The Great Debate

Vladimir Putin’s secret weapon for a Syrian end game? Diplomacy.

By Nicolay Kozhanov
October 5, 2015
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, President Putin and French President Hollande sit together at the start of a summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris

Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov (L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) and French President Francois Hollande at a summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris, October 2, 2015. REUTERS/Etienne Laurent/Pool

Russia and America prep forces for Arctic war

By David Axe
October 5, 2015
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Sailors aboard the USS “Seawolf” remove ice from the hull after surfacing at the North Pole in the Arctic Ocean, July 30, 2015. U.S. NAVY/Handout

Russia’s fight in Syria reflects the Kremlin’s fears at home

By Paul Stronski
September 29, 2015
Russian Mil Mi-26 Halo helicopter flies over the Red Square during the Victory Day parade in Moscow

Russian Mil Mi-26 Halo helicopter flies over the Red Square during the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2015. REUTERS/Host Photo Agency/RIA Novosti

Imperial overreach: How Putin’s move into Syria could bring his government down

By William E. Pomeranz
September 28, 2015
A general view shows the Temple of Bel in the historical city of Palmyra

These are the ruins of the Temple of Bel in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria, once the seat of a great empire. On August 30, 2015, Islamic State destroyed it. REUTERS/Sandra Auger

What Obama can learn from Vladimir Putin

By Josh Cohen
September 28, 2015
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Russian President Putin in Los Cabos

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Los Cabos, Mexico, June 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

When Vladimir Putin looks in the mirror, does he see Syria’s Assad?

September 21, 2015
Election poster of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin are seen on a car at al-Qardahah town

Election poster of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) are seen on a car at al-Qardahah town near Latakia city May 26, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled al-Harir

Syria is the next arena on Vladimir Putin’s comeback tour

By Lucian Kim
September 18, 2015
Fireworks explode above St. Basil's cathedral during "Spasskaya Tower" international military music festival at Moscow's Red Square

Fireworks explode above St. Basil’s cathedral during the “Spasskaya Tower” international military music festival at Moscow’s Red Square, Russia, September 10, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Vladimir Putin wants his seat back at the world’s table. How far will he go to get it?

By Masha Gessen
September 17, 2015
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REUTERS/eltonjohn/Instagram

Vladimir Putin did not call Elton John and suggested they meet to discuss LGBT rights in Russia, but a lot of people believed that he did. On Monday, John wrote a post on Instagram saying that he had received the phone call. On Tuesday, the post went viral, penetrating even the Russian pro-government print media. By close of business, Putin’s spokesman denied that the call had ever taken place. On Wednesday, an experienced Russian prankster, nicknamed Vovan, released a recording of the conversation in which he impersonated Putin and his partner, nicknamed Lexus, impersonated the Russian president’s press secretary.

Europeans ‘not grasping’ the importance of Ukraine

By John Lloyd
September 14, 2015
A Ukrainian serviceman embraces his wife and child after returning from the frontline in the eastern regions, at a railway station in Kiev, Ukraine

A Ukrainian serviceman embraces his wife and child after returning from the frontline in the east, at a railway station in Kiev, Ukraine, September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Why do Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin cronies look so nervous?

By Andrei Kolesnikov and Andrew S. Weiss
September 8, 2015
Russian President Putin listens to Crimean Prime Minister Aksyonov and presidential aide Levitin while inspecting transport infrastructure facilities in southern Russia onboard helicopter in Novorossiysk

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) listens to Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov (L) and presidential aide Igor Levitin onboard a helicopter in Novorossiysk, Russia, August 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin