• Change Russia, start with constitutional thinking

    On the 12th of December, Russia commemorates the adoption of its Constitution in 1993. Against the backdrop of

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  • Ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine don't want to be Orbán's pawns

    Ethnic Hungarians living in the Zakarpatya region, in the far south-west of Ukraine, have become an important piece in the

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  • Ukraine's fight against corruption is producing results

    Ukraine is often called corrupt in the West. And it is mostly deserved. However, Ukraine definitely should not be called a country

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  • Eggs, jackets and Amazon. Why the Ukrainian Minister of Defence was replaced 

    Finally, president Volodymyr Zelensky intervened at the ministry of Defence. The replacement of minister Oleksi Reznikov with Rustem Umerov was a response to crises that could have been prevented if the government had timely reformed the defense procurement system earlier.
    by Glib Kanievsky
  • After Putin, le deluge? Six scenarios

    The many uncertainties and unknowns when and how the war in Ukraine will end and what this will mean for the stability of Russia make it impossible to do solid predictions. Still, it is important to understand which scenarios might happen in the next few years and which ones are unlikely to occur. The Dutch thinktank Clingendael made an effort to prepare policymakers for what might lie ahead and constructed six scenarios for the next five years.
    by Bob Deen and Niels Drost
  • Don't underestimate Russia's resilience

    Russia has many difficulties due to the war, sanctions and international isolation. But there are important factors that could help president Putin's regime survive for much longer than the West would like and even rebuild its military. Don't count on Russia's weakness or instability. Instead, plan for the long term: tighten sanctions and increase support for Ukraine.
    by Janis Kluge
  • Slovakia with Fico – if not friend, certainly not enemy of Ukraine

    The prospect of Robert Fico as the new prime minister of Slovakia is a setback for Ukraine and Europe. But the ongoing power of Viktor Orban in Hungary is worse. True, Fico will do nothing to promote the Ukrainian cause and will call for 'peace' according to Russian demands. But will he be able to make a tiny and financially dependent Slovakia a game changer?
    by Peter Tkacenko
  • How should Europe treat exiles from Russia?

    Europeans should allow their countries to be hosts for free debate among the Russian emigrés of the 21st century. But they should resist the temptation to view the exiles as channels of influence to reform Russia.
    by Kadri Liik
  • A tragic endgame in Karabakh

    A fresh disaster may be looming in Nagorny Karabakh. On September 19, the majority-Armenian highland enclave within the borders of Azerbaijan came under attack from Azerbaijan. The lightning offensive overwhelmed inferior Armenian forces, and Azerbaijan took possession of the province it had not controlled in thirty-five years. Force, not diplomacy has decided the course of this conflict.
    by Thomas de Waal
  • Confrontation, not de-escalation will defeat Putin

    Moscow still bets on nuclear blackmail and other threats of escalation, believing that at some point it will work. As long as the Western leaders are focused on a need to de-escalate, they are in fact deterring themselves instead of Russia. However, as soon as Putin encounters a rival who doesn’t back down, he’s lost. The only way to defeat him is to push him into a corner and prove he’s a little fearful man.
    by Mykola Riabchuk
  • Kolomoisky arrest is 'key test' of Zelensky's anti-corruption campaign

    The arrest of Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky on 2 September is seen as a definite break with the old ways of doing business. By arresting the man whose television station backed his presidential election campaign back in 2019, Zelensky presents himself as an anti-corruption crusador.
    by Todd Prince
  • Partial success: Russia’s oil sector adapts to sanctions

    After sixteen months of Western sanctions against Russia the picture of their efficiency remains ambivalent. The sanctions on oil exports have proven effective in achieving the objectives: reducing Russian budget revenues while avoiding destabilisation of the world market. However, the sales of Russian oil have increased and the Russian state budget still earns money.
    by Filip Rudnik
  • Surveys show: Ukrainians still rally around the flag

    Ukrainians are determined to withstand Russian terror and unwilling to make concessions. This is one of the outcomes of the annual opinion polls that are traditionally presented on the occasion of Ukrainian Independence Day, on the 24th of August. Whereas official celebrations had to be cancelled for the second year in a row, four reputable polling organizations show that pride in Ukrainian citizenship is at an unprecedented high.
    by Mykola Riabchuk
  • Epitaph on a mafioso’s grave

    Prigozhin thought that his ‘hard drive’ of Putin’s murky network of contacts, conspiracies and deals might save him, following his mutiny. He was wrong, writes the well-known Russian historian Vladislav Zubok. But his murder means Putin is now more Mafia Don than Imperial Tsar.
    by Vladislav Zubok
  • 'Prigozhin considered himself indestructible'

    Current and former Wagner mercenaries tell Lilia Yapparova what they think will happen to the Wagner Group now that its leader has been killed. The general consensus is that Prigozhin personally controlled most of Wagner Group’s activities and that without him, the private military company seems likely to crumble.
    by Lilia Yapparova
  • Ukraine struggles with punishment of collaborators

    As the war grinds on, Ukraine struggles with the punishment of collaborators in occupied territories. Some are plainly considered as traitors who actively helped the Russian enemy. Others just continued earning their bread.Jurists, parliamentarians and human rights activists hotly debate the law on collaboration.
    by Igor Burdyga
  • Alexey Navalny: My fear and loathing

    Alexey Navalny has released his first extended essay from prison, expressing a deep disappointment with the past two decades of democratic politics in Russia. It is a scathing attack on the Russian liberals of the Yeltsin era, who in his eyes paved the way for Putin's dictatorship and the war in Ukraine.
    by Alexey Navalny
  • A country of volunteers and activists. How civil society helps to withstand the war

    The Maidan was a turning point for the Ukrainian civil society. Since the Revolution of Dignity local and national initiatives of

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  • As war crime suspect Putin is not welcome in South Africa

    At 17 March the International Criminal Court issued a warrant of arrest against Vladimir Putin for alleged complicity in war crimes against Ukraine. Moscow shrugged it off, not recognising the ICC. But Putin failed the first litmus test: the South-African president Cyril Ramaphosa dissuaded him to come to the BRICS-summit in Johannesburg (22 till 24 August). It is a slap in the face for Putin and gives credit to ICC and South Africa, says legal expert Sergey Vasiliev of the University of Amsterdam. Elites might wonder what use is a leader who is isolated from the world.
    by Sergey Vasiliev
  • Assets in return for loyalty: Russia's economic redistribution in wartime

    The Russian assets of the French dairy producer Danone and the Danish beer company Carlsberg have been transferred to the Russian state. Yakub

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  • 'It's you who are crazy'

    The state prosecutor is seeking to sentence Alexey Navalny to 20 years in a special regime colony on charges of 'extremism.' Navalny is already serving sentences totalling 11-1/2 years on fraud and other charges. The verdict will be announced on August 4. Meduza published Navalny’s full courtroom speech in English.
    by Alexey Navalny
  • Ukraine’s path to NATO membership has become shorter, but not faster

    The NATO summit in Vilnius was neither a victory nor a failure. Ukraine didn’t get an invitation for the alliance nor real security guarantees. But if Ukraine is ready to face the demands and fulfill the conditions of the West, the road to NATO-membership will be achievable.
    by Kostiantyn Yelisieiev
  • Kherson: life in a flooded city

    On the 6th of June, the day of the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, journalist Igor Burdyga arrived in Kherson. He returned to his hometown to document the devastating effects of the Dnipro's rising waters flooding the city. Burdyga’s firsthand account of the weeks that followed shows how, despite ruined homes, waist-high floods, and food shortages, Kherson’s residents are still finding reasons to smile.
    by Igor Burdyga
  • Who was Prigozhin counting on to back his failed mutiny?

