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Recent Tensions between Russia and the West
(Released May 2008)

 
  by Fiona Allison  

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  1. Economic Internationalization of Russia: Roots, Trends, and Scenarios

    Anatoly Zhuplev.

    International Political Science Review, Vol. 29, No. 1, January 2008, pp. 99-119.

    This article examines the background conditions, trends, and scenarios of Russian economic internationalization. In the context of globalization, Russia is stepping up efforts to re-establish itself as a regional and global power. Despite recent progress in domestic economic development, Russia's comparative ratings in major international surveys remain modest or low and many indicators of political rights and civil liberties in Russia demonstrate worsening trends. Russia still lags behind other countries on many of the criteria measuring economic freedom, market attractiveness, globalization, corruption, opacity, and competitiveness. The article explores the lessons for Russia in its political-economic transformation from “peer” countries such as Chile, China, and Venezuela. In exploring the driving forces of Russian economic internationalization, the article focuses on three alternative scenarios conceptualized as “Chilean,” “Chinese,” and “Venezuelan.” Each of these scenarios reflects various traits that have commonalities with the Russian political-economic system, leadership, and situational characteristics in the international context. After examining the internal dynamics and external environmental factors pertaining to Russia, the article concludes that the most probable mid-range alternative for economic internationalization will resemble the Venezuelan scenario, with some elements of the Chinese model also evident.

  2. The Myth of the Authoritarian Model: How Putin's Crackdown Holds Russia Back

    Michael McFaul and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss.

    Foreign Affairs, Vol. 87, No. 1, Jan-Feb 2008, pp. 68-84.

    A growing conventional wisdom holds that Vladimir Putin's attack on democracy has brought Russia stability & prosperity -- providing a new model of successful market authoritarianism. But the correlation between autocracy & economic growth is spurious. Autocracy's effects in Russia have in fact been negative. Whatever the gains under Putin, they would have been greater under a democratic regime. Adapted from the source document.

  3. Garry Kasparov: grandmaster out to check Putin

    Andrew Anthony.

    Observer, 30 Sep 2007, pp. 47.

    Russia holds its presidential election in March 2008. There is no opposition to Vladimir Putin worthy of the name, but there is one fiercely determined opponent: Garry Kasparov. The former chess world champion has been chosen by the Moscow branch of the coalition group called Drugaya Russiya, or Other Russia, to lead them in the elections. For 20 years, from 1985-2005, Kasparov dominated world chess.

  4. Gazprom, a Giant with Service from the Kremlin

    Alain Guillemoles.

    Politique Internationale, No. 116, summer 2007, pp. 289-303.

    When he arrived in the Kremlin in 2000, Vladimir Putin quite clearly announced that under his iron rule Russia would once again become a major international power. Of all the assets available to Moscow's strong man, none are probably as valuable as Gazprom, the global gas giant. This immense enterprise counts 400,000 employees & controls 30% of the world's "white gold" reserves. Now it has become an invaluable tool in Russia's reconquest efforts. Gazprom is a major supplier to both the European Union & the former Soviet republics & it has no qualms about nudging its customers to make them a bit more cooperative with Moscow -- unless they want to bring higher prices upon themselves. & that's only the beginning: in the years ahead the gigantic enterprise aims to expand across the entire energy sector, starting with oil. Its stated goal is to become quite simply the largest energy company in the world, spanning every segment of the industry. Adapted from the source document.

  5. Georgia: A Quandary

    Mikhail Kokeev.

    International Affairs, Vol. 53, No. 1, 2007, pp. 74-78.

    Together with certain political scientists one can blame the situation on the Georgian leader's excessive excitability or on an overreaction to what is described as a 'common spy scandal' and call on the sides to settle the issue without much ado. The Georgian leaders should have heeded U.S. State secretary Condoleezza Rice who in an interview to the Imedi TV Company pointed out that Abkhazia and South Ossetia would find economically healthy democratic Georgia in which human rights would be respected an attractive option.

  6. The Legacy of Vladimir Putin

    Dmitri Trenin.

    Current History, Vol. 107, No. 702, Oct 2007, pp. 346-348.

    Discusses what Russian President Vladimir Putin will bequeath to his successor. It is argued that Putin's presidency has been defined by the war in Chechnya, which was framed in counterterrorist terms, with national security raised to the highest public good. The notion of control is deemed a key descriptor Putin's presidency manifest in the "presidential vertical," & economic nationalism considered a hallmark of his tenure. Putin's foreign policy is next described, noting the centrality of energy to it & that he has restored Russia's global reach. Putin is seen as a conservative stabilizer, not so pro-Western in terms of international affairs, but making Russia more capitalist & "proto-Western" internally. Ultimately, it is contended that Putin's legacy is a work in progress that will likely be problematic for his successor. D. Edelman

  7. PO-210 as a poison

    Norman Dombey.

