2020 el año en el que Vladimir Putin vive peligrosamente


¿Cuáles son las consecuencias económicas y políticas de la crisis del COVID-19 en Rusia y en lo que se refiere al poder de Vladimir Putin?


El Kremlin había hecho varios planes para el año 2020 a fin de reafirmar el putinismo como sistema político de Rusia y garantizar a Vladimir Putin mantenerse en el poder hasta 2036. Sin embargo, la combinación de la caída de los precios del petróleo y del gas, que actualmente representan el 39% del PIB de Rusia, y la crisis del COVID-19 plantean la cuestión de si el poder del presidente ruso puede erosionarse gravemente.…  Seguir leyendo »

When the novel coronavirus pandemic began, President Vladimir Putin tried to use the crisis to burnish his reputation as a stronger leader and Russia as an effective state. At first, the Russian leader boasted that his country had escaped the worst, implicitly citing this success as yet more evidence of his own forceful leadership. State-controlled media outlets trumpeted Russia’s success while gloating over American failures. With great fanfare, including media coverage of Russian planes landing in the United States, the Kremlin declared that it had more than enough excess capacity to provide humanitarian assistance to the struggling American state. (We learned later that Putin did not give, but rather sold, this “humanitarian assistance” to American recipients.…  Seguir leyendo »

For almost two weeks, three countries have led the rest of the world in the daily number of new Covid-19 infections: The United States, Russia and Brazil.

This makes some sense — each is in the top 10 of most populous countries with well over 125 million people and each has a few very crowded cities. Furthermore, each country was disorganized and disbelieving as the disease settled in their region.

But one important difference separates Russia from the other two nations. As of Monday, in the United States, which has been in the midst of the pandemic for almost two months, the mortality rate from Covid-19 was 6%, according to Johns Hopkins; in Brazil, hard-hit for a month, the mortality was nearly 7%.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters clash with police in Moscow in July 2019. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

Last month, UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights group, released a report on the upcoming election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. According to the group, governments seeking a place on the top human rights watchdog at the General Assembly session in October will include some of the world’s worst human rights abusers — among them Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Russia’s candidacy did not come as a surprise. The government in Moscow has long been eager to return to the forum, from which it was dropped nearly four years ago. In February, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov used a speech in front of the council to excoriate Western democracies for “meddling in the domestic affairs of sovereign states” and imposing “highly dubious ‘values’ .…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman walks past red banners devoted to Victory Day in downtown Moscow on Wednesday. (Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images)

Moscow intellectuals like to joke that our dark past is in fact our bright future. Russian President Vladimir Putin certainly seems to think so — and he’s not joking.

Every year on May 9, Russia celebrates the Soviet victory in World War II with a public holiday and an ostentatious military parade. This year, the covid-19 outbreak forced the Kremlin to postpone the parade. The festivities have ended up being limited to a military flyover and traditional fireworks display.

It turns out that the present isn’t quite as easy to control as the past. For years, Putin has been relying on the glories of history to try to galvanize the masses and distract them from current social problems — above all, the declining economy, sagging living standards and the paralysis of the political system.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘When the Russian state today appeals to our heroic past, this progressive history is certainly not what it has in mind.’ A Victory Day banner on display in Moscow Photograph: Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

In the early 1990s Russia used to have a strong sense of belonging in Europe. This began to change: the post-Soviet shock therapy reforms were a punishing transition to a free-market society, when a kilogram of sausage cost about the same as a monthly pension and many families experienced malnutrition and hunger. The sudden shift to a more “westernised” way of running the economy left many impoverished, which was eventually capitalised on – after the oligarchic power wars – by a new political leader who embraced a conservative, nationalist rhetoric: Vladimir Putin.

Today, Russian television presenters feed us stories about a European continent in decay, where “aggressive migrants” run amok, where social services take children away from their parents for being “slapped”, where “sexual minorities” destroy traditional families.…  Seguir leyendo »


Conviene estudiar las campañas de desinformación de Rusia y ser consciente que China está aprendiendo rápidamente de ellas.


