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The reports of the death of the Russian defence budget have been greatly exaggerated

In Moscow's Shadows

IMG_2221 No more new toys? (c) Mark Galeotti 2014

Yesterday HIS Jane’s (disclosure: I have written them for decades, and respect their work) came out with the eye-catching assertion that “Russia announces deepest defence budget cuts since 1990s.” It continues that the “Federal Treasury have [sic] confirmed that Russia’s defence budget has been cut by 25.5% for 2017, falling from RUB3.8 trillion (USD65.4 billion) to RUB2.8 trillion.”

A 25.5% cut? Even if “Despite the cut, the 2017 budget will remain about 14.4% higher than the level of defence spending seen in 2014 in nominal terms” that is still a massive story, and spells the end to planned modernisations, especially given the inelasticities in the budget (upkeep and maintenance, salaries, etc). And in December, it had been agreed to but the budget not by the 10% MinFin wanted but a moderate 6%.

So what happened? Needless to say…

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Why Klitschko Is Not My Mayor Yet: Kyiv’s Public Transportation Remains Shabby

2013 9 22 Mit Klitschko

I am big fan of Vitali Klitschko, the boxing champion and the political leader. But I am much less impressed by Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Киев столица Украины. In almost three years, he has done very little to improve Kiew‘s public transportation system. As Vitali Klichko and Vladimír Klichko know German cities well, I thought they would be interested in bringing the Kiev Transportation Service closer to German cities’ rail and bus service level. But I now suspect that neither Vitali Klitschko nor Wladimir Klitschko actually care much about Public Transportation in either Deutschland or Україна – Ukraine. They have probably always used limousines with or without chauffeurs, and may not be aware of the advantages of good public transportation, as almost everywhere in Germany, and disadvantages of bad public transportation, as almost everywhere in Ukraine. My critique, in a nutshell: If Kyivites would be loosing less time, nerves and energy on moving around in the city, they would solve themselves many of those problems that Vitaly Klichko now wants to solve for the Kyivites. The entire country would benefit from better work by Ukraine’s central bureaucrats. In addition, better public transportation would reduce traffic jams, air pollution and KievCity center rents.

An Implication of the Trump Presidency for World Politics: A Partial Absence of the USA?

Andreas Umland


Perhaps, Europeans should be less worried about the direction of U.S. foreign policies under Trump than about the question how far Washington will be able to remain an effective geopolitical actor, at all. Trump’s victory’s main effect on international relations might be the U.S.’s reduced availability to the conduct of foreign affairs. The main repercussion of Trump’s surprising triumph may be that Washington will be too much consumed with internal conflicts to be as active in world politics as it used to be. Trump will have to rule against the background of a strong dislike of millions of Americans for him and his policies, and the so far unpredictable ways in which this dislike will express itself. (One cannot even exclude race riots or other turmoil.)

While it is unclear what this means for the functioning of the U.S. governmental apparatus including the military, it seems already clear that much…

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Risk, Uncertainty, and Black Swans: Why Soviet Socialism Was Forever Until It Was No More

Risk, Uncertainty, and Black Swans: Why Soviet Socialism Was Forever Until It Was No More  Talk given at the Annual Berkeley-Stanford Conference UC Berkeley, March 3, 2017 A few words to begin with…

Source: Risk, Uncertainty, and Black Swans: Why Soviet Socialism Was Forever Until It Was No More

Świat pamięta kto wywołał dwie wojny światowe i ta logika toczy się dalej @DW_Polska

  Deutsche Welle   POLITYKA Niemiecki politolog: Przyszłość ludzkości zależy od Krymu i Donbasu Propaganda spowodowała, że Rosjanie popadli w jakiś rodzaj paranoi. Radykalizacja rosyjskie…

Source: Świat pamięta kto wywołał dwie wojny światowe i ta logika toczy się dalej

Akhrarkhodjaeva: #MassMedia in #Russia’s PresidentialElections 2000/2008 @ColumbiaUP

