Russia and Eurasia

The Escalation of Repression: Russia’s Suppression of Dissent in 2023
Russia and Eurasia

The Escalation of Repression: Russia’s Suppression of Dissent in 2023

By ISSG Staff In 2023, Russia witnessed a notable absence of mass protests and scenes of police brutality, yet behind the façade of normalcy, the Kremlin's suppression of dissent intensified, resembling the repressive systems of the post-Stalin Soviet era. President Vladimir Putin's security forces shifted their tactics from visible street repression to systematic crackdowns within pretrial detention centers, courts, and the prison system. Human rights activist Aleksandr Cherkasov of Memorial, even after being banned in Russia, expressed concern, stating, "It is a return to the repressive system of the post-Stalin period." He suggested that Putin is not merely maintaining stability but is engaged in social engineering, echoing the Soviet logic that involved suppressing one person to ...
Kyrgyzstan’s New Flag Unveiled Amid Public Backlash and Political Distractions
Russia and Eurasia

Kyrgyzstan’s New Flag Unveiled Amid Public Backlash and Political Distractions

The current Kyrgyz flag (left) and the one just approved by Kyrgyz lawmakers (right) By ISSG Staff As the dawn of 2024 arrived in Kyrgyzstan, a new flag was hoisted over Bishkek, bearing subtle but distinctive changes. The rays on the sun, a central element of the national flag, appeared straighter, reflecting alterations approved by the Kyrgyz parliament. However, the move has not been without controversy, as the government's priorities come under scrutiny. The process of flag modification was set in motion on November 29 when the parliament initiated the first reading of a bill proposing changes to the design. Despite facing public backlash, the parliament proceeded swiftly, adopting the bill on December 20 after just two readings. The altered design maintains the core elements of t...
Putin Orders Unprecedented Expansion of Russian Military: Analyzing the Strategic Implications Amid Ongoing Ukraine Conflict
Russia and Eurasia, Study Office

Putin Orders Unprecedented Expansion of Russian Military: Analyzing the Strategic Implications Amid Ongoing Ukraine Conflict

By José Carlos Palma * The expansion of the Russian military with an additional 170,000 troops amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine suggests several strategic and geopolitical considerations on the part of Russian President Vladimir Putin: Sustaining Military Operations in Ukraine: The conflict in Ukraine has been ongoing for nearly 22 months, and the decision to increase military personnel indicates that Putin is committed to sustaining and potentially escalating military operations in Ukraine. The additional troops could be deployed to reinforce existing forces, intensify offensives, or maintain control over certain areas. Countering NATO and Regional Dynamics: The official statement from the Russian Defense Ministry cites concerns about NATO's actions, including the buildup...
The Strategic Importance of the Dnipro River in the Russia-Ukraine War
Russia and Eurasia, Defense Strategy and Capabilities, Europe

The Strategic Importance of the Dnipro River in the Russia-Ukraine War

By José Carlos Palma* The Dnipro River, the longest river in Ukraine, has played a pivotal role in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. The river's strategic importance stems from its geographical position, its role in transportation and logistics, and its symbolic significance for both sides. Geographical Significance Flowing from north to south through the heart of Ukraine, the Dnipro River divides the country into eastern and western halves. This geographical feature has significant implications for both military operations and civilian life. For Russian forces, controlling the Dnipro River would provide a natural defensive barrier and facilitate the movement of troops and supplies. Ukrainian forces, on the other hand, have sought to prevent Russian control of the river, re...
New Political Parties in Europe: Kremlin’s Tactics to Infiltrate Agents into the European Parliament
Europe, Russia and Eurasia

New Political Parties in Europe: Kremlin’s Tactics to Infiltrate Agents into the European Parliament

By José Carlos Palma* In recent years, Europe has witnessed the emergence of a plethora of new political parties, many of which espouse populist, nationalist, and anti-EU sentiments. While some of these parties stem from genuine grassroots movements, others are believed to be mere fronts for Russian interests aimed at undermining the European Union and its institutions. This article delves into the Kremlin's sophisticated strategies to infiltrate its agents into the European Parliament and influence European politics. The Kremlin's Strategy of Political Influence The Russian government has a long-standing history of employing political influence to advance its interests abroad. In the context of Europe, the Kremlin has forged ties with far-right and Eurosceptic parties, provid...
Understanding the Limited Opposition to Russia’s Ukraine War: A Sociological Perspective
Russia and Eurasia, Study Office