En enero, al comienzo de la crisis del COVID-19, los medios de comunicación rusos financiados por el Kremlin difundían las narrativas fabricadas por los medios oficiales chinos sobre el origen del virus. Sin embargo, a partir de marzo, cuando los países europeos empezaron a introducir medidas de emergencia, Rusia comenzó a aplicar las mismas tácticas de desinformación utilizadas en sus campañas anteriores, con el objetivo de cuestionar la credibilidad de las instituciones democráticas de la UE y de EEUU y su capacidad para gestionar la crisis sanitaria.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a well-earned reputation as an astute tactician and a steely decision-maker. Yet over the past few weeks he has mismanaged Russia’s responses to two major crises: the collapse of the oil market and the coronavirus pandemic. Now he is facing one of the most acute challenges to his rule right at the moment when he had thought it safe to extend his term through a constitutional referendum.

The Kremlin’s first mistake came in early March, when it reacted to falling oil prices by rejecting Saudi entreaties to cut production. The Russian decision to push for an oil glut proved to be singularly mistimed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Marking the Day of The National Flag of Ukraine, a day before celebrations of the anniversary of state independence. Photo by ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images.

The recognition by Ukraine of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider grave crimes allegedly perpetrated in its territory has led to the ICC Prosecutor’s preliminary examination identifying a wave of alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There are claims of persecution, forced conscription, deportation, sham trials, enforced disappearances, and property seizure – in Crimea. As well as killings, torture, inhuman treatment, sexual violence, and indiscriminate shelling – in Donbas. The court now needs to decide whether to open a full investigation which could lead to charges against specific individuals, as in the trial currently taking place in the Netherlands over MH-17.…  Seguir leyendo »

Opinion polls and authoritarian systems don’t go together. However professional or independent the pollster, any results are necessarily skewed as people weigh their responses — especially to questions about the regime — against potential consequences. Political scientists refer to this as “authoritarian bias.” A late 2015 poll by the Levada Center, Russia’s most reputable polling agency, found that 26 percent of respondents were afraid to answer political questions — and this was just those who were not afraid to admit their fear. And then there’s the perception of prevailing social trends artificially created by government monopoly on television — in Russia’s case, for nearly 17 years now.…  Seguir leyendo »

An airlifter of the Russian Aerospace Forces prepares to fly to Serbia carrying equipment and professionals during the COVID-19 crisis. Photo by Russian Defence Ministry\TASS via Getty Images.

Both Russia and China have mounted combined charm offensives and disinformation campaigns on the back of the pandemic. Shipments of ‘aid’ – reportedly of questionable utility and quality – have gone hand in hand with a concerted effort to deflect any blame from China for the early spread, and an ongoing drive by Russia to undermine states’ confidence and have sanctions lifted.

These concurrent operations have very different objectives, as Russia seeks to subvert international order while China is continuing its bid to demonstrate global leadership – but in both cases, they are seeking long-term gains by exploiting the inattention and distraction of their targets.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rally in support of keeping Crimea as part of Ukraine. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Russia’s ongoing occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula and support of separatist hostilities in the eastern provinces of Donbas have resulted in 1.5 million internally displaced persons, 3,000 civilians killed, and a growing list of alleged violations of international law and socio-economic hardship.

But Ukraine is struggling in its efforts to hold Russia accountable – either as a state or through individual criminal responsibility – as it cannot unilaterally ask any international court to give an overall judgment on the conflict.

So it focuses on narrower issues, referring them to authorised adjudication and arbitration platforms such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), European Court of Human Rights, UNCLOS arbitration, and the International Criminal Court (ICC).…  Seguir leyendo »

Young woman wearing a face mask in front of St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow. Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images.

Persistent internet rumours claiming the coronavirus outbreak originated from a secret American pharmaceutical company with the aim of destroying China from within were quickly discredited. Pop culture fans recognised the supposed activities of the Umbrella Corporation as being from the famous Japanese video games series Resident Evil.

However, although fake news, it can likely be attributed to Russian trolls conducting this and other similar activities online, especially when considered within the wider context of how the Russian regime is using this worldwide crisis to further destabilize the West and test its resolve.

Russian trolls never sleep

Russia’s COVID-19 related actions first and foremost take the form of a vast information warfare campaign, with media outlets simultaneously downplaying the threat of the pandemic – ‘it is less dangerous than seasonal flu’ – while stoking fear about what is happening elsewhere in Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

People attend a demonstration of military equipment and hardware on the Defender of the Fatherland Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, on Feb. 23. (Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters)

Wednesday is the sixth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea. After a hastily organized and deeply contentious referendum on March 16, 2014, following Russia’s military occupation of the peninsula, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty of accession with Crimean leaders in Moscow two days later.

