Occupy Lermontov!

Yesterday, the town of Lermontov (located in Russia’s North Caucasus) experienced what some are calling “a small revolution.” As the state municipal building was preparing to close for the evening, a collection of townsfolk and former members of the city council gathered and eventually forced their way into the main lobby. Once inside, reporters accompanying …

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How Did So Many Kremlinologists Get It Wrong?

Are Russia-watchers guilty of over-thinking or over-hoping? Sam Greene claims to have been the “last analyst left in Moscow who actually thought that Dmitri Medvedev would stay on as president of Russia,” but this is hyperbole. Analysts as talented as Stanislav Belkovsky, Igor Yurgens, and Gleb Pavlovsky (to name just a few) were also in …

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Exit Kudrin

In light of Aleksei Kudrin’s departure from the Ministry of Finance yesterday, I’m posting this follow-up to my initial thoughts about Russia after Putin’s return. Before Medvedev spit hellfire and brimstone at Kudrin on Monday, Igor Shuvalov seemed convinced that Russia’s long-time Finance Minister would be migrating from the ‘government’ to the ‘Kremlin,’ just as …

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No Time for Obituaries: Putin’s Return in 2012

The eternal, hotly-debated question about whether or not Vladimir Putin will return to the Kremlin was answered yesterday in the affirmative. None other than Dmitri Medvedev made the announcement, minutes before Putin returned to the stage at the United Russia party convention to deliver what was essentially an early victory speech. There is much to …

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A Response to Julia Ioffe’s “Happy Birthday, You’re Fired”

Yesterday in Foreign Policy, the latest article by Julia Ioffe appeared on the subject of Yuri Luzhkov’s ouster. The piece, “Happy Birthday, You’re Fired,” makes for a good read, but I disagree with much of its content, and so I offer the following response. Ms. Ioffe’s central thesis is that firing Luzhkov does nothing to …

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Vladimir Putin the Taxi Driver

[Прочитать статью на русском языке здесь.] “Bashed over the head with a truncheon.” “A clubbing on their skulls.” “Beaten around the head with truncheons.” “A whack on the bonce.” “A club on your noggin.” “Hit in the head by a bludgeon.” “A whack on the nut.” These are just some of the ways that English …

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Why 'New START' is Lose-Lose for Neocons

I feel duty-bound to dedicate at least one real post to the ‘New START’ treaty, signed this month in Prague. This blog, after all, is called “A Good Treaty,” so it seems a little silly not to comment on the most important U.S.-Russian bilateral agreement in more than a decade. In the words of Hans …

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The Russia-Poland Shale Gas Conspiracy

Blogger poemless doesn’t seem to think the interwebs has rallied around a conspiratorial narrative for the recent plane crash that killed 98 members of the Polish political, military, and cultural elite. On the one hand, she is more or less right: even the comically insane seem to be restraining themselves. Yulia Latynina only vaguely described …

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