Author: Pavel Baev

After the swaggering celebrations, a “Now what?” moment for Russia

The extraordinary pomp around the celebration of the V-Day made it possible for Putin to sustain the momentum of mobilization created by last year’s Crimean anschluss. Now that the fanfare and fireworks have fallen silent, this momentum may dissipate—and Putin, who has made himself into the central figure in militarized festivities, can ill afford such… Read more »

Beware of Putin Talking Shop

“Boring” is perhaps the prevalent impression of President Vladimir Putin’s televised four-hour-long Q & A session that aired last Thursday (April 16), which was meant to demonstrate his good health and relaxed attitude to the great many problems worrying his loyal subjects…. […] Typically, such commentary by high officials is merely camouflage for Russia’s real… Read more »

Apocalypse a Bit Later: The Meaning of Putin’s Nuclear Threats

The words that Russian President Vladimir Putin chose for describing the nuclear angle of the special operation for seizing and annexing Crimea in March 2014, might appear so odd that it is well-nigh impossible to make sense of them. “Yes, we were ready,” he said to the question about whether the option of putting strategic… Read more »

Iranian Deal leaves Russia in Deeper Isolation

While Iran appears to be recognizing the need to reform its domestic politics and change its attitude toward the West, Russia is turning into a massively corrupt police state and is apparently thriving in the atmosphere of confrontation. The contrast between these two regimes has become strikingly sharp as nuclear negotiations approached the final stretch… Read more »

Two Summits and a Military Exercise

While Putin may believe in his own infallibility, his courtiers have to persist in reassuring him about the fragility of Western unity. Just another push and a couple more bribes, they argue, will convince some North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members that Narva or Spitsbergen are not worth fighting for, or to persuade some EU… Read more »

Putin’s Disappearing Act is a Sign of Leadership Crisis

Since the Ukraine crisis exploded a year ago, Putin’s system of power has rigidified into a uni-centric combination of a police state, kleptocracy and “propagandocracy” (if such a word could be invented), in which no transition of authority can be planned or envisaged. His recent poorly camouflaged and worse explained “disappearance” has not re-confirmed his… Read more »

Murder that Revealed Truth

As days go by, the pain and shock from the news about Boris Nemtsov murder are turning into sad reflections on Russia’s predicament, and my bottom line goes as following: Nemtsov was a voice in the wilderness of Russian propaganda and self-deception. And his murder has cut away multiple layers of lies in Putin’s “war is… Read more »