Russia’s post-soviet elite
This paper uses John Higley’s elite theory to analyze the sources of cohesion and fragmentation in Russia’s post-soviet political and economic elites. Putin has achieved temporary stability but has not succeeded in forging a unified elite.
The limits of Russia’s ‘soft power’
Russia’s efforts to boost its ‘soft power’ influence have not been very successful. This is because of a misunderstanding of the character of soft power, compounded by increased use of military force in recent years which undermined Russia’s soft power image.
The Russian economy – back to the future?
The slump in the global oil price and continuing Western sanctions have exacerbated the structural flaws in Russia’s economic model.
Russia – China relations: through a glass darkly
Russia’s ‘pivot to Asia’ carries economic and political risks, and will not change the fundamental character of Russia as a European power.
The place of economics in Russian national identity debates (2015)
How economics is used in arguments over national interests and national identity in contemporary Russia.
Geopolitics and the Ukraine crisis (2015)
The West under-estimated the degree to which Putin was exasperated with Russia’s standing in the world, and was willing to break the international rules of the game.
Petronation? Oil, gas and national identity in Russia (2015)
Objectively Russia is a petrostate, but subjectively Russians do not like to think of themselves as being dependent on oil and gas exports.
The impact of sanctions on Russia (2014)
The sanctions imposed on Russia after its occupation of Crimea were more robust than Putin anticipated.
Explaining Pussy Riot (2014)
The jailing of Pussy Riot signaled a new authoritarian turn in Putin’s politics, and raises interesting questions about gender and politics in Putin’s Russia.
Looking back at Brezhnev (2014) (with Victoria Smolkin-Rothrock)
20 years after the Soviet Union collapsed, what are historians now saying about the Brezhnev era?
The evolution of the British political system (2014)
Chapter on Britain for a Comparative Politics textbook. The British system, so long held up as model, is now in crisis on multiple fronts.
Neoliberalism in Russia (2013)
Under both Yeltsin and Putin, Russia’s elite willingly embraced some aspects of the neoliberal package, while rejecting others.
The political economy of Putin 3.0 (2013)
After his return to the presidency in 2012 Putin launched a series of ambitious centrally-directed programs to try to stimulate economic growth and address some social problems. This has often been overlooked as people focused on the politics of his turn towards authoritarianism.
US-Russia relations (2013) (with Greg Dubinsky)
A chapter which surveys the trajectory of US-Russia relations since 1991.
Still out in the cold? Russia’s place in a globalizing world (2012)
Russian foreign policy pulls in different geographical directions depending on whether one is talking about economics, culture or security.
Nuclear energy in Russia (2012)
Nuclear power generation is one of the few manufacturing sectors in Russia that has growing export markets.
Business in Russia (2012)
Overview of business-state relations under President Putin.
Russia finally joins the WTO (2012)
Russia’s joining the World Trade Organization was an important symbolic step, but it was not clear how much of a positive impact it would have on economic development.
Russian political thought (2011)
Entry for International Encyclopedia of Political Science, review of the main currents in contemporary Russian political philosophy.
Entry for International Encyclopedia of Political Science, review of how political scientists use the concept of nationalism.
What is Putin’s ethnicity policy? (2010)
Putin has a very ambivalent position when it comes to defining Russian national identity – sometimes ethnic, sometimes civic – but always statist.
What was Communism? (2010)
A review of three new books on the history of communism.
Putin and the oligarchs (2009)
Putin allowed the oligarchs to multiply and enrich themselves – so long as they did not challenge him politically.
Russia and China Compared (2009)
Russia and China both started their economic transition in the 1980s in very different places, and adopted different policy packages, but are converging on a similar model of state capitalism.
US energy policy towards Russia (2009)
A look back at US policy towards energy development in the former Soviet Union since 1991.
Democracy in Russia (2008)
In this article I use Alexis de Tocqueville’s analytical framework from his book Demoracy in America (1836) to explain the failure of democracy in Russia.
Is the oil boom sustainable? (2008)
Analysis of Putin’s economic record on the eve of the 2008 crash: was the boom a sign that the country was breaking out of the “resource curse”?
Russia as an energy superpower (2008)
Despite its role as the no. 1 producer of oil and gas in the world, Russia has not been very successful in using the “energy weapon” to advance its political interests.
The impact of the global financial crisis on Russia (2008)
Despite its large financial reserves, the 2008 crisis punctured Russia’s growth spurt and revealed the fragility of its development model.
Russia’s economic role in Asia (2006)
Russia started making moves towards the vast Asian market, but there are many geographical and political barriers to be overcome.
Business and civil society in Russia (2006)
Market reform committment to international integration and some market-friendly reforms with a recentralization of political power.
Power struggle: reforming Russia’s electricity industry (2005)
Reforming the giant electricity monopoly RAO EES was key to Putin’s reform strategy. The privatization process began in 1998 and would drag on until 2008.
The role of the presidential representative (2004) (with Alexander Duka)
A case study of the federal district based in St. Petersburg for a book analyzing Putin’s federal reforms, a centerpiece of his drive to restore the “power vertical”.
Caspian security: Russia’s response to US regional influence (2003)
Russia and the US jousted for influence in the Caspian region. Russia failed to prevent the construction of the BTC pipeline, but was able to use the conflicts in Abkhazia and Karabakh to maintain leverage in the region.
The aftermath of the 1998 crisis (2001)
Despite the wrenching impact of the August 1998 devaluation, Russia’s political and economic elite managed to ride out the crisis, and consolidated around the new leader. Vladimir Putin.
Putin’s path to power (2000)
Account of how Putin came to be Russian president in 2000, surveying his career, the second war in Chechnya, and the challenges to Kremlin rule from regional elites.
The role of the IMF in Russia (1999)
The IMF played a disastrous role in continuing to fund Russia’s faltering efforts to continue market reforms. Russia’s financial markets collapsed in the wake of the 1997 Asian crisis.
Archive of my articles for the Jamestown Foundation.