Twenty Years of Putin

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Russia in a Changing World

The following is the Editor’s Note from Vol. 55, Issue 6 of Russian Politics & Law.

All of the articles in this issue of Russian Politics and Law hail from the venerable Russian-language journal Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniiaWorld Economy and International Relations – published by the equally venerable Russian Academy of Sciences institute of the same name, better known at home and abroad by its acronym, IMEMO. For academics in the field of international relations, there is no more prestigious journal in Russia.

The articles presented here are not particularly academic, however – although their authors are serious, well-established scholars. Absent from all of them is theory: the reader will find no discussion of constructivism vs realism, or world systems of the global political economy (though the authors’ theoretical assumptions and biases can, of course, be read between the lines). Rather, each piece represents an attempt to come to terms with where Russia finds itself in the world today and where it might be headed.

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New Russians

It’s always hard to tell, but I don’t think that Vladimir Putin is planning to ramp up Russia’s war with Ukraine. At least, not today.

Three levels of background are in order here.

First, what happened today: Putin announced that Russia would offer expedited citizenship to residents of ‘certain’ parts of eastern Ukraine and then confirmed that he had in mind quite specifically the quasi-occupied territories knows as the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Ukraine’s president-elect, Volodymyr Zelensky, promptly decried the move and called for increased sanctions.

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