Medvedev

Soft Power with an Iron Fist: Putin Administration to Change the Face of Russia’s Foreign Policy Toward Its Neighbors

By Dumitru Minzarari

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s talk at the Russian Foreign Ministry on September 3, when he powerfully stressed the need for his country to strengthen and consolidate its “soft power” (mid.ru, September 3), may look to an outside observer like an optimistic signal and a long-awaited change in Russia’s foreign policy. This benign view, however, could not be more wrong. Rather, the Kremlin is seeking to exploit the Western concept of “soft power”—which basically implies the power of attraction—and reframing it as a euphemism for coercive policy and economic arm-twisting.

Russia's Inevitable Customs Union in Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan has officially applied to become the next member of the Russia-led Customs Union, an institution designed to entrench Russia's economic and political influence in its former Soviet territory. Although joining the union will harm the Kyrgyz economy in many respects, not joining could motivate Russia to use any of the several levers it has in Kyrgyzstan. Other Central Asian countries are watching Kyrgyzstan carefully, as its membership in the Customs Union likely will lead to their eventual membership.

Medvedev’s Foreign Policy: Period of Stabilization

By Fyodor Lukyanov

The presidential election is still two weeks away and the inauguration of the next president more than two months off, but we can already analyze the results of Dmitry Medvedev’s presidency. The current focus is on his mentor and most likely successor, Vladimir Putin, who has made a number of policy statements as part of his tireless campaign efforts, including on foreign policy, which was not part of his brief as prime minister.

Azerbaijan and Armenia Say They Want to Speed Things Up at Medvedev’s Last Summit

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By Andrew Roth

For the tenth time during his presidency, Dmitry Medvedev met with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to settle the frozen conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The meeting, which took place yesterday in Sochi, once again failed to secure a breakthrough in the negotiations. As Russia turns inward to focus on recent political protests and Medvedev plans a speedy exit from the limelight, there is still no end in sight to what he has called possibly the only conflict in the post-Soviet space that can be settled today.

Moscow Reshuffles Bets in Kyrgyzstan

By Ryskeldi Satke

October 30, 2011 presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan have drawn over 80 candidates into much anticipated race that has been a subject of political debate in and around the country for quite some time in the republic. Aside from a several dozen of "wannabe" candidates only a few bare chances of getting through the process of a real deal campaigning nationwide. But regional experts and analysts including a number of domestic political figures say there is a likelihood of drastic change towards authoritarian model of the state rather than parliamentarian republic that came after coup in April 2010. What makes situation in Kyrgyzstan unique is that this is the only country in Central Asia with a record of trying to establish a multi vector political system in the region where such form of statehood is not welcome.