The military takes over when it feels superior to the rest of society. Its perceived superiority lies in the view of the army in developing nations as the primary instrument of modernization. The Turkish coup failed because soldiers have lost that status in Turkish society—a process that happened long ago in Russia.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his administration have increasingly divergent views about reform. Why hasn’t Lukashenko sacked his freethinking ministers? Is “Europe’s last dictatorship” actually liberalizing?
The armed seizure of a police station in Yerevan conceals wider problems in Armenia. The country is used to public protests, and the Armenian authorities are used to overcoming them. But a younger generation is both more radical and more hostile to Russia than its predecessors.
Two years after the Maidan, most Ukrainians see little progress in fighting corruption.
Russia’s doping scandal has shown how sports mirror politics when they become matters of national importance. Like the regime, Russian sports are now mired in fraud, deception, hysterical patriotism, and oversensitivity.
The main debate in Abkhazia today isn’t about whether partnering with Russia is good or bad; it’s about the quality of independence (albeit, only partially recognized). Abkhazia has escaped Georgia’s political sphere of influence, but it hasn’t resolved the stalemate between the quest for statehood and factual dependence on Russia in the financial, defense, and security sectors.
Although Russian officials were initially shocked and concerned about the military coup in Turkey, it has in fact given them a formula for strengthening their gradually declining regime: all they have to do to restore their vanishing legitimacy is declare themselves defenders of democracy.
Russian society should pay more attention to the Kremlin’s foreign policy agenda and have a better understanding of the nation’s actions abroad. Russia should identify itself as a Euro-Pacific country rather than a Eurasian country as it seeks out new opportunities to become better integrated in the globalized world.
Kyrgyzstan could yet evolve into an island of pluralism with stable institutions, but global and domestic trends may be pointing it in a different direction.
Charles Clover depicts the intellectual ferment that has brought provocative strands of Russian nationalism at the heart of the Kremlin’s policymaking apparatus under Vladimir Putin.