Russian Analytical Digest No 269: Russia and the Arctic

The topic of this issue is Russia and the Arctic. Firstly, Troy J. Bouffard and P. Whitney Lackenbauer discuss Russia’s 2021–2023 chairmanship of the Arctic Council, positing that Russia is not seeking to revise Arctic governance structures or undermine regional peace; instead, Moscow seeks to define the region in its preferred terms; secondly, Alexander Sergunin examines Russia’s policy priorities for its chairmanship in the Arctic Council and the possible implications thereof for the region. The author argues that Russia’s Arctic Council presidential agenda will likely include the following priorities: climate change action; sustainable development; social cohesiveness and connecti..

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Strategic Trends 2021

Strategic Trends 2021 offers a concise analysis of major developments in world affairs, with a primary focus on international security. In the first chapter, Brian G. Carlson explores the impact of the China-​Russia relationship on transatlantic security. In the second chapter, Julian Kamasa assesses the potential for security cooperation among France, Germany, and Britain in the E3 and other formats following Brexit. In the third chapter, Niklas Masuhr analyzes Turkey’s recent military interventions. He notes the limited success of them and their reliance on Russia’s acquiescence in them. In the fourth chapter, Lisa Watanabe describes how the US retreat from the Middle East has allowe..

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An Evaluation of Switzerland becoming a Participating State of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism

Disasters know no political and geographical borders. Extreme events – be they natural, social, or technical, often have transboundary effects and may overwhelm national response capacities. International assistance can therefore play a crucial role in saving lives, livelihoods, and assets in disasters. Tapping into transnational expertise and lessons learnt can also be key to improving national preparedness and resilience levels in the face of current and emerging hazards. In 2001, the EU created the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM) as part of the Directorate-​General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, with the aim of strengthening cross-​border coll..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 268: The State of the Russian Economy

This issue provides an overview of the state of the Russian economy. In eight shorter contributions international experts discuss the longer-​term trajectories of the Russian economy and assess the impact of Western sanctions and the Covid-​19 pandemic. Separate contributions look at the real sector of the economy and agriculture. The financial sector features prominently in several contributions. Finally, based on an assessment of past trends several contributions provide an outlook for Russia’s socio-​economic development. At the end of the issue there is a section with graphs illustrating the development of major macro-​economic indicators over the last 25 years.

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No 121, Caucasus Analytical Digest: Local Dimensions of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

This issue of the Caucasus Analytical Digest deals with Local Dimensions of the Nagorno-​Karabakh Conflict. Firstly, Leila Alieva explores the securitization/de-​securitization processes and attitudes towards the conflict in Azerbaijan in the periods before, during, and after the 2020 conflict in Karabagh; secondly, Tamar Shirinian discusses the affective connections between the two spectres of soldiers who are missing or who have died in action and the old political economic elite who now threaten to regain power, and the political implications of national trauma on Armenia’s post-​war futures; thirdly, John O’Loughlin, Gerard Toal, and Kristin Bakke analyze the somewhat contradic..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 267: Nord Stream II

This issue deals with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Firstly, Maria Shagina posits that the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline has revived the fundamental differences of opinion that divided the allies during the Cold War and created new inter-​European tensions. A closer look at the crises in the Western alliance occasioned by the Druzhba oil pipeline in the 1960s and the Yamal–Urengoi gas pipeline in the 1980s reveals the continuity of disagreements between Europe and the US, as well as showing similar patterns of weaponizing Western technology and sanctions. Secondly, Robert Stüwe analyses the German debate on Nord Stream 2, including the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, the scandal over th..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 266: Preparing for the Parliamentary Elections of 2021: Russian Politics and Society

This issue provides a broad overview of Russian politics and society in the run-up to the 2021 parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for September. In eleven shorter contributions, international experts on Russia discuss domestic and foreign affairs as well as the economy. The focus of most of them is on attempts of the Russian leadership to deal with growing discontent among the population. This includes the regime’s quest for legitimacy as well as repression and strategies to manipulate the actual election process. Individual contributions also discuss the implications for foreign policy and economic development. The contributions are published in alphabetical order of authors.

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Russian Analytical Digest No 265: Russia's Relations With China

This edition considers recent developments in Russia’s relationship with China. Firstly, Marcin Kaczmarski suggests that in spite of renewed talk, obstacles remain for a fully-​fledged Russia-​China military alliance. Secondly, Xin Zhang focuses on Chinese elite and expert policy narratives about Russia, noting that they emphasize that the relationship operates on a level both distinct to, and higher than, an “axis of convenience”. Thirdly, Brian G. Carlson examines how Moscow’s ambitions for the Russia-​India-China triangle have been further undermined by the June 2020 Himalayan border clash between China and India.

