Russian Federation

Op-Ed

Who's Better for His People? Putin or Obama? The Answer Is Obvious.

Author: Max Boot
Los Angeles Times

Donald Trump has gotten a lot of well-justified criticism for his paeans to Vladimir Putin, Russia’s anti-American dictator. But Trump isn’t backing down from his effusive praise of Putin, and neither are his supporters. On both foreign and domestic policy there is simply no comparison between the democratically elected president of America and the thug who has seized control of Russia. Putin is not serving Russia’s interests, only his own and those of his crooked cronies and it’s terrifying that Trump sees Putin as an admirable leader, and shameful that his supporters have fallen in line to defend his indefensible views.

See more in United States; Russian Federation; Elections; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Article

What a Failed Soviet Coup Can Teach Us About 21st-Century Populism

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Washington Post

Twenty-five years ago this week, a group of Politburo hard-liners launched a coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The effort to depose him provoked a gigantic popular protest and collapsed in just three days. With the failure of the coup, the communist system itself began to unravel. “The 20th century” — so claimed Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev’s rival, rescuer and eventual successor — had “essentially ended.” People power had defeated the Soviet state.

See more in Russian Federation; Conflict Assessment; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Foreign Affairs Article

Russia's Perpetual Geopolitics

Author: Stephen Kotkin

For half a millennium, Russian foreign policy has been characterized by soaring ambitions that have exceeded the country’s capabilities. Beginning with the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the sixteenth century, Russia managed to expand at an average rate of 50 square miles per day for hundreds of years, eventually covering one-sixth of the earth’s landmass. By 1900, it was the world’s fourth- or fifth-largest industrial power and the largest agricultural producer in Europe.

See more in Russian Federation; Society and Culture

Foreign Affairs Article

Putin's Foreign Policy

Author: Fyodor Lukyanov

In February, Moscow and Washington issued a joint statement announcing the terms of a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria—a truce agreed to by major world powers, regional players, and most of the participants in the Syrian civil war. Given the fierce mutual recriminations that have become typical of U.S.-Russian relations in recent years, the tone of the statement suggested a surprising degree of common cause.

See more in Russian Federation; Politics and Strategy

News Release

U.S. Cold War Focus on Stability in the Middle East Provides Lessons for Today, Say Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon in New Book

“The underreported story of the Cold War is that the United States succeeded in achieving many of its objectives in the Middle East,” argue Ray Takeyh, senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, and Steven Simon, visiting scholar at Dartmouth College. Cutting against conventional wisdom, the authors shed new light on the makings of the modern Middle East and draw lessons for U.S. strategy today.

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Russian Federation; Defense and Security; Politics and Strategy

Op-Ed

An Earful for Vladimir Putin in Latest ‘Direct Line’ Call-In Show

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

It’s easy to snicker at Vladimir Putin’s annual televised call-in extravaganza, known as “Direct Line.” The show’s campy, “Dear Leader” deference would hardly be greater if Kim Jong Un were its star. Still, Mr. Putin’s performance is a valuable political barometer. The questions allowed and the answers they generate tell us how the Kremlin views the country’s mind and mood.

See more in Russian Federation; Presidents and Chiefs of State

News Release

State Capitalism Threatens Global Security and Prosperity, Argues Kurlantzick in New Book

Over the past two decades, many developing countries have turned away from free market capitalism and toward modern state capitalism, which is a combination of traditional state economic planning and elements of free market competition. In his new book, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Joshua Kurlantzick argues that modern state capitalism is ultimately “more protectionist, more dangerous to global security and prosperity, and more threatening to political freedom” than free market economics.

See more in Asia and Pacific; Russian Federation; Economics