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Russia (Internal)

CrisisWatch Russia (Internal)

Unchanged Situation

U.S. expressed support for imprisoned opposition figure Alexei Navalny, while parliament continued to introduce restrictions on foreign organisations operating in country. At 16 June summit between Moscow and Washington (see U.S.-Russia), U.S. President Biden warned President Putin of “devastating” consequences should opposition figure Alexei Navalny die in prison. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan 20 June said U.S. was “preparing another package of sanctions” related to poisoning of Navalny. Lower chamber of parliament 16 June adopted law criminalising activities of foreign non-governmental organisations as well as participation in and fundraising for such activities. Ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for 19 Sept, ruling United Russia party 19 June revealed candidates for its federal list, which include Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and FM Sergei Lavrov. In North Caucasus, Head of Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov 23 June told Putin that international terrorism in Chechnya has been “completely and forever” eradicated; according to Kadyrov, “security issues are no longer relevant” and main issues now are economic and social development. Kadyrov, who has been head of republic since 2007, 26 June declared that he had agreed to run for new term after receiving Putin’s endorsement.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

31 Aug 2020
The Kurdish leadership has every reason to suspect that Russia will not push Damascus to accept anything that Turkey might interpret as protecting or legitimizing the YPG. Kurdistan24

Dareen Khalifa

Senior Analyst, Syria
15 Apr 2020
To issue orders that people will not obey erodes one’s power. For Putin, that is existential. Politico

Anna Arutunyan

Former Senior Analyst, Russia
6 Apr 2020
[...] this is an effort to minimize offending Moscow that reflects the fact that U.N. officials believe that continued cooperation with Russia is key to the future of humanitarian operations in Syria. New York Times

Richard Gowan

UN Director
14 Feb 2020
Escalation is likely going to continue [in Syria] as long as Turkey and Russia cannot agree on a new cease-fire. NBC News

Berkay Mandıracı

Analyst, Turkey
11 Sep 2018
[Russia is] targeting the [African] regimes that do have not have very good relations with the west or who are dissatisfied with west like Sudan, Zimbabwe and CAR. The Guardian

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa
27 Aug 2018
[The rapprochement between Russia and Turkey] demonstrates a striking level of pragmatism in this relationship. Associated Press

Anna Arutunyan

Former Senior Analyst, Russia

Latest Updates

Q&A / Europe & Central Asia

Deadly Clashes in Syria’s Idlib Show Limits of Turkey’s Options

A deadly attack on Turkish forces in Syria has brought Idlib’s crisis to a dangerous crossroads. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Turkey, Syria and Russia experts explain what happened and what’s at stake.

Op-Ed / Europe & Central Asia

Putin’s Future: Reading the Tea Leaves

As President Putin announces changes to Russia’s constitution, Crisis Group expert Olga Oliker explores his plans for the future. Putin’s government may have resigned and his future role may be unknown, she says, but one thing is certain: he is the one calling the shots.

Originally published in Inkstick

Podcast / Europe & Central Asia

War & Peace: Russia in 2020

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope talk to Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, about Russia's progress in 2019, from Syrian reconstruction to arms control to who President Putin might prefer in the White House. 

European institutions and the European security order: American perspectives and their implications

Torn between  Russia’s growing influence and increasing frictions in a historic alliance with the U.S., European states face new challenges to their security architecture. Olga Oliker calls Europe to embrace a dialogue on security and threats in the neighbourhood to build sustainable peace all across the region.

Originally published in EUREN Brief

Are There Alternatives to a Military Victory in Idlib?

Last weekend, the presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia met in Ankara to discuss, among other things, the latest developments in Syria amid Turkish concerns over the consequences of a Syrian government offensive in the last rebel enclave, Idlib. 

Originally published in Valdai