Nozima Akhrarkhodjaeva: The Instrumentalisation of Mass Media in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes. Evidence from Russia’s Presidential Election Campaigns of 2000 and 2008. Book Series “Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society”. Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag 2016. Distributed by Columbia University Press.
Focusing on the case of Russia during Putin’s first two presidential terms, this book examines media manipulation strategies in electoral authoritarian regimes. Which instruments and approaches do incumbent elites employ to skew media coverage in favour of their preferred candidate in a presidential election? What effects do these strategies have on news content?
Based on two case studies of the presidential election campaigns in Russia in 2000 and in 2008, this investigation identifies the critical internal mechanisms according to which these regimes work. Looking at the same country, while it transformed from a competitive into a hegemonic authoritarian regime, allows one to make a diachronic comparison of these two regime types based on the Most-Similar Systems Design. The book explicates the subtle differences between competitive and hegemonic regimes, different types of media manipulation strategies, the diverging extent of media instrumentalisation, various interactions among state actors, large business owners, the media, and journalists, the respective effects that all these factors and interactions have on media content, and the peculiar types of bias prevalent in each type of regime.
This deep exploration of post-Soviet politics is based on extensive review of documents, interviews with media professionals, and quantitative as well as qualitative content analyses of news media during two Russian presidential election campaigns.
304 Seiten, Paperback. 2017
ISBN 978-3-8382-1013-1
ISSN 1614-3515
“This book is based on a sound understanding of the present state of research and an innovative analytical framework. Most importantly, through sophisticated and extensive empirical research, the author is able to offer a detailed and systematic examination of the Russian case, which is of high value not only for students of Russian politics but also for the broader literature on authoritarian regimes. The author demonstrates convincingly and with empirical details that a shift from competitive to hegemonic authoritarianism is not a simple increase in state repression but means a substantial change in the nature of the regime.”
Prof. Dr. Heiko Pleines, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Bremen
“This contribution to the research field of electoral authoritarian regimes not only substantiates the claim that there is a shift observable in Russia between 2000 and 2008. It is also methodically and from its analytical contribution a step forward for this field of study. […] I am not aware of any study that has so systematically worked through the practices of mass-media manipulation in authoritarian states, and in addition to the findings on the case, the author also contributes an analytical approach that will certainly be helpful for other scholars […]. […] diligence and painstaking attention with which she has worked through an astonishing amount of sources, including a challenging content analysis.”
Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte, Professor of International Relations, University of Bremen

CfP: The Idea of a #Międzymorze / @Inter_Marium, #JSPPS 1.5.2018

Call for Papers:
“The Idea of a Międzymorze – Intermarium: Planning Cooperation and Integration in East-Central Europe”
A special section of English-language scholarly papers collected by Ostap Kushnir and Spasimir Domaradzki, at Lazarski University of Warsaw, in cooperation with Andreas Umland, at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Сooperation in Kyiv, for the “Journal of Soviet & Post-Soviet Politics & Society” edited by Julie Fedor at The University of Melbourne, published by ibidem-Verlag at Stuttgart, and distributed outside Europe by Columbia University Press in New York. See, on JSPPS:
Please, register your interest here:
This publication project is linked to this conference in Warsaw in summer 2017: . However, papers may also be submitted by scholars not attending this conference.
Deadline for preliminary paper or abstract submission in English, Ukrainian, Russian or German: 30 March 2018. Deadline for paper submission of fully edited and formatted English-language papers: 01 May 2018. The final versions of the papers should be submitted only in English.
We invite submissions of academic papers analyzing one particular aspect of the history and current relevance of the idea of an Intermarium or an affiliated topic, including (but not exclusively targeting) the following subthemes:
– the pre-history, origins, evolution and permutations of the Intermarium concept,
– perceptions of the Intermarium framework by the public of the post-communist and EU member states,
– perceptions of the Intermarium framework among contemporary political elites in Central and Eastern European states,
– security cooperation within the Intermarium framework: addressing contemporary regional and global challenges,
– economic cooperation within the Intermarium framework: risks, obstacles, and perspectives,
– the joint cultural and historic legacy of East-Central Europe: the impact of non-material and material factors on cooperation within the Intermarium framework.
Further relevant subtopics may be proposed by prospective authors.
The papers should:
– pose a sufficiently narrow, interesting and focused research question,
– provide as many as possible facts, data, graphs, quotes, tables, etc.
– make an argument with reference to empirical evidence, legal texts and secondary literature,
– reference scrupulously all used primary and secondary sources, and
– be strictly analytical (rather than conversational, political, philosophical, elliptical etc.).
The final versions of the papers should be submitted in English, but can be also submitted earlier in Ukrainian, German or Russian, for a first preliminary assessment. They should have a length between 7,000 and 10,000 words. Please, send them as a WORD document, and list references by using WORD’s footnote function.
The papers’ formal style, references and footnotes should follow this style guide (with the footnote option: Chicago 16) and the example of this text:
The transliteration of Cyrillic words should follow the rules of this table:
We will not accept papers for review that still need extensive content-wise, linguistic or/and stylistic editing.
Authors of those papers that were accepted for publication should send the paper’s final, approved, ready-for-print version by 01 May 2018. They should be in native-level English, formulated in academic style, and thoroughly edited as well as formatted (quotations, references, subheadings, transliteration). Authors whose papers have been accepted will be asked to also function as reviewers of one of the other submitted papers.
The volume will be published with ibidem-Verlag at Stuttgart & Hannover as well as distributed, outside Europe, by Columbia University Press at New York as well as other distribution networks and bookshops, like Gazelle Book Services.
All questions and submissions should be sent to: