Russia (Internal)

Moscow sees itself as having embarked upon a broad confrontation with Western powers aimed at reshaping the global order. Its continuing war in Ukraine is thus meant both to subjugate that country and assert and cement Russia’s place in Europe and the world. Russia’s global diplomacy, meanwhile, also aims to increase Moscow’s influence and underline its great power status. Crisis Group reports on developments in the war in Ukraine, domestic processes in Russia, and Russia’s relations with its neighbours and countries around the world. In its advocacy, Crisis Group encourages policies that can lead to more sustainable peace in Ukraine, Europe, and all of the conflicts in which Russia is engaged. 


CrisisWatch Russia (Internal)

Unchanged Situation

Moscow withdrew from several arms treaties and announced record military expenditures in 2024; Finland closed border with Russia.

Russia withdrew from two arms treaties, ramped up military spending. President Putin 2 Nov signed legislation revoking ratification of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, though Russian officials reportedly said withdrawal did not mean Russia would resume nuclear testing; Russia 7 Nov withdrew from Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. State Duma 17 Nov approved 2024 federal budget, which devotes record 10.8tn rubles (approximately $119bn) to defence compared with 6.4tn rubles (approximately $71bn) in 2023. Police conducted raids to draft new army recruits, particularly targeting migrants; notably, police in Voronezh city 14 Nov raided restaurant hosting group of Azerbaijani immigrants and handed around 50 summonses to military enlistment offices.

Crackdown continued, notably targeting war opponents and LGBTQ+ community. Wives of mobilised soldiers 7 Nov staged protest calling on authorities to demobilise their husbands who, according to Putin’s mobilisation decree, could remain in military service until end of so-called special operation in Ukraine. Court in Saint Petersburg city 16 Nov sentenced artist Aleksandra Skochilenko to seven years’ imprisonment for spreading disinformation or “fakes” about Russian army; court in Moscow same day sentenced opposition politician Vladimir Milov in absentia to eight years in prison, also for “fakes”. Meanwhile, Supreme Court 30 Nov labelled “international LGBT movement” as “extremist”, banned activities; UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk same day “deplored” decision, called on authorities to repeal laws that place “improper restrictions on the work of human rights defenders or that discriminate against LGBT people”.

Finland closed checkpoints along border with Russia, Ukrainian strikes continued. Finland 22 Nov announced closure of all but one of its border crossings with Russia beginning 24 Nov, accusing its neighbour of purposely pushing asylum seekers toward border; 28 Nov closed last border crossing point, saying closure would last until 13 Dec and banned filing of requests for “international protection” at border. Meanwhile, authorities 26 Nov announced its air defences had intercepted Ukrainian drones over several regions, including Moscow, day after Kyiv reported one of biggest drone attacks since full-scale invasion (see Ukraine).

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In The News

26 پووش 2023
Russian weapons and facilities are under solid control and there’s no evidence that Wagner or anyone else is looking to capture them. Time

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia
24 پووش 2023
If Russian soldiers feel their commanders are not in control, their trenches will be much easier to take for advancing Ukrainian troops. The Hill

Simon Schlegel

Senior Analyst, Ukraine
20 ڕەش 2023
I think they [the Kremlin] will use this [Biden's Kyiv trip] to repeat the line that this is a conflict between Russia and the West, not between Russia and Ukraine. Newsweek

Oleg Ignatov

Senior Analyst, Russia
17 ڕێ 2023
Russian engagement in the Sahel is very low-cost [financially]. It is distracting the West and diminishing the West’s symbolic power. OZY

Franklin Nossiter

Researcher, Sahel
14 سەر 2022
Moscow also has leverage over Türkiye in other conflict zones such as Syria and the South Caucasus, as well as a vested interest in driving a wedge between Turkey and its... Bloomberg

Nigar Göksel

Project Director, Türkiye
17 گەڵا 2022
We have seen nuclear deterrence work, on the part of both Russia and Western countries. NPR

Olga Oliker

Program Director, Europe and Central Asia

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