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  • Author: Aram Terzyan
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: Despite the growing body of research on authoritarian regimes, few studies address the issues of their legitimization through exaggerating external threats and constructing enemy images. Targeting the gap in the literature, this article explores the discursive strategies of ‘evilization’ and demonization of the ‘other’, with a focus on their implications for legitimating and sustaining the authoritarian regimes in post-Soviet space. Examining the cases of Russia and Azerbaijan, the qualitative, comparative analysis presented in this article uncovers a series of essential similarities between the regimes’ legitimization strategies. Findings suggest that there has been a strong tendency in both Russian and Azerbaijani discourses to ‘externalize’ major problems facing the countries and scapegoat ‘evil forces’ as their main causes. Frequent appeals to the external threats have been accompanied by a heightened emphasis on the necessity of strong presidential power, with ‘strongmen’ that are capable of withstanding the enemies’ conspiracies. Remarkably, one of the core similarities between the two regimes is their unstoppable drive towards monarchical presidencies.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Bilateral Relations, Authoritarianism, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Ekaterine Lomia
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Liberty and International Affairs
  • Institution: Institute for Research and European Studies (IRES)
  • Abstract: For more than twenty-eight years, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russian-Georgian relations have been a substantial ground for mutual confrontation, sharp dispute, and a lack of trust. Continuous tensions and disagreements have adversely affected efforts to achieve a proper balance in bilateral relations between the neighboring countries and resulted in a number of direct and indirect confrontations. Whilst the Russian president seeks to restore Russia’s great power status, regain its past glory and control strategically important regions of the former Soviet space, Georgia, from the very first day of independence, tries to maintain its sovereignty and territorial integrity, develop modern state institutions, strengthen democratic values and integrate into the Euro-Atlantic structures. The paper aims to study Moscow’s current foreign policy strategy towards Georgia following the ‘Rose revolution’ and argues that Russia’s military intervention in Georgia, in August 2008, was a clear illustration of classical realism used by a great power in the XXI century. Russia actively uses hybrid warfare and regularly employs economic leverage on Georgia to eventually achieve its political ends in the Caucasus region.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Economy, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Leo Lin
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s recent visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on September 10-12 was not merely a state visit, but also signaled a new era in bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and China. During his visit, Tokayev met top officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, and Li Zhanshu, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Tokayev also stopped in Hangzhou, where he visited the headquarters of the Alibaba Group and spoke with founder Jack Ma, as well as the new chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang (Sina Tech, September 12). The September visit has symbolic meaning for both Xi and Tokayev as they prepare for a new stage of their partnership—in the same year as the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, and the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Evren Balta
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: This article examines different analytical perspectives on Turkish-Russian relations and provides a conceptual history of developing connections between Turkey and Russia since the end of the Cold War. It first reviews evolving political relations, including military cooperation, and then focuses on economic relations, including energy cooperation. Finally, it discusses the socio-cultural aspects of bilateral relations, focusing on the movement of people. It shows how conflicting geopolitical interests have overshadowed the increasing economic cooperation and cultural exchange that had marked the previous two decades of bilateral relations. Although Turkey and Russia have competing regional interests, their dissatisfaction with and resentment of Western policies is one of the major reasons for their reluctant geopolitical cooperation. This article emphasizes the need for a multi-causal and analytically eclectic approach to analyzing Turkish-Russian relations that selectively recombines analytic components of causal mechanisms in competing research traditions.