    During his march on Moscow, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin was counting on solidarity from senior army officers. Considering the fact he came close to reaching the capital without encountering any particular resistance, he might not have been completely mistaken.
    by Mikhail Komin
  • Not Germany or France but US main obstacle for Ukraine’s access to NATO

    Fifteen years ago Germany and France refused Ukraine membership of NATO. Now the USA are the main obstacle. On the eve of the NATO-summit in Vilnius (11-12 July) the stakes are high. Ukraine will not accept promises about ‘deepening the partnership’ but will ask for a clear invitation.
    by Sergiy Sydorenko
  • Ukrainian civil society appeals to NATO leaders ahead of summit

    More than seventy Ukrainian think tanks, NGOs and other organizations are calling on NATO to hurry. According to them, a commitment to membership acts as a deterrent to Russia and gives Ukraine energy and confidence in victory.
    by Center for Civil Liberties a.o.
  • In memoriam poet Victoria Amelina: Diary of Silence

    On July 1 in a hospital in Dnipro the Ukrainian poet Victoria Amelina (1986 - 2023) succumbed to her wounds. She was one of the victims of Russia's missile attack on a well-known restaurant in Kramatorsk in the Donbas. To honour her we publish her impressive Diary of Silence.
    by Victoria Amelina
  • Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is no Chernobyl but danger difficult to assess

    Ukrainian experts say that an accident at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is excluded. The plant can only be detonated by a deliberate act by Russian forces, who have mined the reactor. However, the damage would be substantially lower than at Chernobyl's nuclear disaster.
    by Kateryna Farbar
  • Ukraine under immense pressure to win 'decisive' battle

    The Ukrainian counter-offensive has been compared with the Allied D-Day in 1944. Whatever the merits of this comparison, the stakes are high for Ukraine. If the campaign fails, the war may last indefinitely. Although the attacks on Russian soil are small, they deserve more attention. Ukraine seems to successfully play the uncertainty and unpredictability card.
    by Mykola Riabchuk.
  • UN: torture of Ukrainians by Russian armed forces systematic

    The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Alice Jill Edwards, has send a letter to the Russian Federation, expressing concerns about the widespread and systematic use of psychological and physical torture of Ukrainians by the Russian army.
    by Alice Jill Edwards
  • Regional governors gain political weight as Putin remains silent

    President Putin continues to tell Russians that his 'special military operation' is more or less going according to plan, even after drones exploded in Moscow and armed groups did incursions in the Belgorod region. Meanwhile regional governors are addressing the concerns of the population. They are gaining autonomy and breaking down the strict centralised power structure of Putin's rule.
    by Andrey Pertsev
  • Zelensky calls Russian destruction of Dnipro dam 'ecocide'

    On June 6 at around 02.00 hours in the morning the dam of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power plant in the Dnipro river collapsed, flooding a vast territory in the direction of Crimea.The Russians deny, calling the blast a 'terrorist act by the Kyiv regime'. Some experts suggest that the dam has collapsed due to negligence by the Russian occupiers. News agency Meduza summarizes what we know so far.
    by Meduza
  • ‘The war was a mistake, but losing it is unacceptable’

    Even among their readers, there are people who continue to make excuses for the invasion. Meduza decided to hear what these people had to say: they asked them to explain why they support Russia waging war on Ukraine.
    by Meduza
  • 'It has become unsafe for everybody'

    In her final statement on May 29 Chanysheva called Russians to take action against low wages and pensions and rising prices. 'My political rights and the rights of my fellow citizens have been consistently violated.'
    by Lilya Chanysheva
  • Thaw in Georgia-Russia relations risky for ruling party

    Russia has resumed direct flights with Tbilisi and scrapped visa requirements for Georgian nationals. Closer ties to Russia, however, are unpopular in Georgia. It's unclear what the ruling party Georgian Dream has to gain from a rapprochement with Moscow. It may jeopardize its chance to remain in power.
    by Alexander Atasuntsev
  • Tough choices: Ukraine's offensive in 4 scenario's

    Everybody is waiting for the Ukrainian counteroffensive. But Ukraine wavers as it has to take very

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  • Out of self-preservation Central Asian leaders show loyalty to Moscow

    At the last minute the presidents of the five Central Asian republics arrived in Moscow to attend the commemoration of the Soviet

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  • From May 9 to May 8: why Ukraine broke with Russia's Victory Day

    With a skillful speech president Zelensky shifted the Ukrainian commemoration of World War II from the Soviet Victory Parade of May

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  • Ukrainians in occupied territories forced to take Russian citizenship or leave

    On April 27, Putin signed a decree that allows the deportation of residents of illegally annexed Ukrainian territories who refuse

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  • The Stalinist logic of Russia's political repressions

    Meduza spoke to a lawyer, a historian and a criminal-policy expert, who reflect on the extreme sentences and political repression in Russia.
    by Meduza
  • Central Europe bans cheap Ukrainian grain

    A number of Central European states have announced a ban on agricultural imports from Ukraine. On April 15, Poland was the first country to announce a ban, quickly followed by Hungary and later Slovakia. The issue puts the European Union at odds with five of its Central and Eastern European member states.
  • In Russian captivity. Six circles of hell

    The treatment of Ukrainian soldiers in Russian captivity is torture. Russian guards use all kinds of methods to break the Ukrainian soldiers. The Ukrainian journalist and grenadier Yevhen Shybalov described in the Ukrainian bilingual weekly Zerkalo Nedeli / Dzerkalo Tizhnya (Mirror of the Week) the six circles of hell that he discovered in Russian captivity.
    by Yevhen Shybalov
  • From digital paradise to digital Gulag

    On April 14 president Putin ratified a law that makes it possible to enlist men for the army by sending an eletronic notice. Before, a summons to the army was to be received by men personally. The conscripted or mobilized men don't have to sign for receipt anymore, they are considered to have seen the notice. Everyone to whom a digital summons has been sent and doesn't react, can therefore be apprehended.
    by Andrey Pertsev
  • How Russia robs Ukrainian owners from their companies

    In the Ukrainian territories occupied by Russia agricultural holding companies, factories, and mining plants are being taken over by Russians. Novaya Gazeta-Europe has found over a thousand companies in Melitopol, Berdiansk, Mariupol, Lysychansk, and Sievierodonetsk that are now registered as Russian entities. Here is our insight into how Russian businessmen, with the help of the military, use pillage, racketeering and theft in order to seize valuable assets.
    by Daria Talanova, Sergey Teplyakov, Antonina Asanova
  • Women in Russia’s army used as prostitutes

    A female Russian military medic told she experienced severe sexual harassment by her superior during her service in Ukraine where she was working for the Russian army.
    by Anton Starikov
  • Russian nuclear weapons to Belarus might annoy China

    Right after Xi Jinping left Moscow, Putin talked about the deployment of nuclear missiles in Belarus. The

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  • China can learn from Russia how to survive under sanctions

    Last week China’s leader Xi Jinping visited Moscow. Beijing’s agenda was twofold: to study Russia’s unique experience of surviving under tough Western sanctions, and to gain a foothold on the Russian market
    by Mikhail Korostikov
  • Arrest warrant for children's ombudswoman Maria Lvova-Belova

    The International Criminal Court in The Hague asked for the arrest of Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner of Children's Rights in Russia. With 22 children she is clearly no ordinary mom. One of them is a 15 year old boy from Mariupol. The Russian publication Verstka portrayed the woman who is considered instrumental in the deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children.
  • The mental decolonisation of Ukraine has reached a point of no return

    The Ukrainian people are undergoing a mental decolonisation, rejecting the belief in Russia’s supremacy and in the cultural ties that bind the two nations. Instead, they are adopting an attitude of superiority towards the former hegemon. However, they are paying a high price for this as Ukraine faces a demographic slump, economic ruin, people’s impoverishment and war trauma.
    by Jadwiga Rogoża
  • Sanctions drove oligarkhs home to embrace Putin

    Ownership of property has brought serfdom rather than freedom to the super-rich Russians: they thought they were part of the global jet set. Driven back to Russia because of the sanctions they now form the backbone of Putin's war economy. Is this wise or is division of the oligarkhs a better solution?
    by Vladislav Inozemtsev
  • No Donbas locals left, so Russians sent to the meat grinder

    Why are Russian draftees suddenly publishing so many video pleas to Putin? Why do they complain about their own circumstances and not about the war against Ukraine? The independent Russian website iStories looked into the situation and discovered that there are not enough Donbas local draftees left, so it’s Russians’ turn to go.
    by iStories
  • 'Germany based its Russia-policy on hope, not on facts'

    The approach of former chancellor Angela Merkel turned out to be based on hope and not on facts, Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference says in an interview. Looking back he wonders how it was possible to be so naive and utterly wrong.
    by Vazha Tavberidze
  • Putin’s neo-totalitarian project

    Putin's former repressive authoritarianisme since the invasion of Ukraine has morphed into a new form of government: neo-totalitarianism. Public discourse is captured by warmongers, pluralism in the ruling elite is wiped out and the population is politically mobilised for a long war, based on a war economy.
    by Maria Domańska
  • Russian threat looms over Moldova

    Although Moldova is not directly involved in Russia's war in Ukraine, the war has tremendous influence on the country's position. Moldovan national security faces three significant threats.
    by Denis Cenusa
  • Is Russia shooting itself in the foot suspending New START Treaty?

    Russia’s suspension of the New START Treaty is unlikely to impact the United States’ willingness to keep backing Ukraine, but it could certainly have an adverse long-term effect on Russia’s security.
    by Alexander Gabuev
  • One night in Bakhmut: waiting for the end

    Few inhabitants remain in the city of Bakhmut in Eastern Ukraine. Some are waiting for the Russians to arrive. Others are staying to help others, or because they have nowhere else to go.
    by Francis Farrell
  • Russia's agression ended Ukrainian ambivalence

    Putin did not create the Ukrainian nation. It has a long history. What Russia's agression did achieve, however, is end the people's ambivalence between East and West.
    by Mykola Riabchuk
  • What could Ukraine have done to avoid the war?

    Economist Tymofiy Mylovanov, director of the Kyiv School of Economics, one year after the Russian invasion answers the question what Ukraine could have done to avoid the war.
    by Timofiy Mylovanov
  • Wagner group cemeteries growing across Russia

    Yekaterina Barkalova visited the village Bakinskaya in southwestern Russia, and saw how more than 300 fighters from the notorious Wagner mercenary company were buried in Bakinskaya since Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine
    by Yekaterina Barkalova
  • In 2023: no end to the war, no stalemate

    Gustav Gressel, defence expert for the European Council of Foreign Relations, assesses the prospects for the Russian and Ukrainian armed forces.
    by Gustav Gressel
  • Is Tatarstan eyeing decolonization?

    The Russian invasion of Ukraine has revived speculations about the disintegration of Russia’s multi-ethnic state.But Gulnaz Sibgatullina warns against assumptions that regions like Tatarstan univocally support the idea of complete independence from Russia as a means of protecting their minority rights.
    by Gulnaz Sibgatullina
  • Dismissals of corrupt officials to reassure Ukrainians and the West

    The wave of dismissals of high placed Ukrainian officials show that pressure from the West and from civil society grows.
    by Jakub Ber
  • It's not safe to be a Ukrainian in Russia

    Data from Russia’s census show that the number of Ukrainians living in Russia dropped by half between 2010 and 2021. Under Putin's rule Ukrainian organisations, language and culture have been systematically suppressed.
    by Sonya Savina
  • Why Russia’s exiles struggle to form a united opposition

    The Russian opposition, many in exile now, doesn’t succeed in organizing effective resistance against the Russian war in Ukraine and Putin’s regime. Although exile on the one hand forces opposition groups to unite, the existing differences prevent the anti-war movement from realizing a united bloc.
    by Gulnaz Sibgatullina
  • Life is depressingly lonely in Russia

    It is easy for us to condemn the Russians who remain silent about the war that their country wages in Ukraine. Nobody here understands the loneliness of Russians who are abhorred but isolated.
    by Maria Privalova
  • Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict shows Russia's weakened influence

    Recent events in Nagorno-Karabakh are a sign that Russia is no longer able to protect its interests in the Caucasus. Even loyal vassal Armenia is losing faith in Putin's traditional support for Armenia in the conflict.
    by Neil Hauer
  • How the West Can Help Ukraine: Three Strategies for Victory and Rebirth

    Western support for Ukraine is not just about winning the war but also about the peace afterward.
    by Andreas Umland
  • Russia-experts start soul-searching after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

    Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s denial of Ukraine statehood forces scholars to rethink Slavic, East European and Eurasian studies. Many experts believe that the academic field is too ‘Russo-centric’ while other countries like Ukraine are misunderstood because of a lack of attention.
    by Todd Prince
  • Ukrainian forces retain initiative, but victory is far away

    The war is in a transitional phase. Russian forces are entrenching and continuing their strike campaign against Ukrainian infrastructure. The Ukrainian army tries to maintain pressure and improve its air defense. The most probable scenario for the coming months is a dynamic front and a steadily progress of realisation of the Ukrainian goals. But an end to the war and victory is far away.
    by Michael Kofman
  • Zelensky's New Year speech to the Ukrainians

    In his New Year Greetings to the people of Ukraine, president Volodymyr Zelensky looked back on the war and forward to the future of Ukraine. In a reference to some Western politicians and analysts, Zelensky said: 'We were told to surrender. We chose a counterattack! We were told to make concessions and compromises. We are joining the European Union and NATO.'
    by Volodymyr Zelensky
  • Petersburg bookshop fights without compromises

    As censorship is reinstalled in Russia and everything related to LGBTQ+ is anathema, bookshops struggle to survive in a decent manner. Books by authors brandished as 'foreign agents' have to be shelved in brown paper camouflage. The St. Petersburg bookshop 'Podpisnye Izdaniya' doesn't compromise.
    by Meduza
  • What’s behind Putin’s appointment of Kudrin at Yandex?

    Putin's appointment of the former Finance Minister and Chairman of the Accounts Chamber Alexei Kudrin, long ago known for his liberal views, as the head of Russian search giant Yandex is strange. A strategic move?
    by Andrey Pertsev
  • Kyiv Diary: 'Life is good. I am happy to be born in Ukraine'

    Tymofiy Mylovanov, director of the Kyiv School of Economics, keeps a diary. A diary of hope,optimism and improvisation during the relentless Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure.
    by Tymofiy Mylovanov
  • 'Mr Putin, stop this madness immediately!'

    Ilya Yashin is the first opposition politician in Russia to be imprisoned for speaking the truth about Russian atrocities against civilians in Bucha. He was sentenced to eight and a hlaf year imprisonment. In his last word he called upon his supporters to be courageous.
    by Ilya Yashin
  • Will the death of a chief diplomat change anything in Belarus?

    Even before the Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei’s sudden death, it was hard to see how Minsk could ever return to its multi-vector foreign policy as long as Lukashenko remains in power.
    by Artyom Shraibman
  • Russia forced them to fight. Ukraine tried them for treason

    Russia has forcibly mobilised tens of thousands in Ukraine’s occupied territories to fight. Ukraine persuades them to run, promising amnesty. But in reality many of them are tried for collaboration or treason after changing sides.
    by Kateryna Semchuk
  • The alliance between Russia and Iran is deepening

    Moscow and Tehran reached an agreement to start manufacturing hundreds of weaponized drones on Russian soil, according to U.S. and other Western security agencies. With Iranian made drones Russia attacks Ukrainan infrastructure. The deal represents a further deepening of the alliance between Russia and Iran.
    by Nikita Smagin
  • Peace talking versus peace making

    Now Ukraine continues to succesfully regain occupied territories Putin seems willing to negotiate. In the West the clamour of 'peacemakers' also is growing. But as long as Putin denies Ukraïne's existence there is nothing to talk about.
    by Mykola Riabchuk
  • How to save Ukraine's economy from the war

    The Russian war against Ukraine has had a disastrous impact on the country’s economy.The functioning of the country depends almost entirely on international financial aid but it’s still not sufficient compared to the country’s needs.
    by Sławomir Matuszak
  • New commander, new goals for Russia in Ukraine

    Now it is clear that the Russian army is not able to wage an offensive war for lack of ammunition and sophisticated troops, the Russians change tactics. According to ex-diplomat Vladimir Frolov in an article for Carnegie Politika the idea is to buy time till spring and use evacuated Kherson as fortification and protection of free access to Crimea.
    by Vladimir Frolov
  • Russia increases military presence in Belarus

    In October Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko and president Vladimir Putin announced to deploy a new regional group of joint Russian and Belorussian forces in Belarus. What is behind this move? In a piece for Carnegie Politika the in Minsk based political analyst Artyom Shraibman argues that it's part of the ongoing erosion of the sovereignty of Belarus.
    by Artyom Shraibman
  • Russian elites unlikely to split

    Since the beginning of the war rumours spread concerning the possibility of a split among the Russian elites. But despite individual dissent there is no reason to expect such a split nor organised collective action against the ‘special military operation’ in the foreseeable future.
    by Valdimir Gelman
  • Europe finds its unity in crisis

    As victory on the battlefield may be far away, Vladimir Putin stakes his hopes on the weak-willed Europeans who cannot take the hardships of high prices and energy shortage. However, EU-countries are displaying a considerable unity in the face of crisis.
    by Kadri Liik
  • The idea of a capable dictator is in jeopardy

    The Russian administration is dysfunctioning and the mobilization changed the mood of the Russian population. But it is too early to jump to the conclusion, that Putin's rule is fatally wounded.
    by Kirill Rogov
  • Russia’s elites are starting to admit the possibility of defeat

    With attacks on the centre of Kyiv and lots of other cities last night it is clear Putin will never back down. He seeks revenge for his humiliation. The elites have so far supported him, be it grumpingly. That might change if he goes for all-out victory in a war many think he can never win.
    by Tatiana Stanovaya
  • End of the war no longer science fiction

    The failure of the Russian armed forces in the Kharkiv region is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the outcome of the war. We entered the third phase of the war, where Kyiv has the initiative. It is no longer science fiction to think that the war will end in a matter of weeks or months.
    by Konrad Muzyka
  • Why Russians don't march on Moscow

    Following the announcement of Russia's mobilization, anti-war protests resulted in thousands of arrests. The most heated protests took place in the Caucasus region Dagestan. The majority of Russia’s regions, however, did not come close to this kind of protest activity, although mobilisation is incredibly impopular. In an interview with Meduza political scientist Vladimir Gelman analyses why we see no mass protests in Russia.
    by Vladimir Gelman
  • Playing va banque is risky for Putin's regime

    The Kremlin’s decision to hold referendums in the Russian-occupied part of the Ukrainian Donbas on their attachment to Russia and partially mobilise Russian reservists indicate that Putin is playing va banque. He hopes to deter Kyiv from reconquering the occupied territory. In reality these decisions will lead to more Ukrainian attacks and carry political risks for Putin’s regime.
    by Marek Menkiszak
  • Some legal advice to escape mobilisation

    On 21 September Vladimir Putin declared a 'partly mobilisation' for 300.000 Russian men. In reality the numbers could be much higher.At last the war has come home to the Russians. During mobilization, escaping the draft is a legal problem for many Russians. Meduza spoke with a military attorney from the Russian Human Rights Defenders’ Coalition on how to defend yourselve if you don't want to fight.
  • Putin cannot sell defeat to his country

    How to read Russian society's response to the war? According to sociologist Greg Yudin there are three distinct groups in Russia: 'radicals, dissenters and laymen'. Yudin believes Putin will not be able to sell a defeat in Ukraine as a victory. But a full military mobilization seems equally unlikely now.
    by Greg Yudin
  • How Russian invaders try to eradicate Ukrainian culture

    From the start, there were already indications that Russia was trying to eradicate the Ukrainian culture in the occupied territories. After the liberation of several regions in September, evidence is mounting that this plan for culturicide was systematically implemented by the Russian occupying forces.
    by Halya Coynash
  • Local elections in Russia: a fight against despair

    Since the crackdown on Navalny's movement and the war in Ukraine political life in Russia almost has come to a standstill. However, there are pockets of resistance. Remaining activists view the elections as a vote on the war in Ukraine – and a chance to prove a desire for democracy.
    by Veronika Ptitsyna
  • Introduced: every Monday patriotic education in Russian schools

    With the new school year that opened on September 1, the Russian Education Ministry is launching  weekly lessons first thing every Monday with the title Important Conversations. What are teachers supposed to do?
    by Yevgenya Kotlyar and Robert Coalson
  • Visaban for Russians: separate goats from sheep

    Most Russians are adamant about a visaban for citizens of Russia. It would make Russians collectively responsible for the atrocities of their government and make it impossible for critics of the war to leave the country. The Ukrainian political analyst Mykola Riabchuk sees a sim-ple solution: crossing borders is no human right, so prohibit entrance to state functionaries and ask visa applicants openly if they support Putin's war. 
    by Mykola Riabchuk
  • Kremlin struggles with 'referenda' in occupied Ukrainian land

