Building bridges in Russian civil society

Direct aid givers, civic activists, and political activists spend as much time arguing amongst themselves as they do building civil society. With such divisions, it is clear that bridges need to be built not only between civil society and the state.

Russian civil society is a 25-year-old work in progress

A summary of the results of the recent Salzburg Global Seminar ‘Russian Civil Society Symposium: Building Bridges to the Future’ is simple: no easy answers, more questions. But that does not mean it was a failure.

Can Russia afford to be an outcast in world politics?

What President Putin has been pursuing during his months-long battle against Ukraine’s economy and society is the semi-collapse and semi-implosion of the Ukrainian state. But at what cost?

What next for the Crimean Tatars?

Crimean Tatar leaders are vehemently against a return to Russian rule. But why, when so often they have been at odds with the Ukrainian Government?

Sochi, the Caucasus and Russian Romanticism

Since the 19th century the Caucasus has been Russian’s ‘window on the East,’ its access to another, often very romanticised world. The Sochi Winter Olympics took place in the Caucasus, but they presented a less complex image.

Whose Crimea is it anyway?

On 18 March, Vladimir Putin declared to the Russian parliament that Crimea had always been an inseparable part of Russia. But in fact the peninsula’s history is not so simple.


Putin needs a Polish lesson in Ukraine

There are lessons to be learned from the mistakes made by the USSR in Poland in 1989, and what is happening in Ukraine today. President Putin, however, is repeating the mistake of his Soviet predecessors

When charity should begin at home

Civil society development in Russia has been hampered by restrictive laws and apathy or suspicion on the part of the public. What is needed so it can start again? Salzburg Global Seminar is considering the issues

The challenges for Ukraine’s presidential election

On Sunday 25 May, President Putin permitting, 36.5 million voters will go to the polls in Ukraine to vote for a successor to President Viktor Yanukovych, ousted after three months of protests, and over 100 dead

Crimea and Kosovo – the delusions of western military interventionism

Vladimir Putin says that Crimea is another Kosovo. Angela Merkel says that they are completely different. Who’s right?


An American in Maidan

Suspecting that neither Ukrainians nor people elsewhere were being given an accurate portrayal of what has been going on in Kyiv, I felt I had no choice but to travel there and offer an honest portrait of Maidan as I saw it.

The partition of Ukraine

Ukraine has been shorn of Crimea, now there is talk of splitting the rest of the country in two, rather as Czechoslovakia did in 1993. But do the arguments add up?


Could Crimea be another Bosnia?

As Crimea prepares for its referendum on Sunday, a lesson should perhaps be learned from an earlier, Balkan carve-up.

Mr Putin's mercenaries

The Kremlin claims that its every step in Crimea fully complies with international law. But does President Putin understand that, under international law, Ukraine could either arrest or shoot those unmarked troops, as mercenaries or common criminals?

Putin, Crimea and the legitimacy trap

The Kremlin sees events in Ukraine through the prism of its own domestic politics and is anxious to prevent the type of democrats-and-nationalists alliance that brought down Yanukovych. Its actions in Crimea may be shoring up its nationalist credentials at home but the fall-out could be more dangerous than they anticipate.

Who’s next on Putin’s list?

Crimea is under the control of Russia’s military forces and its Moscow-backed government is voting to secede from Ukraine.  Where might President Vladimir Putin seek territorial expansion next?

Ukraine is stuck in a post-Soviet condition

Stalin created Ukraine as we know it today. That is why the future of the country, East and West, is stuck in its past – a post-Soviet state unable to escape its history.

Dagestan: Russia’s hottest spot

Asked to name Russia’s most troublesome region, most people would plump for Chechnya. But its neighbour Dagestan is now officially the most dangerous part of the Federations.

Civil war, secession and the body politic

Working with young people is important in any society. The recent story of an unusual Chechen initiative demonstrates why functional governance has so spectacularly failed to take root during the last 23 years.

The Maidan is alive and well and planning its future

The eyes of the world may be fixed on Crimea, but back in Kyiv the Maidan isn’t going away and is looking forward to a future mission spreading people’s politics around Ukraine. (на русском языке)

Russia in the Middle East: a well-played hand disguises fading fortunes

There is no doubt that Russia’s diplomatic coups in the Middle East late last year caused its stock to rise. But is Moscow really the new boss in town or is this all just hyperbolic nonsense?

The three ages of Putinism

Two years ago, on 4 March 2012, Russians went to the polls to elect a new president, and returned Vladimir Putin for his third term in office. Since then he has been putting the finishing touches to his personal ideology. (на русском языке)

Crimean Tatars – tragic past and uncertain present

News coverage of the current dramatic situation in Crimea has so far had little to say about the Tatars. Their history has been one of repression and deportation, but they should not be overlooked.

End of the road for populism in Ukraine

Ukrainians are having to pay a high price for the success of their revolution, and it is as yet by no means clear what exactly that victory will bring them. The problems in Crimea must be resolved and economic collapse must be averted – two very tall orders.

A response to Cas Mudde’s ‘A new (order) Ukraine’

Events in Ukraine have provoked an avalanche of media comment, much of which, though well-intentioned, is not entirely accurate.

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