Publications By Category

Publications By Type


In-House Bulletins


Policy Papers


Russia Reform Monitor - No. 2188

Navalny appeal denied;
Planning for war with the West

Edited by Ilan Berman
February 16, 2018

January 5:

With protests taking place in multiple cities throughout Iran, Russian officials are stepping up their support for the country's ruling clerical regime.
Reuters reports Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying that moves by the U.S. to convene an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council to examine the unrest is tantamount to "interference" in the country's sovereignty.

January 6:

Russia’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by prominent opposition activist Alexei Navalny to be allowed to participate in the country's upcoming presidential elections,
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports. Navalny had petitioned for the repeal of a ruling by the country's Central Election Commission that he was ineligible to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin in the March election on account of a conviction in an earlier fraud case - a case that Navalny insists was both politically motivated and orchestrated.

January 7:

Russia is actively preparing for military conflict with the West,
London's Independent reports. The paper cites Baltic military commanders as saying that the most recent iteration of Russia's annual "Zapad" drills, conducted in September, were far larger than officially documented, and were aimed not at countering militant attacks (the official scenario for the maneuvers) but at preparing for a military confrontation with Europe. "Let me be clear: with the exercise Zapad 2017, Russia simulated a large-scale military attack against NATO," Estonia's Chief of General Staff, Riho Terras, has told Germany's Bild newspaper. "It was not targeted towards the Baltic states only, as it was a theatre-wide series of exercises spanning from high North to the Black Sea."

January 9:

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that Russia is lashing out at CIA Director Mike Pompeo over charges that it meddled in the 2016 U.S. election - and may do so again in the coming 2018 midterms. At a recent conference in Washington, Pompeo outlined that Russia had been interfering in American democratic processes "for decades," and should be expected to do so again. The Russian Foreign Ministry has denounced Pompeo's remarks as "lies," with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov asserting that "We have not meddled and will never meddle into the domestic affairs of other countries."

Some two and a half years after the start of its military campaign in Syria, the Kremlin is seeking Europe's help in rebuilding the war-torn country.
According to the Financial Times, Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's representative to the EU, has argued that Europe should ramp up its reconstruction efforts in Syria, and devote "dozens of billions" of Euros to the initiative. Chizov's comments come as part of an escalating bid by the Kremlin to solidify the regime of ally Bashar al-Assad in Damascus now that the tide of battle has turned decisively against his assorted opponents.

Officials in Brussels, however, appear to have other ideas. "At the moment it's in the EU's interests to increase pressure on Russia by not putting any money in," one European diplomat tells the paper. "The fact that the Russians are getting upset shows that the pressure is beginning to tell."

January 10:

Ahead of national elections in March, Russian officials are working overtime to boost voter turnout - a factor that they see as a key to the legitimacy of the outcome.
RBC reports that the Kremlin has issued a series of proposals to regional governments designed to boost participation, particularly among young voters. Tactics to be employed by local authorities include the encouragement of "selfie" photographs at polling stations and other "family games" (complete with competitions) that are likely to appeal to the desired demographic of 18-39 year olds now being targeted by the Russian government.

Related Categories: Russia; Baltics; Russia and Eurasia Program

Downloadable Files: N/A