An avalanche of international criticism followed. Analysts pointed out that this was the first annexation by one state of the territory of a neighboring state on the European continent since World War II. In the United Nations, 100 countries condemned the unauthorized referendum and affirmed their support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

In Crimea itself, the annexation was popular, especially among Crimea’s large population of older ethnic Russians.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses lawmakers debating on the second reading of the constitutional reform bill during a session of the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament March 10, 2020. Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images.

With Putin’s current term as head of state due to run out in 2024, the question everybody has been asking is what he will do to remain in power. The Russian president’s recent speech, made in person in the State Duma during the second reading of his own constitutional reform bill, has been interpreted by many as a clear answer. Summaries such as “Putin forever” and “perpetual Putin” abound. But the reality is not so clear.

Putin has not committed to standing for re-election in 2024, never mind staying in power until 2036, when two additional six-year terms from 2024 would run out.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Turkish army convoy drives through the Syrian village of Ram Hamdan, north of the city of Idlib, on 25 February, 2020. Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP

What happened?

An airstrike killed at least 33 Turkish soldiers in Idlib, in the north west of Syria, on 27 February, according to Turkish state media. The strike exacted the highest death toll upon the Turkish military in any single day’s action for more than two decades. Ankara mainly blamed the Syrian regime for the attack on what it called a two-story command headquarters, but hinted as well at Russian responsibility. Russia disclaimed direct involvement but appeared to excuse the attack, saying the Turkish soldiers were in the company of “terrorists”, implying that they were with Syrian rebels.

Whether the strike was deliberate or inadvertent, it is part of a series of increasingly bloody clashes among Turkey, the Syrian regime and Russia over Idlib.…  Seguir leyendo »

Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a ceremony welcoming Ukrainians who were freed by pro-Russian rebels during a prisoner exchange. Photo: Getty Images.

One of the key messages at the heart of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s presidential campaign in 2019 was a very simple one: peace in Donbas, the war-torn region of Ukraine where Russian-supported separatists continue to fight a war against the Kyiv government. Zelenskyy’s message was based on the assumption that if a ceasefire could be respected, and all Ukrainian prisoners-of-war could return home, then peace would have been achieved.

Nine months after Zelenskyy’s inauguration and two months after his first Normandy Four summit (which brings together Germany and France with Ukraine and Russia to discuss Donbas), it appears more likely that this approach will lead Ukraine into a Russian trap.…  Seguir leyendo »

This week, Russian lawmakers decided to postpone legislation aimed at ushering in sweeping constitutional changes announced in January by President Vladimir Putin.

The delay is the result of an influx of proposals from organizations and individual citizens. The suggestions, many of them bizarre — ranging from replacing the president with a “supreme ruler” to formally codifying the need to “counter the falsification of history” — will be considered by a specially created working group that will make its recommendations to the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament. “We must be patient,” Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov counseled journalists who inquired about the timeline.…  Seguir leyendo »

'The destructive reconstruction of the 16th-century Bakhchysarai Palace is being conducted by a team with no experience of cultural sites, in a manner that erodes its authenticity and historical value.' Photo: Getty Images.

Violations against cultural property – such as archaeological treasures, artworks, museums or historical sites – can be no less detrimental to the survival of a nation than the physical persecution of its people. These assaults on heritage ensure the hegemony of some nations and distort the imprint of other nations in world history, sometimes to the point of eradication.

As contemporary armed conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Yemen demonstrate, cultural property violations are not only a matter of the colonial past; they continue to be perpetrated, often in new, intricate ways.

Understandably, from a moral perspective, it is more often the suffering of persons, rather than any kind of ‘cultural’ destruction, that receives the most attention from humanitarian aid providers, the media or the courts.…  Seguir leyendo »

As the 2020 presidential race gears up, news reports include reminders of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s influence over past U.S. elections. But Putin also made news last month with an election-related maneuver in his own country — what one Russia expert called “the most dramatic changes to Russia’s constitution since 1993.”

On Jan. 15, Putin proposed reorganizing the government to give more power to the Russian Duma — the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia. Once these reforms are clarified, Putin says it’s necessary to have a “vote of the citizens on the whole packet” of constitutional changes.

It’s tempting to view Putin’s actions as a mere contemporary authoritarian maneuver, designed to extend power beyond his presidential term, which ends in 2024.…  Seguir leyendo »