The changing face of the crisis

The year 2023 will be bumpier for many Russian regions than the past year was. Warning signs are already visible: tighter money, distracted officials, more friction points. The September regional and local elections are not without risks, either.

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Low on capacity

As timelines in Russia’s war against Ukraine are shifting, the war has highlighted Russia’s low state capacity. Military mobilization and the state’s reply to the economic disruptions created by the war offer two recent examples. This will become a much bigger problem as the government has to face another issue: shrinking regime capacity.

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Built for a different purpose

As timelines shift in Russia’s war against Ukraine, costs and risks are reinterpreted by the authorities, but always with the regime’s perceived security interests in mind. The divergence between regime security and Russia’s interests will grow. Consider how budget cuts and mobilization will affect Russia’s system of governance, which was not built to deal with this kind of crises.

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Short-termism and the long war

One of the reasons why the economic crisis triggered by the war and Western sanctions has not caused bigger problems in Russia is that so far both the population and elites could afford to believe that throwing more resources on the war in the short run will allow them to avoid costly, permanent, long-term readjustments. But this will change.  

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Agents of Control

Where do Russia’s new appointees in the occupied Eastern Ukrainian territories come from, and what do these appointments tell us about Russia’s designs with the occupied territories?

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Governors: a crash course

Five Russian governors resigned and were replaced on the same day this week. Why did this happen and what does it suggest? An explainer.

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Mobilization, a new statism and the question of time

Eight years into Russia’s war on Ukraine and two months into the present invasion, the perspective of a protracted war and long-term sanctions is increasingly considered on all sides. The invasion has led to significant changes in Russia already, including unprecedented pro-war mobilization efforts and major changes in economic policy, even though economic disruptions, by the Russian government’s own admission, have only just started. Shifting perspectives on the timeline will impact these developments.

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