear that the key to any negotiated settlement to the conflict in Syria lies in Moscow. Moreover, Russia now seems to be close to a position where it may dictate the composition of the future Syrian regime and, not least, decide whether Syrian president Bashar al-Assad will remain in the presidential palace or be forced into exile. The costs of the military operations have been acceptable to the Russian public. Defence observers estimate that the first year of military operations cost the Russian armed forces 65 bn Rubles (approximately one bn USD) and some 20 deaths (combat and non-combat). The financial costs may be partially offset by increased future weapons sales. There is a high probability, however, that Russia will find itself embroiled in a complicated sectarian conflict in Syria from which there is no easy exit. This would test Russian public support for the military involvement in Syria. Already now Russian media comments suggest some degree of frustration over the alleged lack of fighting capacity and will on part of the Syrian armed forces. The Russian public may want to see a plan for an orderly exit from Syria, and this puts pressure on the Kremlin to deliver. However, the Syrian regime may not be able to survive without Russian military support, and Russian policy-makers may therefore soon be facing difficult choices.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Syria
  • Author: Mathieu Duchâtel, François Godement
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In September 2016, Russia held joint naval manoeuvres in the South China Sea with China, bringing some of its best ships to the party. Two weeks later, China shied away from joining Russia in a veto of yet another Western resolution on Syria at the UN. The discrepancy sums up the extent and the limits of the strategic convergence between both countries. The “axis of convenience” between China and Russia has, without question, grown larger. And the positive dynamics pushing cooperation forward are largely economic. But there is also a negative dynamic, coming from the West. Both countries have a perception of regime insecurity that emerges from the international promotion of democracy, and the attractiveness of corruption-free and comparably safe Western societies for individuals, be they Chinese or Russian.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China
  • Author: Chris Westdal
  • Publication Date: 04-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada and Russia are on speaking terms again. Our government has abandoned Stephen Harper’s policy of vocal disdain and the attempted isolation of Russia. We stand against Russian “interference” in Ukraine but, in the words of Global Affairs Minister, Stephane Dion, “the more we disagree, the more we have to discuss.” This paper describes the setting of Canada-Russia re-engagement in terms of current tension in East-West, NATO-Russia relations and of heightened Canadian foreign policy aspiration; rehearses the case for earnest, long-term Western and Canadian engagement, with investment of senior attention and talent; cautions that, though a bit of spring has sprung, there is a lot of ice to thaw, as bilateral sanctions are likely to be lifted only in step with allies and the implementation, halting at best, of the Minsk peace plan; assesses Russia’s vulnerabilities and the record of its interventions in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria; recommends active Canadian support, by all means, for Ukrainian-Russian reconciliation and for a better fence, a “mending wall” between Russia and NATO; and suggests formats and first steps toward the normalization of bilateral and multilateral relations with our Arctic neighbour.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Canada
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: The July 15 attempted coup, which exposed rifts within the Turkish military, coupled with the August 9 meeting between Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian president Vladimir Putin, and the Turkish incursion into Syria on August 24, appear to signal a change in trajectory for Turkey’s Syria policy. Since Erdogan’s ouster of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in May 2015, Turkey has already implemented some significant foreign policy shifts, including normalization with Israel and a desire to mend ties with Russia.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, Civil War, Peace Studies, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Syria
  • Author: Edward Luttwak
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: In the recent months the US-Russian relations have been in this weird place where Russia suddenly emerged again as a topic of a heated and very controversial electoral campaign and again in a form of an Evil Empire. The relations have been strained since 2014 following the events in Crimea, Ukraine and the sanctions rounds even though the same two countries managed to cooperate around Iran, and were rubbing shoulders in Syria. The recent storm has been caused by the leakage of the Democratic party emails, allegedly done by Moscow with the end goal to undermine Hillary Clinton (who is holding firm anti-Russian position) and support Donald Trump (who has praised Vladimir Putin in the past). With the elections taking place this week, Rethinking Russia spoke to an influential Republican geostrategist, CSIS senior associate Edward Luttwak about the current state of the Russian-American elections.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Thomas Graham
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Beware of rapid improvement in US-Russian relations. It cannot be sustained, and it always ends in sorrow for both countries. That at least is the history of relations since the end of the Cold War, to which each American president – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama – can attest.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Yan Vaslavskiy
