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Russian Rhetoric Toward Central Asia Grows Increasingly Hostile

Executive Summary: Russia’s rhetoric toward Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, has become increasingly hostile since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.  The rhetoric from Russia includes threats of invasion and annexation, reminiscent of the language used toward Ukraine before... MORE

Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Assessing the Continuation of Coercive Labor Transfers in 2023 and Early 2024

Executive Summary: Higher-level policy and state planning documents indicate that coercive Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) employment and poverty alleviation policies are to continue at least through 2025. XUAR state and media sources document that these policies continue to be implemented. The Poverty Alleviation Through... MORE

Azerbaijan and Serbia Expand Defense Partnership

Executive Summary: Serbian President Alexander Vučić confirmed a new $300 million defense contract with Azerbaijan on February 6, following years of strategic agreements between the two countries. The new defense contract will give Azerbaijan a foothold in the Balkans, providing Baku with a path to... MORE

Russian Economy Feels Bite of Attrition

Executive Summary: Russia’s economy benefited from increased military expenditures, but industrial production is stagnating as growth limits. Heavy prioritization of the defense industry is causing contractions in other sectors like consumer goods production. The Russian energy sector suffers from declining revenues, delayed projects, and challenges... MORE

Russia’s Dependence on China May Not Be Enough to Save Economy

Executive Summary: Russia’s increasing reliance on China for trade underscores potential vulnerabilities due to China’s economic woes and the yuan’s currency controls. This is prompting Russia to aggressively pursue the digital ruble. Despite Western sanctions, Russia-China trade has increased, enhancing bilateral commerce and financial cooperation.... MORE

Kremlin Exaggerates Production of Russian Arms Manufacturing in 2023

Executive Summary: Russia’s military-industrial complex showed only modest growth in 2023. The manufacturing output index’s increase does not reflect a proportional rise in actual production. The physical output of essential goods for arms manufacturing has revealed minimal growth over the past seven years. While some... MORE

Russian Society Disfigured and Degraded by the ‘Long War’

Executive Summary:  The Kremlin’s tactics of increasing repression and exaggerating domestic support for the war resemble strategies used during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and Stalin’s earlier repressions. The Kremlin attempted to use the coinciding of Navalny’s death with Russian successes at Avdiivka to undermine... MORE

The Future of Roscosmos Unclear as Challenges Mount

Executive Summary: Russia’s space program faces significant challenges, including heavy financial losses and a growing reliance on imported electronics Roscosmos aims to develop its own space station and launch vehicles, but lacks clear strategies and faces obstacles in domestic production and adequate resource allocation. The... MORE
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