Policy Memos | Аналитические записки

Policy Memo # 671
Natalya Chernyshova 17 Sep 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Unprecedented mass protests in Belarus against the rigged presidential elections on August 9 continue into their sixth week with no signs of abating. They are massive, tenacious, and draw on a remarkably broad social and geographical base. These qualities, combined with the absence of a single opposition political leader, pose an unprecedented challenge to Europe’s longest-serving ruler, Aliaksandr Lukashenka. These protests...
Policy Memo # 670
Kimberly Marten 15 Sep 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Just when you think you know where Russia’s Wagner Group “private” military company (PMC) is deployed, it pops up somewhere else. In the past year, its members have been spotted in Mozambique, Libya, and Belarus, adding to their prior roles in eastern Ukraine, Syria, Sudan, and the Central African Republic (and perhaps Mali). The odds are that the Wagner Group may soon be heading back to Syria, too. Provided here is a brief...
Policy Memo # 669
Maria Snegovaya 11 Sep 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Accumulating evidence points at prospects of growing destabilization at the regional level in Russia. In 2019, five consecutive years of economic stagnation ignited a wave of protests across the country. In 2020, as Russia’s economic situation worsened dramatically due to a pandemic-driven halt to economic activity combined with a fall in oil prices, support for Kremlin appointees might start crumbling as well. What does it...
Policy Memo # 668
Beka Chedia 03 Sep 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Georgian parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 31, 2020. The convention in Tbilisi is that no political party has stayed in power beyond two consecutive terms, and Georgian Dream’s second term concludes this fall. Even though it is only a tradition, it opens the way for political formations to change. Instead of one ruling party or electoral bloc, the future government may be a coalition of forces. Although...
Policy Memo # 667
Marlene Laruelle, Wei (Josh) Luo 10 Aug 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Theories of soft power inspired by political scientist Joseph Nye often rely on two problematic assumptions: that soft power accrues only to countries with liberal systems, and that the United States is the yardstick for measuring its impact. The assumption that non-liberal countries cannot develop soft power that would attract audiences abroad limits our ability to apprehend the way illiberal politics and politicians gain...
Policy Memo # 666
Farid Guliyev 30 Jul 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Around the time of the February 2020 snap parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan, the government-opposition relationship took a surprising turn. In the run-up to the election, the ruling regime tolerated oppositional activity to a greater extent than it did in the past, in what some described as signs of the regime “softening.” However, with the rise in COVID-19 cases in mid-March in the country and the introduction of...
Policy Memo # 665
Gianmarco Riva 24 Jul 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) In recent times, Baltic State policies toward Russia have displayed a relatively unified front. This became abundantly clear in the aftermath of major events such as the two gas disputes between Kyiv and Moscow in 2006 and 2009, the Russian-led incursion into Ukraine in 2014 as well as the subsequent annexation of the Crimea peninsula, and the military intrusion in the Donbas region. Broadly, these events have led to a...
Policy Memo # 664
Emily Ferris 20 Jul 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) Russia’s regional administrations tend to be overlooked as a toothless part of the system, lacking any real responsibility or power. While Moscow has certainly curbed governors’ autonomy under President Vladimir Putin’s rule, several important events over the past few months, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and amendments to the constitution, have brought the importance of regional governors back to the fore. The recent...
Policy Memo # 663
Andrei Semenov, Vsevolod Bederson 20 Jul 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) As the COVID-19 pandemic struck Russia in late March 2020 and state responses looked weak and indecisive, civil society did not hesitate to step in. For example, almost 200 million rubles ($2.8 million) was raised by the NGO union Chto delat’ (“What is to be done?”) to help medical workers, and organizations like Razvitie migratsii (“Migrant Development”) provided essential aid to labor migrants. Such efforts set a tone of...
Policy Memo # 662
Peter Rutland, Andrei Kazantsev 13 Jul 2020
(PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) This memorandum reviews Russian state media and civil society responses to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The varying reactions cast an interesting light on how Russians view their place in the world and the trajectory of Russia’s democratic development. Russians seem to have a poor understanding of the dynamics of American history and society, but the BLM movement struck a nerve, triggering a heated debate in both...

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