  • Topic: Cold War, Bilateral Relations, Military Affairs, Partnerships, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Mediterranean
  • Author: Inan Rüma, Mitat Çelikpala
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Institution: International Relations Council of Turkey (UİK-IRCT)
  • Abstract: Russia and Turkey have been involved in remarkable redefinitions of their foreign policies while navigating through turbulent times in the Post-Cold War era. This has manifested in a search of being recognized as a great power. The tragic civil war in Syria has been the theatre of these ambitions of these two states in highly controversial ways. They have been on the opposite sides until recently on the essential question of the regime change in that country. The risk of a direct fight has even been observed when Turkish air force got a Russian jet down. However, a rapid rapprochement started due to Turkish priority shift from the regime change to the prevention of Kurdish autonomy and the alienation from US; and Russian enthusiasm to get the cooperation of an ardent anti-regime NATO member like Turkey. It can be said that Russia and Turkey have been more process-oriented than result-oriented because they have been compelled to see the limits of their power and influence. As a result, they seem to prefer to focus on the process since they seem to reach their primary objective of showing their salience. All in all, one can only hope for a peaceful and democratic life for Syrians whom tremendously suffered also as a result of an imbroglio of all these global and regional powers’ policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Political Activism, Kurds
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Igor Istomin, Akshobh Giridharadas
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Igor A. Istomin is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Applied Analysis of International Issues at MGIMO University. He holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees from MGIMO University as well as an undergraduate degree from Saint Petersburg State University. Istomin teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in methods of applied analysis of international affairs. He is an executive editor at International Trends, a leading Russian academic journal. He is also a visiting fellow at the School of International and Public Affairs at Jilin University in China. Istomin is the author of more than 50 publications on U.S. foreign policy, relations in the Euro-Atlantic space, and international security. His most recent book is The Logic of State Behavior in International Politics (2017). He has also prepared policy reports and papers for the Russian International Affairs Council, the Valdai Discussion Club, the Center for Strategic Research in Moscow, and the European Leadership Network.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Cold War, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Tatiana Shakleina, Ryan Rogers
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Professor Tatiana Shakleina sat down with the Fletcher Security Review in November 2017 in conjunction with the Conference on U.S.-Russia Relations between The Fletcher School and Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). In a detailed and engaging conversation that spanned over 25 years of history, Professor Shakleina traced the post-Cold War origins of the current tension between the United States and Russia. While personnel within the Trump Administration have moved on to new positions or left government altogether since the interview, Professor Shakleina’s rich historical overview of post-Cold War U.S.-Russia relations remains extremely relevant in understanding the recent trajectory and current state of the bilateral relationship. ​
  • Topic: Security, Cold War, Government, History, Bilateral Relations, Trump
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ishan Khokar, Celeste Wallander
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Celeste Wallander is President and CEO of the U.S.-Russia Foundation. She served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia/Eurasia on the National Security Council (2013-2017), as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia (2009 to July 2012), professor at American University (2009-2013), visiting professor at Georgetown University (2006-2008), Director for Russia/Eurasia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2001-2006), Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (2000- 2001), and professor of Government at Harvard (1989-2000). She is the author of over 80 publications on European and Eurasian security issues, focused on Russian foreign and defense strategy. She received her Ph.D. (1990), M.Phil. (1986) and M.A. (1985) degrees from Yale University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Atlantic Council of the United States, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Bilateral Relations, Interview
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Evelyn Farkas, Ryan Rogers
  • Publication Date: 07-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Fletcher Security Review
  • Institution: The Fletcher School, Tufts University
  • Abstract: Dr. Evelyn N. Farkas is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and a national security analyst for NBC/MSNBC. She served from 2012 to 2015 as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia/Ukraine/ Eurasia, responsible for policy toward Russia, the Black Sea, Balkans, and Caucasus regions and conventional arms control. From 2010 to 2012 she served as senior adviser to the supreme allied commander Europe and special adviser to the secretary of defense for the NATO Summit. Prior to that, she was a senior fellow at the American Security Project, and executive director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. From April 2001 to April 2008, she served as a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Asia Pacific, Western Hemisphere, Special Operations Command, peace and stability operations, combatting terrorism, counternarcotics, homeland defense, and export control policy. Dr. Farkas obtained her MA and PhD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a member of the board of trustees of Franklin & Marshall College and Aspen Institute Socrates Seminar, and Harold Rosenthal Fellowship advisory boards. She has received several Department of Defense and foreign awards and an honorary doctorate from Franklin & Marshall College. In January 2018, Dr. Farkas discussed a range of issues concerning Russia and the post-Soviet space with the Fletcher Security Review. The conversation took place in the run-up to the March 2018 presidential elections in Moscow and before President Putin’s highly publicized Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly, in which he unveiled a number of new nuclear weapon systems currently under development by the Russian Federation.
  • Topic: Security, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: W. Robert Pearson
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: American Diplomacy
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Russia and Turkey are dancing a complicated pas de deux—for separate and common reasons. The happy couple has captivated global attention. There are reasons today to anticipate greater collaboration between Turkey and Russia in Syria and against Europe and the United States. However, there are also significant contradictions that could weaken the prospects of cooperation between the two countries. For gains against Syrian Kurds and to fan nationalist flames domestically, Turkey may be ignoring longer term needs. Russia is the major partner in the arrangement and sees little reason to sacrifice its interests to please Turkey. One day this unequal relationship may cause Turkey to question its value.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, History, Bilateral Relations, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Syria