• Three times Russian journalist Ekaterina Sergatskova had to flee: first from Russia, then from Crimea and now from

    ...
  • The perseverance of the Belarusian demonstrators has been amazing - for more than 2 months now every week a hundred thousand or more

    ...
  • As the international global order is unraveling, Russia is facing a belligerent Turkey in the deadly Nagorno-Karabakh escalation.
    by Jaba Devdariani
  • The attempts to silence oppositon leader Alexei Navalny have failed.The Kremlin always portrayed him as a minor nuisance, a simple blogger. His poisoning revealed, however, exactly whom the Kremlin considered the main figure opposing Russian authoritarianism. Navalny will emerge from this dramatic incident an even stronger figure
    by Andrei Kolesnikov
  • Two new factors make the hostilities, which erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the enclave Nagorno-Karabakh, more dangerous. For the first time Turkey is openly backing one of the parties, Azerbaijan, and the United States is unusually disengaged. Russia has leverage, but will never be able to deliver a peace agreement on its own. Region-expert Thomas de Waal calls for serious American and European engagement to stem the conflict.
    by Thomas de Waal
  • The Clingendael Foreign Affairs Barometer asked over 23,000 people in the Netherlands to what extent Russia posed a threat to Europe and what they thought about our treaty obligations as NATO members and about Dutch imports of Russian gas. More than 35% see Russia as a threat, while 27% don't perceive Russian as a threat to Europe's security and 38% have a neutral view or don't know. Public opinions on Russia apparently are highly polarised, but no longer along the traditional left-right dividing line as at the time of the Cold War.
  • Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny in Berlin is recovering from the murder attempt with nerve agent novichok in Tomsk. He is walking again, adressing his followers and determined to return to Russia. In July Navalny was forced to dissolve his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), because he lost a lawsuit against one of his targets, 'Putin's Chef' Yevgeny Prigozhin. But he and his people continue to investigate corruption at the highest levels of the Russian government.
    by Todd Prince
  • Lukashenko's weakened position after the presidential elections of August 9 seemed an opportunity for Russia. At last Putin could force him to accept total integration in the Union State he has been dreaming of. But now the Belarusian president seems unable to crush the protests and the West has turned him down Belarus is becoming a problem for the Kremlin as well. It can lose the sympathy of the last Slavic brothers left after the Ukraine crisis.
    by Artyom Shraibman
  • The image of Putin’s Russia in Germany has suffered tremendously in the past few weeks. In the wake of a series of ever more implausible denials, the Kremlin’s credibility has seriously been eroded. Government and leading figures in the political parties have called for sanctions, both against the Lukashenko regime and Putin’s Russia, including stopping the North Stream 2 gas pipeline project. It remains to be seen whether the current shocks of the Kremlin’s behaviour will lead to major policy changes or, as in the past, end in business as usual.
    by Hannes Adomeit
  • Putin's first public reaction to the crisis in Belarus ultimately proves that countries in Russia's so called 'sphere of influence' are not allowed to have an internal political agenda of their own. If protests in Belarus lead to more independence from Russia and inclination to the West they will be stopped.
    by Alexander Baunov
  • While the popular uprising against the Lukashenko regime is not abating, Russia faces the dilemma whether to intervene or not to intervene. According to Russia-expert Hannes Adomeit it is unlikely that Russia will just wait and consent to a new government, as it did in Armenia. Russia might look for a Belarusian Jaruzelski or resort to hybrid intervention. The attittude of the West hardly has any impact: domestic political considerations will determine Russia's behaviour.
    by Hannes Adomeit
  • Belarusians must chart their own future. The West can encourage them but it's too presumptuous and too counter-productive to tell them how to act. In the meantime, sanctions are ineffective and might actually make Belarus more dependent on Russia, argues Mark Galeotti. The West should provide practical aid and comfort. And Lukashenko should no longer be referred to as the president of Belarus. It’s a symbolic measure, but symbolism matters in politics.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • Vote rigging in Belarus is nothing new. The pattern is always the same. This time, however, the electorate doesn't accept the falsified outcome. Matthew Frear, expert on Belarus, explains what has changed in the domestic political landscape. The damaged Lukashenka clings to power, but will be forced out, now or somewhat later. His rule is entering its last phase.
    by Matthew Frear
  • Both Russia and the West may be sick and tired of the mercurial Belarusian autocrat, but up till now they still saw him as the lesser evil, writes Maxim Samorukov of Carnegie Moscow. Outdated regimes can prove extremely resilient if favored by broader geopolitics.
    by Maxim Samorukov
  • The social economic circumstances for the presidential elections in Belarus are extremely unfavourable for the authorities. Recession, decline in living standards and no reforms in sight, have caused popular protests and a wish for change. The risk of the regime falling, however, is still pretty low. Re-elected, a weakened president Lukashenka, may be forced to resort to increased Russian subsidies and thus severely limit the sovereignty of his country
    by Kamil Kłysiński
  • In appointing Mikhail Degtyarev as the new governor of Khabarovsk, Putin is not promoting one of his own men, but making the LDPR of

    ...
  • After the unification of Germany hopes were high that a new phase of cooperation between the Bundesrepublik and Russia would start. But in stead of the hoped for strategic partnership relations quickly soured. Why did the dreams not come true? Russia says the West is guilty as it refused the open hand offered. But according to analyst Hannes Adomeit Russia already during Yeltsin's reign refused cooperation as it didnot fit in to its security strategy.
    by Hannes Adomeit
  • After unseen police violence, anger in Belarus reached even some of the smallest towns across the country. In the weeks before the

    ...
  • If there is anything the spontaneous outburst of popular anger in the Far-Eastern town of Khabarovsk shows it is the steady decline of Putinism. Arrest a popular governor (Sergey Furgal) for not delivering on election results ánd being more popular than Putin is usual stuff, as are trumped-up charges from a distant past. But not foreseeing the response is a sign of the times.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • The birthday of KGB chief and shortlived General Secretary of the CPSU Yuri Andropov, on June 15, tempted many Russian commentators to muse on the question: what if he had not passed away in 1984?
    by Mark Galeotti
  • For the first time the Russian government has laid out its nuclear deterrence policy in one document of six pages. There is little that is strikingly new here. It clarifies a few things and also highlights some seeming inconsistencies. No doubt, the debate about the interpretation will continue, but the publication of the official Russian position contributes to transparancy and mutual understanding.
    by Olga Oliker
  • Although the usual tv-pundits foam about American hypocrisy after mass demonstrations from Black Lives Matter, the response in many media is muted: what if street unrest is Russia's future as well? The Kremlin is allergic to people's uprisings, usually described as 'color revolutions'.
    by Matthew Luxmoore
  • Children were impressionable, unspoilt and they believed almost instinctively in the high communist visions of the revolutionaries. That is why after the 1917 Revolution children’s literature took center stage in the Bolshevik reconstruction of the entire human race. The recently published Companion to Soviet Children's Literature emphasizes the ideological indoctrination, but is deaf to the fun and genius of so many Soviet children's poetry and stories.
    by Robbert-Jan Henkes
  • Popular vlogger Syarhey Tsikhanouski is becoming a serious opposition force. As president Lukashenka seeks reelection in August, his position is weakening. His dismissal of corona as a 'psychosis' further undermined his power.
    by Tony Wesolowsky
  • Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov reportedly has been flown to Moscow for corona-treatment in one of the best hospitals of the capital. What is the Kremlin to do when he would succumb to COVID-19? Putin pays him off for keeping peace in the belligerent republic of Chechnya, so he seems indispensable. Our columnist Mark Galeotti on the prospects of the possible disappearance of Putin's own warlord. 
    by Mark Galeotti
  • On March 18, the lives of hundreds of thousands of migrants across Russia were turned upside down. That day, the country closed its borders with the outside world in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Right until the beginning of April, the embassies of Central Asian states chartered flights to evacuate their citizens from Russia. Nevertheless, most Central Asian migrants have remained in the country — albeit without jobs and without livelihoods.
    by Ekaterina Ivashchenko
  • Russia has been working on the possibility to close the country off by creating a 'sovereign Ru-net', looking at the Chinese example. Experts concluded that it is too late to seal off Russia, but Alena Epifanova from the German think tank DGAP points to the possibilities to seriously hamper internet access for business and civil society.
