Policy Memo # 499
Scott Radnitz 20 Dec 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Since the Ukraine crisis, political commentators have remarked on the chasm of understanding of events in the post-Soviet region, depending on whether one is consuming news in the “East” (which mostly comes from Russia) or “West” (mostly referring to established media sources in the United States and Europe). One aspect of this information divide, believed to primarily afflict the pro-Russian side, is...
Escaping the Energy Sanctions Tangle: Gas Networks & Off-Ramps from Escalation in US-EU-Russia Relations
Policy Memo # 498
Adam Stulberg 19 Dec 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Energy Sanctions and statecraft are mainstays of Western policy toward Russia and this looks unlikely to change. The passage of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) by a veto-proof majority in the U.S. Congress specifically targeted broad new prohibitions on energy sector loans with maturity longer than 60 days and new partnerships in the oil sector (off-shore, deep-water, Arctic, and shale)...
Policy Memo # 497
Mikhail Troitskiy 08 Dec 2017
“I am not risking my head when I promise to teach my donkey to read—in twenty years one of us will surely die—either myself, or the emir, or the donkey.” - Hodja Nasreddin (XIII century) Challenges have been piling up in U.S.-Russian relations over the last five years. Confrontations—from arms control crises and Moscow shutting down NGOs to the Ukraine and Syria conflicts and sanctions regimes—will continue unless either government opts...
Policy Memo # 496
Debra Javeline, Sarah Lindemann-Komarova 30 Nov 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) Most reports on Russian civil society focus on government efforts to restrict Western funding to Russian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with legislation on foreign agents and undesirable organizations. The legislation has created legal, bureaucratic, social, and financial hardships for NGOs, and many observers have inferred from the hardships that local organizations are ceasing to be independent and that Russian civil...
Policy Memo # 495
Dmitry Gorenburg 22 Nov 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) By the end of 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin will approve Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027. This memo summarizes publicly available information regarding the types of armaments that will be procured for the Russian military in the next eight years and assesses the likelihood that the Russian government will be able to meet these commitments. Based on these plans, Russia seems primed to stay ahead of its...
Policy Memo # 494
Pavel Baev 22 Nov 2017
(PONARS Policy Memo) On Russian Navy Day, July 30, 2017, a high-profile naval parade was held in St. Petersburg to demonstrate the power of the Russian Navy both to the world and to President Vladimir Putin. The ardent commander-in-chief reassured the spit-and-polished admirals that the navy is a key guarantor of Russia’s great power status. However, praise and fresh marine paint cannot hide acute fissures: the Russian Navy is seriously over-...
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....
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...
Plentiful Harvests in Eurasia: Why Some Farms in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Armenia Are Thriving Despite Institutional Challenges
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...
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