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By Mark Kramer (Op-ed) The New York Times, September 30, 2011Forty years ago The Who recorded “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” with the memorable lines “Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss.” The song came to mind with the events in Russia last weekend.   Despite years of indications that Vladimir Putin would return as Russia’s president in 2012 after a four-year interregnum as prime minister, many commentators and public officials in Russia and the...
Tags: Kramer, Putin, Russia
(Op-ed) The New York Times, September 29, 2011 On Saturday, the world learned that Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s current prime minister and former president, will return to the Kremlin in May 2012. When Mr. Putin stepped down as president in 2008, handing the responsibilities of head of state to the newly elected Dmitri A. Medvedev, it did not diminish Mr. Putin’s personal authority. But it did increase the chances that Russia would evolve into a stable...
Tags: Charap, Putin, Russia
Russia’s party system developed in a decidedly lopsided way during the 2000s. As with all things lopsided, it runs a serious risk of instability, which could occur over the next decade. Understanding how this is the case requires clearing up four common myths about political parties in Russia. Myth No. 1. United Russia is an empty shell, constituting nothing more than a collection of ambitious elites with no genuine ties to the population. Public opinion...
Other news of the day11/07/2011 No Pause for the “Reset” TROITSKIY, Mikhail The U.S.-Russia “reset” has become an acknowledged foreign policy triumph for the incumbent administrations in Washington and Moscow. However, amid the difficulties with negotiating further arms control agreements, politicians and pundits on both sides are tempted to conclude that the reset has largely run its course. Such talk is premature at best and harmful to U.S.-Russia...
Publications, quotes, and comments by PONARS Eurasia members: Arkady Moshes, "The Transition to Economic Liberalisation is Unstoppable," The Independent, Dec 21  →  "It may seem that the crackdown on popular protest in Minsk is proof the regime has full control of the situation and has not learned anything since March 2006–the last time the police violently dispersed protesters; it may seem that the people of Belarus should expect more of...
Originally published in the Atlantic Sentinel -- Even if youngsters in Tatarstan are becoming Islamic, the authorities in this Russian republic have little reason to fear a surge in religious extremism. Persecution of pious Muslims would in fact only spur violence, not prevent it. I recently came across an article that argues that Tatarstan is facing an Islamization scenario akin to what has already occurred in Ingushetia and Dagestan. It reports on...
Samuel Charap of the Center for American Progress argues in a July 23 Washington Post op-ed (“U.S. Needs to Carefully Plot Engagement with Russia”) that civil society “still plays a role in public life” in Russia and that the Obama administration’s “major expansion of government-to-government engagement (the ‘reset’)” could positively influence Russian domestic developments. Charap’s point about civil society concerns the passage of a new Russian law...
Last week in Kyrgyzstan, supporters of former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev occupied government buildings in the south and clashed with government forces before the interim government restored authority. The incident, in which at least one person died, reinforced the fact that the contours of Kyrgyzstan’s new political regime are far from settled. In recent weeks, Eric McGlinchey, Alexander Cooley, and Kathleen Collins have commented on Kyrgyzstan’s...

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