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)

Deteriorated Situation

Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for deadliest terrorist attack on Russian soil in over two decades, days after President Putin won re-election; Ukrainian attacks intensified.

Terrorist attack in Moscow killed and wounded hundreds. Militants 22 March entered concert hall in capital Moscow, opening fire and setting premises ablaze. ISIS immediately claimed responsibility for attack, which killed at least 143 people and wounded hundreds more. Authorities swiftly announced number of arrests, including four Tajik citizens suspected of perpetrating attack, who 24 March appeared in court bearing signs of abuse. Putin 25 March suggested “radical Islamists” carried out attack but insinuated Ukrainian and Western involvement, a claim echoed by top officials; such suggestions could lay groundwork for Kremlin to justify future aggression in Ukraine. Kyiv repeatedly denied any role.

Putin secured fifth presidential term. Russia 15-17 March held presidential election. According to official data, poll saw record turnout and landslide victory for Putin. Opposition 17 March organised “Noon Against Putin” rally; according to campaign website, thousands were to head to polling stations across Russia at midday to “show others and see for ourselves that there are many of us”, while remaining concealed from authorities.

Ukraine launched cross-border incursions and more drone attacks. Three Ukrainian army units that include Russian nationals 10 March began conducting cross-border incursions into Belgorod and Kursk regions, which continued sporadically throughout March; Russian forces repelled attacks. Ukraine intensified shelling of Belgorod’s capital and other populated areas in region, killing over sixteen and wounding scores; governor of Belgorod 19 March announced evacuation of 9,000 children. Ukrainian attacks on oil refineries and other infrastructure persisted.

EU imposed more punitive measures. EU High Representative Josep Borrel 18 March said EU should use 90% of revenues from frozen Russian assets in Europe to buy weapons for Ukraine, announced sanctions on 30 Russian officials over death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. European Commission 22 March proposed increasing tariffs on grain imports from Russia and Belarus to reassure farmers and some member states concerned about influx of cheap Ukrainian products.

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In The News

26 Haz 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 Haz 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 Şub 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 Oca 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 Kas 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 Eki 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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