Having turned the law into an instrument of state policy and private vendetta, and having turned the legislature into a caricature without power or independence, can Vladimir Putin afford to become an ex-president? As the Russian leader prepares to be re-anointed in an election on 18 March, Mark Galeotti explores Putin’s options.
New Eastern Europe
The Russian region of Kuzbass is entirely dependent on the extraction and export of coal. But the environmental toll of coal mining there is heavy. Despite some resistance by local communities and indigenous peoples, there appears to be no will among the authorities to slow the spread of coal extraction, which has already devastated several towns and villages in the region.
One of the most acute chroniclers and critics of the 19th-century European empires of the East was neither a historian nor a political scientist, but a Polish mariner. Douglas Kerr examines how Joseph Conrad mastered the narratives of empire in a language that was not his own.
Rewriting Russian history
A battle for the future shape of Russia’s education system is under way. Not only is the Kremlin increasing its control over what it considers the correct version of the country’s history, there are also signs of a gradual ideological turn towards promoting the glorification of Joseph Stalin.
Crimea on the steppe?
Kazakhstan consistently sides with Russia in global affairs and supports many of its integration initiatives in the former Soviet space. However, following the annexation of Crimea in 2014 the fear that Kazakhstan’s ethnic Russian regions might share the peninsula’s fate has returned.