Russian Domestic and Foreign Policy

The Return of Politics

An analysis of the upcoming Russian presidential elections by Kadri Liik, a senior researcher at ICDS. The author is positive that tomorrow’s elections will not be free and fair. The outcome is predetermined and everyone knows it. But, paradoxically, instead of throwing the country into prolonged stagnation, Vladimir Putin’s third election victory may signal a return of real politics to Russia and may lead to the re-establishment of a link between politics and policies that was lost long before Putin froze the whole political system.

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On the Qualities of Russian Teflon

As anyone familiar with kitchenware knows, after years of use Teflon tends to wear off. And that seems to be what has happened to Russia’s former and would-be president, Vladimir Putin. November 20, when he was booed at a Moscow stadium, may have signified the end of an era. Putin’s genuine popularity has been the cornerstone of the Russian political system – the facilitating factor – ever since late 1999. With that popularity eroding, the system will find it increasingly difficult to continue functioning the way it used to, as its potential to adapt and change remains questionable.

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The mentality of the Russian elite and society and its influence on foreign policy (Executive Summary)

The difficulty of explaining Russia’s international behavior has troubled foreign policy observers for many years and has received renewed attention since Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August 2008. This report by Kadri Liik looks into the mentality of the current Russian elite and society, with a view to finding some explanations for Russia’s aggressive behavior, and exploring its drivers and limits.

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