Is Putin Repeating the Mistakes of Brezhnev?

From the Wall Street Journal:

What better way to win Russian votes than to threaten the U.S. with nuclear attack? It wasn’t enough for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to ban his only credible opponent from the country’s upcoming election. Nor was he apparently convinced that his ironclad control of Russian TV would deliver a sufficiently resounding victory.

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chris miller
Putin Isn’t a Genius. He’s Leonid Brezhnev.

From Foreign Policy:

“There are two absolutely very well-known historical experiments in the world — East Germany and West Germany and North Korea and South Korea. Now these are cases that everyone can see!” So spoke Russian President Vladimir Putin in an address to the Duma in 2012. As a former KGB operative in communist East Germany, Putin knew of what he spoke.

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The Surprising Success of Putinomics

From Foreign Affairs:

“Putin Watches Russian Economy Collapse Along with His Stature,” blared a headline in Time in late 2014. Yet three years have passed since the price of oil crashed in 2014, halving the value of the commodity that once funded half of Russia’s government budget. That same year, the West imposed harsh economic sanctions on Russia’s banks, energy firms, and defense sector…

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Remembering a Soviet Ideal, Purged of Revolutionary Ideas

From The Red Legacy:

Russia’s political elite fears the idea of an uprising, making it complicated for the Kremlin to mark the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. Officials took a straightforward approach to the 100th anniversary of the bourgeois-democratic February Revolution: it could not be celebrated because it was too democratic.

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Don't Blame the Robots

From Foreign Affairs:

Six months ago, Microsoft’s Bill Gates proposed a robot tax, on the grounds that if workers pay taxes, so too should the machines that take their jobs. Such a policy would, in Gates’s words, “slow down the speed” of automation, thereby allowing societies to “manage [the] displacement” of workers. The idea speaks to a widespread sense that the labor market isn’t working like it used to.

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chris miller
Why Isn't Russia Worried about Kim Jong Un's Nukes?

From Foreign Policy:

July 4 was a bad day for Washington’s North Korea policy and not just because of Pyongyang’s successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile. There was also a meeting that day in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping...

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chris miller
China's Awkward Debt Problem

From the Wall Street Journal:

When the chairman of China’s Dongbei Special Steel Group hanged himself last year, it was clear that something at the firm was going horribly wrong. Next, the company defaulted on nine separate corporate bonds, telling creditors that it lacked the money to pay its bills. Dongbei declared bankruptcy last October.

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China's Belt and Road Initiative

From The American Interest:

Having invited 29 world leaders to Beijing the other week to celebrate his Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised his audience more than $100 billion in new investment. Presidents and prime ministers from Russia’s Vladimir Putin to Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan were happy to jostle for photo ops with Xi as they sought to...

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chris miller
Belarus and the Failure of the Russian World

From The American Interest:

In April 2014, a month after annexing Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared himself the defender of the Russkiy Mir—a “Russian world” dominated by ethnic Russians and encompassing most of the territory of the former Soviet Union. Observers in...

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chris miller
Japan-Russia Relations

From the German Marshall Fund:

At a time when Russia is criticized across the West for invading Ukraine, annexing Crimea, and meddling in elections, Japan remains committed to trying to...

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chris miller
Why Putin's Economy Survives

From the Wall Street Journal:

“Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart,” Russian President Vladimir Putin famously said in 2010. But he quickly added, “Whoever wants it back has no brain.”

Mr. Putin isn’t usually known as a savvy economic steward. Yet...

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Russia and Turkey Make Nice

From Foreign Affairs:

With U.S.-Turkish relations at their lowest point in decades, Turkey’s president flew to St. Petersburg on Tuesday to meet with his Russian counterpart. As both men were eager to announce, the summit will almost...

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chris miller
Why Russia's Economic Leverage is Declining

From the German Marshall Fund:

Despite the Kremlin’s desire to reassert influence over its neighbors, Russia’s economic leverage in Eastern Europe is declining. After more than a decade of using trade and energy cutoffs to pressure its neighbors to...

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chris miller
Book Review: Gaidar's Revolution

From Read Russia:

Alexei Golovkov had a problem with the portrait of Lenin in his office. Golovkov, a top official in Boris Yeltsin’s presidential administration from 1991-1993, thought the Lenin portrait was out of place in post-Communist Russia, so he took it...

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chris miller