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The 13th Valdai Discussion Club session was held in Sochi October 24-27. Ever since its establishment in 2004, the Club has gained the reputation, first of all, as a forum for Russian and foreign experts to compare notes on a wide range of international issues. Secondly, the President of Russia drops into the exclusive club on quite a regular basis.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Tatyana Alekseeva
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The International Primakov Readings Forum took place November 29-30, 2016, in commemoration of Yevgeny Primakov. The meeting was organized by the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO led by Alexander Dynkin) and was backed by the World Trade Center, the Russian Science Foundation, the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, and the University of Pennsylvania. In his address to the Forum, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin argued that Primakov had succeeded in predicting the events unfolding in today’s world, especially in the Middle East. As the Head of State put it, “Actually, I was always taking heed of Primakov’s assessments, as he was a wise and astute diplomat. I trusted him and asked to accomplish responsible and sensitive missions rather than ordered him”. Besides, the Primakov Readings Conference brought together Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Chair of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, and President’s foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov who delivered an opening speech. The Forum was also attended by most leading experts on international relations. The Rethinking Russia Think Tank presents the comment of Tatyana Alekseeva, a participant of the Primakov Readings Forum.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: Bryan MacDonald
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: At the start of 1917, rumours reached London that something was stirring in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg). As a result, the concerned Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, urgently dispatched Lord Milner, a diplomat of some repute, to the Russian capital. His Lordship visited the Tsar and spoke to ministers and members of the Duma, who informed him that enemies of the state were spreading groundless yarns. Sadly, being a creature of his class, Milner believed that only the elites mattered so he neglected to consult any of the general public. Thus, cocooned in his bubble, the peer reported to London that there was nothing the government could not handle and no need to expect no major changes. However, the same British travelling party also included Lloyd George’s private secretary Philip Kerr. A little more clued in, Kerr walked the streets and interviewed the plain folk. Armed with their predictions, he sent a telegram to Downing Street which asserted that Russia was on the verge of an unstoppable revolution. As it happens, the man who stepped out of the comfort zone was right because Nikolai II was shorn of his crown before the British delegation made it home. We know this story because many years later the ‘Welsh Wizard,’ Lloyd George, revealed the details to Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London. And almost a hundred years later, it is a salutary lesson in the dangers of the establishment refusing to acknowledge ordinary people’s concerns when evaluating the causes of political upheaval.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Global Focus
  • Author: William Perry, Deep Cuts Commission
  • Publication Date: 06-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: This report contains a number of bold proposals on how to better manage relations between the West and Russia in order to avert worst-case scenarios. Specifying that cooperative solutions are pos- sible without giving up on the fundamental interests of each side, it warrants a close look by officials in both Moscow and Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Cooperation, International Security, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Len Hoffman
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: Annual meeting of Russian federation ambassadors and permanent envoys
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: S Ryabkov
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: Russia-U.S. Relations After the Election
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: S. Karaganov
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: The Crisis between Russia and the West is associated with Crimea and Russia’s actions in Donbass and Ukraine; in fact, it has deeper roots while its long-term repercussions might prove to be much graver than expect- ed. a large-scale armed clash cannot be excluded even if this possibility is gradually reducing; we should be ready to political confrontation and contracted economic ties. Today, Europe is facing an even greater threat: a civilizational divorce with Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Col. Douglas Mastriano
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The strategic calculus changed in Europe with the 2014 Russian seizure of Crimea and its ongoing war against Ukraine. Compounding the dilemma of an aggressive Russia, is the application of ambiguity to create a clock of uncertainty that prevents a decisive response to counter its destabilizing activities. However, this application of ambiguity is easily defeated, if nations are willing to take concerted efforts now to preempt and deter further Russian aggression. Project 1704 provides an honest assessment of the tenuous strategic environment that now envelopes Eastern Europe and offers specific recommendations on how to continue the 70 years of unparalleled peace that most of Europe has enjoyed.
  • Topic: Politics, International Security, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Crimea