Does Vladimir Putin have an ideology? And if so, what does it tell us about his goals for Russia? Whatever Putin’s agenda or the ideas that drive it, Russian aggression in Ukraine has stirred up tensions not seen since the Cold War in ways that are redefining Russia and its relations with its neighbors and the world. Veteran journalist turned scholar Jill Dougherty returned from a recent trip to Russia and provides insights into the developing situation.
"Direct public resistance is simply impossible under such conditions precisely because the manipulators in the media deliberately eliminate the means for coordinating action and, most importantly, developing mutual trust," writes Maxim Trudolyubov.
"The crisis in Ukraine is now the crucible. How it turns out may influence Russia’s future stance toward its neighbors, and the extent to which the West will support them against any future Russian coercion," writes Ian Bond, Denis Dorboy, William Courtney, and Kenneth Yalowitz.
"Undoubtedly, there are no easy solutions to the current conflict in Ukraine, only hard choices to be made. Sending weapons without an overall strategy is not a hard choice, but it is one that the United States has readily made before, often with adverse results," writes Michael Kofman.
"Perm’s geographic location is a convenient transfer point from which Ukrainian refugees can move further into the country: either to the north of Russia, to the Yamalo-Nenets region, for example, where more lucrative employment opportunities exist, or to other Russian cities where their relatives live," writes Mary Elizabeth Malinkin and Liliya Nigmatullina.
"Mr. Putin has certainly succeeded in clouding Russian perceptions and distorting Russian thinking. No one knows how long this strategy will succeed, but of one thing there is no doubt: For many Russians, Mr. Putin has turned himself into a kind of noble cause," writes Maxim Trudolyubov.
"To prosper, the Eurasian energy sector must become more agile and efficient. This means removing politics from more energy decision making, and being clear-eyed about changing market forces," writes William Courtney, Richard Kauzlarich, and Kenneth Yalowitz.
"Putin’s seemingly relaxed attitude was on display during his December state-of-the-nation address, where his “new” economic initiatives included reforms for small business, a complete amnesty to return Russian capital from abroad and support for Russian technology. Yet none of his proposals possess the urgency — and the details –that would soften Russia’s looming deep recession," writes Will Pomeranz.
"As 2014 began, few in Russia could have imagined how far its fortunes would fall by year’s end. Russia is entering strategic decline. It has options for recovery, but as yet shows little sign of exercising them," write Kenneth Yalowicz, Denis Corboy, and William Courtney.
"Political time in Russia seems to drag on for ages. Our New Year celebrations will not be a mark of coming change. They will simply remind us of the reality that Russia is, once more, dangerously behind the times," writes Maxim Trudolyubov.
Experts & Staff
- Matthew Rojansky // Director, Kennan Institute
- William E. Pomeranz // Deputy Director, Kennan Institute
- F. Joseph Dresen // Program Associate
- Mary Elizabeth Malinkin // Program Associate
- Izabella Tabarovsky // Manager for Regional Engagement
- Mattison Brady // Program Assistant
- Blair A. Ruble // Vice President for Programs; Director, Urban Sustainability Laboratory; and Senior Advisor, Kennan Institute
- Kateryna Smagliy // Director, Kennan Institute in Ukraine