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Tag: Vladimir Putin

Ex-CIA head Petraeus: Russia has really been weakened by Putin

Interview with David Petraeus, retired US Army general and former director of the CIA.

February 19, 2024 - David Petraeus New Eastern Europe

Why Putin is the product of Russian democracy

As we find ourselves less than two months away from the Russian presidential election, this analysis offers a timely and direct rebuttal that Putin’s downfall will arise from Russia’s democratisation. Instead, Russian democracy enabled Putin’s climb to power in the first place, while his protracted popularity constitutes a core factor that enables his regime to propagate at present.

The impending Russian presidential election, set to take place in a few months’ time in March 2024, constitutes an exceptional opportunity to reveal and discuss the discord in commentary on the current state of affairs in Russian politics. This cacophony in the analysis of Russian politics has emerged following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

February 7, 2024 - George Hajipavli

The Five Towers of the Kremlin

The Russian system of governance is known for its vertical power structure, with Vladimir Putin at the top balancing all other interests. However, since the mutiny led by Yevgeny Prigozhin in June 2023, some cracks are starting to show in the system. Understanding its current configuration can help us predict in which direction the system may head, as Putin tries to compensate for his state’s many failings at home and abroad.

There are many rumours regarding how contemporary Russia is being ruled and who is the “unknown puppet master” holding all the “strings”. Overall, the Russian political system is more akin to the Byzantine model of governance than the Roman one, and is prone to instability and conflict. The recent mutiny by the Wagner Group, a private military company led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, is a sign that the system is breaking down.

September 11, 2023 - Vakhtang Maisaia

The icon and the sarcophagus: why the Golden Ring matters to the Kremlin in 2023

Vladimir Putin’s recent orders to return artefacts to “Golden Ring” cities around Moscow only further reveal the Kremlin’s attempts to tie present issues to the past. Possessing histories stretching back to the time of the Rus’, these cities are once again playing a highly important role in Russian identity.

“This is Trinity”, a religious icon painted in 1420 by Andrey Rublev, is about as high profile as icons come in Russia. The Russian president’s order in May to move it back to the Trinity Lavra Monastery in Sergiev Posad was neither accidental, nor anecdotal. Its connection to war, the idea of Russia and the bonds between church and state run much deeper than most realised. The defiance of the Tretyakov Gallery, which said it would not be moved, was symbolic in its own right – though not how one might assume.

September 11, 2023 - James C. Pearce

The point of no return

Wagner’s abortive rebellion in Russia shows that there can be no business as usual. In order to prepare for an uncertain future, we must now accept some hard facts about the Russian Federation and prepare for its possible collapse.

June 30, 2023 - Valerii Pekar

Russia’s Wagner rebellion: how will Putin emerge from the crisis?

Prigozhin’s challenge to Putin on June 24th has exposed the perilous situation now faced by the Russian president. While the country’s leader may attempt to crack down further on internal dissent, this may only further reveal his current weakness. As it stands, the established rules no longer seem to apply.

June 29, 2023 - Joshua Kroeker

From demilitarisation to “satanisation”

Putinism has been built as a model of the Russian state envisioned for decades, if not centuries. In this way, Putinism has ended history for all who are subordinate to it.

“The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century,” said Vladimir Putin in 2005. These infamous words were a sign that a political change had taken place in Russia. It marked a departure from the not so successful attempts at democracy building in the 1990s towards the path of authoritarianism. In that very same speech, however, Putin also declared the responsibility of the Russian Federation to protect Russian-speaking populations outside Russia, which was later used as the key argument to start aggression against Ukraine.

April 29, 2023 - Wojciech Siegień

The historical advisors of Vladimir Putin

The decision to invade Ukraine was made by a tiny circle of people within the Kremlin. However, as it turns out, Vladimir Putin’s “advisors” have something unique in common with one another: they have been dead for hundreds of years. What does it mean for Putin, the war in Ukraine and the Russian standoff against the West, when the Russian president lets his actions be inspired and driven by historical precedent?

How many individuals does it take to decide upon invading a neighbouring country? After February 2022, the world learnt that you apparently do not necessarily need to consult a whole lot of people if you are intent on taking what is not yours. For sure, one could suggest that the fear of any leaks concerning your invasion plan could very well mess up your plans in the first place. Therefore, secrecy is a prime matter of recourse.

April 28, 2023 - Benjamin Looijen

Geopolitics, history and memory games. Jumping from the 20th to the 21st century

The geopolitical conceptions of Vladimir Putin are strikingly reminiscent of the visions of Friedrich Ratzel, Karl Haushofer and especially Joseph Stalin. Putin basically thinks the same things as these figures but needs more justification. This is where a “memory masquerade” comes in, involving Nazism, racism, antisemitism and a reminder of the origins of Russia's greatness. The portfolio of historical and memorial references does not stop at European history for Russia.

On June 28th 2005 the Warsaw-based Batory Foundation organised a conference titled “Memory and Foreign Policy”. During this event, Bronisław Geremek, a historian and Poland’s former minister of foreign affairs, asked a question as to whether collective memory is part of foreign policy. His answer was the following: "I think it is a part of international relations, for example when governments protest when national dignity is attacked. Of course, it is a part of international negotiations, for example to open access to archives … but all this is only marginal in foreign policy.” We shall see whether this marginality of memory is true today.

February 15, 2023 - Georges Mink

What would be the consequences of a Russian collapse?

No one knows how the war in Ukraine will end. However, Russia’s weakening position in Ukraine may be an indication of something much greater internally. Three scenarios outlined below can help us understand what might be next for Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation.

One of the reasons for Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine was to accelerate the process of dividing and weakening the West while strengthening his internal position by repeating the “Crimea effect” of 2014. Meanwhile, there are many indications that through the war in Ukraine, Putin may instead be contributing to the disintegration of the Russian Federation. This would be a paradox of history, as he has accused his predecessors of contributing to the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century, which is how he defined the collapse of the Soviet Union.

December 8, 2022 - Agnieszka Legucka

History lost. How Vladimir Putin’s historical conceptions led to the invasion of Ukraine

Vladimir Putin’s 2021 article on Ukraine was primarily dedicated to the notion that Ukraine is historically inseparable from Russia. He at least conceded that a Ukrainian culture and language exists. However, in his February 2022 speech, Putin ignores these ideas completely, using revisionist history to eradicate an entire nation, its language, and culture. According to Putin, the history of Ukraine is now solely the history of Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s historical conceptions, or rather misconceptions, have led to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Putin is manipulating, altering, rewriting and at times even completely inventing history in order to justify his actions against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

October 3, 2022 - Joshua Kroeker

Putin’s mobilisation. Too little, too late

Given the systemic difficulties of the Russian army, the mobilisation announced by Vladimir Putin on September 21st may not change the situation on the front very much at all. And when considering the economic and social costs of the war for Russia internally, which are growing at an alarming rate, Putin may have gained some time, but he has not solved the problem.

September 26, 2022 - Agnieszka Bryc

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