Emil Avdaliani

Battle with Fate: Russia, Geography, and the Historical Cycle

| September 20, 2018

Russia under Putin falls neatly into the Russian historical cycle. When the old state is in decline, chaos ensues, and a new, powerful leader emerges to rebuild Russia. There are plenty of comparisons from Russian history that echo Putin’s rise and success – but there are crucial differences, too, which help explain his inability to transform Russia into a truly global power.

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The Rise of Chinese Eurasianism

| August 19, 2018

Chinese Eurasianism, which – if the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is successful – will give Beijing new foreign policy tools to use against Washington, could prove more threatening to the US in the long run than the USSR was during the Cold War.

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The Aftermath of the Helsinki Summit

| August 12, 2018

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin held a historic summit in Helsinki, Finland on July 15 that was assessed by many as a defeat for US prestige and interests. The summit should not, however, be construed as a Russian victory. US foreign policy moves after the summit indicate that there is little chance for meaningful improvement in bilateral relations. The complexity of issues surrounding Syria, Ukraine, Georgia, and Iran will continue to weigh heavily on US-Russian diplomatic efforts.

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The US in Eurasia: New Challenges

| July 24, 2018

The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the US the sole indisputable world power with almost unlimited resources. However, over the past decade, it has become clear that US resources are not limitless. The Eurasian landmass now contains many competitors with strategies opposed to those of Washington. In a sense, the monolithic Soviet Union was easier to contain than the simultaneous challenges of a rising China, a revanchist Russia, and an ambitious Iran. There are further serious problems to be dealt with, such as terrorism and cyber security. Containment of post-Cold War Eurasia will be no easy task for the US.

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The China-US Confrontation: A Russian View

| July 4, 2018

China and the US have different geopolitical imperatives, so tensions are bound to increase between the two powers. Russia’s position in the nascent confrontation will be important to watch, as it is simultaneously under pressure from the West and in the shadow of Chinese economic strength. Russia will likely see US-China competition as providing an opportunity to improve its own geopolitical position.

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Russia in Syria: Caught Between Iran and Israel

| June 24, 2018

Intermittent Israeli strikes against Iranian positions in Syria have alarmed Russia, which is trying to solidify its military gains there. Active Israeli interference could bring down the highly unstable security architecture the Russians are working on in Syria. Moscow must balance between its war ally, Iran, and Israel, an important regional player – two states with radically different geopolitical imperatives.

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The HIV Crisis in Russia

| May 22, 2018

Russia is experiencing an ever-growing number of reported HIV cases since the breakup of the Soviet Union. An estimated 1.5 million HIV cases are accompanied by a general decline in the Russian population that is expected to continue over the next several decades. A diminished population will directly affect Russia’s army, its military capabilities, and its economy, and thus its ability to position itself as a world power.

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Russia vs. the West: The Beginning of the End

| May 13, 2018

The Russia-West confrontation has, over the course of the past several years, reached its most tense point since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Differences between the two sides will only grow as neither side wants to make concessions on Syria, North Korea, Ukraine, Georgia, etc. However, there is also a strong possibility that the West is making significant headway in its competition with Russia over the former Soviet space.

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Despite His Victory, Putin’s Problems Will Grow

| April 15, 2018

On March 18, Russia elected Vladimir Putin for a fourth presidential term, making his rule the longest since Joseph Stalin’s. But this next term will be a new experience for both Putin and the Russian people. In terms of foreign policy, Moscow face increased Western challenges. Internally, Putin will have to decide whether to prolong his rule in 2024 or pick a successor – a process with significant foreign policy reverberations that will involve reshuffles and elite infighting inside the Kremlin.

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The Nascent Russia-Lebanon Alliance and Israel

| March 23, 2018

Though Russia has been gradually increasing its economic and military influence in Lebanon, it is unlikely that Moscow is prepared to irreparably compromise its relations with Israel. Russia faces competition from other actors in Syria, and good relations with Israel can serve its interests there.

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