Russia & FSU

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Essay, Nov/Dec 2014
Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman

Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, critics say postcommunist reforms have failed. But the evidence says otherwise. Transition states in Europe and Eurasia have become normal countries -- no worse, and sometimes better, than other states at comparable levels of development.

Response, Nov/Dec 2014
Michael McFaul; Stephen Sestanovich; John J. Mearsheimer

Responding to Mearsheimer's controversial essay blaming the West for the Ukraine crisis, McFaul and Sestanovich put the blame back on Putin and his ideological extremism, denying that NATO expansion provoked him. Mearsheimer replies.

Letter From,
Theresa Bond

A series of paradoxes, problems, and outright persecution, has turned life in Crimea -- a formerly popular vacation spot by the sea -- into a Kafkaesque nightmare.

Snapshot,
Annabelle Chapman

Under the leadership of Donald Tusk and Radek Sikorski, Poland played an important role in opposing Russian aggression. Their departure signals a new role for Polish foreign policy.

Snapshot,
Thomas de Waal

Azerbaijan claims to be interested in the Western liberal order. In reality, the country’s elites want to increase their wealth without threatening Azerbaijan’s oligarchic political system.

Letter From,
Balazs Jarabik

Residents of Ukraine are frustrated and anxious. Facing increasing economic hardship, they have little hope that things will get better. Indeed, things couldn’t get much worse.

Snapshot,
James Yan

Few countries in Asia are in a more precarious foreign policy position than the Republic of Azerbaijan. On the western shore of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan lies between two larger, stronger, and unfriendly countries -- Iran and Russia -- and Azerbaijan’s pro-Western bent has done little to endear the country to either neighbor.

Postscript,
Joshua Yaffa

Late last week in Minsk, negotiators representing Ukraine, the separatist forces, and Russia agreed to a ceasefire. If this deal holds -- plenty of earlier ceasefires have fallen apart as soon as they were signed -- then the active phase of fighting in eastern Ukraine will have come to end on terms favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Snapshot,
Eric Lorber

A Russia with a sophisticated military and a cratered economy would pose a substantial threat to its neighbors, especially since many of those neighbors possess large amounts of valuable natural resources. In other words, although sanctions may be intended to deter Russia from adventurism in its near abroad, they could end up doing just the opposite.

Snapshot,
Alexander J. Motyl

If Ukraine does manage to pacify the Donbas, it will be saddled with a devastated, unstable, and permanently insecure rust belt that will continue to do what it has done since independence in 1991: serve as a channel for Russian influence on Ukraine’s internal affairs and a home to political forces that oppose reform and integration with the West.

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