Russia & FSU

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Essay, May/June 2014
Jeffrey Mankoff

Russia’s annexation of Crimea is Moscow’s latest attempt to maintain influence in a post-Soviet state by creating a so-called frozen conflict, in which a splinter territory remains under Russian protection and beyond the control of the central government. But history suggests Russia’s move will backfire and push the rest of Ukraine west.

Essay, May/June 2014
Walter Russell Mead

Whether it is Russian forces seizing Crimea, China making aggressive claims in its coastal waters, or Iran trying to dominate the Middle East, old-fashioned power plays are back. These revisionist powers never bought into the geopolitical settlement that followed the Cold War, and their ongoing attempts to overturn it will not be peaceful.

Essay, May/June 2014
G. John Ikenberry

China, Iran, and Russia are not determined to undo the post–Cold War settlement. They are not full-scale revisionist powers but, at most, part-time spoilers. The United States is far more powerful and has built a robust liberal world order countries need to integrate with in order to succeed.

Snapshot,
Alina Polyakova

By inking a deal with Russia last week, the West seemed to sign on to Russia’s strategy for the region -- “federalism” or, more likely, partition. The agreement itself quickly fell through, but Russia now has the West's acquiescence in writing.

Snapshot,
Michael O'Hanlon

Should Russia march into eastern Ukraine, the best way to respond would be to set up a permanent brigade of American light forces in the most vulnerable NATO members, namely, the Baltics -- Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Snapshot,
Maria Popova

Given Ukraine's rule-of-law problems, it is not surprising that one of the Euromaidan protesters’ top demands was for legal reform. Nor is it surprising that the new government in Kiev has focused on clearing out the judiciary and emancipating it from its political subservience. But how it has gone about that will only make Ukraine's problems worse.

Postscript,
Keith Darden

For the first time since 1989, Europe is transforming. The primary protagonists, by most accounts, are Russia and the West. The bit of territory that they are clawing at -- Ukraine -- has largely been eclipsed. Yet inattention to Ukraine’s internal demons reflects a dangerous misreading of current events.

Snapshot,
Andrew Wilson
Snapshot,
Mitchell A. Orenstein and Kálmán Mizsei

On April 3, the EU announced that it would grant visa-free travel to Moldovans. The move was the latest salvo in a raging battle for Moldova, a second front in a struggle between the EU and Russia for the lands in between them.

Snapshot,
Robert Kahn

Although sanctions have a spotty record of achieving political objectives, they could be unusually powerful in Russia. The country's relationship to global financial markets -- integrated, highly leveraged, and opaque -- creates vulnerability, which sanctions could exploit to produce a Russian “Lehman moment”: a sharp, rapid deleveraging with major consequences for Russia’s ability to trade and invest.

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