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Tag: Russia

Snarky Facebook post sparks diplomatic incident between Russia and Serbia: What’s behind it?

On the recent spat between Russia and Serbia on social media and what it reveals about their relationship.

October 14, 2020 - Leon Hartwell

War in Nagorno-Karabakh. Why this time is different

The recent outbreak of fighting over the small mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh has a different context than previous clashes or the war in the early 1990s. Nevertheless, regardless of whether or not the current fighting will result in a long-lasting and all-out war, the conflict is poised to remain unsolvable for the foreseeable future.

October 9, 2020 - Tobias Schumacher

Cold friendship, or tepid panic? Behind the scenes of the Swedish narrative on Russia and NATO

An interview with Dr Gregory Simons, Associate Professor at Uppsala University, Sweden. Interviewer: Mario Giagnorio

Despite being at the political margins of Russia’s foreign policy, Sweden’s political élite is weighing the NATO option. Their choices in security will play an important role in the Baltic Sea area in terms of stability.

September 29, 2020 - Gregory Simons Mario Giagnorio

A terrible nightmare or useful conjuncture: what the Belarusian August means for the Kremlin

In addition to obsolete catchwords such as ‘the last dictatorship in Europe’ or ‘the reserve of the USSR,’ Belarus is often referred to as a mirror image of Russia. Against the backdrop of Lukashenka’s potential ousting, how does the Russian political elite make sense out of the August events?

September 8, 2020 - Filip Rudnik

Coronavirus pandemic seriously challenges Russian economy

A combination of socio-economic factors observed in Russia not only indicates that the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the country's economy will be profound, but that the recovery might take longer than it appears today. Much will depend on the authorities’ readiness to support household incomes and business activity through accumulated reserves and borrowings.

Russia has approached the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic with the economy not in great condition. Back in 2010-2012 the Russian economy was growing faster than the world economy. Yet since then, its global share has fallen by about one-fifth. In 2014, following the events in Ukraine, the Russian economy suffered a double blow as a result of lower oil prices and the impact of sanctions imposed on it by the United States, the European Union and a number of other countries.

September 7, 2020 - Oleg Buklemishev

Russian digital authoritarianism at the time of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly accelerated the use of digital surveillance technologies in Russia which had been planned earlier but tested only on a limited scale. Their increased use by the state will not end with the pandemic, but will determine the “new normal” where civil liberties are restricted more than ever before.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a classic example of an extraordinary situation which adds to the discussion regarding the ideal balance between public security and civil liberties. As expected, in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, security has been treated as a pretext to expand the state’s authority at the cost of individuals’ rights. The pandemic has been a catalyst which accelerates and expands implementation of advanced digital technologies that are aimed to tighten the authoritarian hold over society. The authorities use them to monitor the citizens, manipulate behaviour, coerce people into political loyalty and to repress the opposition.

September 7, 2020 - Maria Domańska

The art of constitutional seduction. The 2020 case of Russia

On July 3rd 2020 Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on the official publication of the revised version of the Russian constitution, based on the Russian-wide voting on amending the constitution. The motivation of the process was clear – to allow Putin to stay in power almost indefinitely. Yet it also reveals the legal tricks and manipulation Russian authorities have used to make significant changes to the country’s legal order.

Imagine you are a skilled autocrat ruling over a nation for a long time. Unlike your dim, obsolete neighbours, you have successfully developed a personalist regime without any flagrant constitutional violations or manipulations. Even if you ever engaged in a constitutional modification process, you have always been careful and attentive, even to the tiniest technical issues of such an enterprise. No one can ever question the legitimacy of your previous endeavours because you are the master of legal disguise.

September 7, 2020 - Oleksandr Marusiak

A triumphant referendum?

Russian officials and state media outlets have called Russia’s recent vote on constitutional amendments a “triumph”. What does the result tell us about the state of Russian society? How did Russians living abroad vote? According to official data, Russians living in the Baltic states voted in favour of the amendments to the constitution at a higher rate to Russians living in Russia or Russians living in other EU countries. Why was this?

On July 1st Russia’s nationwide voting on constitutional amendments – designed primarily to give the current Russian president, Vladimir Putin the opportunity to remain in power until 2036 – came to an end. According to Russia’s Central Electoral Commission, more than 57.7 million voters, or 77.92 per cent of those who voted, supported the amendments, while 15.7 million, or 21.27 per cent, voted against it. The turnout, according to official reports, reached almost 68 per cent.

September 7, 2020 - Olga Irisova

In Church we trust. The case of the Moldovan Orthodox Church

The relationship between religion and society differs in most post-Soviet states. While the Orthodox Church in Moldova clearly enjoys widespread popularity in the country, it has chosen to focus on promoting a “traditional agenda”, often associated with discrimination towards women and minorities.

The Ukrainian Church’s official independence last year raised issues regarding how religion impacts geopolitics in post-Soviet countries. Despite this, the country’s former president, Petro Poroshenko, was neither the first nor the last political leader to use religious sentiments as part of an electoral campaign. The current Moldovan President, Igor Dodon, did so during the country’s previous elections. While there are numerous studies analysing the role of the church in politics and social movements, this discussion investigates the church’s role regarding conflict mitigation or instigation. By examining situations prone to conflict, we can try to determine whether the Orthodox Church in Moldova (OCM) serves the purpose of uniting the people or fostering polarisation. Such an issue remain of great importance for a country where more than 90 per cent of the population declare themselves Orthodox.

September 7, 2020 - Anastasia Pociumban

How an absurd legal case turned into a fight for the future of Russian theatre

On June 26th Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court announced that theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov and his colleagues would face a suspended sentence along with a series of fines. The case of the alleged fraud of the theatre company Sedmaya Studia reverberated throughout the entire cultural community in Russia and abroad.

On June 26th the international theatre community awaited the decision of the Moscow Court regarding the fate of Kirill Serebrennikov. Serebrennikov, a leading director in Russia, was accused of committing large-scale fraud. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to over five years in prison. His case was covered by major European newspapers, from The Guardian to Der Spiegel and Le Monde, and was commented on by various celebrities, both in Russia and abroad. Even those unfamiliar with the case became suspicious when a director with numerous awards, whose work have been shown at festivals in Avignon, Venice and Cannes, was accused of stealing government money, particularly in a country ranked 149th out of 180 in the Press Freedom Index.

September 4, 2020 - Alina Aleshchenko

As Serbia strengthens ties with West, Russia seeks to destabilise

According to recent research, 65 per cent of Serbian citizens support the strengthening of co-operation between Serbia and the United States in the fields of security, defence and economy.

September 3, 2020 - Jelena Milić

The many dimensions of hybrid warfare

Georgia is in the midst of a hybrid war with Russia. Among the various tools used by the Kremlin, economic pressure has been arguably the most effective strategy that has been directed at Georgia since the 1990s.

Georgia-Russia relations give great insight into the currently fashionable subject of hybrid warfare. Similar to the idea of “fourth generation warfare”, which focuses on blurring the fronts between opposing sides and waging war by means other than head-on military confrontation, hybrid warfare is a more sophisticated way of using all of a country’s available resources to achieve a specific set of geopolitical aims.

July 7, 2020 - Emil Avdaliani

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