Foreign Policy Blogs

Russia & Central Asia

Putin’s Punitive Psychiatry and other Flashbacks

Putin’s Punitive Psychiatry and other Flashbacks

You have to be mad to oppose Putin. At least that is what a Moscow court ruled on Tuesday when it sentenced Mikhail Kosenko to be committed to a psychiatric hospital for his part in the anti-government protest. “The court has ruled to release Kosenko Mikhail Alexandrovich from criminal ...

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A Money Showdown, Moscow-Style, and Its Potential Consequences

A Money Showdown, Moscow-Style, and Its Potential Consequences

  As President Obama clashes with Congress over spending authorizations and debt ceilings to keep funds flowing outward from the U.S. government, his counterpart in Moscow is celebrating a victory that has brought lawmakers’ own money flowing back into Russia. Six weeks ago, just as Washington’s budget battles began heating up yet ...

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Putin’s Kiss (2012)

Putin’s Kiss (2012)

This documentary focuses on the pitfalls of groupthink in modern Russia. It shows a young woman, Masha Drokova, who skyrocketed to the top of a pro-Putin group called Nashi, a political youth organization. She was the group’s spokesperson and was a firm believer in Putin’s rule. That is, until she met some ...

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Snowden in the Greater Scheme of U.S.-Russian Relations

Snowden in the Greater Scheme of U.S.-Russian Relations

On Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, Russia granted temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, permitting him to leave the transit zone of Sheremetyevo Airport for the first time in nearly six weeks. The Obama administration immediately expressed its disappointment with the Russian decision, and some members of Congress have called for retaliatory ...

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Putin’s Deadliest Catch: Snowden Joins Navalny in Moscow

Putin’s Deadliest Catch: Snowden Joins Navalny in Moscow

As Edward Snowden slipped into Moscow this afternoon, asylum documents in hand, he joined another recently freed man: Alexey Navalny. Russia now has two famous cyber-whistleblowers on its hands, and hasn’t yet figured out what to do with either. One thing is for sure, Putin’s planned meeting ...

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Snowden, Putin, sheared pigs and the joys of Whataboutism

Snowden, Putin, sheared pigs and the joys of Whataboutism

What is Russia playing at by harboring America’s most wanted whistleblower Edward Snowden in a Moscow airport? A brief recap: Over the weekend, Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong en route to a third country, probably Ecuador (which is already housing Julian Assange in its London embassy).  On Sunday, journalists ...

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Russia’s new anti-gay law: more cynicism than bigotry

Russia’s new anti-gay law: more cynicism than bigotry

Amidst worldwide condemnation, Russia’s parliament passed a law outlawing “homosexual propaganda.” It was definitely a shameful milestone. As of today, The law will make it an offence…to communicate to Russian children and young people that love between two women or two men is “just as socially valuable” as that between a ...

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Nagorno-Karabakh: Expect Status Quo in 2013-14

Nagorno-Karabakh: Expect Status Quo in 2013-14

Two decades of international community administered talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijani territory, have failed to reach a resolution. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s petro-dollar aided exponential increase in defence expenditure amid pitched rabble-rousing and frequent sniper skirmishes in the region has led many to fear ...

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India, Pakistan and China: The importance of regional powers in a post-U.S. Afghanistan

India, Pakistan and China: The importance of regional powers in a post-U.S. Afghanistan

By Tyler Hooper With U.S., NATO and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) personnel set to withdraw the bulk of their military personnel from Afghanistan in 2014, regional powers such as China, India and Pakistan will have the opportunity to play an influential role in the country’s future. Both India and Pakistan have ...

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Shadow of Afghanistan (2012)

Shadow of Afghanistan (2012)

This documentary is all over the place. It is in part a history of modern Afghanistan and also a film about independent journalists – some of whom were killed – trying to report on the situation on the ground. Afghanistan is called “The Graveyard of Empires” for good reason: Every country ...

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Exit Surkov: The end of postmodern Putinism?

Exit Surkov: The end of postmodern Putinism?

Speculation swirls around today’s sudden resignation of Vladislav Surkov, the Kremlin’s chief ideologue who had thought up “sovereign democracy” and invented the Nashi youth groups. He name-dropped Lacan and Derrida and even allegedly wrote a novel called Almost Zero. And now he might have become just ...

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Prisoner of the Mountains (1996)

Prisoner of the Mountains (1996)

The conflict between Russia and the territory of Chechnya is the backdrop for this film. In it two Russian soldiers are taken away to a Chechen village after their group is ambushed. The reason they are captured is so that a villager can use them as a trade for his ...

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As NATO Draws Down, Feuding Neighbors’ Elections May Heat Up

As NATO Draws Down, Feuding Neighbors’ Elections May Heat Up

  As NATO troops leave, Afghanistan and two of its northern neighbors will undergo national elections. Should we be worried? While some observers expect an uptick in Afghan border infiltration after the upcoming NATO drawdown, others feel that instability in neighboring states Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have long been homegrown. These countries are ...

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Boston Bombers: Is America’s Skewed Asylum System to Blame?

Boston Bombers: Is America’s Skewed Asylum System to Blame?

As a Russian who first came to America as a small child and later spent his university years in Cambridge, Mass., I felt particularly gripped by the ongoing Boston bomber saga. There remain so many questions about why these two brothers, to whom the U.S. had given shelter, passports, schooling ...

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The Iraq Endgame and the Lessons for Afghanistan: An Update

The Iraq Endgame and the Lessons for Afghanistan: An Update

Washington is in a rush and everyone knows it The U.S. commentariat spent much of last month ruminating over the lessons of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.  Left unexamined were the important lessons relating to the U.S. endgame in that country and how they should be applied to the accelerating ...

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