What Putin Should Do, ASAP

I agree with Leonid Bershidsky’s argument here – but with the clock ticking, I fear that Putin will be cornered into a typical defensive position of denial: By disowning the rebels immediately — in the form of criminal proceedings against the Russian citizens among them, the immediate withdrawal of any Russian aid for them and […]

Draft “Deoffshorisation” Law in Russia – ground–breaking changes

By Olga Boltenko, Evgenia Martin, and Ayshat Gaydarova On the 18th of March the Russian Ministry of Finance published a draft law on anti-offshore measures. Following wide public discussion, a revised draft was published on the 27th of May. The Draft introduces four key concepts: • Controlled foreign companies (CFC) rules; • Russian tax residence […]

Putin’s Revolution Lacks Strategic Vision

While we make look at the revolution in Kiev which toppled President Viktor Yanukovych as the event which set off the chain reaction leading to the impending loss of Eastern Ukraine, the history books are likely to look back on another revolution – the one taking place within the ideology of Russian President Vladimir Putin. […]

What Western Sanctions Say About Russia

The latest round of sanctions are targeting Igor Sechin and co. Will this strategy make a difference, or is a broader, tougher set of measures required?

Guriev on Russia’s Corruption and Territorial Expansion

Sergei Guriev, the respected economist from Moscow’s New Economic School who was forced into exile last year, has published a new article in the Financial Times examining the relationship between Russia’s pervasive corruption and President Vladimir Putin’s recent interest in expanding and swallowing up neighboring territories. In Russia, the social compact of the 2000s was […]

Putin’s Third Stage

Today Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a speech advising lawmakers to approve the annexation of Crimea following Sunday’s referendum. The speech included extended and detailed commentary on history, Putin’s perceived hypocrisy of the West (who he says “rules by the gun” and ignores international law), and of course, his instructions to the Duma to approve […]

Putin’s War Driven by Domestic Motives

Is this a new Cold War? Is this a rational decision on behalf of Putin to reinforce Russia’s security? Or is it more a matter of domestic political survival as the driving motivation behind the seizure of Crimea?

Putin’s Paid Media

Fascinating story by Eli Lake in the Daily Beast today generating a lot of conversation.  According to the latest Foreign Agent Registration Act forms filed at the Justice Department, Ketchum billed Moscow for $1.5 million for the second half of 2013. So what exactly is the Kremlin getting for that money? According to Angus Roxburgh, […]

Russian Exceptionalism

I know I am a few days behind in posting about this, but Gregory Feifer’s latest column in Politico on the repeated failure on behalf of the West to grasp the internal logic of Vladimir Putin’s Russia is well worth a read.  An excerpt: “He [Putin] makes decisions not in his country’s interest, but his […]

Theories of Khodorkovsky’s Release

I don’t endorse any particular theory here, but it’s an interesting take.  A translation of Andrei Illarionov’s theories behind the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Original source: Rufabula.com. Russian President Vladimir Putin released the former head of Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and is considering the release of two more suspects in the Yukos case in exchange for […]