    by Alena Epifanova
  • Victory Day in Russia, 75 years after the defeat of Nazi-Germany, was a weird celebration.The pandemic cancelled the military parade and a jubilee summit of world leaders, put in question the constitutional reform that would give Vladimir Putin the right to stay in power for life, and postponed the memory war between Russia and her neighbors.
    by Ivan Kurilla
  • Russia’s longstanding experience with tuberculosis in setting up systems to test, treat and contain the spread of the virus, may help to combat corona. At the other hand it suffers from the weaknesses of an imperfectly reformed health system and inadequate and unevenly distributed medical facilities.
    by Alexandra Vacroux
  • President Putin ordered the governors to take responsibility for the fight against corona, threatening them with persecution for 'criminal liability' if they make mistakes. In Yaroslavl the governor, Putin's ex-security guard, decided to reopen businesses and allow people to leave their homes.
    by Alexander Tikhonov
  • Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko has not taken strong measures to counter the coronavirus in his country yet. He still claims that nobody is going to die from the virus, even though it is likely that some already have. What is going on in Belarus? 
    by  Andrey Shingaryov
  • In his popular comedy series Volodymyr Zelensky ridiculed the IMF. But politics is more pragmatic: now he was forced to push through parliament two controversial laws on demand of the same IMF. Playtime is over for Zelensky. Ukraine needs the money.
    by Mischa van Diepen
  • Italian newspapers criticised Russia's humanitarian aid to Italy as a propaganda tool and espionage. But international aid always

    ...
  • In his address to the nation on April 2 Putin extended the economic lockdown with three more weeks and promised salary compensation

    ...
  • Although Russia still has a relatively low number of confirmed corona cases, medics are bracing themselves for the worst, facing serious shortages of personal protective equipment and pressure on medical staff.
    by Pavel Merzlikin and Alexey Yablokov 
  • As of March 24, Russia had reported 658 cases of coronavirus and one (disputed) death. But there is growing speculation in the West over whether official figures can be trusted and whether the Kremlin might be making use of the pandemic to further its own ends. Carnegie Moscow offered three comments by Russian analysts, which we republish.
  • Jeroen Ketting, Dutch businessman in Moscow since 26 years, is sure his business will be hit hard by the corona-crisis, but he will survive, as he has all the former crises in Russia. For most small and medium Russian entrepreneurs, however, it’s a different story. ‘If this crisis will not kill small and medium business, it will definitively put them in intensive care’, he says.
    by Hella Rottenberg
  • Russia’s official statistics indicate that the country has virtually no coronavirus within its borders. Experts say, however, that the testing procedures have been hampered by bureaucracy. A report from Moscow.
  • Never a dull moment. This is the feeling one has when observing the tumultuous turns of events in the complex entanglement of energy and politics involving Europe, Russia, the US, and countries in the neighbourhood. The US imposes sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and the energy market is politicising. Is the EU-Russia gas relation a liability? Who profits the most from it?
    by Luca Franza
  • Boris Nemtsov was shot dead on a bridge just opposite the Kremlin 5 years ago. The murder, deemed political, was never solved. Why was Nemtsov killed? Was he lobbying too hard for sanctions against Russian authorities in Washington, wonders research journalist Andrei Soldatov.
    by Andrei Soldatov
  • Instead of playing the blame game on the eve of the 75th celebration of the victory over Nazi Germany, Western leaders should understand the feelings of the Russians. And attend on May 9 the parade in Moscow, argues our columnist Mark Galeotti.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • The new Russian government must keep society stable. Without reform and growth only higher taxes can fill the state coffers, argues Andrey Movchan of Carnegie Russia.
    by Andrey Movchan
  • On the 2nd of May 2014 in Odesa, Ukraine, clashes between supporters and opponents of the new Maidan-government killed 48 people. How are these tragic events remembered in Odesa? Five years later Mischa van Diepen went there and found four different narratives on the tragedy, that deeply divide the famous port city.
