Putin Brags about Missiles and Remains Mum about Mercenaries

The annual presidential address to the parliament is usually a rather dull affair in Russia, but President Putin has certainly managed to make an impression with the speech delivered on March 1, 2018. He elaborated at great length about Russia’s military might, but before describing new weapon systems (some of them entirely phantasmagorical), he briefly… Read more »

The Munich Security Conference Focuses on Russia – and Reflects on Putin’s Speech 10 Years Ago

The annual Munich Security Conference will take place later this week (February 17–19) with many prominent speakers, including Dan Smith, former PRIO director and presently SIPRI Director. It was ten years ago at this forum that President Vladimir Putin delivered a famous speech detailing Russia’s deep dissatisfaction with the world order. A decade hence, Russian… Read more »

What This Election Means for US Foreign Policy

The resonance of this U.S. election campaign is truly enormous, in every corner of the world. But despite much disgust about the mudslinging, it is not necessarily all that negative. Observers everywhere may be astounded that a candidate so arrogantly ignorant in international affairs could gather so much support, but that has also given them… Read more »

How Long can Putin Continue doing Nothing?

Putin has always preferred to postpone decisions until the last possible moment and to keep his lieutenants and international counterparts in the dark about his intentions. This summer, however, he is arguably wasting time and maneuvering himself into a corner, from which the only escape will be jumping into another spasm of hostilities in eastern… 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 »

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 »

With Ukraine going strong, Putin becomes lost in the fog of hybrid war

Last weekend (November 21), Ukraine marked the first anniversary of the EuroMaidan—the public protests in Kyiv that lasted through the hard winter of discontent and brought down the corrupt regime of Viktor Yanukovych on February 21. As its war for state survival continues to rage, the country is in no mood for street festivities. Nevertheless,… Read more »