Russian Analytical Digest

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Der «Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)» analysiert Ereignisse, Trends und Entwicklungen im Hinblick auf die politische, wirtschaftliche, sicherheitspolitische und gesellschaftliche Situation in Russland. Jede Ausgabe enthält akademische und policy-relevante Artikel von internationalen Autoren, zudem themenbezogene statistische Informationen, Grafiken und Meinungsumfragen. Die Publikation wird vom Center for Eastern European Studies (CEES) in Zusammenarbeit mit der Forschungsstelle Osteuropa der Universität Bremen, dem Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies der George Washington University, dem Center for Security Studies (CSS) an der ETH Zürich und der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Osteuropakunde (DGO) herausgegeben. Die Editoren des RAD sind Stephen Aris, Matthias Neumann, Robert Orttung, Jeronim Perović, Heiko Pleines, Hans-Henning Schröder und Aglaya Snetkov.


Aktuelle Ausgaben:

No. 268: The State of the Russian Economy (06.05.2021)

This issue provides an overview of the state of the Russian economy. In eight shorter contributions international experts discuss the longer-​term trajectories of the Russian economy and assess the impact of Western sanctions and the Covid-​19 pandemic. Separate contributions look at the real sector of the economy and agriculture. The financial sector features prominently in several contributions. Finally, based on an assessment of past trends several contributions provide an outlook for Russia’s socio-​economic development. At the end of the issue there is a section with graphs illustrating the development of major macro-​economic indicators over the last 25 years.

No. 267: Nord Stream II (12.04.2021)

This issue deals with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Firstly, Maria Shagina posits that the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline has revived the fundamental differences of opinion that divided the allies during the Cold War and created new inter-​European tensions. A closer look at the crises in the Western alliance occasioned by the Druzhba oil pipeline in the 1960s and the Yamal–Urengoi gas pipeline in the 1980s reveals the continuity of disagreements between Europe and the US, as well as showing similar patterns of weaponizing Western technology and sanctions. Secondly, Robert Stüwe analyses the German debate on Nord Stream 2, including the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, the scandal over the German government’s offer to import LNG from the US on preferential terms if the US would repeal sanctions, and the public outcry over Mecklenburg-​Vorpommern’s controversial state “Climate Foundation.”

No. 266: Preparing for the Parliamentary Elections of 2021: Russian Politics and Society (08.04.2021)

This issue provides a broad overview of Russian politics and society in the run-​up to the 2021 parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for September. In eleven shorter contributions, international experts on Russia discuss domestic and foreign affairs as well as the economy. The focus of most of them is on attempts of the Russian leadership to deal with growing discontent among the population. This includes the regime’s quest for legitimacy as well as repression and strategies to manipulate the actual election process. Individual contributions also discuss the implications for foreign policy and economic development. The contributions are published in alphabetical order of authors.

No. 265: Russia's Relations With China (19.03.2021)

This edition considers recent developments in Russia’s relationship with China. Firstly, Marcin Kaczmarski suggests that in spite of renewed talk, obstacles remain for a fully-​fledged Russia-​China military alliance. Secondly, Xin Zhang focuses on Chinese elite and expert policy narratives about Russia, noting that they emphasize that the relationship operates on a level both distinct to, and higher than, an “axis of convenience”. Thirdly, Brian G. Carlson examines how Moscow’s ambitions for the Russia-​India-China triangle have been further undermined by the June 2020 Himalayan border clash between China and India.

No. 264: Agriculture (22.02.2021)

The topic of this issue is the current state of Russian agriculture. Firstly, Natalia Karlova, Olga Shik, Eugenia Serova, and Renata Yanbykh cover changes in the structure of agricultural production, trade development, and agri-​food policy. The article concludes by listing the major challenges Russian agriculture must address in order to maintain its position in the national economy and in global markets. Secondly, Vasyl Kvartiuk and Thomas Herzfeld examine the mechanisms by which Russian agriculture is subsidized. Using a unique dataset from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, they map the incentives of regional and federal governments in the distribution of targeted subsidies among the Russian regions. Their results suggest that similar to the US and the EU, the regional and federal levels of the Russian government not only seek to boost agricultural development but also see subsidies as a tool for pursuing political goals.

No. 263: Social Inequality (15.02.2021)

The topic of this issue is social inequality with a special focus on poverty. Firstly, Ann-​Mari Sätre describes the causes of poverty and analyzes how women’s social networks help to tackle poverty. She also assesses the role of the political leadership in relation to grassroots initiatives. Secondly, Ilya Matveev gives a systematic overview of different approaches to the measurement of social inequality in Russia and provides a critical discussion of their validity. The article is followed by several graphs comparing the results of different studies. Finally, Anna Tarasenko discusses the social consequences of the current Covid-​19 pandemic and provides an overview of social policy measures aimed at mitigating these consequences.

