Policy Memos | Аналитические записки

Policy Memo # 493
Marlene Laruelle 14 Nov 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Western pundits tend to use the term “the Kremlin” in an undefined way that may refer to different entities: the Russian government, the presidential administration, a group of particularly influential figures (which Evgeny Minchenko calls Politburo 2.0), or the circle of President Vladimir Putin’s longtime friends. I argue that an ecosystems metaphor is useful in disentangling the notion of “the Kremlin....
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Policy Memo # 492
George Gavrilis 03 Nov 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Central Asia’s states have been managing (or mismanaging, as some observers argue) their borders for a quarter century. During this time, they have received substantial sums from international donors to improve their border and customs authorities to foster boundaries that are both open and secure—open to lucrative trade and ties that spur regional development but closed to transnational threats.  This memo...
Policy Memo # 491
David Szakonyi 02 Nov 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Over the last decade, the Russian economy has undergone a pronounced turn toward consolidation and renationalization. The state continues to aggressively intervene in markets, passing new regulations, expanding its share of GDP, and ultimately driving out private companies. These actions, as well as repeated economic crises since 2008, have drastically reduced levels of competition in the majority of Russian economic sectors. Yet...
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Policy Memo # 490
Susanne Wengle 24 Oct 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) The conventional wisdom about agriculture reforms in post-Soviet countries is that they failed to achieve their stated objectives. This assessment is largely based on studies that focused on the initial decade of agricultural reforms that was indeed marked by output collapse, land abandonment, and rural outmigration. Many observers continued to emphasize failures well into the 2000s, blaming them on the flawed institutional...
Policy Memo # 489
Barbara Junisbai, Azamat Junisbai, Christopher Whitsel 24 Oct 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) If Kazakhstan is home to Eurasia’s longest serving ruler, neighboring Kyrgyzstan is among its most competitive polities. We wanted to know if, as a growing body of literature posits, these differences in regime type translate into differences in political attitudes. Are Kyrgyzstanis, as might be surmised from their recent context of political contestation and constitutional reform, more likely to support...
Policy Memo # 488
Nona Shahnazarian 20 Oct 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Since late 2012, the terms “gender” and “gender equality” in the Armenian discursive space have become enveloped in undertones of tremendous negativity and even used as insults. The backlash in this area has a strong transnational aspect. “Anti-genderism” (as we might call it) in the region and in Armenia specifically is largely—but not exclusively—connected with Russian soft power...
Policy Memo # 487
Mariya Omelicheva 13 Oct 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) The U.S. government spent $1.9 billion on security assistance to Central Asia between 2001 and 2016. The aid was designed to increase the professionalism of Central Asian ground troops and train and equip security personnel in counterterrorism and counter-narcotics operations. All Central Asian states saw some improvements to their internal security forces as a result. However, two major incremental trends were not addressed...
Policy Memo # 486
Sergiy Kudelia 13 Oct 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) On May 7, 2015, three servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces went on a mission to find separatist collaborators in Sartana, a small town in the Donetsk region. They forced one randomly detained suspect into the trunk of their car, took him to a clandestine interrogation site in the nearby town of Hnutove, and asked him to list all known separatists. After the suspect repeatedly refused, he was brutally beaten and left...
Policy Memo # 485
Arkady Moshes 06 Oct 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Popular protests shook Belarus this past February-March. Tens of thousands of people—significant by the country’s standards—went out on to the streets of the capital and in various towns. The immediate trigger of the protests was a presidential decree introducing a “parasite tax” on a half million people residing in Belarus who do not have official employment but are not registered as unemployed. The...
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Policy Memo # 484
Natalie Koch 28 Sep 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Relations between Central Asian states and the Gulf Arab monarchies have expanded rapidly over the past decade. With one of the most outward-looking foreign policy agendas of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, Qatar’s leadership has increasingly entertained bilateral cooperation with Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. The country opened its embassy in Astana in 2008, shortly after Kazakhstan opened its own...

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