Russia and Central Asia

Must Read

Economist: What's Gone Wrong with Democracy

"Democracy is going through a difficult time. Where autocrats have been driven out of office, their opponents have mostly failed to create viable democratic regimes. Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife. Yet just a few years ago democracy looked as though it would dominate the world."

See more in Global; Russian Federation; Organization of Government

Op-Ed

Putin’s War

Author: Fred Kaplan
Slate

Is the West about to go to war with Russia over the fate of Ukraine? The question should answer itself. I can't imagine many Americans or Europeans willingly spending "blood and treasure" to keep Moscow's mitts off of Kiev and Kviv. So why, then, did President Obama publicly warn Vladimir Putin that armed aggression against Ukraine would lead to "consequences"?

See more in Russian Federation; Ukraine; Global Governance

Must Read

The New Yorker: Patriot Games

Author: David Remnick

"Great powers seldom retreat forever. But, to the people who suffer their fall, the sense of diminishment is acute. For Russians, the end of the Soviet Union was not merely a new charter, a new flag, a new set of lyrics to an old anthem. There were plenty, in the cities, mainly, who rejoiced in the liberating sense of possibility—the open borders, the cultural ferment, the democratic potential—but for many millions of their compatriots, Putin among them, the collapse launched a decade of humiliation, marked by geopolitical, economic, and cultural disarray."

See more in Russia and Central Asia; Politics and Strategy

Op-Ed

When Terrorism (That Never Happened) Made Headlines in Sochi

Author: Micah Zenko
ForeignPolicy.com

For months ahead of the Winter Olympics in Russia, politicians and the media discussed the possibility of a terrorist attacks during the games. Micah Zenko reveals the truth about the likelihood of a terrorist attack in Sochi, analyzes how policymakers and the media misinformed the public, and discusses how the situation could have been handled better.

See more in Russian Federation; Terrorist Attacks; Media and Foreign Policy

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New York Review of Books: Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine

Author: Timothy Snyder

"To set its own course, Ukraine needs normal public debate, the restoration of parliamentary democracy, and workable relations with all of its neighbors. Ukraine is full of sophisticated and ambitious people. If people in the West become caught up in the question of whether they are largely Nazis or not, then they may miss the central issues in the present crisis."

See more in Ukraine; Russia and Central Asia; Politics and Strategy

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The Diplomat: Japan and Russia: Arctic Friends

Author: Stratos Pourzitakis

"Through its warming ties with Russia, Japan seeks to exploit the Arctic's potential and to win support in standing up to what it regards as China's assertive policies. Working with Russia is a great opportunity for Japan to strengthen ties with the most important player in the Arctic and gain leverage within the Arctic Council. It will also give Japanese energy and maritime corporations and scientific institutions valuable Arctic access."

See more in Japan; Russia and Central Asia; Energy Policy

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

Must Read

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

Must Read

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