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.
The Russian electorate has regressed in its demands and gullibility to where it was in the early 1990s, when firebrand politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky had his first success. Russian society has a soft spot for wisecracking politicians who give populist speeches and bash the government, even if they tend to contradict themselves.
The Russian government has ambitious plans to rebuild the country’s aviation industry. Despite state subsidies for manufacturers, leasing companies, and buyers, however, Russian planes aren’t selling abroad—even in countries like Iran, with which Moscow has strong political ties.
In the current Russian political climate, ethical reasoning is no longer a recreation but a necessity. Although the country is stuck in a moral quagmire, a new system of ethics is being born—through contrariness.
Sanctions are a critical tool in persuading Russia to change its Ukraine policy. But the West’s overreliance on them risks undercutting their long-term effectiveness.
The “Yarovaya laws” threaten to undermine the core principles of Russian criminal law. With the Criminal Code stripped bare and the revival of a number of notorious Soviet legal principles—including the ability to hold people criminally responsible for withholding information—legal textbooks will soon have to be rewritten.