Emil Avdaliani

Russian Elites and Why They Matter

| May 23, 2019

Mainstream analysis of Russian foreign policy decision-making often neglects to factor in the influence of the Russian elites. Despite the inclination of the current Russian government to centralize, elite groups continue to exert considerable influence. Their support for the government is crucial for Vladimir Putin, and their disenchantment with him would be fatal to his rule.

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Why Rapprochement with Russia Is Unlikely Under Zelensky

| May 15, 2019

Ukraine has a new president, 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelensky. While some argue that Kiev’s policy toward Russia is now likely to undergo a significant positive change, geopolitical realities suggest the opposite. Ukraine-Russia relations might in fact worsen now that Moscow has eased the citizenship process for Donbas residents.

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Russians Should Question Moscow’s Foreign Policy

| May 5, 2019

Hints from the Russian media show that more and more Russians are starting to question Moscow’s foreign policy during Putin’s 19 years of rule. Russia needs to reevaluate its position in the world: Should it focus only on the former Soviet space, or should it expand its vision of itself in a world where it might play a much grander role?

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Belarus Could Be Russia’s Next Big Geopolitical Target

| April 14, 2019

Russia’s geopolitical projection has shifted over the past two decades. The country has tried to reverse its losses in Ukraine and the South Caucasus, but it is in Belarus that Moscow will most likely try to further extend its leverage to keep the EU and NATO at bay.

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With Italy on Board, China’s BRI Gets a Major Boost

| April 11, 2019

China’s grand Belt and Road Initiative, which is intended to connect the Asia-Pacific with the European market, had a major boost in March when Italy – the first of the G7 states – effectively signed onto the project. This event illustrates how difficult it is becoming for European countries to resist Chinese investment at a time of economic troubles in the EU.

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The Deeper Meaning of China’s Base in Tajikistan

| April 2, 2019

It is au courant among analysts and scholars to compare modern-day China to early 20th-century Germany, in that it too is a rising power that desires a larger role for itself in world affairs. But a better comparison might be with the United States of the late 19th-early 20th century. The US of that era presented itself as non-interventionist, but it also proclaimed a “manifest destiny” to expand its influence.

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The US Does Not Lose Much by Withdrawing from Afghanistan

| March 17, 2019

In December 2018, the Trump administration announced that its military will start withdrawing roughly 7,000 troops from Afghanistan in the coming months. Though the decision seems an abrupt shift in the US’s 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, it fits into the American grand strategy of keeping Eurasia divided.

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The End of “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok”

| March 8, 2019

The geopolitical divorce of Russia and Europe is not confined to the military or economic realms. Over the past several years, the differences have been ideological as well. A good example is the death of a once major political project, the “Economic Space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

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Russia’s Perpetual Quest for Military Modernization

| February 26, 2019

One of the cyclical patterns of Russian history is the country’s perpetual quest for military modernization. This quest was pursued by the Romanovs and the Soviets and continues in modern-day Russia. Military spending is always prioritized over essential economic and social reforms, hampering the country’s competitiveness on the world stage and paving the way for its weakening and eventual disintegration.

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Tehran-Moscow Cooperation Goes Beyond Syria

| January 24, 2019

The Syrian theater exemplifies Russo-Iranian cooperation, but there are other theaters in which Moscow and Tehran have cooperated for years. Their partnership in the South Caucasus and the energy-rich Caspian Sea area are examples of this trend. Taken together, these instances of Russo-Iranian cooperation fit into the pattern of “geopolitical chaos” across Eurasia in which Moscow and Tehran, as well as other regional powers, work together to challenge US dominance.

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