Russia

Why Russia is economically weak and politically strong

In GDP terms, the Russian economy is much smaller than that of the EU, yet from a political and military perspective, Russia is a major player in global affairs. Paul De Grauwe argues that Europe grants Russia this power by leaving defence as a matter for each of its constituent nations, instead of having a combined army.

Moscow, Credit: greg westfall (CC BY 2.0)
A few […]

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    Russian concessions to Europe are unlikely, and European concessions to Russia are useless

Russian concessions to Europe are unlikely, and European concessions to Russia are useless

Is there any prospect of an end to the deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia? Irina Busygina explains that Vladimir Putin’s strategy for maintaining domestic support has focused on the construction of external threats and the promotion of an image of ‘Russian greatness’ on the international stage. But by putting foreign policy in the service of domestic […]

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    How the evolving international environment affects EU member states’ positions toward Russia

How the evolving international environment affects EU member states’ positions toward Russia

EU states have reacted in varying ways to the nerve agent attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal, with some states expelling Russian diplomats, and others adopting a more cautious response. Drawing on a recent report, Marco Siddi assesses some of the reasons that underpin the differing approaches of EU states in their relations with Russia.

Credit: kremlin.ru
In the aftermath of […]

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    We must rethink Russia’s propaganda machine in order to reset the dynamic that drives it

We must rethink Russia’s propaganda machine in order to reset the dynamic that drives it

To understand how Russian propaganda works, we first have to discard the idea that the Kremlin is in charge of a coordinated media machine acting together with cyber-warriors to attack a single audience. Stephen Hutchings explains why Russian media discourses are much more complicated than often presented.

The theme of propaganda dominated much British media coverage of the Skripal […]

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    No easy options: How the UK could put pressure on Russia over the Skripal attack

No easy options: How the UK could put pressure on Russia over the Skripal attack

France, Germany, the UK and the United States have released a joint-statement indicating that they believe it is highly likely there was Russian involvement in the nerve agent attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal. But what further action could the UK take against Russia? Cristian Nitoiu identifies three options, all of which would carry potential negative consequences.

Theresa May, Credit: […]

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    How national identity can explain divisions between EU member states over Russia

How national identity can explain divisions between EU member states over Russia

The EU introduced a series of sanctions against Russia following the Ukraine crisis, but divisions persist between EU member states over how to engage with its largest eastern neighbour. Drawing on a recent book, Marco Siddi writes that disagreements between EU member states over Russia stem not only from different national interests, but have their roots in national identity. […]

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    Youth politics: Russia’s protests reflect a Europe-wide rebellion against the status quo

Youth politics: Russia’s protests reflect a Europe-wide rebellion against the status quo

In Russia, Aleksei Navalny initiated a new nationwide wave of protests that confirmed the Kremlin faces significant legitimacy issues, especially among the younger generation. Tomila Lankina argues that this trend is not confined to Russia, and can indeed be noticed across the continent – from Macron’s victory in France to young people taking a more active role in politics […]

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    Is ‘hybrid geopolitics’ the next EU foreign policy doctrine?

Is ‘hybrid geopolitics’ the next EU foreign policy doctrine?

The EU has faced a diverse range of criticisms over its actions during the Ukraine crisis. While some observers have accused EU states of being too weak in the face of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, others suggest that the crisis itself emerged from a misguided attempt by the EU to push for an Association Agreement with Ukraine. Richard Youngs highlights […]

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    The timing is just right for Navalny to challenge Putin’s regime

The timing is just right for Navalny to challenge Putin’s regime

Can prominent anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny endanger Vladimir Putin’s long-standing rule? In light of the recent protests in Moscow, Alexander Titov traces the history of anti-Putin protests since the 2011 swapping of roles between Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. He argues that the timing is just right for a new protest movement to gather momentum ahead of the March 2018 presidential […]

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    Russia ups its game in the Balkans, but the West should avoid responding in kind

Russia ups its game in the Balkans, but the West should avoid responding in kind

Russia has recently been accused of stoking tensions in the Balkans by waging ‘information warfare’ in the region. Jarosław Wiśniewski writes that even if these allegations are true, the West should avoid responding in kind. Rather than engaging in the same tactics, the carrot of European integration should be used to exert greater influence.

Images of Vladimir Putin placed on an […]

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How western populism weakens democracy in Ukraine

What does the election of Donald Trump and the rise of ‘populist’ parties across Europe mean for Ukraine? Iryna Solonenko argues that populism in Europe, and in the West generally, plays into the hands of anti-democratic forces in the country, supporting Russia’s destabilising influence and threatening Ukraine’s democratic future.

During the Euromaidan protests in 2013/2014 and their aftermath, when the […]

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The West needs to call Russia’s bluff in the Balkans

Some commentators have hinted at the imminence of another war in the Balkans, highlighting Russia’s supposed role in such an escalation. Dimitar Bechev argues that no such conflict is on the cards: Moscow is exploiting a vacuum left by the West’s retreating pull factor in the region, while autocrats in the Balkans are playing along. He writes that the EU should […]

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    The Kremlin doesn’t promote autocracy – it simply trolls whomever it dislikes

The Kremlin doesn’t promote autocracy – it simply trolls whomever it dislikes

Russia is often accused of undermining democracy, particularly in former Soviet states. The recent reports of Russian-sponsored hacking in the US have led some to go further and claim it is actively promoting autocracy. But Nelli Babayan argues that Vladimir Putin’s chief aim is to demonstrate Russia’s strength – and probably to undermine US and EU democracies, rather than […]

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    Doping in world sport: The real issue is that we still don’t know who to blame for anti-doping failures

Doping in world sport: The real issue is that we still don’t know who to blame for anti-doping failures

The recent scandal surrounding Russian state-sponsored doping highlighted deep rooted issues affecting international anti-doping procedures in sport. Slobodan Tomic argues that the key problem lies in the failure of the current anti-doping regime’s institutional design to specify hierarchies of accountability. To match powers with responsibilities, he suggests that we should avoid framing the reform as a debate over the […]

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    Andrei Tsygankov: “The US establishment, not the Kremlin, is undermining normalisation with Russia”

Andrei Tsygankov: “The US establishment, not the Kremlin, is undermining normalisation with Russia”

The release of an intelligence report on Russian interference in the US presidential election, alongside allegations of links between Donald Trump and the Kremlin, have strained US-Russia relations. Andrei P. Tsygankov argues that there remains a deep-rooted fear of Russia within the American establishment, but that Donald Trump’s election provides an opportunity for the two countries to normalise their […]

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    Putin’s approach to the West should encourage us to reflect on the nature of our own democracy

Putin’s approach to the West should encourage us to reflect on the nature of our own democracy

The United States expelled 35 Russian diplomats at the end of December over claims that Russia had interfered in the US election. But is Russia’s strategy in the West really having a tangible impact on political outcomes and, if so, how should the West respond? Linda Risso writes that the West’s apparent weakness to Russian influence stems from a […]

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    Trump’s election victory offers a clear opportunity for EU defence policy

Trump’s election victory offers a clear opportunity for EU defence policy

Several commentators in Europe have raised concerns that Donald Trump’s presidential election victory could undermine NATO and damage European security and defence. Antonio Calcara writes that while these concerns may be valid, Trump’s election also presents a key opportunity to strengthen EU defence policy. He argues that this should be achieved not through large-scale political integration, but instead by […]

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    With a struggling economy and elections looming, why do so many Russians still back their government?

With a struggling economy and elections looming, why do so many Russians still back their government?

Russia is due to hold parliamentary elections on 18 September. To coincide with the elections, we will be running a number of articles on Russian politics and society. In this contribution, Evgeny Gontmakher writes on why Russian citizens still continue to show strong support for the current government despite a faltering economy. He notes that part of the explanation […]

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    What does Russia’s doping scandal tell us about the nature of political conspiracies?

What does Russia’s doping scandal tell us about the nature of political conspiracies?

Russia’s participation in the athletics events at the 2016 Olympic games remains under threat following evidence of doping by Russian athletes in previous competitions. Joseph E. Uscinski writes on what the scandal says about the nature of political conspiracies.

 

It has been widely reported that the Russian Olympic team may have dominated the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics by using cocktails […]

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    Ukraine’s Eurovision victory brings the plight of Crimean Tatars to a European audience

Ukraine’s Eurovision victory brings the plight of Crimean Tatars to a European audience

Ukraine won the Eurovision song contest on 14 May, with a song framed around the deportation of Crimean Tatars under Stalin in 1944. Ellie Knott writes that the result highlights the plight of Crimean Tatars following the territory’s annexation by Russia in 2014, particularly in light of the recent decision by a Crimean court to ban the legislature of […]

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