    London Review of Books, Vol. 29, No. 15, 2 Aug 2007, pp. 22-23.

    In "Death of a Dissident: the Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB", Alex Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko present further evidence which, they claim, shows that Vladimir Putin was personally responsible for targeting the London-based group of Russian exiles centred on Boris Berezovsky. Some of it is compelling, in particular their argument that the real-time monitoring of phone calls between Russia and London could only have been authorised at a very high level. In the Russian system, that means the president.

  8. Polonium-210 as a poison

    John Harrison, Rich Leggett, David Lloyd, Alan Phipps and Bobby Scott.

    Journal of radiological protection: official journal of the Society for Radiological Protection, 2007 Mar, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2007, pp. 17-40.

    The death of Alexander Litvinenko on 23 November 2006 has brought into focus scientific judgements concerning the radiotoxicity of polonium-210 ((210)Po). This paper does not consider the specific radiological circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Mr Litvinenko; rather, it provides an evaluation of published human and animal data and models developed for the estimation of alpha radiation doses from (210)Po and the induction of potentially fatal damage to different organs and tissues. Although uncertainties have not been addressed comprehensively, the reliability of key assumptions is considered. Concentrating on the possibility of intake by ingestion, the use of biokinetic and dosimetric models to estimate organ and tissue doses from (210)Po is examined and model predictions of the time-course of dose delivery are illustrated. Estimates are made of doses required to cause fatal damage, taking account of the possible effects of dose protraction and the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of alpha particles compared to gamma and x-rays. Comparison of LD(50) values (dose to cause death for 50% of people) for different tissues with the possible accumulation of dose to these tissues suggests that bone marrow failure is likely to be an important component of multiple contributory causes of death occurring within a few weeks of an intake by ingestion. Animal data on the effects of (210)Po provide good confirmatory evidence of intakes and doses required to cause death within about 3 weeks. The conclusion is reached that 0.1-0.3 GBq or more absorbed to blood of an adult male is likely to be fatal within 1 month. This corresponds to ingestion of 1-3 GBq or more, assuming 10% absorption to blood. Well-characterised reductions in white cell counts would be observed. Bone marrow failure is likely to be compounded by damage caused by higher doses to other organs, including kidneys and liver. Even if the bone marrow could be rescued, damage to other organs can be expected to prove fatal.

  9. Russian Foreign Policy beyond Putin

    Eugene B. Rumer.

    Adelphi Papers, No. 390, Oct 2007, pp. 1-100.

    Russia's resurgence as an assertive actor in the global diplomatic arena after a long period of introspection & preoccupation with domestic troubles, & the economic revival that underpins it, are among the most striking developments in international relations of recent years. But what drives Russian foreign policy at the end of the Putin era? To what extent is it shaped by Russia's role as a major energy supplier, & how long can the country remain an 'energy superpower', if indeed it is one? How might Russian foreign policy change in the years ahead? Which way will Russia, faced with the might of growing powers around it, & struggling with the fragility of its economic success & stability at home, choose to face in international relations? This paper examines the domestic context of contemporary Russian foreign policy & its key political, economic, military & security drivers, as well as looking at the contrasting outlook that preceded it, & at how Russia's international posture may adjust again in the coming years. The paper concludes with recommendations for Western policymakers on how to respond to Russia's return. Adapted from the source document.

  10. The South Ossetia Conflict. Escalation after the Rose Revolution

    Lara Sigwart.

    Osteuropa, Vol. 57, No. 7, July 2007, pp. 81-89.

    After coming to power in the "Rose Revolution" of 2003, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili announced that he would resolve the conflict in South Ossetia. However, he did not have in mind a new offer for the local rulers. In fact, he wanted to strengthen Georgia's central government. To that end, he sought backing from the West, in particular the United States. South Ossetia, however, is still supported by Russia. What followed was an escalation of violence. Adapted from the source document.

  11. Toothless Bear?

    Rod Thornton.

    The World Today, Vol. 63, No. 6, June 2007, pp. 16-17.

    President Vladimir Putin's recent diatribes against the United States reflect a growing sense within Russia, & especially in its military, that the country's armed forces should develop in a new direction. This change is required, it is said, because another danger has manifested itself. Terrorism, which was perceived as the main threat to Russia's security, has been replaced by a new & yet quite familiar one: that from the west itself and, in particular, from the United States. Adapted from the source document.