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About Richard Sakwa

Richard Sakwa is professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent, England. He is the author of Putin: Russia's Choice (2007), Russian Politics and Society (2008), Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (2014) and Putin Redux (2014).

Articles by Richard Sakwa

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Ukraine and the postcolonial condition


What does the debate over Ukraine’s postcolonial status reveal about the future of the country’s domestic and international politics? Русский


Book review: Rajan Menon and Eugene B. Rumer, ‘Conflict in Ukraine: The Unwinding of the Post–Cold War Order’

Cover_Menon&Rumer Conflict in Ukraine_0.pngTruth may well be the first victim of war, and fair-minded and dispassionate accounts of events in Ukraine are rare.



Can Putinism solve its contradictions?

Russia today is a hybrid state, combining democratic institutions with authoritarian practices, which coexist in a continual state of tension. Richard Sakwa analyses its contradictions and suggests how the constitutional state can re-assert itself against the arbitrariness of the regime.

Investigator Bastrykin and the search for enemies

Alexandr Bastrykin, head of Russia’s influential Investigative Committee, is one of the most powerful individuals in the Putinite power system, but his biography is relatively unknown. Richard Sakwa has, however, been tracking the rise of this shadowy figure.

Putin Redux: Continuity and change

Is Putinism a static system, or is it in need of renewal after the events of the past year? Richard Sakwa discusses the options before the Russian president and the elites that surround him.

Prologue: an oligarch falls

The Russian election campaign is hotting up. In the middle of September Mikhail Prokhorov was dismissed as leader of the ‘Right Cause’ party, having fallen foul of both the party members and the Kremlin. This sets the context to an even bigger drama, and could be seen as the first stage of it. Richard Sakwa considers the implications of the debacle.

Russia's grey cardinal

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin is the most significant representative of the so-called “siloviki” hardline faction inside the Kremlin. For over a decade, his career has been both shaped and assured by close association with Vladimir Putin. But are his politics compatible with Russia's future, wonders Richard Sakwa?

Surkov: dark prince of the Kremlin

Half-Chechen, one-time aide to Khodorkovsky, sometime novelist and current-day political technician, Vladislav Surkov’s life story lacks anything but colour. Yet the adjectives most usually attributed to his political figure are “grey” and “shadowy”. Richard Sakwa reviews a collection of speeches and essays in attempt to get closer to the secretive man some claim to be the third most influential in Russian politics.

Dmitry Medvedev’s challenge

A new Russian president is inaugurated on 7 May 2008. What does he stand for, and what scope does he have to consolidate his power, asks Richard Sakwa.
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