Posts by Pavel Baev

Pavel Baev 02-19-2020
(EDM) The proceedings of the annual Munich Security Conference always attract keen attention in Moscow, and last weekend (February 14–16) was no exception. The discussions at this high-level forum are indeed highly consequential most years, but Russian interest continues to be stimulated by reflections on Vladimir Putin’s speech at the 2007 conference, which he likely to this day sees as his stellar moment on the world stage. In retrospect, the Kremlin...
Pavel Baev 02-11-2020
(EDM) The message from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to his Norwegian counterpart, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Spitsbergen Treaty was rude even by the standards of Russian diplomacy. Russia has, on several previous occasions, signaled disagreements with various measures Norway has taken to protecting the unique Arctic environment of its Svalbard archipelago. The letter Lavrov sent last week (February...
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Pavel Baev 02-04-2020
(EDM) The scope of the epidemiological disaster unfolding in China has dawned on Russia remarkably late. Last Wednesday (January 29), President Vladimir Putin called a small meeting to check national readiness for a possible spread of the coronavirus, first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and expressed confidence in the sufficiency of Russian precautions (Kremlin.ru, January 29). Yet, by Friday, he held a special meeting of the Security Council...
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Pavel Baev 12-10-2019
(EDM) After the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) contentious jubilee summit in London last week (December 3–4) (see EDM, December 2), the fulcrum of European politics has shifted to two different summits, in which President Vladimir Putin was supposed to perform foremost roles. The first one took place in Sochi, on December 7, with Putin and Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka meeting to discuss the prospects of closer bilateral...
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Pavel Baev 12-03-2019
(EDM) Russia regularly mixes demonstrations of military might and claims of devotion to cooperation with the West as a means of weakening Western solidarity. And Moscow has been fine-tuning this conspicuously contradictory signaling ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) 70th anniversary, which is being celebrated at the London Summit this week (December 3–4). Russian propaganda inflates every sign of disagreement in the Alliance, which...
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Pavel Baev 11-19-2019
(EDM) Russia is often described in the West and by its own “non-systemic” opposition as a police state and an autocracy, and with good reason. The suppression of street protests in Moscow last summer was demonstratively brutal, but it was also ineffectual and counterproductive. The monopolization of political power by the Kremlin is also heavy, but President Vladimir Putin is often reduced to acting as an arbiter in the feuds between clans of siloviki (...
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Pavel Baev 11-13-2019
(EDM) Stability has always been the main promise legitimizing Vladimir Putin’s monopolization of political power in Russia. Restoration of stability was the winning slogan for Putin in 2012, in claiming the presidency back from his pliant stand-in, Dmitry Medvedev, who had tried to experiment with modernization. And Putin’s reelection in 2018 also utilized a stability-centered propaganda campaign. The shock of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, as...
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Pavel Baev 11-05-2019
(EDM) The massive spontaneous eruption of street protests in East Germany 30 years ago culminated in the breach of the ominous Berlin Wall, and that breakthrough determined the end of the Soviet system and collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) two years later. Today, the Russian leadership is keen to celebrate occasions that fit a new “patriotic” historical narrative—and the fall of the Berlin Wall conspicuously does not fit. Thus,...
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Pavel Baev 10-30-2019
(EDM) The memorandum of understanding on Syria signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in Sochi, on October 22, was seen as a triumph in Moscow (see EDM, October 24); but the jubilation evaporated in a matter of days. The Kremlin grew upset regarding how the United States and Turkey seemed to take on exclusive management of the new escalation of the Syrian crisis even as the widely reported-on six-hour...
Pavel Baev 10-22-2019
(EDM) The Grom 2019 exercise of Russian strategic forces last week (October 15–17) received limited media attention, which was overwhelmed by the escalation of the Syrian calamity (see EDM, October 17) and the continuation of the Brexit drama. But this year’s Grom maneuvers were, in fact, unprecedented in both their scale and intensity. Official information is deliberately imprecise. But reportedly, launches of ballistic missiles by submarines of the...
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About the author

Research Professor
Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)