    Once again the Kremlin has miscalculated in the war against Ukraine. The Russians were confident that they would conquer the whole of Donbass this summer and organise 'referenda' in the southern cities of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. But the offensive has grinded to a halt. Russia might have to postpone the annexation once again.
    by Andrey Pertsev
  • Russian army starts lacking soldiers

    The Russian armed forces are suffering huge losses in Ukraine. The exact numbers are not verifiable. But the consequences for the Kremlin are rather serious. The Russian leadership is now facing further fragmentation of the ground forces. Pavel Luzin analyses the options and threats of Russian troops coming home from the war scene.
    by Pavel Luzin
  • Collective Responsibility and the Slide into the Totalitarian Past

    Even before the crack down by the Kremlin, the anti-war movement in Russia was representing only a tiny minority of the Russian citizens. But does that imply that the Russian population as a whole is guilty of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine?
    by Sergey Radchenko
  • Russia's military grows afraid of the long war

    Voices within the Russian military community are beginning to express anxiety about the future course of the war against Ukraine. Military losses are staggering, the Ukrainians are a serious adversary and the population wants an end to the 'special military operation'. Russian military experts fear a backlash in Russia.
    by Kseniya Kirillova
  • Russia's new textbook: holy war against the godless West

    Two textbooks for Russian media, obtained by the Russian newssite Meduza, offer a new narrative of the war against Ukraine. The Russians, christianized in 988 at Crimea, wage a Holy War against the godless West and its puppet state Ukraine. he strategic goal of the West has been the same for centuries: the containment, the weakening, the dismemberment, and the complete destruction of Russia.
    by Andrey Pertsev
  • First grain ship left Ukraine but agreements have limited succes

    For the first time since the Russian invasion, a ship carrying grain was able to leave the port of Odesa on August 1. A day after the agreement was signed, however, Odesa was hit by a Russian missile strike. And a week later, Ukrainian agricultural tycoon Oleksiy Vadatursky was killed when a Russian missile destroyed his house. 
    by Adam Michalski a.o.
  • Open quarrels in the elite foreboding of post-Putin period?

    Remarkable shifts take place in the Russian elite. More and more feuds between apparatchiks come out into the open. Conflicts among high-profile politicians and the siloviki are a sign of the collapse of the old system. This might be the beginning of a change of Russia’s system of power. 
    by Andrey Pertsev
  • Old and New Ukrainian Paths to European Integration

    Getting the candidate status for EU membership on 23 June 2022 for Ukraine and Moldova was far more than a symbolic gesture. For the first time in its history Ukraine has the prospect of a European future.But there is a long way to go and Ukraine needs help and support. In the end it might strengthen the EU substantially.
    by Andreas Umland
  • Putin’s archaic war: how will Russia's outlawed professional class return?

    On 24 February, also in Russia everything changed. Putin’s war in Ukraine imposes an agenda on Russia that is deeply archaic. His

    ...
  • Real Fascism to combat fake Nazism: Patrushev’s dreams of a warfighting Russia

    Chief of Russia's Security Council Nikolay Patrushev is the person closest to Putin, and the most sinister figure in Russia's

    ...
  • Severodonetsk in ruins: 'We now have our own Mariupol'

    Severodonetsk is at the heart of the battle for the Donbas. Ukraine’s troops are trying to hold the line, but Russian forces are

    ...
  • Why Russia needs to be humiliated in Ukraine

    The West should take care not to humiliate Russia, since it suffered after the collaps of communism, communis opinio says. The

    ...
  • Despite Doomsday predictions, Bulgaria proves there is life after Russian gas

    On April 27 Gazprom abruptly shut off the gas taps to Bulgaria and Poland, because the countries refused to pay for their contracts

    ...
  • An old Soviet tradition makes a comeback: the denunciation

    A St. Petersburg teacher had to quit after a student informed on her. Social scientist Maria

    ...
  • Russian soldiers: 'We have no idea who we are fighting for'

    Moscow has yet to confirm the exact number of Russian soldiers currently fighting in Ukraine. According to various estimates,

    ...
  • 'It is impossible for the system in Russia not to change'

    While waging war on Ukraine, the Russian state has intensified its already tight control over the Internet, press, and opposition at

    ...
  • Russia's elites are desperate about the war

    People in power, middle class business men who prospered under Putin, technocrats who are not allowed to leave:

    ...
  • 'Brotherly’ genocide by your neighbour state

    The French president Macron refused to define Russian aggression in Ukraine as genocide. How then can we define the Russian

    ...
  • Zelenskyi’s spokesperson: soldier, actor, psychologist, propagandist

    One of the most intriguing advisors of president Zelenskyi is the 46-year old Oleksiy Arestovych, who predicted the war in

    ...
  • Russia's catastrophic geopolitics: Putin is late by a century

    International scolars on gepopolitics like the American professor John Mearsheimer don't seem to understand that their

    ...
  • Time for the West to prepare for the long war

    Judging by the statements from Moscow , Russia seems in Ukraine to follow the same playbook as in Syria. After a 'withdrawal'

    ...
  • Why Russia's elite went to war

    The oligarchs who emerged under Yeltsin's rule gave up their involvement in Russia's domestic politics. They earned their money in

    ...
  • What is known about the deportation of Ukrainian citizens to Russia?

    Ukrainian authorities accuse Russia of forcibly taking thousands of civilians to the Russian Federation. They also warn for

    ...
  • 'If Russia doesn't get success soon, it's going to be a stalemate'

    The coming weeks a fierce battle will be fought in Ukraine's east and south. Russia has been repositioning its forces after it
    ...
  • What is happening in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine?

    Now that Russia's invasion in Ukraine has entered its second month, a long-term occupation in southern Ukraine becomes a realistic

    ...
  • Will the 'European Dream' of Ukraine ever come true?

    Public opinion in Europe supports the fight of Ukrainians against Russia. The EU reluctantly offered a protracted path to

    ...
  • Putin’s last stand: how to lose a war simply by starting one

    How did this war with Ukraine even become a possibility? Maxim Trudolyubov, editor of the Riga-based Russian

    ...
  • 'In this city everyone is waiting for death'

    At 5.00 this morning Russia's ultimatum for the surrender of Mariupol passed but the heavily devastated harbour town refused

    ...
  • Family ties break under the pressure of Russian propaganda

    The millions of families separated by the Russia-Ukraine border now find themselves on opposite sides of a war. The Russian

    ...
  • Massive offensive on Kyiv on its way

    Russia is getting ready to relaunch a massive offensive on Kyiv. Experts believe that seizing the capital might be too difficult for the Russians. It's more likely that they will try and establish a blockade amid relentless shelling and airstrikes in order to force Kyiv into surrendering.
    by Illia Ponomarenko
  • 'The poorer people in Kherson are already starting to starve'

    Russian troops entered Kherson on March 1. Since then, the southern city has been under their de facto control. Ukrainian politician

    ...
  • Ukraine’s occupied towns are facing a tough choice: collaborate or resist?

