Archive for Putin

Russian “infowar” & the U. S. elections

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2016 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

As the story of the Russian state’s influence on the recent U.S. elections continues to unfold, here are some web sites that document various dimensions of it, and of Russian media strategies more generally. These are mostly critical analyses, which may carry their own biases. Those seeking defenses of Russian state media, or critiques of U. S. media, of the CIA, and so on, should look elsewhere, as that’s not what this page is about. This list will grow, so check back periodically if you’d like to stay up to date.

Read more »

Rise of the global alt-right

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 16, 2016 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

With Donald Trump in power, this web site just might get a new lease on life — reincarnated as a place for examining the rise of what has been called the “global alt-right,” with its network of connections between Putinists (like Alexander Dugin, Konstantin Rykov, and Igor Panarin), Trumpists (like Steve Bannon, Richard Spencer, and Alex Jones, among others), and those filling a similar niche around the world.

The Trump campaign’s connections with Russia, of course, go well beyond such hazy connections as these. Ukrainian fears of these connections are legion. As Natalia Humeniuk puts it,

Read more »

The Nation, sanctions, & following the money

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 25, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

Readers of The Nation and listeners of Democracy Now — two of the leading U.S. venues for left-wing thought — have been subjected to a somewhat incessant drumbeat of views sympathetic to the official Russian side of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. As I’ve written here before, both Stephen Cohen and, more recently, his wife (and Nation editor/publisher) Katrina Vanden Heuvel have argued that the entire conflict should be blamed on the West — the U.S., its European and NATO allies, and pro-western and ostensibly right-wing Ukrainians.

In “Putin’s Pal,Slate‘s Cathy Young summarizes the case against Cohen’s (and Vanden Heuvel’s) views, while astutely contextualizing it within Cohen’s history of scholarship and commentary on the Soviet Union and Russia. While some of Cohen’s and Vanden Heuvel’s worries cannot be brushed away — war has its casualties and some of these will be civilians, on both sides or on no side — their narrative of U.S. and Ukrainian responsibility and Russian victimhood is unfair and their assessment of western media coverage also inaccurate.

And there’s little point in casting that conflict as merely a Ukrainian civil war, as Vanden Heuvel does. Any analyst of Russian (and Ukrainian) media ought to see that it is clearly a war — something between a cold war and a hot one — between Russia and Ukraine.

While The Nation itself continues its one-sided coverage, Nation Institute fellow Lee Fang writes, in “How Putin’s American Fixers Keep America’s Sanctions Toothless,” about how US-Russian economic ties create an effective lobby against sanctions, rather like the Israel lobby does the same with US relations with that country and its neighbor, Palestine.

Read more »

Gregory: The case against Putin’s “success”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on July 11, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

In “Putin’s Failing Ukraine Scorecard,” Forbes’s Paul Roderick Gregory lays out the case against the more popular narrative that Putin has succeeded in “outwitting” the West in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

While I agree that Putin’s success in Ukraine itself appears limited, he remains very popular in Russia, and as the EU elections showed, seems to have a growing number of supporters in the European right (and far left). The jury is still out on whether and to what extent he is failing in his goals.

Stephen Cohen rides again

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 11, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

I am blogging less here these days, and I expect that will continue through the summer (unless some radical change occurs in Ukraine and its relations with Russia).

One thing I shouldn’t let go without mention, however, is Stephen Cohen’s recent article in The Nation, “The Silence of American Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities.” I’m one of the many Ukraine-watchers who disagree with Cohen’s analyses of Ukraine, who find them overfocused on geopolitics, oversympathetic to Putin and his nationalist/neo-imperialist regime, and almost completely lacking in on-the-ground knowledge of Ukraine itself.

The letters responding to Cohen’s article are worth reading; they can be found here. My own — third from the bottom on that page — is harsher than is my typical style, but as a long-time reader of The Nation, I can’t help feeling betrayed by it on this issue. I’m generally in agreement with the Brookings Institution’s Steven Pifer’s more detailed response.

Other Ukraine scholars tend to be less generous with Cohen (see, for instance, Alexander Motyl’s “Contradictions Define Kremlin Apologists“). But he is influential on the left and his defenses of Putin’s Russia deserve a hearing (however misguided they may be). My disagreement is less with Cohen’s right to speak his mind than it is with The Nation‘s unwillingness to look more deeply into the issues he writes about. Since Cohen is married to the magazine’s editor-in-chief, that may not be surprising; but readers should still press for better from the leading newsweekly on the U.S. left.

Rolling Stone: Report from Moscow

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 8, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

In “Putin Clamps Down: A Chilling Report from Moscow,” Rolling Stone reporter Janet Reitman details the destruction of independent media in Russia, the marginalization of the country’s opposition politics, and the replacement of both by “Sovietism with a tsarist face.” (Reitman is the author of Inside Scientology, which contemporary Russia feels a little bit like.)

“Now Russia has entered a new phase, something [cultural critic Artemy] Troitsky recently dubbed “Staliban”: a meld of Soviet-style totalitarianism and ultraconservative orthodoxy, highlighted by vast distrust and moral superiority toward the “decadent” West.

Read more »

Galeotti & Bowen: Putin’s strategic shift

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on April 24, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

Writing in Foreign PolicyMark Galeotti and Andrew S. Bowen provide an analysis of Vladimir Putin’s shift “from realist to ideologue.” They write:

“In Putin’s actions at home as well, the Russian president is eschewing the pragmatism that marked his first administration. Instead of being the arbiter, brokering a consensus among various clans and interests, today’s Putin is increasingly autocratic. His circle of allies and advisors has shrunk to those who only share his exact ideas. Sober technocrats such as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu played seemingly no role in the decision-making over Crimea and were expected simply to execute the orders from the top. [. . .]

Read more »

Foreign Affairs on Dugin & Putin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 3, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

Articles posted on this blog have refererred repeatedly to Eurasianist ideologue and “conservative revolutionary” Aleksandr Dugin and his connection to Vladimir Putin’s expansionist strategy in Crimea. This article in the Council on Foreign Relations’ journal Foreign Affairs puts the Putin-Dugin relationship into some historical and political context.

While the article doesn’t discuss this in any detail, the Dugin-led Eurasianist Youth Movement has been influential in fueling opposition to Ukraine’s interim government in areas of southern and eastern Ukraine. Read more »

Toal: Putin’s “affective geopolitics”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on March 20, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

In a detailed and fascinating analysis of Vladimir Putin’s speech marking Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula, geopolitical analyst Gerald Toal (Gearóid Ó Tuathail) assesses five competing theories about Russia’s move.

“Why did Russia seize Crimea, and why did it do so when it did? These are questions scholars will debate for some time. There are competing hypotheses:

“1. The Geostrategic Explanation.

Read more »

Jewish leaders: Open Letter to Putin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 5, 2014 by Adrian J Ivakhiv

Ukrainian Jewish leaders have penned a strongly worded Open Letter to Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. Signatories include leaders of the Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Ukraine (VAAD) Ukraine, the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, the Zionist Federation of Ukraine, the Jewish Council of Ukraine, the European Jewish Congress, head rabbis of the progressive and traditional Judaism communities in Ukraine, directors of centers for Jewish and Holocaust studies, and experts in monitoring and analysing xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

A few excerpts:

We are Jewish citizens of Ukraine: businessmen, managers, public figures, scientists and scholars, artists and musicians. We are addressing you on behalf of the multi-national people of Ukraine, Ukraine’s national minorities, and on behalf of the Jewish community. [. . .]

Read more »

Skip to toolbar