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  • Author: Giovanna De Maio
  • Publication Date: 02-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: This paper reflects on the crisis over Ukraine from the Russian point of view bearing in mind the deterioration of the relationship between Moscow and Kiev and the international retaliation against Russia’s aggression. What does Ukraine represent for Russia? Did the events in Maidan affect how Russia perceives Ukraine? These questions are addressed by analysing the discourse on Ukraine by the main stakeholders of Russian society: the political and economic elites, civil society, the mass media and academia, the general public and the Orthodox Church.
  • Topic: International Relations, Territorial Disputes
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Dmitri V. Trenin
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: The rupture between Russia and the West stemming from the 2014 crisis over Ukraine has wide-ranging geopolitical implications. Russia has reverted to its traditional position as a Eurasian power sitting between the East and the West, and it is tilting toward China in the face of political and economic pressure from the United States and Europe. This does not presage a new Sino-Russian bloc, but the epoch of post-communist Russia's integration with the West is over. In the new epoch, Russia will seek to expand and deepen its relations with non-Western nations, focusing on Asia. Western leaders need to take this shift seriously.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Europe
  • Author: Dr. R. Evan Ellis
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: In February 2015, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu traveled to Latin America to meet with leaders and defense officials in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Although the visit included Russian participation in a Venezuelan military exercise, the focus of the meetings in all three countries was on access to ports and airfields in the region in order to support Russian military operations in the vicinity of the United States.1 The discussions bore the most fruit in Nicaragua, where Minister Shoigu signed an agreement to facilitate Russian access to the ports of Corinto and Bluefields, as well as strengthening counter-drug cooperation and discussing weapons sales.2
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Latin America, Venezuela, United States of America
  • Author: Volodymyr Dubovyk
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: Since the beginning of Euromaidan (Maidan II), Ukraine finds itself entangled in a deep crisis, which, while not necessarily existential, dramatically alters the country’s internal dynamics and international positioning vis-à-vis its neighbors and other significant regional and global players. To handle this crisis, Ukraine must find the right method of dealing with international players, especially the Russian Federation, the European Union and the United States of America. Ukraine should take certain actions against the new super-assertive and aggressive Russia. The European Union unquestionably has provided significant aid to Ukraine during these turbulent times. However, there remains great potential for cooperation, and questions linger regarding whether the EU is prepared to foot the bill for pulling Ukraine’s economy away from the brink indefinitely. Finally, the United States should by all means continue doing its good work in bringing attention to the situation in and around Ukraine in a variety of ways, including multilateral venues, unilateral initiatives, and bilateral frameworks. The fact that Ukraine is located in Europe does not make this crisis a mere European problem but a conflict with global repercussions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, European Union
  • Author: Oleksandr Fisun
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: The Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula represents a radical transformation of the system of international security on the European continent and in the wider context of the postwar “Yalta system” of interstate boundaries and their guarantees by major international players. The most important takeaway is that for the first time since World War II, one of the founders of the Yalta system of international boundaries has considered it within the realm of possibility to revisit its provisions by directly augmenting its own territory. This paper aims to analyze the outcomes of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the features of the newly formed regional political regime in Crimea, the role of Crimea in contemporary Ukrainian politics, as well as to present scenarios for the development of the geopolitical situation surrounding the “Crimean issue” in the context of the possible actions that primary geopolitical players may take.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Timothy Frye
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: What are public attitudes in Russia toward the war in Ukraine? Is this Putin’s war, or do his narrative on Ukraine and the policies he has followed toward that country resonate with Russian citizens? If the war has popular support, to what extent is this the case and why?
  • Topic: International Relations, War, Public Opinion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Thomas Graham, Rajan Menon, Jack Snyder
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: Amidst calls for containing an assertive Russia, politicians and pundits have been debating whether Ukraine should serve as a “buffer zone” between the Russian and Western spheres of influence. Based on a survey of the history of buffer zones in Ukraine and elsewhere, we argue that buffer strategies are most likely to succeed in promoting international stability when three mutually reinforcing conditions obtain. First, the buffer state has the material strength, defensible geography, and social cohesiveness necessary to resist penetration, annexation, or partition. Second, states that may contemplate using war as a means to annex or dominate the buffer zone anticipate high risks and costs. Buffers survive when flanking powers are relatively weak, satisfied, skeptical that “offense is the best defense,” and chary of commitments to reckless allies and clients. Third, whether the major powers have agreed, implicitly or explicitly, on rules to regulate their rivalry in the buffer region may also affect the likelihood of a collision. Based on these findings, we are doubtful that Ukraine can serve as a reliable buffer.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Organization, International Security, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Serhiy Leshchenko
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: Modern-day Ukraine faces myriad challenges; chief among them is corruption and its derivative, oligarchy. By and large, Russia’s aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine was enabled by oligarchy. For deoligarchization to occur, Ukraine must adopt a law regulating transparency in media ownership that would require oligarchs to disclose their holdings
  • Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Oligarchy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine
  • Author: Sergei Markedonov
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: Following a period of 22 years as a part of independent Ukraine, the Crimean peninsula entered into Russian custody in the form of two separate subjects of the Federation. This event constitutes a watershed in Russian domestic policy and relations between Russia and other countries and also poses a serious challenge to security throughout Europe. The Russian government would do well to forestall their emergence, not by exerting force, but rather by raising the quality of infrastructure and resolving other social problems. Thus the acquisition of Crimea, for Russia, is not the “end of history,” but the beginning of a complex process of integrating not merely the territory, but more importantly, the peninsula’s inhabitants.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security, Peacekeeping
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Klaus Segbers
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
  • Abstract: Many attempts have been made to interpret and explain the Russian annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine. These signal events can be approached from different theoretical angles. The purpose of this short piece is to critically question the usefulness and appropriateness of state‐centered approaches that have been, and are yet, dominant and popular – most likely because they are so easy to apply intuitively.
  • Topic: International Relations, Political Theory, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Crimea