Foreign Policy Blogs

Russia

The Charms of Russia’s Wild East, Without the Grunt-Work

The Charms of Russia’s Wild East, Without the Grunt-Work

Russia. It’s not all doom and gloom (we’re not Greece, you know!).
Sure, in their latest dispatches from Vladivostok and Lake Baikal, the BBC’s Reggie Nadelson and the Atlantic’s Nicholas Schmidle didn’t ask the hard questions. Like, where’s all that money earmarked for preparing for …

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Russia: Still Number One

Russia: Still Number One


After a week of Oligarch wars, Medvedev-Luzhkov sniping, spy-plagiarism and a Victor Bout guilty verdict, it’s good to know we can still lead the world, even if it is in the corruption stakes.
It’s unclear …

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Russian Elections: Putin for President?

Russian Elections: Putin for President?


As the presidential elections approach in Russia with the vote due in March 2012, media and opinion polls point out at the growing apathy amongst Russian population. Gloomy and grim attitudes stem from widespread perceptions that the positions of president and prime minister are predetermined with …

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Back to the New-SSR

Back to the New-SSR


It’s become so fashionable to automatically diss everything Putin does that critics are rarely forced to use their brains.
That’s the only way to explain the curious liberal denunciations of the Eurasian Union, a free-trade economic and political bloc of major former Soviet states that Putin is …

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Excavating the Soviet in Azerbaijan

Excavating the Soviet in Azerbaijan


A portly man stands covered in glistening crude oil: this visual joke on that iconic scene from Goldfinger sets the scene for British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews’s exploration of life in post-Soviet Central Asia.
This week, she won an international …

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Hipsteritarianism: Putin’s Postmodern Fiefdom

Hipsteritarianism: Putin’s Postmodern Fiefdom


It’s a story that could have been written by Borges.
A powerful man publishes a satirical novel under a playful yet obvious pseudonym. The book’s protagonist is a fiercely intelligent, insecure and amoral intellectual, a “‘vulgar Hamlet’ who can see through the superficiality of his age, but …

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Russia’s Internet Polyarchy

Russia’s Internet Polyarchy


In a thoughtful and nuanced analysis of the internet’s role in Russian civil society (which just happened to include a few thoughtful and nuanced reflections from your humble blogger:), Radio Liberty’s Daisy Sindelar writes:
“The Russian Internet, or RuNet, is the first medium in …

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Afghanistalgia

Afghanistalgia


Nostalgia is everywhere these days, a far cry from the good old days when we used to live for the future. Woody Allen. South Africa politicians. Even Mad Men are in on the act.
But nostalgia for …

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USSR: Union of Soviet Skype Researchers

USSR: Union of Soviet Skype Researchers


Did you know that Skype comes from Estonia?
Ok, smartypants. But did you know Skype loves the Soviet Union?
Well, maybe not loves exactly, but at least gives credit where credit is due.
For some reason, Baltic people are not exactly what you’d call nostalgic for their former Slav …

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Putin: I’m Baaaack!

Putin: I’m Baaaack!


In 2024, I’ll be middle aged, turning 40. Maybe filthy rich, much more probably struggling to feed the kids. Or without any kids. Or maybe even dead – who knows? The polar ice caps might be gone and the US broken up into individual chunks run …

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Russia’s “Post-Bling” Generation: Lebedev’s Blow for the Common Man

Russia’s “Post-Bling” Generation: Lebedev’s Blow for the Common Man


Of all the things to envy about Alexander Lebedev – his billions, his international media empire, his mansion on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace – what most Russians are really jealous of is that it was he and not them who knocked …

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From Rockets to Rocket? Dreading Russia’s Obnoxious Food Revolution

From Rockets to Rocket? Dreading Russia’s Obnoxious Food Revolution


I remember when Russian haute cuisine was a 10 letter word: mayonnaise.
When the first “Western” pizzeria opened in my home town of Murmansk around 1994, its house specialty certainly looked like pizza: a slick flatbread baked in a giant rectangular pan and sliced …

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Cameron Crawls Back to Putin

Cameron Crawls Back to Putin


As if any more evidence were needed that Putin will return to the presidency, Britain’s David Cameron has raced to Moscow to mend fences.
Of course, this being Cameron, his limp supplicating came with an extra dose of hypocritical moralising.
The UK has not been …

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Putin Presses Button to Start Nord Stream NatGas Pipeline

Putin Presses Button to Start Nord Stream NatGas Pipeline


Vladimir Putin was at a ceremony a few days ago at which he pressed the button that began the process of delivering natural gas to Germany through the Nord Stream pipeline. According to Gazprom, Nord Stream is the first direct link between Russia and the European …

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Russia and South Africa: Separated at Birth?

Russia and South Africa: Separated at Birth?


What is it about transition societies? No matter how far away they are from each other or how different their culture and history, they have much the same problems: inequality, crime, corruption, a single dominant party, health crises, poor education systems and pervasive nostalgia for the …

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