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Issue 2/2018: The many faces of Putin

Vladimir Putin is set to win a fourth term as president of the Russian Federation. The March-April 2018 issue takes a deeper look at the consequences of Putin’s presidency and what could eventually come after…

February 26, 2018 - New Eastern Europe - IssueIssue 2 2018Magazine

Over the last 18 years, together with the Russian people, the world has experienced the many faces of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. We have seen how the Russian president brought stability to the country following the volatile 1990s. We witnessed the internal struggles with Putin taking on rogue oligarchs and crushing the Chechen independence movement. In the mid-2000s, we saw a growing authoritarianism take hold and a Kremlin unafraid to crack down on its staunchest critics. At the same time, Russia took advantage of high oil prices, invested in modernisation and forged a system that made it nearly impossible to exist without Putin at the helm.

In international relations Putin presented his view of the world in Munich 2007, when he said that “the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible,” and “it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernisation of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe”. The consequences of these words played out a year later in 2008 during the Russian-Georgian War. Following the failed reset in relations with the United States we then saw a brazen Russia break international law in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and the direct support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s campaign in Syria, the first time its military was deployed outside the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union, is an attempt to show the world that it is more than just a regional player – it wants to be recognised as a global power. Lastly, interference in western democracies was meant to show that the liberal democratic order was now defunct.

These are the faces of Putin that we know. It remains to be seen what face will emerge with the start of the next term. Is this truly his last six years in office? What will the search for a successor entail? Can the Putinist system survive as Russia struggles with a slow-growing economy and continued sanctions from the West? And what will it take for a real opposition to emerge? These are the questions that our authors explore and attempt to answer. No one knows for sure what is in store for Russia during these next four years. Certainly, whatever direction the developments take, they will have a much broader-reaching effect. And that is why it is important to understand Russia, the Russian society and the power structures with a single leader at its core.

Table of Contents


A Tale of Two Putins Mark Galeotti

To challenge Putin’s regime Konstantin Eggert

Is Putinism sustainable? Łukasz Kondraciuk

Russia’s generation P Elizaveta Gaufman

In the name of Matilda Zbigniew Rokita

Russia’s Middle East crusade Paweł Pieniążek

A German riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma Liana Fix

How Russia could leave Crimea Pavel Luzin

Helping refugees in Russia. An act of bravery? Natalia Smolentceva

Ukraine’s aviation fiasco Martin Rivers

Activists fight for Ukraine’s disappearing Soviet mosaics Elizabeth Short

Seeking the Eastern Partnership’s greatest integer Andriy Tyushka

The redrawing of the Eastern map Nina Lutterjohann

Eastern Partnership and the final frontier Paweł Ziemnicki


Macedonia is turning the page An interview with Zoran Zaev

Yevpatoria: Crimea’s microcosm An interview with Stanislav Tsalyk


In Macedonia it takes tourism to raise a dying village Fieke Snijder and Samantha Dixon

Becoming the promised land once again Emil Staulund Larsen And Emily Jarvie


Coming out in Minsk Maxim Rust


A “Eurasian” Ukraine Adam Balcer

The forgotten border Uwe Rada

Justice delayed not denied. Stalin and history on trial in Kyiv Tomasz Lachowski


Detangling Putin’s web in the West Matthew Kott

The Soviet revolutionary Matt Andersen

A right to remember, a right to forget Mateusz Mazzini

A history lesson on European integration Dominik Wilczewski


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