    by Mischa van Diepen
  • Inspired by the book of Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich The unwomanly face of war, Russian director Kantemir Balagov made his second feature film, Beanpole. Set in Leningrad in 1945 after the siege is lifted and the war is over, two young women, Iya and Masha, search for meaning and hope in the struggle to rebuild their lives amongst the ruins. Balagov manages to completely transport the audience to Leningrad in the autumn of 1945.
    by Elsa Court
  • Despite the chill in bilateral relations, the Netherlands is fairly well-regarded by Russian citizens. This is shown by an opinion poll conducted by the Moscow independent opinion polling agency Levada Center on behalf of Leiden University and Raam op Rusland. It is the first time that such an opinion poll has been held in Russia about the Netherlands, and its outcome is spectacular.
    by Jos Schaeken and Hubert Smeets
  • In 2019, the outcome of a hard-fought battle over the structure of the Eastern Orthodox Church shook Ukrainian religious life to its core. In this thesis Elsa Court examines what happened to parishes in western Ukraine as they were faced with the choice to switch to the new Kyiv-centred church or stick with the politically unpopular Moscow Patriarchy.
    by Elsa Court
  • After the announcement of Trump's so-called 'Deal of the Century' for settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Moscow showed restraint and only said that it will 'study' the plan. Actually, Russia hopes to benefit, because the 'deal' let major powers dictate their terms to weaker ones. This bodes well for international recognition of the annexation of Crimea, argues foreign policy analist Vladimir Frolov.
    by Vladimir Frolov
  • Putin's proposals to change the constitution and the powerstructure puzzle all analysts in East and West. According to Mark Galeotti, to leave the position of super-president to someone else is a very dangerous legacy. So maybe trying to diversify power, willingly or un-willingly, might in the end be a step forward for Russian politics.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • proposals to change the constitution and the powerstructure puzzle all analysts in East and West. Window-dressing, shrewdness, securing his political future as and clinging to power, it is all that and more.
    by Andrei Kolesnikov
  • Can Russia cope with its new role as mighty power-broker in the Middle East, asks Marianna Belenkaya from Carnegie Moscow.
    by Marianna Belenkaya
  • What to expect in 2020? Putin’s power within the system and Russia’s leverage in the world are still relatively great, but the ideas to change anything appear to be lacking. Putin and his entourage seem to think 'better safe than sorry'. So it will be more of the same: economic malaise, political repression and frozen conflict in the Donbas, argues Mark Galeotti.
    by Mark Galeotti
  • While Moscow pushes Belarus into further integration with Russia, talks between Putin and Lukashenko on December 7th failed to bring substantial progress. Minsk is playing hard to get and is not willing to obtain economic gains at all costs, but it's unlikely that Moscow’s embrace will shift from fraternal to fratricidal, argues Matthew Frear.
    by Matthew Frear
  • After the fall of the Soviet Union, a weighty question hung in the air: What would become of the KGB? It made perfect sense that the KGB would also dissolve or at least change beyond recognition. Thus in the 1990s, under Yeltsin’s democratic government, the KGB’s foreign intelligence apparatus was doomed. Or was it?
  • There are signs that the monopoly on violence in Russia is being shared with thugs. Is it possible to hire tough guys to rough up demonstrators? According to security specialist Mark Galeotti, it is more about the 'theatre of violence', creating an environment to make people think twice to take part in protests.
  • Young Russian diplomats are pragmatic, sometimes cynical, and looking forward to the post-Putin-period. Political analyst Kadri Liik spoke with young Russian foreign policy professionals from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. What can the West expect from the new generation? We publish a summary of the policy brief 'The Last of the Offended: Russia's First Post-Putin-Diplomats'.
    by Kadri Liik
  • A wave of resignations and strikes is sweeping Russia’s health sector, as clinics are closed down in small towns and rural areas. Matthew Luxmoore of Radio Liberty travelled to a TB clinic south of the Urals, where the independent trade union Alliance of Doctors hoped to save a hospital.
    by Mathew Luxmoore
  • Russians’ attitudes to the fall of the Berlin Wall are largely positive — at least among those who still understand what it was. But historical knowledge is dwindling and being replaced with mythology. We should never forget, however, the benefits Germany's reunification brought to the world, writes Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Moscow Center.
    by Andrei Kolesnikov
  • With smart tactical improvisation and an intelligent strategy, Putin has put together a house of cards in Syria. With its current success, Russia also inherits many problems, writes ex-diplomat and arabist Marcel Kurpershoek.
