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  • Author: Plamen Pantev
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS)
  • Abstract: The first reflection about the geopolitical environment that Bulgaria faced after the tectonic systemic shifts in the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s of the 20th century thirty years later is that the efforts of the country to influence the transformation of the Balkans into a regional security community were successful. The second reflection is that Bulgaria was not able to influence effectively a similar development in the Black Sea area. Both the Balkans and the Caspian Sea-Caucasus- Black Sea area were conflictual knots of relations inherited from the Cold War divide. While the traditional European great powers that polarized the Balkan system of international relations pushing the small countries one against the other and the United States had the strategic interest of pacifying the South Eastern region of Europe, the dominating great power in the Black Sea area – Russia, aimed at preserving the opportunities of coming back to the territories that the Soviet Union lost after its collapse by preserving various degrees of conflictness in the neighbouring countries. Depending on the general condition of the Russian economy and state as well as its domestic political status different opportunities were either designed or just used to preserve the profile of Russia of the empire that sooner or later will be back. What are, in this regard, the perceptions in Bulgaria of the annexation of Crimea?
  • Topic: Security, International Security, Geopolitics, Conflict, Empire
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Caspian Sea
  • Author: Calder Walton
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Spies, election meddling, disinformation, influence operations, data har- vesting: at present, it seems barely a moment passes without another intelligence scandal breaking on our news feeds. Following Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” attack on the 2016 U.S. presidential election—which was intended to support Moscow’s favored candidate, Donald J. Trump, and undermine his opponent, Hillary Clinton—the media frequently labeled the operation “unprecedented.” The social-media technologies that Russia deployed in its cyber-attack on the United States in 2016 were certainly new, but Russia’s strategy was far from unusual. In fact, the Kremlin has a long history of meddling in U.S. and other Western democratic elections and manufacturing disinformation to discredit and divide the West. Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, has reconstituted and updated the KGB’s old Cold War playbook for the new digital age. This paper, an exercise of applied history, has two aims: first, to understand the history of Soviet disinformation, and second, to make sense of Western efforts to counter it during the Cold War. Doing so provides policy-relevant conclusions from history about countering disinformation produced by Russia and other authoritarian regimes today.
  • Topic: Elections, Cybersecurity, Democracy, Election watch, Espionage
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Soviet Union
  • Author: Tariq Modood
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Today’s “new nationalism” marks merely the latest iteration of yesterday’s old nationalism. I refer here to the majoritarian nationalism that seems to be the rising or dominant politics in many parts of the world today—Russia, China, India, the United States, many Muslim-majority countries, and central and eastern Europe. Yet, what is genuinely new is the identity-based nationalism of the center-left—sometimes called “liberal nationalism” or “progressive patriotism”—that is appearing in Anglophone countries. In a recent study covering Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, India, South Africa, and Peru, Raymond Taras expresses the novelty of his empirical fndings as a move toward “nationhood.” He sees this as “enlarging the nation so that it consists of difer- ent integrated ethnic parts” and describes it as “a characteristically British way of viewing a political society.”2 I present here a view that falls into this category, which I shall call “multicultural nationalism.”3 I argue that multiculturalism is a mode of integration that does not just emphasize the centrality of minor- ity group identities, but rather proves incomplete without the re-making of national identity so that all citizens have a sense of belonging. In this respect, multiculturalist approaches to national belonging have some relation to liberal nationalism and majoritarian interculturalism, making not only individual rights but, also minority accommodation a feature of acceptable nationalism. Unlike cosmopolitanism, multiculturalist approaches are nationally-focused and not against immigration controls (subject to certain conditions).
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nationalism, Multiculturalism, Nation-State, Secularism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China
  • Author: Andre Movchan
  • Publication Date: 02-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia faces bleak economic prospects for the next few years. It may be a case of managed decline in which the government appeases social and political demands by tapping the big reserves it accumulated during the boom years with oil and gas exports. But there is also a smaller possibility of a more serious economic breakdown or collapse. A proper analysis requires consideration of a number of key and often overlooked features of Russia’s post-Soviet economy.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Economic structure
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Alexander Baunov
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Revolutionary or dynamic regimes around the world tend to encourage supporters to act independently, or even engage in decentralized violence. By contrast, more conservative, static regimes typically discourage and distrust such unplanned, spontaneous demonstrations of support. For most of Russian history, the country’s leaders have employed a top-down political system. When Crimea was annexed in 2014, the Kremlin temporarily allowed more decentralized patriotic activism to rally support, but they soon saw the potential risks and reverted to more centralized political control. Russia’s reinstated traditional conservative rule may seem dull, but, paradoxically enough, its return might prove beneficial to future reformers.
  • Topic: Political Theory, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Dina Smeltz, Stepan Goncharov, Lily Wojtowicz
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: A breakdown in cooperation between the United States and Russia in Syria, disputes over bilateral arms control agreements, and official US allegations of Russian cyber-meddling in the US presidential election have increased bilateral tensions. Most recently, the Kremlin ended participation in a joint agreement with the United States to eliminate both countries’ excess stocks of weapons grade plutonium. Yet even before these recent developments, increasingly frosty diplomatic relations seem to have taken their toll on mutual perceptions in public opinion.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America
  • Author: Ivo Daalder, Michèle Flournoy, John Herbst, Jan Lodal, Steve Pifer
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: This report is the result of collaboration among scholars and former practitioners from the Atlantic Council, the Brookings Institution, the Center for a New American Security, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. It is informed by and reflects mid-January discussions with senior NATO and US officials in Brussels and senior Ukrainian civilian and military officials in Kyiv and at the Ukrainian “anti-terror operation” headquarters in Kramatorsk. The report outlines the background to the crisis over Ukraine, describes why the United States and NATO need to engage more actively and urgently, summarizes what the authors heard in discussions at NATO and in Ukraine, and offers specific recommendations for steps that Washington and NATO should take to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses and thereby enhance its ability to deter further Russian aggression.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, International Affairs, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Ukraine