Igor Torbakov

Igor Torbakov is a Senior Researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki. A trained historian, he specializes in Russian and Eurasian history and politics. He was a Research Scholar at the Institute of Russian History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; a Visiting Scholar at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC; a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University, New York; a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University; and a Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala, Sweden. He holds an MA in History from Moscow State University and a PhD from the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences.

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Articles by Igor Torbakov

The Georgia Crisis and Russia-Turkey Relations

*Click here to order a copy of this report online!* The August 2008 Russia-Georgia war has triggered some major shifts in regional geopolitics. The Caucasus crisis also directly affected the

KREMLIN CONTINUES ATTEMPTS TO DIVIDE EUROPE

Trying to create a rift within the European Union, Russia wants the international community to condemn some of the bloc’s new members that allegedly discriminate against certain categories of their

SCRAMBLE FOR EURASIAN ENERGY RESOURCES INTENSIFIES

As their perspectives on energy security continue to diverge, the Kremlin and Western powers appear to be engaged in a fierce competition over Eurasia’s enormous hydrocarbon resources. At the heart

YUKOS BANKRUPTCY: THE BIG PICTURE

A court decision declaring Yukos -- once Russia’s largest oil company -- bankrupt has finally brought to an end the sad story of confrontation between private business and a powerful

RUSSIA AND WEST APPEAR SET TO CLASH OVER UKRAINE

The Kremlin and the West have ratcheted up their rhetoric over NATO’s possible expansion into Ukraine. The strategically located East European state appears destined to remain an apple of discord

KREMLIN PONDERS MEANING OF EAST EUROPEAN SUMMIT

The exceptionally harsh criticism of Russia's behavior by the senior Western representatives at this week's Vilnius summit of Eastern European countries has undoubtedly rattled the Kremlin leadership. But the big

Kurdish Unrest Escalates in Turkey’s Southeast

The issue of national security appears to be again coming to the forefront of Turkish politics. The continuing infiltration of Kurdish insurgents into Turkey from Iraq, the clashes between the

EUROPE REJECTS GAZPROM’S ULTIMATUM

The European Union signaled that it was not particularly impressed by Gazprom's recent statement that it might seek alternative markets elsewhere if it is prevented from developing operations in Europe.

IVANOV RESTATES KREMLIN’S MONROE DOCTRINE

An increasingly assertive Moscow appears to be revising the organizational forms it has used to dominate the post-Soviet space. While a growing number of influential Russian policymakers and pundits speak

CENTRAL ASIA: REPLAYING THE GREAT GAME

There is a direct parallel between the current Russian-American rivalry in Central Asia and the military-diplomatic duel that the Russian and British empires were waging in the Eurasian heartland in

RUSSIA UNEASY ABOUT POLAND’S RIGHTWARD SHIFT

Russia's political class is warily eyeing the government in Poland, where two center-right parties won the September 25 parliamentary elections. As relations between Moscow and Warsaw, never particularly warm, have

TURMOIL IN UKRAINE GALVANIZES KREMLIN INTO ACTION

The Kremlin sees the ongoing political crisis in Kyiv that culminated in last week's dismissal of the Yulia Tymoshenko government by President Viktor Yushchenko as an opportune moment to restart

KREMLIN ENVOY SAYS BRUSSELS IS A DIFFICULT PARTNER

On July 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed veteran diplomat Vladimir Chizhov to be Russia's permanent representative at the European Union. Assessing his new role, the Kremlin envoy conceded that

MOSCOW PUNDITS PONDER TURMOIL IN KYRGYZSTAN

As Askar Akayev's regime collapsed across Kyrgyzstan, Russian policymakers and analysts considered whether the upheaval in the Central Asian republic falls into the same category as the Rose Revolution in

IS RUSSIA ABOUT TO TURN ITS GAZE TOWARD THE EAST?

Three events this week indicate the fast-growing economic and geopolitical ties between Moscow and Beijing. The Russian government's announcement of a massive Chinese loan to Rosneft, a pledge by a

KREMLIN WARY OF EMERGING KYIV-TBILISI AXIS

Russian analysts are growing uneasy over what they see as a nascent geostrategic relationship between the "post-revolutionary" governments of Georgia and Ukraine. Moscow is wary that pro-Western leaders in Kyiv

RUSSIA’S POLITICAL CLASS DIGESTS YUSHCHENKO WIN

Vladimir Putin's icy silence on Viktor Yushchenko's victory in Ukraine's marathon presidential race likely reveals the Kremlin's current strategic predicament. With the Orange Revolution triumph in Kyiv, Moscow faces a

IN SEARCH OF TRILATERAL POWER, PUTIN GOES EAST

Having all but lost his Ukraine gambit, Russian President Vladimir Putin headed to India and Turkey on state visits in early December. The Kremlin leader's talks with Indian and Turkish

IN SEARCH OF TRILATERAL POWER, PUTIN GOES EAST

Having all but lost his Ukraine gambit, Russian President Vladimir Putin headed to India and Turkey on state visits in early December. The Kremlin leader's talks with Indian and Turkish

PUTIN RETURNS TO UKRAINE UNDER VEIL OF SECRECY

On November 12-13, Russian President Vladimir Putin made his second visit to Ukraine in as many weeks. Although Kremlin officials maintain that this time Putin went to the neighboring country

ARE THERE CHECHEN TERRORISTS IN NORTHERN CYPRUS?

As the great powers demonstrate their resolve to crush terrorism and declare their readiness to strike preventively at terrorist bases "anywhere in the world," some lesser international actors appear ready

UKRAINIAN ELECTION: KREMLIN AGITPROP AT WORK

With Ukraine's presidential poll just a month away, the Kremlin propaganda machine is working at full speed. As one group of Moscow spin doctors accuse the West of interfering in

Baku Seeks To Break Karabakh Deadlock

The Azerbaijani leadership is showing its impatience at the continuing diplomatic deadlock over the disputed province of Karabakh. The signals coming out of Baku indicate that the Aliev administration is

Putin Urges Shift In Russia’s Cis Policies

On July 19 Russia's Security Council convened a special meeting in the Kremlin to discuss the growing geopolitical rivalry in the post-Soviet space and Moscow's position within the Commonwealth of

Has Moscow Lost Control Of The North Caucasus?

As the Kremlin prepares to install its latest handpicked president in Chechnya, it faces the prospect of losing control over the North Caucasus entirely. Last week's brazen assault on law-enforcement

Chechnya: Sorting Out The Policy Options

Having scheduled an early presidential election in Chechnya for September 5, the Kremlin appears to have opted for the continuation of its existing Chechenization policy in the wake of the

Moscow Gatherings Debate Russian-u.s. Ties

As the international community finds itself in a state of flux with the unprecedented global war on terror and the deepening crisis in Iraq, leading Moscow strategists are trying to

Ajarian Crisis Threatens To Escalate

A conflict between Georgia's federal government in Tbilisi and the leadership of the renegade republic of Ajaria has reached a dangerous point over the past two days. On May 2,