Foreign Policy Blogs

Russia & Central Asia

Preparing to Leave

Preparing to Leave

After more than a decade of conflict, America is reducing its footprint in Afghanistan. Although it seems likely that America and Afghanistan will come to terms on a security agreement to ensure a residual force of 8,000 to 12,000 soldiers remains in country to carryout counter-terrorism missions and training for the Afghan National Army, the […]

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Camp Victory, Afghanistan (2010)

Camp Victory, Afghanistan (2010)

This documentary is engaging in that it is a departure from the typical documentary. It’s about United States National Guard soldiers trying to train an indigenous Afghan army from mid- to late 2000s in Heart, Afghanistan. It centers on the 207th Corps of the nascent Afghan National Army. The frustration on the part of the Americans […]

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Politicized Political Journalism

Politicized Political Journalism

Over the years, political journalism in Russia has gradually morphed into a new definition – one that blurs the line between politicized and honest journalism. Russian journalism blotched that line even more with Monday’s presidential decree to shut down the state-funded news agency, RIA Novosti, and merged it with a news outlet called Russia Today. […]

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It Takes a (Potemkin) Village

It Takes a (Potemkin) Village

That heavily weighted word, propaganda, has surfaced again in connection with Russia, this time in a law forbidding “propaganda on behalf of homosexuality.” A storm of international protest against the law caused Russian President Vladimir Putin this week to publicly reassure the rest of the world that “people of all sexual preferences” would be welcome […]

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Khodorkovsky, Revisited

Khodorkovsky, Revisited

This day marks a decade in Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s imprisonment, a journey all too similar to the hopelessly frigid Siberian settings of Dostoevsky’s stories and Solzhenitsyn’s novels — except in one regard. In his younger years, Khodorkovsky was a corrupt oil tycoon and pragmatic oligarch successfully basking in the Russian government’s economic malaise. It was Khodorkovsky […]

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Olympic Cyber Surveillance and Global Internet Privacy

Olympic Cyber Surveillance and Global Internet Privacy

Sochi, a city whose flag features palm trees, the sun and rain drops, was far from a traditional choice for 2014 Winter Olympics. Yet there is an even more troubling geographical concern than why a country literally cold enough to freeze invading armies to death would choose a subtropical beach resort catering to aging apparatchiks […]

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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 responsibility for insanely conducting actions forbidden […]

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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 again, Russian lawmakers […]

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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 opposition journalists. What Putin’s Kiss […]

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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 measures against Russia. While President […]

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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 Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit […]

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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 received a number of […]

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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 man and a woman. […]

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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 that the disputed landlocked mountainous […]

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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 historically been involved in […]

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