Between the nation and the empire there lies the term ‘civilization.’ Russia will be doomed to build its identity on the archetypes of civilizational loneliness (an imperial feeling) as there is no system to build itself into to obtain guarantees of further existence.
Islam is one of Russia’s four traditional religions – faiths with longstanding presence in the country. Unlike many European countries, where immigration contributes to the growth of the Muslim population, Russia’s Muslims are local people, long-established populations with ethnic traditions reaching centuries back.
Last year’s incident with the Russian Su-24 jet instantly changed the very nature of Russia-Turkey relations. What used to be viewed by the leaders of the two countries as a strategic partnership was replaced with harsh confrontation.
Moscow has made the largest progress in Eurasian integration with Armenia. It has had no integration plans (given numerous constraints) with regard to Azerbaijan or Georgia. Yet Russia’s victory cannot be regarded complete or unequivocal.
Significant terrorist acts in Russia and the United States usually have the same effect. The same thing happened as recently as last spring, after the terrorist attack in Boston, as a trail was found leading back to the Caucasus.
While previously developments in the North Caucasus were primarily looked at from the viewpoint of inter-ethnic relations and regional policies, today this theme has expanded to a pan-Russian scale. It is not Chechnya, Ingushetia, or Dagestan per se that matter; rather, it is how the Russian heartland perceives those regions.
Georgia was the first sovereign state to recognize the genocide against the Circassians. However, the recognition did not occur all of a sudden; certain steps were made back in the 1990s by parliaments of the North Caucasian republics.
Closed borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey, as well as the absence of functional relations between Russian and Georgia, severely hamper the full potential of the region.
The geopolitical landscape of the Caucasus has recently been brushed over with new bright strokes.
There has been much talk over the past few years that Russia is losing the Caucasus by making one political mistake after another.
There can be no “national” solution to the Caucasus in that a number of ethnic disputes and irredentist claims overlap presently demarcated territorial state borders. Moreover, the membership of these states in either NATO or in the CSTO is not panacea either, in that membership in these separate military camps and command structures, even if these camps can be aligned, would not work to better integrate the entire Caucasus region.
Among the respondents favoring Chechen secession only a very small number believe that Chechnya should be entitled to independence by virtue of its right to self-determination. Remarkably, these respondents have Russia’s interests in mind (“It would be better for Russia”), not Chechnya’s.
International terrorism was at the forefront of global politics in the first decade of this young century. The concept is actually relatively new.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.