History Repeating: The Kremlin's Fight for Relevance

Oct 05, 2015
"The Kremlin does not feel it owes an explanation to its domestic audience as to why Russia is suddenly at war in the Middle East. The conflict is presented as a media event that should not bother the population in any real way," writes Max Trudolyubov.

Obama and Putin at Odds Over Syria

Sep 30, 2015
To no one’s surprise, the recent meeting between Presidents Obama and Putin ended with them at odds over Syria and other issues. Will Pomeranz provides analysis.

Why Putin’s Move into Syria May Be One Step Too Far

Sep 28, 2015
"Imperial overstretch serves as a recurring theme throughout Russian history. Putin’s grand U.N. pronouncements should not obscure the fact that he brings few deliverables — and multiple vulnerabilities — to the table," writes Will Pomeranz.

Kennan Institute Awarded Title VIII Funding

Sep 22, 2015
The Kennan Institute is pleased to announce that it has been awarded Title VIII funding for the coming program year.

Are the U.S. and Russia Now on the Same Page About Syria?

Sep 18, 2015
"The issue with engaging Mr. Putin on Syria is not that the U.S. looks weak-–of course it does-–because Moscow has acted and Washington has not reacted. Far more concerning is that Mr. Putin appears to know what he wants: to prop up Mr. Assad, oppose the U.S., and pick up propaganda points abroad," writes Aaron David Miller.

Is Time Working for or Against Putin?

Sep 15, 2015
"Putin has relished being unpredictable throughout the conflict, but even he, by now, realizes that the Ukraine crisis has not gone according to his timetable," writes William Pomeranz.

How Putin's Boldness on Syria Trumps U.S.

Sep 15, 2015
"The Syrian regime is weakening and isn’t much as an ally. But when it comes to Syria, Mr. Putin has got Iran in his corner, too. That’s more than Washington can say," writes Aaron David Miller.

“A Sacred Space Is Never Empty”

Sep 14, 2015
In continuation of our alumni interview series, we talked with Title VIII-supported Research Scholar Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock to hear her reflections on her fellowship. Dr. Smolkin-Rothrock, Assistant Professor of Russian History at Wesleyan University, is writing a book about the confrontation between scientific atheism and lived religion in the Soviet Union. See the discussion below on religious policy and atheism throughout Soviet history.

From Chechnya to Ukraine: Biopolitical Patriotism in Times of War

Sep 09, 2015
The following analysis uses Russian cinematographic narratives to help us understand the concept of biopolitical patriotism. More specifically, several Russian film representations of the two wars in Chechnya touch upon the idea of post-Soviet patriotism. This patriotism can be dubbed biopolitical, in the sense that the state, being neither its engine nor its key reference point, could take advantage of this patriotism’s ability to mobilize a population and could selectively use it for political purposes.

Everyday Law Enforcement in Russia

Sep 08, 2015
An Interview with Lauren McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, upon the completion of her Title VIII Research Scholarship. Dr. McCarthy discusses her Kennan Institute project, which explored how and when Russian law enforcement agencies implemented laws on human trafficking in Russia from 2004-2013. Check out this interview for a sneak peak of Dr. McCarthy’s forthcoming book