No. 262: Russian Regions after the Elections (30.12.2020)

The topic of this issue is the Russian Regions after the Elections of the Unified Voting Day 2020 (11–13 September). Firstly, Andrei Semenov describes the outcomes of the subnational elections and argues that although the results confirmed the dominance of regime-​backed candidates, long-​term changes in the electorate’s preferences and tactical innovations employed by the opposition foreshadow a major battle over the parliamentary elections in 2021. Secondly, Mikhail Turchenko posits that the three-​day voting scheme helped the Kremlin to maintain control over all gubernatorial offices, as well as over all regional parliaments and a majority of city councils in regional capitals, while Alexei Navalny’s “smart vote” initiative was effective in big cities. Thirdly, Guzel Garifullina argues that technocratic selection is being used for the wrong offices or being applied selectively, rendering it useless or even harmful. Finally, Andrey Yushkov describes changes in regional public finance from 2012 to 2019.

No. 261: Environment (23.12.2020)

The topic of this issue is the "Environment". Firstly, Ellie Martus examines Russia’s solid waste problem, arguing that despite strong policy activity, the scope of the “rubbish reforms” is limited and focused on attracting private-​sector investment rather than addressing broader issues around recycling and sustainability. Secondly, Nikolay I. Shiklomanov focuses on the problematic Soviet-​era legacy of decrepit Arctic infrastructure in urban areas in permafrost regions. Finally, Elizabeth Plantan provides a brief overview of environmental activism in Russia.

No. 260: Arms Control (20.12.2020)

The topic of this issue is “Arms Control.” Firstly, Moritz Pieper analyzes the policy options of the Russian government in the area of nuclear arms control, after the end of the INF treaty and before the possible end of New START. Secondly, Liana Fix and Ulrich Kühn discuss the differing conceptions of strategic stability in the 21st century of the USA, Russia, China, and Europe. Thirdly, Alexander Graef writes about conventional arms control in Europe. Finally, Oliver Meier lays out a possible pathway for Russia to dismantle its Novichok program within the framework of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

No. 259: Russian Military Strategy (30.11.2020)

The topic of this issue is “Russian Military Strategy.” In it, the authors challenge Western received wisdom about Russian strategy and aim to stimulate critical thinking. Andrew Monaghan critiques the West’s fixation on Russian hybrid warfare as outdated, while Dima Adamsky argues that Anti Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) is, contrary to Western conventional wisdom, nonexistent in the Russian lexicon. Michael Kofman unpacks these concerns further, questioning the scenarios for a Russian fait accompli in the Baltics envisioned by Western defense planning circles and challenging the claim that a Russian “fait accompli strategy” is even possible. Pavel Sharikov rounds out the issue by suggesting small steps that the US and Russia might take to enhance their cooperation on the nonmilitary use of cyberspace.

No. 258: Media Capture (09.11.2020)

The topic of this issue is 'Media Capture'. Firstly, Heiko Pleines analyzes the control of business and state actors over mass media in Russia. Secondly, Esther Somfalvy summarizes the chain of events that led to the mass walkout of all leading editorial staff of the business newspaper Vedomosti and highlights the context in which it took place. Finally, Anna Litvinenko posits that the Russian state continues to tolerate social media, as they also provide a number of benefits for the regime, such as citizen feedback, illusion of democracy and a way to vent people’s anger.

No. 257: Russia and Belarus (23.10.2020)

The topic of this issue is “Russia and Belarus.” In it, Margarita M. Balmaceda, Siarhei Bohdan, Fabian Burkhardt, Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau, Oxana Schmies and Joerg Forbrig assess the protests in Belarus after the presidential election from the perspective of Russia’s role in Belarus. An interview with Russian sociologist Lev Gudkov and an opinion poll highlighting Russian attitudes towards Belarus round out the issue.

No. 256: Russia's Arctic Policy (05.09.2020)

The topic of this issue is Russia’s Arctic Policy. Firstly, Nurlan Aliyev gives an overview of Russia’s Arctic Policy through 2035; secondly, Svetlana Badina describes the diversity of Russia’s Arctic cities; thirdly, Leah Silinsky lays out the broad dimensions of Russia’s response to the COVID-​19 pandemic and then shows how these policies affected developments in the Arctic.

No. 255: Countering Violent Extremism (14.07.2020)

No. 254: Social Issues (24.06.2020)No. 253: US-Russian Relations (18.06.2020)

No. 252: Russian Orthodoxy (08.05.2020)

No. 251: Russia and the Covid-​19 Pandemic (20.04.2020)

No. 250: Putin (09.04.2020)

No. 249: Need-based Social Policies (20.03.2020)

No. 248: Central Asia (06.03.2020)

No. 247: Eurasian Economic Union (17.02.2020)

No. 246: Putin's Power Games (7.2.2020)

No. 245: Russian Youth (24.01.2020)

No. 244: Grain Export from Russia (17.12.2019)

No. 243: Climate Change and Russia (11.12.2019)

No. 242: Russia-Ukraine (03.12.2019)

No. 241: Russia's Economy (11.11.2019)

No. 240: Indigenous Peoples in Russia (29.10.2019)

No. 239: Russian Regional Elections (26.09.2019)

No. 238: North Caucasus (22.07.2019)

No. 237: Security Issues (21.06.2019)

No. 236: Impact of Sanctions on Russian Business (06.06.2019)

No. 235: Caspian Sea (18.04.2019)

No. 234: Russian Think Tanks and Foreign Policy-Making (28.03.2019)

No. 233: Russia' Oligarchs (14.03.2019)

No. 232: Russia's Relations with the South Caucasus (22.02.2019)

Nr. 231: Orthodox Church (25.01.2019)