The Great Debate

Putin’s Moscow is anxious, gilded and hollow

By Lucian Kim
October 25, 2014

Putin chairs a meeting with members of the presidential council for civil society and human rights at the Kremlin in Moscow

The last time I saw Maria Baronova on Nikolskaya Street in Moscow, she was taking part in a silent anti-government demonstration before being bundled into a police bus with a half dozen other protesters. Now, almost three years later, we meet for a beer in an English pub on that same ancient street near the Kremlin. So much has changed. The Moscow protest movement fizzled out after Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency; activists like Baronova were prosecuted, and a blanket of repression is muffling the last voices of dissent.

Putin’s new ‘values pact’

By Nina Khrushcheva
March 26, 2014

Now that Russia President Vladimir Putin has swallowed Crimea, the question becomes: What if the peninsula doesn’t satisfy his appetite for new Russian territory? What if the only thing that will satiate his hunger for power is the goulash known as eastern Ukraine? Or does he then move on to Moldova, and then on and on?

Ukraine’s Protests: Not (yet) a revolution

By Matthew Rojansky
December 12, 2013

In the three weeks since Ukraine formally suspended talks aimed at signing an Association Agreement with the European Union, two important facts have become clear.

Russia: Where has all the money gone?

By William E. Pomeranz
November 25, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin has had a good run over the past few months.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, landed on his doorstep, a gift from the PR gods. Agreement on Syria went from no chance to golden opportunity in the course of one afternoon. Forbes dubbed Putin the most powerful man in the world. Yet all these successes obscure a basic fact: Russia is running out of money.

Navalny: Russia’s opposition hero cult

By Ben Judah
August 21, 2013

Russia’s opposition has turned into a hero cult. What was a protest movement has morphed into a one-man show called Alexei Navalny.

Russia after Cyprus: Bringing the money home

By William E. Pomeranz
April 12, 2013

The Kremlin’s initial outrage over developments in Cyprus – and the island’s shocking expropriation of billions of dollars held by Russian companies and citizens – has given way to mild indifference. “If somebody gets caught and loses money at the two largest [Cypriot] banks, it’s a shame,” First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov recently stated, “but the Russian government isn’t going to do anything about it.”

Obama’s aims to reduce nuclear threat

By Michael O'Hanlon and Steven Pifer
February 12, 2013

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama will reportedly reiterate his interest in reducing the threat of nuclear weapons, though unlikely to announce specifics. The administration is interested in seeking an agreement with Russia, building on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) of 2010 and cutting U.S. strategic nuclear forces by another third in the expectation that Moscow will do the same with its nuclear arsenal.

from The Great Debate UK:

Save Georgia’s Peace Mission

June 9, 2009

lsheets2Lawrence Sheets is Caucasus Project Director of the International Crisis Group. The opinions expressed are his own.