Author: Pavel Baev

Putin’s Botched Mobilization and Nuclear Non-Option

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s September 21st address to the nation could prove to be one of his most fateful blunders in his disastrous war in Ukraine. In his 15-minute pre-recorded speech, Putin announced support for the referendums in four Ukrainian regions, declared partial mobilization in Russia, accused the West of aggressive “Russophobia” and threatened to… Read more »

Eurasian Summit of Hidden Tensions and Thin Pretensions

Samarkand didn’t go well for President Vladimir Putin. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit hosted by Uzbekistan in this ancient city gathered many leaders of various Eurasian states, from Belarus to Mongolia, but it was the meeting with China’s Chairman (the title that Putin addresses him with) Xi Jinping that was of crucial importance for… Read more »

Putin Has Unsheathed His Energy Weapon Too Early — and Too Late

In early September 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin spelled out his intention to punish Europe for resisting Russia’s assault on the world order and supporting Ukraine louder and clearer than ever before. Speaking at the keynote session of an economic forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Putin asserted that the confrontation in Ukraine has reinforced Russia’s sovereignty,… Read more »

Putin’s Choices in Ukraine: Retreat, Attrition or Escalation

The long-promised Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south has not yet delivered any breakthrough, but it still signifies a critical turning point for the war: Russia cannot hope to win by sticking to the pattern of trench warfare and artillery duels. Some “patriotic” commentators have suggested that the failures of Ukrainian attacks would pave the way… Read more »

Putin’s Next Miscalculation: Russia’s Readiness for a Long War

As Russian aggression against Ukraine approaches the half-year mark and combat operations appear to be at a standstill, a new calculus has been developed in the Kremlin: A long war suits Moscow’s interests and can eventually be won. This self-serving proposition follows the failure of two previous war plans: a quick and total victory by… Read more »

Erdogan and Putin Cordially Probe One Another’s Faults and Failures

The meeting in Sochi, Russia, on August 5 between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was more than just another chapter in the long track record of bargaining and testing the limits of mutual patience between the two leaders. Putin’s war in Ukraine has badly damaged Russia’s international positions, and Erdogan… Read more »

Russia Cherishes Ambitions but Loses Positions in the Middle East

The Ukraine war has generated shockwaves far beyond the Donbas battlefields, and the Middle East has absorbed and returned the variegated impacts and, as a result, has attracted increased attention in recent weeks. Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to visit Tehran, Iran, on July 19, aiming to counter United States President Joe Biden’s visit… Read more »

Russian Assault on World Order Falters and Fails

Russia’s attack on Ukraine has clearly lost momentum, but the intensity of its multi-prong confrontation with the West keeps rising. Russian military command announced an “operational pause” in Donbas after the hard battles for Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, implicitly admitting that a regrouping of battalions, which have not been rotated in four months of fighting, is… Read more »

Russian Experiment with De-modernization Yields Negative Results

The post-Soviet transformation took Russia from a fledgling democracy to a corrupt autocracy, but, since the start of the war against Ukraine, the Kremlin has taken a new turn, which amounts to a resolute top-down effort at reversing what progress has been achieved in modernizing the state system, economy and society. This experiment is unique… Read more »

How Can Russia Be Defeated but Not Humiliated

The problem of humiliating Russia too deeply, by ensuring its defeat in the war against Ukraine, is more serious than just an unfortunate turn of phrase by French President Emmanuel Macron. Last Thursday, Macron traveled to Kyiv together with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, and delivered… Read more »