Karen Dawisha

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In Moscow on February 27, 2015, a lone gunman killed Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and a powerful and charismatic opposition leader who stood as an alternative to Vladimir Putin. In Leningrad on December 1, 1934, a lone gunman killed Sergey Kirov, a powerful Bolshevik who stood as an alternative to Josef Stalin.

Stalin's involvement in the murder was denied, and never proved. It goes without saying that the Kremlin also was quick to deny Putin's involvement in Nemtsov's death.

The parallels are worth considering. The murder of Kirov marked the beginning of the great purges, the period in which high-level elites were so thoroughly "cleansed" that the USSR stood unprepared for Hitler's invasion.…  Seguir leyendo »

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, an entirely new architecture was envisaged to incorporate Russia into Western institutions, from the Council of Europe to the World Trade Organization, from the High Courts of London to the New York Stock Exchange. Now, under Vladimir Putin, these institutions themselves risk being undermined by unethical Russian practices that provide at best a fig leaf of respectability for Russian behavior that no longer meets the minimal standards for classification as a “European” state. Kremlin-coordinated actions in Ukraine and elsewhere threaten to overwhelm European institutions meant to deepen Russian economic and political freedoms.

Welcoming Russian companies to Wall Street and the City should have improved the quality of Russian corporate governance and transparency.…  Seguir leyendo »