    Local mayors in East-Ukrainian towns surrounded by Russian forces face a stark choice: do they surrender or stay in power to

    ...
  • Pain, fear, shame – this is what I feel today

    Novaja Gazeta, one of the few remaining opposition voices in Russia, published this statement by the Russian writer

    ...
  • Sociologist Greg Yudin: 'We are living in a new era'

    During an antiwar protest in Moscow sociologist Greg Yudin was arrested and beaten up by the police. He

    ...
  • The war is a clash of the real world and Putin's imperial delirium

    In Russian historical mythology Ukraine is seen as part of the Russian identity, so its takeover was not only a matter of

    ...
  • Sanctions on Russia are strong but not 'nuclear'

    Every day the war lasts we see new sanctions on Russia imposed by the West. How effective are they? Read the personal blog and

    ...
  • War of obsession: Why Putin is risking Russia’s future

    By invading Ukraine Putin has shown that he has put his obsession with this neighbour above the national interest of Putin. As

    ...
  • 'Open doors are good, but we need open answers!'

    President Putin didn't show up at the Munich Security Conference, but the Ukrainian president Volodymyr

    ...
  • Can Ukraine really be invaded?

    The Ukrainian Center for Defense Strategies made an analysis of the possible scenarios invading Ukraine by Russian forces.The

    ...
  • 'Classic Censorship': Kremlin's next move against press freedom

    The crackdown on the last remnants of Russia's independent journalism continues. State censor Roskomnadzor ordered media

    ...
  • What would a war with Ukraine mean for ordinary Russians?

    Considering that a war with Ukraine would foster political dissatisfaction even among the part of the population

    ...
    by Andrei Kolesnikov
  • Russia’s business elite silently fears cost of war

    Russia's business elite is worried and scared about the prospect of war with Ukraine, but stays eerily silent. In matters of

    ...
  • The power of keeping calm. Why Ukraine downplays Russian aggression

    The topic of a possible war has recently dominated Ukraine’s politics and media. For OSW, Warsaw-based

    ...
  • What Scenarios Might Emerge in Ukraine?

    As Western countries recall diplomats from Kyiv amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,

    ...
  • High noon in Ukraine: who blinks first

    The Kremlin doesn’t understand the quintessence of Ukraine. Therefore Putin’s interventions since Euromaidan backfired:

    ...
  • Ukraine’s army vastly improved but can't win from Russia

    The Kremlin denies any plans to attack Ukraine, but policymakers in Kyiv and Washington say the Russian military’s buildup

    ...
  • President Kazakhstan goes after business of Nazarbaev & co

    President Toqaev of Kazakhstan used the upheaval in his country to strengthen his grip on power and get rid of his predecessor Nazarbaev, his family members and cronies. He reproached Nazarbaev for creating a small elite whose wealth is 'significant even by international standards'. Toqaev promised to create a social fund to be financed by their companies.
    by Bruce Pannier
  • Poroshenko returns to Kyiv to go to court for treason

    On January 17 former president Petro Poroshenko faces charges of 'high treason'. The indictment accuses him of 'criminal collusion' with politician and mediatycoon Medvedchuk, close to Putin. Zelensky hopes to boost his declining popularity.
    by Jadwiga Rogoza
  • Excluded from talks, Ukraine prepares to fight

    With US-Russia talks underway on the future of Ukraine’s security, and with Ukraine absent, the population can only hope for peace and get ready to fight. Ukraine’s anxiety that its destiny might be decided in its absence, despite reassuring statements from the allies, is palpable.
    by Olga Tokariuk
  • 'Peaceful Kazakh protests became violent due to criminal and Islamist elements'

    One of Kazakhstan's veteran human rights defenders,Yevgeniy Zhovtis, shares his account of Kazakhstan's recent protests.
    by Paolo Sorbello
  • Fools have no future in Russia

    On December 28 and 29 Russia's Supreme Court and the Moscow City Court liquidated Memorial, the historical and human rights association funded by Andrei Sakharov. 'This is naked intimidation and revenge.'
    by Meduza
  • Putin promises 'adequate military responses'

    During a meeting at the Ministry of Defense on 21 December Putin promised 'adequate military and technical responses' if the West continues its 'clearly aggressive line' of NATO expansion. Accepting means 'a fundamental overhaul of the current European security order in favour of Russia'. But refusal gives Russia the pretext for military action against Ukraine.
    by Marek Menkiszak
  • How do Russians feel about a war with Ukraine?

    Militarization stopped being a way to mobilize Russians in support of the government. Instead of mobilization, state propaganda has created a fear of world war. The majority of young Russians has a positive or very positive attitude toward Ukraine. Before launching an offensive, the Kremlin does better to realize who is willing to fight.
    by Andrei Kolesnikov
  • Ukraine crisis: a case study in modern Kremlinology

    Putin has loaded the gun. But will the trigger also be pulled? The West cannot know for sure what is intended. The Ukraine crisis is a kind of quantum politics.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • Has Biden thrown Ukraine under the bus or averted war?

    Ukraine has reason to be nervous about the direct talks between Biden en Putin about Russia's security issues. In spite of reassurances, Ukraine doesn't know if Biden made some promises at Kyiv's expense. President Zelenskiy's room for maneuvring is limited, as the Ukrainian society opposes any concession to Moscow.
    by Mike Eckel
  • 'The free press is an antidote against tyranny'

    In his speech at the Nobelprize ceremony in Oslo Muratov said: 'The caravan keeps moving not despite, but because of the dogs barking'. These dogs are the journalists: 'We growl and bite, we are the prerequisite for progress'.
    by Dmitri Muratov
  • Electric power plant turned into spectacular House of Culture

    On December 4 Moscow's sensation was the grand opening of GES-2, Museum of Contemporary Art in the building of a famous electric power plant just opposite the Kremlin. It is huge, wildly expensive, free for all and ambitious in its goal to get Russians to embrace modern art.
    by Michele Berdy
  • Moscow wants to limit Ukraine's sovereignty via Washington

    Many of the debates about the possibility of a Russian military action against Ukraine focus on what what US President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders can do to prevent it (or how to react if it happens.) What has been missing is a reflection on some of the wider contextual motives behind Moscow’s moves to ratchet up tension.
    by Anton Barbashin
  • What Russia’s military movements could mean for Ukraine, Europe, and NATO

    Once again Russia is mobilising its forces near the Ukrainian border, but much more covertly than in the past. Moscow’s belief that the EU and US will not step in to protect Ukraine could lead it to take direct military action.
    by Gustav Gressel
  • Russian foreign policy is changing rapidly

    The amassment of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border makes the world nervous. Putin's retoric is belligerent and the Kremlin refuses to talk to the Ukrainian leadership. Is it deterrence, bluff or the foreboding of war?
    by Dmitri Trenin
  • Glasgow: with no modernisation in sight Russia doomed to energy addiction

    President Putin didn't go to Glasgow. Understandably, because for the near future high prices for oil, gas and coal will guarantee him economic stability.
    by Vladislav Inozemtsev
  • Russia supports Lukashenka's migration war as long as it lasts

    The migration crisis, organised by Aleksandr Lukashenka, for the time being is in the interests of the Kremlin, as this aggravates the situation on the EU border and tests the resilience of the Polish security system, Poland’s armed forces and NATO as a whole. But Putin's support is not unconditional.
    by Piotr Żochowski
  • Ukraine, Russia and the last empire in Europe

    President Putin and Security Council member Dmitry Medvedev openly discredited Ukraine as an independent state.Causing the rage is a fundamental attitude of imperial Russia, that denies its neighbour's right to independence.
    by Volodymyr Yermolenko
  • Why are Russians largely indifferent to repression?

