Russia Monitor

Putin’s Constitution

With a constitutional overhaul of the balance of power in Russia, Vladimir Putin is pushing to consolidate his eternal grip on power. As Russia is seeing a slew of rifts in its politics, economy as well as social matters, any attempts to repeat its past ‘tandemocracy’, or the joint leadership of Russia between 2008 and 2012, are considered by the Kremlin as far too risky. With a constitutional overhaul of the balance of power in Russia, Vladimir Putin is pushing to consolidate his eternal grip on power. As Russia is seeing a slew of rifts in its politics, economy as well as social matters, any attempts to repeat its past ‘tandemocracy’, or the joint leadership of Russia between 2008 and 2012, are considered by the Kremlin as far too risky.


New Gas Pipeline Geopolitics in Central and Eastern Europe

The current gas pipeline system in Central and Eastern Europe started to be built in the 1960s. Apart from commercial purposes, it was intended to make the countries of the Eastern Bloc reliant on energy supplies from the Soviet Union. Just like it was asserted in the Falin-Kvitsinsky doctrine, a Moscow-devised strategy that endeavored to substitute military influence with economic pressure.


Sweden Faces the Russian Threat in the Baltic Sea

By beefing up its military presence in the exclave of Kaliningrad, flying provocative air patrols and by building next legs of the Nord Stream energy pipeline, Russia undermines the security of other countries in the Baltic region. Also, Moscow could take advantage of the pipeline’s energy infrastructure to take subversive actions in the Baltic.


Russia in Africa: Weapons, Mercenaries, Spin Doctors

The Kremlin eyes the African continent as yet another arena of a massive clash with the West, as it did under the Cold War reality. But their competition has now been of a rather practical and economic nature, pushing ideologies somewhere to the margin. Also, Moscow has enjoyed the positive image it had retained in Africa back from the Soviet times.


What’s Next For Turkey’s NATO Membership After S-400 Purchase?

Turkey has sealed a military deal with Russia, receiving the first parts of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems in the summer of 2019. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not bow to pressure from the United States, and Ankara’s determination to acquire Russian-built weaponry will enrage both Washington and its NATO peers.


Russia-Ukraine Prisoner Exchange: Zelensky Caught Into Russian Trap

An actual prisoner swap between Ukraine and Russia is a PR success of Ukraine’s incumbent leader Volodymyr Zelensky, yet it is his Russian counterpart who won politically. The negotiating process of the prisoner exchange, how it was performed and the names of those who were meant to be freed eventually shed a negative spotlight on Ukraine.


Russian “Contractors” In the Service of the Kremlin

Since 2014, the Russian Federation has seen an increase in the number of operations performed by private military contractors. Those who are de facto Moscow’s mercenaries are committed to carrying out a series of tasks, as they offer support for Moscow-backed separatists in Ukraine’s Donbas or guard military and oil infrastructure in Syria. Also, their position is used to extend Russia’s influence on African soil while safeguarding Moscow’s allied regimes in Latin America.


INF Treaty: U.S.-Russian Outdated Pact

The issue of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty has surged as one of the critical factors in U.S-Russian relations, contributing to their even greater deterioration while exerting a negative impact on Moscow’s future ties with Washington.


Chinese-Russian Unequal Partnership

The gaps and discrepancies between China and Russia are so weak that both countries do not see themselves as competitors. However, all disparities in Moscow’s and Beijing’s interests are an obstacle to the two states’ lasting and durable alliance while imposing the construction of a new model of a “system of great states”. What brings Russia and China together is their rivalry with the United States. But what is important is that how diversified this rivalry turns out, with Russia competing at the political and military level and China – mostly economic and trade. This difference comes a long-term factor to influence Beijing’s cooperation with Moscow.


Civil War in Libya: Russian Goals and Policy

Libya is considered the third most destabilized Arab country only to Syria and Yemen. The violent battle for the country’s capital city of Tripoli erupted in early April, opening a new chapter in Libya’s civil war that had broken out back in 2014. After a NATO-backed operation that removed the Gaddafi regime from power, the international community has yet wrongfully give Libya’s further fate into the hands of its inhabitants.


NATO–Russia Relations: The Return of the Enemy

Even after a political rapprochement between Russia and NATO, Moscow saw the Alliance in terms of a hostile institution and expressed marginal interest in promoting greater cooperation within its structures. Endeavors to bring Russia and NATO closer, while deepening their mutual ties, were aimed at boosting the Kremlin’s influence on the Alliance’s activities.


Russia’s Hybrid Warfare in the Western Balkans

“Russia continues to seek to redraw international borders by force. And here, in the Western Balkans, Russia has worked to destabilize the region, undermine your democracies, and divide you from each other and from the rest of Europe.” – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Podgorica, August 1, 2017


Mare Nostrum Strategy: Russian Military Activity in the Black Sea

Owing to its geographic location, Russia’s prerequisite to acquire and maintain the status of a superpower has long been to seize and retain control over two maritime “windows to the world.” This strategy was first mapped out by Peter the Great and led to multiple wars in the Baltic and Black Seas.


Post-Soviet Frozen Conflicts: A Challenge for European Security

Frozen conflicts occur in regions of the countries that are no longer controlled by the central authorities. Such zones remain under the jurisdiction of separatists who conduct a peace dialogue with state officials in a bid to empower their own governments. The lack of nonviolent solutions to the problem does not lead to broader armed operations while conflicts are doomed to persist unsolved.


U.S. Foothold – Russian stance towards crisis in Venezuela

There are two reasons why Venezuela’s controversial leader is not yet fighting a losing battle against the country’s opposition. First, Venezuela’s military has pledged its loyalty to the leader since the beginning of the crisis while other military branches declared to stand by the president. Secondly, the government in Caracas is in the hopes for getting support from the world’s top players–with Russia at the forefront–because Moscow’s assistance is essential to back the country’s armed forces.


U.S. Permanent Military Base in Poland: Favorable Solution For the NATO Alliance

This following report captures the idea of a permanent US base in Poland in the geopolitical context, along with its consequences for NATO and Central and Eastern Europe. This paper was supplemented with comments from experts from the United States, Lithuania and Romania to show a broader perspective on the creation of a U.S. permanent military facility on Alliance’s Eastern Flank.