Russia and Central Asia

Must Read

New Republic: The Loneliness of Vladimir Putin

Author: Julia Ioffe

"The increasingly real threat of economic turmoil is already chipping away at Putin's power with more effectiveness than any protest movement. There is bound to be a vacuum when the forces of economics prevail. But a movement that is pulled in myriad different directions, that cannot decide on an identity, and yet lacks variety in its leaders cannot fill the void. By crushing the opposition, Putin has all but ensured that, once again, Russia's history will repeat itself, and only the wrong people will be there to step in—the ultra-nationalists, childlike faddists, and dangerous purists."

See more in Russia and Central Asia; Economics; Development

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ICG: The North Caucasus: The Challenges of Integration

"Recent attacks, including two in Volgograd, suggest that Islamist terrorists may try to strike across the country and embarrass Moscow during the Olympics, the preparations of which have been beset by allegations of abuses against the local populace. Beyond the immediate risk, they underline the urgent need to achieve a comprehensive political solution to the North Caucasus conflicts before rolling out fully an ambitious tourism project in republics that still have active insurgencies or have been seriously affected by conflict."

See more in Russian Federation; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights

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NYT Magazine: Putin's Olympic Fever Dream

Author: Steven Lee Myers

"The megaproject has returned — another Soviet legacy pursued by the singular will of Vladimir Putin, who seems incapable of escaping the ideas that nurtured him from youth. The Olympics in Sochi are often called Putin's games, a profligate investment to prove to the world Russia's resurrection, a personal validation of his 14 years — and counting — as the country's paramount ruler."

See more in Russian Federation; Development

Must Read

Reuters: Inside Germany's Campaign to Free Khodorkovsky

Author: Michelle Martin and Lidia Kelly

The Kremlin source told Reuters that for Putin, Khodorkovsky would have been much more of a headache if he served his sentence and was released as scheduled. If he were to stay in Russia, he would attract more attention for longer, which could empower him, the source said, adding that this way, Putin had closed his way back to Russia.

See more in Russian Federation; Human Rights

Must Read

The New Republic: What Really Scares Vladmir Putin the Most

Author: Julia Ioffe

"[Putin's] worldview is that the world is in such a chaotic, incomprehensible state, that all attempts to influence it with direct action are counterproductive and only bring the opposite of the intended result,' says Fyodor Lukyanov, the editor of Russia in Global Affairs, who is seen as a good decoder of the Kremlin's thinking. Furthermore, the trope of U.S. obligation to do this or enforce that is more than galling to Putin, Lukyanov says. It is incomprehensible."

See more in Russian Federation; Politics and Strategy

Op-Ed

Why It's a Mistake to Ignore Russia

Author: Carla Anne Robbins
Bloomberg.com

Carla Robbins argues that ignoring the Kremlin and putting current U.S.-Russia relations on pause is not an option worth pursuing. She stresses the importance of publicly warning Russia of the damage done to its global reputation through current policies, and the need to engage with Russia in areas of common interest, such as Iran.

See more in Russian Federation; Politics and Strategy; United States