  • One of the most persistent myths about German reunification is that Mikhail Gorbachev told East German party leader Erich Honecker in 1989 that 'those who are late will be punished by history'. Shortly after that, the Berlin Wall fell. In reality, Gorbachev had the Soviet Union in mind, and in private conversations was very meek and deferential to Honecker, writes Hannes Adomeit.
  • A report about Vladimir Putin as a KBG officer shows that he was seen as worthy, serious and reliable, but not as a high-flier or a leader. His later career confirms this early assessment, argues Mark Galeotti. Putin feels attached to the intelligence services, relies on their judgement and fails to manage them, giving them far too much leeway to decide the course of Russia.
  • During a two-day Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, African leaders met with president Putin. They stressed that Western dominance and pressure is over, and that together they will promote a world order based on multilaterialism and respect for national sovereignty. Evan Gershkovich reported on the summit for Coda Story.
    by Evan Gershkovich
  • One of the most well-known Russian economists, Sergei Guriev, spoke about Russian corruption and Western enablement at De Rode Hoed in Amsterdam on October 16. He explained the effects of corruption on the Russian economy and citizens, and what the West should do to fight it.
    by Sergei Guriev
  • In the relationship between Russia and Europe, illusions about rapprochement are gone. However, the relation is not confrontational either. It's in Russia's interest to strengthen economic and technological ties with the EU, argues Dmitri Trenin, director of Carnegie Center Moscow on the website of his think tank.
  • The decision of president Trump to withdraw the American military from northern Syria clears the way for Russia to become the referee in Syria and the wider region. Russia must feel excited that it has finally returned to the world stage as a major recognized force, argues Maxim Trudolyubov, senior fellow at the Kennan Institute.
    by Maxim Trudolyubov
  • Banker and oil magnate Ihor Kolomojsky, who aired Zelensky's comedy show 'Servant of the People', returned to Kyiv after a two-year exile. Under Poroshenko, his PrivatBank was nationalised. Now there are signs that the tycoon is protected, says Kyiv-based Christopher Miller in an article on RFE/RL. How independent is president Zelensky?
    by Christopher Miller
  • Economist Sergei Guriev, who will hold the third RaamopRusland ‘October Lecture’ on October 16 in Amsterdam, recently gave an interview to one of Russia’s most popular vloggers, Yuri Dud. The vlogger is becoming more politically outspoken and supported the protest wave against election fraud this summer in Moscow.
    by Raam op Rusland
  • Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu gave a lenghty interview in which he spoke about the reform of the army, the victories in Syria and Russia's successful defence against the West's hybrid warfare. According to our columnist Mark Galeotti, it looks like the application letter for the presidency after Putin's current term ends in 2024. But there are competitors.
  • An open letter written by Russian Orthodox priests in defense of those imprisoned over recent protests in Moscow is the first time that clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church have taken collective action that was not sanctioned by the church authorities.
    by Ksenia Luchenko
  • The Russian elite is engaged in an indirect debate about a future without Putin. Until recently this was unthinkable - or in any case unmentionable - , but the issue is rapidly becoming the central fascination of the Muscovite ruling class, observes Mark Galeotti.
  • Two weeks ago in Berlin a Chechen enemy of the Kremlin was murdered by, presumably, a contract killer dispatched from Moscow. According to security expert Mark Galeotti, Russian policy making is often 'driven by powerful intangibles such as honour, vengeance and reputation'.
  • The anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Agression Pact between Hitler and Stalin is hotly debated these days. Dutch historian Jeroen Bult rejects Russian Ambassador Shulgin's explanation of the facts, saying: 'Germany and the Soviet Union joined forces to destroy the Order of Versailles, by which both of them felt so humiliated, for good.'
    by Jeroen Bult
  • The Trump administration and the U.S. Congress want to block the Nord Stream 2 project because they think it will make European countries too dependent on Russian energy and damage Ukraine. However, it’s unlikely that the U.S. will succeed, writes Todd Prince for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
    by Todd Prince
  • This fall Dmitry Trenin publishes his new book 'Russia', an ultra-concise overview of 120 years of Russia's recent history. On the site of Carnegie he published this summary.
  • Signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a difficult, but unavoidable step for the Soviet leadership on August 23 1939, argues the Russian ambassador Alexander Shulgin in response to historian Marc Jansen. The Soviets were concerned by the prospect of an anti-Soviet front and needed time to prepare for the war.
    by Alexander Shulgin
  • This August marks 20 years that Vladimir Putin is in power. The first decade produced an unprecedented growth, but this rapidly declined after Putin halted reforms. Sergey Guriyev doesn't believe in recovery unless Putin reduces the state's role and protects property rights.
    by Sergey Guriyev
  • Again an overwhelming police force in Moscow suppressed demonstrations for fair elections. According to our columnist Mark Galeotti, the security forces can easily deal with the small and peaceful civil disobedience. However, the situation also shows the elite's worry about the future. This regime has totally run out of ideas.
  • In a recent article, Russian journalist Leonid Ragozin argued that ‘Russophobia exists and that it affects politics in the West’. However, the driving mechanisms of Western policies are primarily not Russophobia but are for the most part based on rational analyses, rebuts Hannes Adomeit.
  • A rare show of solidarity between pro-Kremlin and independent journalists helped investigative journalist Ivan Golunov stay out of jail. In an article for CodaStory, Eva Hartog explores the motives of pro-Kremlin journalists who decided to protest.
  • Russian state propaganda labels any suggestion that Russia might be blamed for some wrongdoing as Russophobia. So is Russophobia solely the fruit of imagination? No, alas it isn't. Russophobia exists, argues journalist Leonid Ragozin. The myth about an omnipotent Russia which meddles everywhere obscures the impotency that spans entire Western societies.
    by Leonid Ragozin
  • In his interview with the Financial Times Vladimir Putin buried liberalism. Our columnist Mark Galeotti, author of the sobre book 'We need to talk about Putin' puts things in perspective. Putin is a man with many masks, who easily adapts to different audiences. His main goal is stability for his regime and for the world, in the interest of Russia. And of his business friends.
  • What can Ukraine's new president Volodymyr Zelensky do to help solve the Donbas conflict? With its policy of 'passportization' the Kremlin is escalating the conflict, Andreas Umland argues. More sanctions are needed to force Russia to change its policy. Or Europe will pay dearly.
  • Russians watch Putin's annual call-in show for clues about what the future will bring, but the president took them back to the past. Putin invoked the 1990s to show that life could be worse, if not for his 20 years in power. We republish a slightly abridged report of the show, written by Steve Gutterman for Radio Free Europe, followed by quotations of Putin's most remarkable statements.
    by Steve Gutterman
  • Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested on fabricated drugs charges. His employer Meduza suspected his arrest was triggered by his recent stories about enrichment by Moscow officials and other corrupt schemes. We republish, in an abridged version, his investigation into private microfinance firms that seized the homes of hundreds of Moscovites.
    by Ivan Golunov
  • The investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, whose arrest in Moscow on false drug charges on June 6 elicited unprecedented outrage in Russia, has been freed and the charged dropped. But being vindicated he is the exception to the rule, writes Olga Romanova, director of the prisoner's rights organisation 'Russia behind bars', for the Moscow Carnegie Center.
    by Olga Romanova
  • In a hall with over 400 (mostly) students at the Campus The Hague, Mikhail Khodorkovsky spoke about the future of Russia. Khodorkovsky declared himself a staunch supporter of evolutionary change in Russia, from a presidential system to a fullfledged democratic parliamentary republic.
    by Raam op Rusland
  • The Russian Orthodox Church was always an arm of the state. But after the collapse of communism it grew greedy fingers of its own and became the state corporation RosBog (GodofRussia), argues our columnist Mark Galeotti. As the successful protests against the umptieth church in Ekaterinburg have shown, shareholders can back down. This was an onion dome too far.
  • There are signs that the political influence of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service SVR is growing. After Stalin and Andropov, Putin is the third Russian leader who politically uses the intelligence services, argues intelligence expert Andrei Soldatov.
