The Great Debate

Vladimir Putin: 25 percent violence, 75 percent propaganda

By Jason Fields
December 1, 2015
Participants: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Peter Pomerantsev

The media in Russia is lively, often entertaining and largely state controlled. Still, an illusion of freedom remains key for the Kremlin to maintain its grasp over a country that spans 11 time zones. In this episode of War College, we look at how Vladimir Putin crafts his message for both internal and external consumption.

How the Kremlin turns extremist attacks to its own advantage

By Hannah Thoburn
November 24, 2015
People place photos of victims of a Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt, during a commemoration meeting at Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia  November 1, 2015. An Airbus A321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet, carrying 224 passengers crashed into a mountainous area of Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Saturday shortly after losing radar contact near cruising altitude, killing all aboard. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a day of national mourning for Sunday. REUTERS/Peter Kovalev - RTX1UA59

People place photos of victims of a Russian airliner which crashed in Egypt, during a commemoration meeting at Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia November 1, 2015. REUTERS/Peter Kovalev

In Syria, the joke’s on Washington

By Josh Cohen
November 24, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force's activity in Syria at the national defence control centre in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015. Russia said on Tuesday it had stepped up air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria with long-range bombers and cruise missiles after the Kremlin said it wanted retribution for those responsible for blowing up a Russian airliner over Egypt. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RTS7KOT

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend a meeting on Russian air force’s activity in Syria at the national defence control centre in Moscow, Russia, November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolskyi/SPUTNIK/Kremlin

When it comes to Vladimir Putin and Islamic State, trust but verify

By Gregory Feifer
November 18, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles during a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, Russia, October 22, 2015. Putin said on Thursday he had asked his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad how he would view an armed opposition force that was genuinely ready to combat Islamic State militants. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. - RTS5OQ8

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles during a session of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Krasnaya Polyana, Sochi, Russia, October 22, 2015. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

The state of play in the Syria talks (round 58692)

By Marco Vicenzino
November 13, 2015
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) listen while UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (C) speaks during a news conference at the Grand Hotel in Vienna, October 30, 2015. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry said on Friday he hoped progress could be made at international talks in Vienna aimed at finding a political solution to Syria's four-year-old civil war but it would be very difficult. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool - RTX1U17Z

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R) listen as UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (C) speaks during a news conference at the Grand Hotel in Vienna, October 30, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool

War is decided on the battlefield. Why peace is decided in Berlin.

By Lucian Kim
November 5, 2015
German Chancellor Merkel and Ukraine Prime Minister Yatsenyuk arrive for Ukrainian-German economic conference in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk pose for media prior to a Ukrainian-German economic conference in Berlin, Germany, October 23, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

What a Russian ‘win’ in Syria would look like

By Josh Cohen
October 28, 2015
Russian President Putin shakes hands with Syrian President Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015. REUTERS/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

How to respond to Russia in Syria while avoiding World War Three

By Josh Cohen
October 13, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande sit together at the start of a summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and French President Francois Hollande sit together at the start of a summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 2, 2015. REUTERS/Etienne Laurent

Putin rehashes Ukraine rhetoric on Syria, but Nazi comparisons fail to convince

By Ian Bateson
October 7, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande sit together at the start of a summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and French President Francois Hollande sit together at the start of a summit on Ukraine at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 2, 2015.REUTERS/Etienne Laurent/Pool

Syria’s one hope may be as dim as Bosnia’s once was

October 6, 2015
Damaged buildings in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria

Damaged buildings in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, July 6, 2015. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh