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Tag: Russia

Lavrov threatens NATO over Estonian missile accident

Beyond the large-scale geopolitical game, a Spanish fighter jet comes close to triggering an event with unforeseeable consequences for NATO and Russia.

November 6, 2018 - Joseph Hammond

Is the blockchain revolution starting in Russia?

Russia, with its cheap electricity and talented tech professionals, has become an important hub for cryptocurrency. And it seems the Russian authorities are starting to see the benefits of blockchain technology, especially in terms of overcoming US sanctions.

“Can you see this bag?” Sanjarbek Nasirbekov, an Uzbek technology expert and bitcoin trader, asks me pointing to a black sporty backpack resting on a hanger. We are sitting in his Tashkent office on the third floor of a hip co-working space with a gym and a game room, sipping afternoon tea. “This is where I carry the cash when I go to Moscow,” he explains. Sanjarbek’s trips to Russia with the black backpack began when his business started growing and his clients’ demand for bitcoin increased. At the time, buying two bitcoins per day from his Moscow-based partner was no longer a sustainable option. Sanjarbek needed more. And his Russian partner could help him.

November 5, 2018 - Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska

Russia’s economic policy in Putin’s fourth term

Despite some initial disruption, the Kremlin’s efforts to counteract and mitigate the impact of sanctions have been quite successful. The state-led redistributive model has ensured that the authorities are well placed to respond to any disruption caused by the sanctions. In essence, the effect of the sanctions has reinforced a highly interventionist economic policy and a dominant role of the state in driving economic growth.

Is Russia’s economic policy a success or failure? The answer may strike many as self-evident. By most conventional measures, the economy has performed poorly in recent years. Between 2000 and 2008, Russia’s economy grew by an impressive seven per cent per year, driven by both rising oil prices and substantial productivity gains. Over the past ten years, however, Russia’s real GDP has risen, on average, by just one per cent per year.

November 5, 2018 - Alex Nice

Russia’s denial syndrome

The HIV epidemic continues to spread in Russia while the authorities appear to be doing very little to effectively counter it. It does not help that the dedicated NGOs that try to prevent its spread are faced with legal obstacles and conspiracy theories claiming that the HIV epidemic is a hoax fabricated by the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2015 as many as 120,000 Russians were diagnosed with HIV. This figure is 70 per cent of the total number of new diagnoses in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. That year the number of officially registered HIV carriers in Russia exceeded one million, and the Russian authorities had to finally recognise the existence of a full-scale HIV epidemic.

November 5, 2018 - Olga Irisova

Nord Stream: The narrative of a new Molotov–Ribbentrop pact?

The debates that took place on the first Nord Stream pipeline exemplify the politically detrimental consequences that can arise from the misuse of the past for political gains. Carefully analysing the context and history of the comparison shows that Polish politicians are not trapped in memories of the past, rather they have developed tools to play on their audience’s sensitivity to its own history.

History appears in various shapes within the public debate. Though not a Polish specificity, the Polish political sphere offers fertile ground for memory studies. History can be the object of public policy, as in the ongoing debate on the 2018 amendments to the 1988 Act on the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN law).

November 5, 2018 - Francis Masson

Belarus in a post-Crimean deadlock

The annexation of Crimea was planned as a response to the decrease in Vladimir Putin’s approval rating in Russia. Now, after the pension reform has been introduced, the president’s rating is lower than that of the military – for the first time ever. It may happen that Belarus becomes the next goal for the Kremlin’s revanchist policies.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s foreign policy towards the countries of the socialist camp extensively followed a simple formula: loyalty of its satellites was bought with cheap natural gas and oil supplies. Today, it is widely implemented by Russia in relation to its post-Soviet neighbours, and its main client is Belarus.

November 5, 2018 - Igor Gretskiy

Putin’s pension reforms are painful but necessary.

If birth rates in Russia do not rise, though, the painful reforms will be for nothing

October 23, 2018 - Kristijan Fidanovski

Can the Council of Europe stand up to Putin?

As the European consensus for sanctions against Russia is eroding, the Council of Europe has found itself in a difficult position.

September 24, 2018 - Maryla Król

The one shall be taken, and the other left

The Russian people overwhelmingly supported annexing the Crimea to Russia in 2014, but not the Donbas. What explains this anomaly?

September 21, 2018 - Dorka Takácsy

Nighttime reflection on the soft power of Russia in contemporary times

It is difficult to describe the soft power of Russia. Is it viable to think of it in Western terms?

September 11, 2018 - Michael Eric Lambert

Issue 5 2018: What’s new with Belarus?

It often seems, at least from the outside, that Belarus remains isolated from the West and very static in its transformation. Yet, despite its relative isolation, Belarus is indeed changing.

September 2, 2018 - New Eastern Europe

Corruption is Russia’s biggest export

An interview with Ilya Zaslavskiy, head of research at the Free Russia Foundation. Interviewer: Olena Babakova

OLENA BABAKOVA: After the United States introduced new sanctions against Russian oligarchs in April this year, the value of their companies collapsed and the exchange rates of the rouble sky rocketed. The West showed, once again, that it can still exert pressure on Russia. Is this a long-term problem for the Russian economy or has it already learnt how to adapt to such restrictions?

ILYA ZASLAVSKIY: I think we should examine whether the Kremlin and its business circles adapted to the western sanctions or whether the economy as a whole adapted. The regime found ways to continue with its current policies and its various confidants that have been targeted still have lots of money in offshore accounts, so they only feel threatened but not bitten. Even more importantly, they feel confident. However, if we talk about the quality of life and wealth of ordinary Russians, standards have obviously dropped. Some estimates say it has fallen by as much as a third. However this is still better than the situation in the 1990s.

September 1, 2018 - Ilya Zaslavskiy Olena Babakova

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