    The human rights group Memorial updated its list of persons imprisoned in modern-day Russia for political or religious reasons. There are now 420 people on Memorial’s list, and activists say the true number could be several times higher.Meduza asked a sociologist, a political scientist, a historian, and a psychologist why Russians appear to be so indifferent to the repression of their compatriots.
  • What can we expect from Russia at Glasgow?

    In April Putin promised to cut carbon emissions below the level of the EU by 2050. And there is talk of steps towards carbon regulation. Experts differ if these are substantial moves or just window dressing or a possibility to get sanctions lifted.
    by Natalie Sauer
  • Whistleblower on prison torture: 'I was always afraid of getting caught'

    A former inmate of a Saratov penal colony, IT-specialist Syarhey Savelyeu (Sergej Saveljev) from Belarus, collected mass scale video footage of torture of prisoners in Russian camps. He fled the country and asked for political asylum in France. Russia has put him on a wanted list, for disclosing information that may 'harm state security'.
    by Mike Eckel
  • Putin’s Labyrinth: Career Stagnation in Russia’s Corridors of Power

    After the parliamentarian elections this time the usual upward mobility switches in the elite are conspicuously absent. The path of career progression within the power vertical has stopped being predictable.Putin stopped the carroussel. It is total stagnation. This never bodes well in politics.
    by Andrey Pertsev
  • The latest spat between Russia and NATO is symbolic, not significant

    After NATO's expulsion of 8 Russian 'spies', Moscow retaliated with the closing down of the permanent mission to NATO in the Russian capital. How bad is that? According to our columnist Mark Galeotti Moscow does not believe that multinational agencies have any real importance. It prefers bilateral contacts, like the talks between Putin and Biden.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • As press freedom in Russia is strangled, Politkovskaya's fears have been realized

    Fifteen years ago journalist Anna Politkovskaya was killed in the entrance to her appartment. The murder was never solved. As the Kremlin cracks down on independent media, journalists say that Politkovskaya's worst fears materialized.
    by Robert Coalson
  • Gas crisis shows: Europe's road to energy transition will be bumpy

    The current energy crisis illustrates that the EU’s road to energy transition will be bumpy and reliance on Russian gas is here to stay for longer. At the Russian Energy Week president Putin rebuffed allegations that Russia uses energy as a weapon. His key message to the Europeans was: Russia is your reliable trouble-shooter, if you ask nicely.
    by Maria Shagina
  • 'Pro-Western' Georgia rapidly drifting towards illiberalism

    Officially Georgia sticks to its pro-European retoric, but under the guidance of the Georgian Dream party it is swiftly drifting into illiberal direction. Georgian democracy is up for its greatest test.
    by Neil Hauer
  • Navalny holds up a mirror to our own hypocrisy

    On October 5, at the Warsaw Security Conference political prisoner Alexei Navalny was awarded the 2021 Knight of Freedom Award. The former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves held the laudatio. Instead of pronouncing obvious words of praise for Navalny, Ilves lambasts the West that helps criminal politicians and oligarchs to rob their people.
    by Toomas Hendrik Ilves
  • Pandora Papers expose secret wealth of Aliyev and Zelenskiy

    A massive new leak of financial documents has exposed how the presidents of Azerbaijan and Ukraine, as well as hundreds of other politicians and billionaires around the world, are linked with companies that use offshore tax havens to hide wealth.
  • Russia after take-over in Afghanistan: has Moscow enough leverage over the Taliban?

    Continuity has always characterized the Kremlin’s Afghanistan-policy. But will Moscow benefit of the exit of the West? Hard to say. Even Russia has not much leverage on the Taliban.
    by Helena Arntz & Michael Kemper
  • Oligarch sent thousands of employees 'stand-by' to Moscow for election rally

    Although United Russia easily won the elections, there was nervousness at the Kremlin. On election day Putin's favoured oligarch Oleg Deripaska of aluminium giant Rusal sent 11,000 participants to Moscow for a posh conference on family values and geopolitics. They were told that, if necessary, they would be summoned to a large scale political rally in support of the regime.
    by Pjotr Sauer and Jake Cordell
  • Belarus as 'the next Crimea'? Highly unlikely

    After the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 many feared that this 'compatriot protection scheme' could become a precedent. The author concludes that conditions in Belarus are ultimately unfavorable to Russian-sponsored secessionism. The national uprising after the election fraud of August 2020 proved to be a gamechanger as well.
    by Tijs van de Vijver
  • Military drills of Zapad-2021: meant for Belarus or Ukraine?

    From 10 till 15 September Russian and Belarusian troops held their joint military exercises Zapad-2021. Strangely enough the main push was directed not against the West, but against Ukraine.
    by Hannes Adomeit
  • The elections serve the regime's legality, no more, no less

    It's the Russian regime which needs the vote. It won't change the balance of power or the lawmaking in the Duma. The elections serve to give the regime legitimacy and to reassure the apathetic masses that they are still the majority.
    by Andrei Kolesnikov
  • Europe's gas markets hit turbulence - and eyes turn to Moscow

    While natural gas reserves are far below the normal levels in Europa, gas prices are spiking. Normally one would expect that Gazprom would take advantage from the high prices and supply more gas. However, this doesn't happen. Experts wonder why. Is it to put political pressure on Germany to speed up the certification for the controversial Nord Stream 2?
    by Mike Eckel
  • Hello, I am a 'Foreign Agent'

    'It was as if I was attending at my own funeral', says Sonya Groysman, one of almost 40 Russian journalists now who have been stigmatised as 'foreign agents' by the Russian Ministry of Justice. For the Russian website The Village she, and some others, explained how it feels to be categorised as an enemy of Russia. To defend journalists she started the podcast 'Hello, you are a foreign agent'.
    by Sonia Groysman
  • Can Lukashenko build an economy on bayonets?

    Lukashenko is able to repress the opposition, but can he manage the economy of Belarus as well as he manages the crack-down of society?
    by Mark Galeotti
  • Why is Moscow so calm about the victory of the Taliban?

    After the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, thousands of Afghans who worked for the former regime stormed the airport to leave the country. Most countries closed down their embassies, but the Russians stayed calm. For Russia, the collapse of the Afghan regime is a welcome defeat of the West.
    by Ivan Klyszcz
  • Belarus and Russia: an ever closer union?

