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  • Author: Sean Roberts
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: If Russia is to follow an evolutionary path to democracy, then the regime must be ready to draw the so-called 'non-systemic' opposition into political processes. This gradualist formula for democratic change is also the formula for political stability. A number of liberalising reforms conducted by the regime in response to widespread protests following the December 2011 State Duma election gave grounds for optimism that this process is now underway. However, any hopes that these events would kick-start democratic reforms were short-lived. Rather than draw in opponents, the regime has sought to isolate them, using a combination of reform, non-reform, dividing tactics and repression. But the results have not been positive. The non-systemic opposition is under increasing pressure, having seen its options all but reduced to more protesting. It is also showing signs of radicalisation. At the same time, the Kremlin's uncompromising approach is undermining regime stability. The pressure is building in the Russian political system. The combination of repression and radicalisation could easily see political stagnation degenerate into instability and the EU should take this new dynamic into account in its future policy planning.
  • Topic: Security, Corruption, Democratization, Government, Political Economy, Authoritarianism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe
  • Author: Svante Cornell, Frances Burwell
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The first phase of the US "Reset" of its relations with Russia has concluded. Launching a second phase will not be easy: with the Russian presidential elections in March, there will be only a brief window for moving US-Russia relations forward before the US presidential contest moves into full gear. Although the result of the Russian election was widely seen as pre-ordained, the protests following the parliamentary and presidential contests have added uncertainty. A new Putin administration will be challenged by many reformers, but the external impact of that growing internal divide is unclear.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Government, Human Rights, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Katri Pynnöniemi
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During recent years, transport and infrastructure development has acquired the status of a 'topic to be mentioned by the president' and other high-level state officials in their public appearances. The rise of transport from almost complete oblivion into the sphere of state strategic interests has been rapid, and it is a subject which is likely to maintain a high profile in the years to come. Success in implementing the current plans for infrastructure development is considered critical in order to generate further economic growth. From the longer-term perspective, it will also be critical in ensuring the diversification of the economy and securing Russia's place amongst the most advanced economies in the world. The modernization of the transport infrastructure is also seen as a lever with which Russia can reposition herself as a power-house in Eurasia. In actual fact, Russia is not a bridge but the dead-end of Eurasia. The country is faced with the enormous task of modernizing its transport infrastructures and implementing structural reforms that have been postponed for years. This would pose a tremendous challenge even in the best possible external circumstances, never mind against the backdrop of inflation and uncertainty in the world markets which exists at present. Something which has changed is that Russia now has the resources and the appropriate legislation in place to carry out these tasks. Yet, even if considerable effort has gone into defining strategic priorities, infrastructure investments are still implemented in an ad-hoc manner. The country is in dire need of massive construction projects. If the quality of the state apparatus in managing government spending does not improve – and there are few signs of that materializing – infrastructure development will become the Trojan horse of the Russian economy.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 09-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Part I of this Russian Outlook dealt with what might be called the errors of commission, or false attribution, in the "chaos-of-the-1990s" stereotype, which became a major theme of the Putin Kremlin's propaganda. The economic crisis of that era, mostly inherited from the decaying Soviet economy, was laid at the revolutionary regime's door. Yet the "chaos" legend also contains errors of omission, for, on closer inspection, there was a great deal in the 1990s besides the alleged "chaos."
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, Politics, Privatization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Leon Aron
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the Russian revolution (1987–91) is a fitting occasion to assess the true scale and the impact of the national spiritual liberation known as glasnost, and to put it into a broader context of the history of ideas and their role in revolutions. Such an examination is doubly useful today, when a steady stream of Kremlin-sponsored propaganda seeks to distort and minimize what glasnost has wrought.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Daniel Serwer
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Why does the United States support Kosovo's independence, even putting at risk its relations not only with Serbia but also with Russia? And how does Washington plan to contain the consequences? It is often assumed that Washington's position is based on a sense of moral obligation, deriving not only from the mistreatment of Albanians under the Milosevic regime but also from American promises since. While this fact or unquestionably weighs on the side of the Kosovars, it is not I think decisive. Understanding Washington's support for Kosovo's independence requires an analysis of the consequences of further delay as well as the consequences of moving ahead, even in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution.
  • Topic: Government, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, America, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 08-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: While Kyrgyzstan still struggles to find political stability in the wake of its 2005 revolution, deteriorating conditions in its prison system, known by its Russian acronym GUIN, pose a threat to the fragile state's security and public health. Badly underfunded and forgotten, GUIN has all but lost control over the nearly 16,000 inmates for which it is responsible. Power has passed into the hands of criminal leaders for whom prison populations are armies in reserve. A lack of buffers between prisons and the government has meant that trouble in jails has already led to serious conflicts outside their crumbling walls. The risks of strife in prisons leading to wider political instability is likely to worsen unless the government and donors launch an urgent process of penal reform.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Civil Society, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: The death of Chechen separatist leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulaev was first announced by Chechen government officials on June 17. Interfax quoted Chechen government minister Muslim Khuchiev as saying that Sadulaev was killed in a special operation in the city of Argun—Sadulaev's hometown— when members of the Chechen Interior Ministry's Akhmad Kadyrov special task regiment and the Argun police, acting on "operational information," established Sadulaev's location and killed him when he put up armed resistance. "At the moment we have no doubts about the fact that Saidulaev has really been liquidated," Interfax quoted Argun Police Chief Ali Tagirov as saying. "We are located next to his body; it has been identified by people who knew him very well." (The rebel leader was referred to as "Saidulaev" rather than "Sadulaev" in most reports about his death by Chechen government officials and Russian news agencies.) Tagirov added that a hostage was freed during the operation. "Two militants from among Saidulaev's bodyguards took a hostage with them and tried to use him as cover, however during the course of the armed clash police managed to liberate him." He said that a policeman and a Federal Security Service (FSB) officer were killed in the shoot-out, but that the hostage was unharmed. Tagirov refused to identify the hostage, but gave a few other details about the operation. "The operation was carried out in the residential area on Ulitsa Svobody," where Sadulaev and his associates were discovered in a private home, he said. That part of Argun is known as the "Indian Hamlet." Tagirov said that a search was underway for the two rebel bodyguards.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: North Caucasus Weekly (formerly Chechnya Weekly), The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: On January 25, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) passed a resolution on the human rights situation in Chechnya. According to PACE's website (assembly.coe.int), the resolution, which passed by a vote of 117 to 24, stated that the Strasbourg-based assembly "is deeply concerned that a fair number of governments, member states and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe have failed to address the ongoing serious human rights violations in a regular, serious and intensive manner, despite the fact that such violations still occur on a massive scale in the Chechen Republic and, in some cases, neighboring regions in a climate of impunity." The assembly also reiterated its "unambiguous condemnation of all acts of terrorism" and expressed "its understanding of the difficulties the Russian Federation faces in combating terrorism."
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Human Rights, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Chechnya
  • Publication Date: 11-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Defense Information
  • Abstract: Many of you are aware of CDI's 30-year history of research and commentary on U.S. defense topics. You may also have noticed the expanding breadth of our international projects and activities, such as our ground-breaking China Security Bulletin featuring contributions from a retired Chinese general, and a forthcoming report on Russia's defense spending by a Russian scholar who heads our Moscow office. To better reflect our global scope and project diversity, we have created the World Security Institute — which can be thought of as our “holding company.” We felt that this title better describes all of our activities that now encompass a wider definition of “security.”
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Disaster Relief, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe, Iran, Middle East, Asia, Moscow