Policy Memo # 566
Julie George 18 Jan 2019
(PONARS Policy Memo) In both Armenia and Georgia, while neither state has achieved democratic consolidation, the role of public debate is especially salient and there is real public power in politics. A key factor in political decisionmaking has been the discussion of national identity and the role of unresolved ethnic and territorial conflicts in the interaction between government and the public. The evolution of the public’s understanding of...
Policy Memo # 565
Eiki Berg, Kristel Vits 17 Jan 2019
(PONARS Policy Memo) De facto states are notorious for their pariah status, constant security deficit, and embryonic institutions, producing the perception that they are states-in-the-making perpetually striving for sheer survival. Their reliance on a patron is considered proof that they would not be viable states and thus are incapable of having independent agency. Without the freedom of choice, these entities lack deliberate will for action, and...
Policy Memo # 564
Joshua Tucker, Denis Stukal, Sergey Sanovich, Richard Bonneau 15 Jan 2019
(PONARS Policy Memo) The question of how regimes respond to online opposition has become a central topic of politics in the digital age. In previous work, we have identified three main options for regimes: offline response, online restriction of access to content, and online engagement. In order to better understand the latter category—efforts to shape the online conversation—in Russia, we study the political use of Russian language Twitter bots using a...
Policy Memo # 563
Richard Arnold 11 Jan 2019
(PONARS Policy Memo) Most headlines about the conflict in Eastern Ukraine do not normally mention either the role of the Cossacks or the use of the Cossack image, but both are, in fact, central to developments there. As both Russia and Ukraine have Cossack movements and count the Cossack as a historical archetype, one might be forgiven for thinking they would be a source of unity between the two countries. Both can credibly claim to represent the...
Policy Memo # 562
Erik Herron, Cynthia Buckley, Ralph Clem 11 Jan 2019
(PONARS Policy Memo) Since the armed conflict in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine began in early 2014, over 10,000 lives have been lost and nearly two million persons displaced, making this one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises. The considerable damage wrought to the infrastructure, especially healthcare facilities, of what had been one of Europe’s major urban-industrial areas and home to some 6.6 million people, remains underappreciated...
Policy Memo # 561
Kimberly Marten 04 Jan 2019
(PONARS Policy Memo) Yevgeny Prigozhin, the corrupt military contractor from St. Petersburg who funds the informal armed organization known as the Wagner Group, expanded his lucrative foreign adventures into Africa in 2018 with Russian state support. His fortunes continued to rise even after scores of his fighters were killed and wounded by a United States air strike in eastern Syria. This memo presents (though in-text links) the most reliable evidence...
Policy Memo # 560
Dmitry Gorenburg 03 Jan 2019
(PONARS Policy Memo) Since the Ukraine crisis, the dominant Western perspective on Russian foreign policy has come to emphasize its increasingly confrontational, even revanchist, nature. Experts have focused on discontinuities in Russian foreign policy either between the ostensibly more pro-Western Yeltsin presidency and the anti-Western Putin presidency or between the more cooperatively inclined early Putin period (2000-2008) and the more...
Policy Memo # 559
George Gavrilis 20 Dec 2018
(PONARS Policy Memo) Civil and territorial conflicts in Eurasia are often treated as distinct from their counterparts in other parts of the world. The Tajik civil war in the 1990s, the separatist conflict in Moldova, and the battles over Ukraine’s sovereignty are seen as products of the collapse of Communism and the resurgence of Russia. “What Is Happening in Russia’s Backyard?” asks the very title to one such article? This angle limits us. While a...
Policy Memo # 558
Alexandra Yatsyk 19 Dec 2018
(PONARS Policy Memo) Russia has been playing a multi-fold game in the digital arena. It engages in international cyber attacks, spreads select narratives strategically overseas using the open media rules of Western societies, and simultaneously restricts, piece-by-piece, independent media and individual Russian voices at home. Russian domestic and international cyber policies can be manifested through several recent cases. First, Russia’s state-...
Policy Memo # 557
Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau 18 Dec 2018
(PONARS Policy Memo) After the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine and Belarus pursued competing strategies in their relations with Russia. The question was whether a drift away from Russia, as in Ukraine’s case, or a close alliance with it, as in Belarus’s case, would eventually provide more favorable conditions for development and state- and nation-building. In practice, the two countries often jostled with each other for Moscow’s economic offerings,...
Popular Memos / Самое читаемое
Denis Stukal, Sergey Sanovich, Richard Bonneau