    Belarusian President Lukashenko has had a complicated love-hate relationship with the Kremlin. While Belarus has generally aligned its foreign policy outlook with the Russian Federation, at various moments Lukashenko tried to keep his geopolitical options open. In a special report Institute Clingendael identifies six scenarios for the future of Belarus and further elaborates the consequences of four of them.
    by Bob Deen, Barbara Roggeveen en Wouter Zweers
  • Sergei Kovalyov was the heir of Andrei Sakharov

    Sergei Kovalyov, one of the most prominent and eloquent Soviet and Russian human rights activists, died in his sleep in Moscow on August 9. He was 91. Kovalyov joined the human rights movement in 1968 and remained a vocal defender of democracy and human rights until he died. Robert Coalson, correspondent for Radio Liberty, calls him Sakharov's heir.
    by Robert Coalson
  • New National Security Strategy is a paranoid’s charter

    Russia's new National Strategy regards not just foreign countries as a threat, but the very processes reshaping the modern world, argues Mark Galeotti for the Moscow Times. It bears the fingerprints of the hawkish National Security Adviser Nikolai Patrushev. Again, the West is the enemy who tries to destroy Russia from within. But the Strategy is more: it is a quest against modernity.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • Endless registers are a backdoor to censorship

    The Kremlin's growing obsession with lists and registers to control the population is a mix of Chinese social control and fear of flying. If you are not in a register in Russia, you don't exist, argues Andrei Soldatov, investigative journalist specialised in security services. In effect this super-bureaucratic tool has become a new form of censorship.
    by Andrei Soldatov
  • Politics will survive in Russia, somehow

    On September 19 Russia sees Duma elections. In fear of a (far fetched) Belarusian scenario and angered by Navalny's challenge the Kremlin decided to crack down on all forms of independant political activities and journalism. The picture is bleak. But our columnist Mark Galeotti argues that the Kremlin will not be able to eradicate all forms of opposition. Don't underestimate the resilience of the Russians.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • Biden meets Putin: the return of diplomacy

    Expectations were low, but the Geneva summit between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin on June 16 was good, argues Kadri Liik, senior policy fellow of the European Council on Foreign Relations. It was not so much the concrete deliverables, but the restoration of the power of old-fashioned diplomacy and working patiently away at difficult problems. The presidents found the start of a modus vivendi for managing their mutual relationship.
    by Kadri Liik
  • Purges and professionals: the transformed Russian regime

    The constitutional, political and social changes of 2020–2021 have proven so sweeping and profound that the Russian regime is undergoing a renaissance. An abyss opened up: you are either pro-regime or anti-regime. In the last case you are criminal.
    by Tatyana Stanovaya
  • Lukashenko in survival mode: an international problem

    After de meeting of the presidents Putin and Lukashenko, the 28th of May in Soch, it remains crystal clear: Russia is the only country that can truly influence the behavior of the Belarusian regime. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time before Western pressure is transferred from Minsk to Moscow.
    by Artyom Shraibman
  • In declaring Navalny extremist, Russia has crossed a new Rubicon

    Declaring all opposition figures enemies of the state and outlawing organisations linked to Alexei Navalny precludes any chance of dialogue: there might have been a place at the table for a non-system opposition activist, but not for an extremist. The Russian power system is becoming monolithic.
    by Andrey Pertsev
  • ‘We’re locked in with a psychopath’

    From a disastrous pandemic response and blatantly rigged elections, to nationwide protests and brutal crackdowns, this past year has been one of the most volatile in Belarus’s history. To find out more about what’s changed (and what hasn’t) during this time, journalist Shura Burtin turned to residents of Minsk. This article tells the story of a changing Belarus — through the eyes of the people who live there.
    by Shura Burtin
  • Could the West have saved Russia from itself? No.

    It is an eternal discussion in East and West. Did the euforic West let down Russia after the collapse of communism? The economic collapse of the 1990s quickly alienated the people from a choice for a western partnership. Public opinion returned to nostalgia of the past and political elites cynically used this to keep their power. And now conveniently blame the West.
    by Igor Gretski
  • Repression of Belarusian media will only further polarize society

    The Belarusian government’s move to destroy the country’s biggest non-state media outlet—the website tut.by—is as sign that eliminating political threats isn’t just a priority, it’s the regime’s only task. With de-escalation becoming almost impossible, society will become even more polarized, and fewer and fewer people will be prepared to forgive the regime. Belarus is facing the danger of a violent escalation.
    by Artyom Shraibman
  • Germany unlikely to join American pushback strategy towards Russia

    The perceptions by the German government of Putin’s Russia appear to converge with the views of the Biden administration. Both acknowledge the link between the Kremlin’s repressive domestic policies and aggressive foreign policy. But in German government, there is a wide gap between the views and correspondingly tough responses.
    by Hannes Adomeit
  • Treason trial against Kremlin ally is trip wire for president Zelensky

    By persecuting tycoon, political leader and Putin pal Viktor Medvedchuk for treason the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is taking a big risk, says Todd Prince for RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty.
    by Todd Prince
  • Russia is an 'island', not ready for détente

    Neither expansionism, nor détente with Europe is the answer for the future of the Russian Federation after the break-up of the

    ...
  • Hacking controversy highlights Kremlin’s self-destructive approach

    As the spat on Russia's hacking of the US information technology firm SolarWinds shows, Russia again damaged its own interests. It was classical espionage, but American pundits framed it as Kremlin sabotage.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • Kremlin's youth policy is outdated

    Does Moscow have anything positive to offer to win over youngsters or is repression the only option? Funding and attention is offered to those who conform, while young Russians who think more critically face bans and arrests. By continuing to rely on trolls and showing lack of creativity in marketing themselves online, the government does not appear ready to corner the market of young internet users.
    by Adam Tarasewicz
  • The Great Turn in Putin’s Post-Post-Authoritarianism  

    A regime that for twenty years sought to be an exemplar of ‘hybrid authoritarianism,’ seems to be seeking to get back to basics. Belarus, Navalny, the persecution of his anti-corruption organisation FBK and independent media have made Putin change his mind. It is not (yet) totalitarianism, but it is definitely a watershed.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • Ukraine, Russia, and United States make use of Donbas tension

    Tough rhetoric, preemptive escalation, and the announcement of new sanctions were necessary for Biden to start the inevitable conversation with Russia. For Russia, the deployment of huge amounts of troups was meant to show that Putin decides which red line shouldn't be crossed. Both Ukrainian and Russian leaders used the tension 'to make contact with the new U.S. administration'. This is, obviously, not 2014.
    by Alexander Baunov
  • After ban on Navalny's organisation as 'extremist' political life in Russia is dead

    In an unprecedented move the Moscow prosecutor, on April 26, hours before the start of a lawsuit to ban Navalny's political organization FBK as 'extremist', asked for the immediate prohibition of its activities. The court upheld this request.It is a heavy blow to political life and civil society, argues political scientist Grigori Golosov for Riddle Russia. And a threat to thousands of (young) people who solidarized with Navalny's work. 'Any participation in Navalny’s organizational network will carry a criminal burden.'
    by Grigori Golosov
  • Sticks and carrots in Biden’s Russia strategy

    So far it is two cheers for Biden's approach to Russia, Some of the sanctions will be more effective than others. By calling Putin a 'killer' with respect to Navalny, but at the same time inviting him for a meeting, he shows he has sticks and carrots to offer.
    by Matthew Sussex
  • Ukraine braces itself for war with Russia

    Ukraine is preparing itself for a war with Russia, as Russian troups have been heavily concentrated at the Ukrainian border since March 2021. Hostilities in the Donbas have flared up and president Zelensky is touring the West to find support in case of an attack.
    by The Kiev Post
  • Why do ethnic minorities vote for Putin and his party?

    With Moscow's relentless drive for centralisation and control it seems logical that ethnic minority regions in Russia would be critical of the Kremlin. However, in elections they more often than not vote for Putin and government party United Russia. How to explain this? Keep this in mind for the upcoming parliamentary elections of september 2021.
    by Stanislav Shkel a.o.
  • Will the young generation change Russia?

    The average Russian may not be happy with the state of affair, but he still fears one thing above all: that a change in political regime might only make things worse. However, youngsters have totally different values and attitudes. Will the next generation change Russia or is that just wishful thinking.
    by Andrei Kolesnikov

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