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Tag: Vladimir Putin

Putin and his monsters

The Russian president is flipping the switch after 17 years in office. At the start of the new presidential campaign Vladimir Putin has already attempted to gain the sympathies of the younger generation, but avoids facing the worrying reality created by his system.

Russia is in a nervous period of transition as preparations are being made for the next presidential election in March 2018. Vladimir Putin was already asked by “ordinary Russians” from a village in the Buryatia region to run for office for the fourth time since 2000. He replied that he still needed time to make his final decision, but he also indicated he does not want to retire. According to sources at the RBC news agency, the Kremlin has already set plans for the presidential campaign and the one and only real candidate will be Putin. Meanwhile, the president is said to announce his decision at the end of the year during a large event in Moscow.

This presidential term that Putin will soon be completing is the first six-year term of the Russian presidency (prior to 2012, terms were only four years). The five and a half years of this term were tough, nervous and full of conflict – both domestically and internationally. Russia’s aggressive foreign policy is combined with the harsh treatment of independent media and NGOs in domestic policy. Putin decimated the separation of powers in the early 2000s and after the 2012 election he made the system more repressive, allowing it to intervene into the private lives of Russian citizens.

October 31, 2017 - Artem Filatov

The Kremlin sets its eyes on YouTube

In Russia YouTube is becoming the main platform for political conflict and a battleground for young voters. While the opposition is able to attract followers with content, the authorities are experimenting with ways to establish control over the video portal.

The year 2017 has definitely become the year of YouTube. Already in 2016, the video sharing social network became the second most visited website in the world after Google.com. In June 2017 YouTube claimed that its monthly audience of registered users passed 1.5 billion people. In Russia, 87 per cent of internet users watch videos on YouTube and the number of monthly active viewers is more than 62 million unique users. Some research indicates the figure could be even more than 80 million. In addition to a growing audience, it is important to emphasise the main advantage that YouTube has: younger generations of Russians now prefer YouTube over traditional media as their main source of news and information. Those within the 25-34 year-old age group are the most active users of YouTube in the country.

Despite its rapidly growing popularity, the Russian authorities at first did not pay much attention to YouTube. This changed in March this year, however, when a single film brought tens of thousands of people to the streets in 82 Russian cities. The majority of the protesters were young.

October 31, 2017 - Svitlana Ovcharova

Sobchak. A presidential anti-candidate.

Ksenia Sobchak, the new Russian presidential candidate, does not pose a threat to Putin. She is too controversial to build a wide front of support, even among the critical, liberally-minded parts of the Russian society. Thus she is an ideal sparring partner for Putin, while Navalny would be too risky for the Kremlin.

October 23, 2017 - Paulina Siegień

Tired of the status quo

An interview with Nikolay Artemenko, co-ordinator at the Vesna Youth Democratic Movement. Interviewer: Iwona Reichardt IWONA REICHARDT: What is the face of the Russian youth that we saw on the streets in March and June 2017? NIKOLAY ARTEMENKO: There is no single face of those who came to the streets this year. They represent different social groups, different professions, different lifestyles, etc. What brings them to the street is the feeling of being very tired.

October 4, 2017 - Nikolay Artemenko

Conspiracy theories and the fear of others

Anti-West conspiracy theories in Russia which have been instrumentalised since the 19th century became widespread during the Soviet period and are now a common tool for public mobilisation of the Kremlin. The effects of these theories on the nation and its perception of the world will have consequences for the decades to come.

October 4, 2017 - Ilya Yablokov

A thief’s fear of punishment is incompatible with democracy

An interview with Anastasia Kirilenko, an investigative reporter based in Moscow. Interviewer: Maciej Zaniewicz

MACIEJ ZANIEWICZ: After watching your film, Who is Mr. Putin, one gets the sense that the whole Russian political system today grew out of the criminal world of the 1990s, which was created by Vladimir Putin himself.

ANASTASIA KIRILENKO: When Putin was a presidential candidate in 2000, journalists rushed to explain who he was. I remember very well the headlines: he is a man who came out of nowhere. In fact, in St Petersburg everyone knew very well who he was. There were enough criminal scandals connected to Putin. In 2000 many journalists were confused. Reporters from the Moscow Times went to St Petersburg and found people who had worked with Putin, but those people could not recall any details about what it was like to work with him.

October 4, 2017 - Anastasia Kirilenko Maciej Zaniewicz

Russia and Putin: A dysfunctional family

In one of the most famous opening lines in literature, Leo Tolstoy wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” What he meant by that was it is possible to fail in many ways, but there is only one way to succeed. The interesting thing about Russia’s ongoing failure, in contrast to its most famous writer’s wisdom, is that it is unrelenting in its uniformity. Nothing happening in Russia today is a surprise. It looks exactly like Russia's entire painstaking history played out year after year, decade after decade. Russian history, which is full of unique and different historical events, always seems to arrive back at the same place. 

August 18, 2017 - Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska

A reset was always fake news. New sanctions are not

On August 2nd, US President Donald Trump reluctantly signed tough new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. He had little choice since they passed both houses of the US Congress unanimously; 419 to 3 in the House of Representatives and 98 to 2 in the Senate, enabling them to block any presidential veto if Trump had decided not to sign them into law.

August 4, 2017 - Taras Kuzio

Russia’s meddling gets more credit than it deserves


Interview with Mark Galeotti,  a senior researcher at UMV, the Institute of International Relations Prague. Interviewer: Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska. 

July 31, 2017 - Mark Galeotti

Informing without information: Russia in the age of Twitter

In order to understand the wide-reaching implications of post-truth, one should first look at its sources. Alternative facts and post-truth have been used by governments, such as that of Russia, in the strategic shaping of national identity. In the initial hours and days after unexpected events, elite-level individuals play a decisive role in framing the mainstream interpretations despite the utter lack of concrete information. Even after further information comes out, the wider public will perceive it in the context of previously constructed narratives. In terms of social media, Twitter acts as ground zero for shaping interpretations due to its immediacy and the limited size of its posts.

July 3, 2017 - George Spencer Terry and Volha Damarad

A poorly tailored federalism: The biggest ills of the Russian territorial system

This article originally appeared in "Meanwhile in the Baltics...", a collection of articles written by the graduates of 2016 Solidarity Academy - Baltic Sea Youth Dialogue, organised by the European Solidarity Centre in partnership with the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

May 22, 2017 - Hubert Gregorski

Homo politicus, Homo passionis

This piece originally appeared in Issue 2/2017 of New Eastern Europe. Subscribe now.

May 12, 2017 - Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska



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