  • For the first time since 2013, a major bilateral dispute between Russia and the Netherlands has been settled. According to sea law expert Alex Oude Elferink, the agreement about the Arctic Sunrise gives both parties the possibility to hold on to their own point of view, at the same recognizing the significance of international law for their bilateral relations.
  • Not only Russians, but also scores of western politicians and commentators use the term 'civil war' for the armed conflict in the Donbas. This is a false flag, argues researcher Tobias Wals, to deny Russia's heavy involvement in the military operation.
  • The Kremlin’s domestic policy bloc tries to run Russia as a corporation. It’s not surprising, therefore, that they have resorted to using deep packet inspection (DPI) technology, a corporate method of internet control, writes Alexandra Prokopenko for Carnegie Moscow. The new internet law is driven by anxiety about growing discontent in society, but instead it will drag Russia down.
    by Alexandra Prokopenko
  • At the Arctic Council in Finland, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked about the crisis in Venezuela. This was also the most important topic of the phone call between Trump and Putin. In The Moscow Times, analyst Vladimir Frolov argues that the Kremlin is testing the water for a deal to exchange spheres of influence: Venezuela for Donbass.
    by Vladimir Frolov
  • For Russia challenging the US self-proclaimed 'sphere of influence' in Venezuela is a very cheap gamble, says our security expert Mark Galeotti. An airplane with armed men, a couple of threathening statements, and flexing of some muscles is all it costs. Rosneft investments in the Venezuelan oil industry could suffer. But that is probably an affordable loss and shrewd political calculation.
  • During the wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya the Soviet Army was highly unpopular. Putin completely recreated the image of the military, and now Minister of Defense Shoigu is now the most popular person after Putin. Shoigu plans to build a huge Army Cathedral near Moscow. Andrei Soldatov writes about the growing political clout of the military, unheard of in the history of Russia.
  • According to Russia all military and political cooperation with NATO has effectively ended. There is no readiness for compromise or pragmatism, as both sides appear to think time is on their side. That's the real tragedy, writes our columnist Mark Galeotti.
  • The winner of the first round in the Ukrainian presidential elections is someone who has never held a government position and has no record of political or civic activism. Rather, Volodymyr Zelensky has risen to prominence by ridiculing in tv shows the politicians he is running against. He is a populist who defies the existing left and right wing models, writes political scientist Sergiy Kudelia.
    by Sergiy Kudelia
  • In a worst-case scenario, political-technological trickery could unsettle social stability in Ukraine. Cynical puppet masters are prepared to risk the outbreak of a major domestic civil conflict for the sake of securing the re-election of Ukraine’s incumbent president.
  • After president Nursultan Nazarbayev announced that he would step down after 30 years in power, Kazakh parliament decided to rename the capital to Nursultan, and wants to make the president's daughter speaker of the House. 'Is he really stepping down?' asks our columnist Mark Galeotti. And: what can Vladimir Putin learn from the cunning fox about exit strategies and safe havens?
  • Many think that Russia's aggressive foreign policy was created by Vladimir Putin. In this report for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Julia Gurganus and Eugene Rumer show that there is nothing new to it. Russia’s quest for strategic depth, great power ambitions, and uneasy ties with the West have been around for centuries and will be with us for the foreseeable future.
    by Julia Gurganus and Eugene Rumer
  • On March 31 Ukrainians will vote for a new president. It looks like a run-off between Petro Poroshenko and TV comedian Volodymir Zelensky. This 'against-all' candidate with no political experience shows that a large chunk of the electorate is fed up with Poroshenko's Putinism-lite. The West prefers to neglect these signs, says journalist Leonid Ragozin.
    by Leonid Ragozin
  • The arrest of mega-investor Michael Calvey in Moscow once again shocked the world of business. Why are people so surprised, asks Andrey Movchan of Carnegie Center Moscow. After the lawlessness of the mid-1990s, many hoped that a system of laws and rules to protect business (and everyone else) from arbitrariness would emerge. No way: the interest group that is furthest from honest business and society won the battle and made arbitrariness the guarantee of its position.
    by Andrey Movchan