Understanding the Limited Opposition to Russia’s Ukraine War: A Sociological Perspective

Photo: Russian soldiers head towards a train station in Volgograd Oblast By José Carlos Palma * Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, and the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, have faced relatively limited opposition from the Russian populace. Despite international concerns and the conflict's longevity, a recent study by Russian sociologist Lev Gudkov, head of the independent Leveda Center, provides insights into the factors contributing to this lack of widespread anti-war sentiment. Stifled Dissent: Strict Censorship and State Propaganda One of the key reasons for the lack of opposition to the Ukraine war in Russia is the presence of strict censorship and pervasive state propaganda. Gudkov notes that the majority of Russians are deprived of independent news sources due to censorshi...
Russia’s influence in the Balkans
Russia and Eurasia, Europe

Russia’s influence in the Balkans

By José Carlos Palma* Russia's influence in the Balkans is a complex and long-standing phenomenon. It dates back to the Ottoman Empire when Russia saw itself as the protector of Orthodox Christians in the region. Russia intervened militarily in the Balkans on numerous occasions and played a key role in the independence of several Balkan countries in the 19th century. After the Second World War, Russia established communist governments in a number of Balkan countries, including Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania. These governments were close allies of the Soviet Union and played an important role in the Cold War. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia's influence in the Balkans declined. However, in recent years, Russia has sought to expand its influence in the region, part...
The Militarization of Russia’s Murmansk Region: A Comprehensive Analysis of Strategic Significance
Arctic, Defense Strategy and Capabilities, Russia and Eurasia

The Militarization of Russia’s Murmansk Region: A Comprehensive Analysis of Strategic Significance

By José Carlos Palma * The Murmansk region in Russia stands as a critical and heavily militarized area due to its strategic location, historical defense considerations, and evolving geopolitical dynamics. Situated in the far northwestern part of the country, bordering the Barents Sea and adjacent to NATO members, the region plays a pivotal role in Russia's military posture. This article provides a deep and detailed analysis of the factors driving the militarization of the Murmansk region, examining its Arctic strategic importance, the significance of the Northern Fleet, military bases and installations, nuclear deterrence, Arctic military modernization, and geopolitical considerations. Arctic Strategic Importance: The Arctic region has become a focal point of international interest d...
An analyst on Fox News claims that the recent Wagner coup was a “classic false flag” orchestrated by Putin to deceive Biden into believing that Russia poses no threat
Russia and Eurasia

An analyst on Fox News claims that the recent Wagner coup was a “classic false flag” orchestrated by Putin to deceive Biden into believing that Russia poses no threat

During an interview on Saturday with host Eric Shawn on Fox News, guest Rebekah Koffler asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin, in collaboration with Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, orchestrated the recent armed coup as a "classic false flag" operation. In the past 24 hours, Russia has witnessed upheaval within its military and political establishment as Prigozhin led his paramilitary group from Ukraine into Russia, capturing two cities and advancing toward Moscow. However, in a surprising twist, Prigozhin reportedly called off the armed coup following negotiations with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. This rebellion posed the most significant existential threat to Putin's regime since he assumed power in Russia more than two decades ago. During a lengthy nine...
What would Russians gain from a Democratic Society and Western standards of living?
Russia and Eurasia

What would Russians gain from a Democratic Society and Western standards of living?

By José Carlos Palma* A democratic society and Western standards of living could bring many benefits to the Russian people. Here are some potential gains: Greater freedom and human rights: A democratic society would provide greater freedom of speech, assembly, and association, as well as greater protection of human rights. This could lead to more open and transparent government, and greater accountability of officials. Economic prosperity: Western standards of living generally offer higher levels of economic prosperity, with better job opportunities, higher wages, and better living conditions. This could lead to an overall improvement in the standard of living for the Russian people. Access to technology and innovation: Western societies are known for their technological ...