Peter Rutland

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Articles by Peter Rutland

PUTIN’S GAS BLUNDER

The abortive interruption of Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine on January 1 was a humiliating diplomatic blunder. It was an unnecessary crisis, and one that Russia clumsily lost in

RUSSIA’S OILY ECONOMIC GROWTH

On August 4 the Russian government held a meeting to discuss the economic results of the first six months of 2005. They listened to a report by German Gref, Minister

KHODORKOVSKY AND ADAMOV: A TALE OF TWO TRIALS

The trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky finally came to its predictable conclusion on May 31, with the unfortunate magnate sentenced to nine years, less the 18 months he has already spent

RUSSIAN SMALL BUSINESS: STAYING SMALL

On March 4 the Russian government announced the closure of the Federal Fund for the Support of Small Business, an agency created ten years ago with a budget of 25

RUSSIAN WOMEN: A MIXED RECORD

March 8 is an official holiday in Russia to mark International Women's Day. It is one of the most popular holidays on the calendar, with men buying flowers and chocolates

CIS ECONOMIES: GROWTH WITHOUT PROSPERITY?

The economies of the Commonwealth of Independent States have seen five years of steady growth and low inflation, a welcome contrast to the economic slump and financial instability of the

THE BUSH-PUTIN MEETING: SOFTLY, SOFTLY

As President George W. Bush heads to Bratislava for tomorrow's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the rhetoric among commentators in both Moscow and Washington has led to some speculation

U.S.-RUSSIA RELATIONS: TURNING POINT OR DEAD END?

Clearly, the recent democratic transitions in Georgia and Ukraine have put the U.S.-Russia relationship under strain. The crucial factor in U.S.-Russia relations may now be the future evolution of the

ARE PUTIN’S REFORMS WORKING?

Over the past year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has completed a radical re-centralization of the Russian political system. Skeptics who doubted that he had the acumen and political support to

ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS

On January 27 Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. On January 24, Associated Press received a copy of

RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT IN DISARRAY

Some observers continue to hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin's centralization of power will at least produce more effective economic decision-making, along the lines of South Korea in the 1960s.

RUSSIAN MISSILE MEN: ARE THEY NUTs?

Back in the 1980s there was a school of U.S. strategic analysts referred to as "NUTs" -- Nuclear Use Theorists. They argued that it was important to prepare for the

RUSSIA: DEMOCRACY DISMANTLED

No serious observer can dispute the fact that Russia is no longer a "managed democracy"; it is a bureaucratic-authoritarian regime. On September 13, 2004, President Vladimir Putin announced that the

SAVING THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION: FROM WHAT?

President Vladimir Putin's September 13 package of reforms to centralize political power was met with consternation by outside observers, who see it as a rollback of democratization in Russia. Independent

Russian Government Fighting With Itself

During August simmering tensions within the Russian government surfaced, with ministers trading recriminations in public view. Some see the dispute as politics as usual, the struggle for power between rival

Russo-japanese Relations Improving

Recent statements suggest that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is optimistic about reaching a settlement with Russia over the four islands that Stalin seized from Japan at the end of

Pipeline Pirouette In Northeast Asia

Competing oil pipeline projects in the Russian Far East were the topic of a lively symposium among specialists from Russia, China, Korea, Japan, and the United States at the Slavic

Oecd, World Bank Evaluate Russian Economy

The World Bank and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have just released their latest reports on the state of the Russian economy. Both reports are surprisingly bullish about Russia's

Bankers Beware

This week, in addition to the drama surrounding Yukos and its $7 billion tax bill, Moscow has been in the grip of a banking crisis. Panicking depositors have been cashing

Crisis Week For Yukos

The Yukos affair began on July 2, 2003, with the arrest of director Platon Lebedev. Exactly one year later, Russian police marked the anniversary with a dramatic raid on the

Corporate Governance In Russia: Keep Hoping

Hermitage Capital Management has issued a report highly critical of the management of the Gazprom, Russia's largest company. Hermitage, a minority shareholder in Gazprom, wants Vadim Kleiner, research director of

Russian Corruption Spurs Fear Of Bank Crisis

The past week has seen surprising developments on several fronts in Russia's war on corruption. Taken together, they remind us of the magnitude of the corruption that has such deep

Putin Begins State Visit To Mexico

This week Russian President Vladimir Putin has a busy diplomatic schedule. After attending the D-Day ceremonies on June 6, the first Russian president so honored, Putin flew to Mexico, in

Yukos Hit By Perfect Storm

The mood among western observers of the Yukos oil company has shifted decisively over the past week. They now see the company as a lost cause. The embattled Russian oil

Putin Summons The Nation, Sort Of

The presidential address which Vladimir Putin delivered to the Federal Assembly on May 26 was bound to be anti-climatic. Wednesday's oration was overshadowed by more dramatic political events this spring,

Putin Moves To Back Kyoto Protocol

At the Russia-European Union (EU) summit on May 21, President Putin surprised observers by promising to move ahead with ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the 1997 treaty under which developed

Russian Society: A Brake On Reform?

Most observers look at the strong economy and President Putin's high popularity rating, and assume that Russia has become a "normal" society, in the words of a recent Foreign Affairs

Russia’s Oil Boom: Blessing Or Burden?

This week world oil prices hit their highest level since 1990 - more than US$40 a barrel for Brent crude, and US$35.70 a barrel for Russia's Urals blend. This is

On The Road In Russia

On May 6 the Russian cabinet endorsed an ambitious, twenty year plan to spend US$1 trillion on improving the country's inadequate road system. The plan would boost the paved roads

Court Reverses Major Power Plant Privatization

The Sayano-Shushensk hydro-electric plant, on the mighty Yenisei river in the Siberian republic of Khakasia, is the jewel in the crown of the national electricity company United Energy System. The

Russia’s Top Bankruptcy Expert Gunned Down

On the morning of Wednesday, April 28, the former head of Russia's Federal Bankruptcy Service, Georgy Tal, was shot on the street outside his office in downtown Moscow. The 48-year-old

AFTER THE “GREAT GAME”

By Peter Rutland On 29-30 April a group of U.S. government officials and scholars met in Seattle to discuss U.S. policy toward the Caspian Basin. The conference was cosponsored by

DISTANT NEIGHBORS

By Peter Rutland There is a comfortable viewing station set up on a windy bluff just outside Nemuro, on the eastern coast of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Tourists peer

RATING PUTIN

By Peter Rutland One month after the hostage crisis, and two years after his appointment as acting president, it is time to address the question of how Vladimir Putin is

PUTIN’S LEVITATION ACT

By Peter Rutland President Bush came to Moscow, President Bush left. There were no surprises, no open conflicts, and thankfully no gaffes. The goal of the American visitors was to