Leonid Gozman vid manifestation i Moskva

Leonid Gozman at a manifestation May 6, 2015

In an article published by Echo of Moscow on May 8, Leonid Gozman describes his impressions on the developments in Russian society. Read an English translation of the article here below. (more…)

In memory of Boris Nemtsov

March 1st, 2015   Russia
I have worked with many political leaders from the former Soviet Union, but Boris was in a class of his own. Charismatic and with a perfect command of English, he made his presence known whenever he entered the room.

When the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, hosted a seminar on the development in Russia, held by famous Russian expert, Lilia Shevtsova, the hall was packed.

– I see Russia as a phenomenon. In that sense I agree with Putin, she started.

Lilia Shevtsova is one of the most prominent experts on Russia and its neighbors. She has written several books on Russian politics and she contributes regularly to foreign affairs debates. Last week, she visited Sweden to share her view on Putin, the occupation of Crimea and the Russian people’s attitude towards the worrying development.

The road to democracy has been more complicated and taken more time than we thought, Shevtsova introduced. Russia is struggling with both domestic and foreign policy problems. Traditionalism, nationalism and personalized leadership dominate together with imperial ambitions. (more…)

December 12, Vladimir Putin held his annual address to the Russian Federal Assembly. Anders Åslund comments the speech and the developments in the country in Moscow Times.

Read the article Putin’s Conservative State Capitalism

Anders Aslund writes today in the Moscow Times on how Russia’s imperial ambitions affect its relations with neighboring countries, most recently in connection with the creation of a Eurasian Customs Union.

Read the article ”Push for Customs Union Turns Friends to Foes”

June 18, the American think-tank Freedom House released this year’s edition of the annual report Nations in Transit.

The desire for democratic change in Eurasia was met with increased repression in most authoritarian regimes during the last year. Increased corruption and censorship of critical media outlets as well as an increased pressure on civil society organisations characterize the developments in a majority of Eurasian countries, according to the report.

Read the report

A new Russian curtain is descending, dividing Europe. In contrast to the old one, this new curtain is not made of iron, concrete or barbed wire. Behind, there are no armoured divisions prepared for invasion. Instead, there are political and economic forces where private and public power has merged, leading to power without transparency, checks and balances or any kind of accountability, be it domestic or foreign. (more…)

A new report from Freedom House stresses the need for a new American policy towards the Kremlin.

The report covers the state of human rights and democracy in Russia since Putin took power in 2000. It serves as a reminder that the repressive measures enacted over the past eight months do not amount to a new direction for Russia, but rather a continuation of trends that have dominated Russian politics throughout the Putin era.

It further advances a series of proposals for American policy in the coming years.

Read the report

Only about two weeks after Vladimir Putin returned to Russia’s presidency, a new controversial law will most likely be introduced which increases fines for illegal demonstrations. The though bill, that was introduced by the ruling United Russia party, proposes that fines for participation in illegal protests would increase from 2.000 rubles to 1 million rubles (from about $60 to $30.000), with penalties for organizers climbing from 5,000 rubles to 1.5 million rubles. The first reading of the law took place in the Duma last week. The second reading of the bill is set for June 5, and the third reading can be held the same day, Moscow Times reported. (more…)

Oleg Buklemishev.

Vladimir Putin has for a third time taken office as Russian president. Though, he is coming back to a country in a very different mood, says Oleg Buklemishev, Economist and Advisor to opposition leader Mikhail Kasyanov. “The scene of the inauguration car passing through an empty city is quite symbolic”. Buklemishev is convinced that the authorities’ violence towards mostly peaceful protesters shows that “intolerance towards dissent will only increase during new Putin term. Instead of bridging the national divide he has clearly chosen to polarize society even more”. Her believes that even the “weakest” of Medvedev’s “political reform” can be revoked in this environment (more…)