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No 120, Caucasus Analytical Digest: Renewable Energy in the South Caucasus

This issue deals with renewable energy in the South Caucasus. Firstly, Agha Bayramov looks at Azerbaijan’s renewable energy developments. Secondly, Mary Keogh predicts that the development of indigenous renewable resources will play a key role in bolstering Armenia’s energy security, in particular limiting reliance on Russia, and explores the contribution of renewable energy to Armenian energy security, focusing on the opportunities made available by cooperation with external actors on renewable energy initiatives. Thirdly, Tracey German assesses the contribution that hydropower makes to Georgia’s energy mix, detailing the lessons that can be drawn from the Georgian experience about th..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 264: Agriculture

The topic of this issue is the current state of Russian agriculture. Firstly, Natalia Karlova, Olga Shik, Eugenia Serova, and Renata Yanbykh covers changes in the structure of agricultural production, trade development, and agri-food policy. The article concludes by listing the major challenges Russian agriculture must address in order to maintain its position in the national economy and in global markets. Secondly, Vasyl Kvartiuk and Thomas Herzfeld examine the mechanisms by which Russian agriculture is subsidized. Using a unique dataset from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, they map the incentives of regional and federal governments in the distribution of targeted subsidies among the R..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 263: Social Inequality

The topic of this issue is social inequality with a special focus on poverty. Firstly, Ann-Mari Sätre describes the causes of poverty and analyzes how women’s social networks help to tackle poverty. She also assesses the role of the political leadership in relation to grassroots initiatives. Secondly, Ilya Matveev gives a systematic overview of different approaches to the measurement of social inequality in Russia and provides a critical discussion of their validity. The article is followed by several graphs comparing the results of different studies. Finally, Anna Tarasenko discusses the social consequences of the current Covid-19 pandemic and provides an overview of social policy measur..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 262: Russian Regions after the Elections

The topic of this issue is the Russian Regions after the Elections of the Unified Voting Day 2020 (11–13 September). Firstly, Andrei Semenov describes the outcomes of the subnational elections and argues that although the results confirmed the dominance of regime-​backed candidates, long-​term changes in the electorate’s preferences and tactical innovations employed by the opposition foreshadow a major battle over the parliamentary elections in 2021. Secondly, Mikhail Turchenko posits that the three-​day voting scheme helped the Kremlin to maintain control over all gubernatorial offices, as well as over all regional parliaments and a majority of city councils in regional capitals, ..

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Terra Calling: Defending and Securing the Space Economy

This report aims to provide a deeper understanding of the fundamental cybersecurity and -​defense challenges pertaining to the space economy. It outlines the broad contours of what constitutes the space economy and takes a closer look at the problems on the terrestrial surface, space-​based assets, and the area of up- and downlinks. Furthermore, this report dives into two case studies pertaining to NASA and the European global navigation satellite system Galileo, and disentangles the cyber threat landscape by examining public reporting on the most referenced satellite hacking incidents in terms of its veracity and fact-​based representation. Finally, it provides several recommendations..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 261: Environment

The topic of this issue is the "Environment". Firstly, Ellie Martus examines Russia’s solid waste problem, arguing that despite strong policy activity, the scope of the “rubbish reforms” is limited and focused on attracting private-​sector investment rather than addressing broader issues around recycling and sustainability. Secondly, Nikolay I. Shiklomanov focuses on the problematic Soviet-​era legacy of decrepit Arctic infrastructure in urban areas in permafrost regions. Finally, Elizabeth Plantan provides a brief overview of environmental activism in Russia.

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Turbulent Trade: Europe and the Biden Challenge

Under Joe Biden, domestic opposition to free trade of workers, who have been losing from it, will continue to influence US trade policy. Unlike Trump, Biden will be open to a new, shared position with Europeans that aims to revive the rule-​based trade system underpinning transatlantic relations. To alleviate opposition, Europe and the US will have to craft a new trade compromise, argues Michiel Foulon in this CSS Policy Perspective. Such a compromise is in European leaders’ interest and must not only revive the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism but also values the industries that have been suffering from free trade.

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No 119, Caucasus Analytical Digest: Mitigating the Social Consequences of the COVID-​19 Pandemic

The topic of this issue is “Mitigating the Social Consequences of the COVID-​19 Pandemic”. Firstly, Gurgen Aslanyan, Vardan Baghdasaryan and Gayane Shakhmuradyan examine the social policy response of the Government of Armenia to the COVID-​19 crisis. Secondly, Farid Guliyev posits that Azerbaijan’s social assistance and income support schemes adopted during the COVID-​19 pandemic need to be seen within the context of the existing social protection system and safety nets. Thirdly, Vakhtangi Demuria and Teona Absandze suggest that the Georgian government’s efforts to provide social assistance for the population were delayed and faltered in terms of efficiency, but overall, more o..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 260: Arms Control

The topic of this issue is “Arms Control.” Firstly, Moritz Pieper analyzes the policy options of the Russian government in the area of nuclear arms control, after the end of the INF treaty and before the possible end of New START. Secondly, Liana Fix and Ulrich Kühn discuss the differing conceptions of strategic stability in the 21st century of the USA, Russia, China, and Europe. Thirdly, Alexander Graef writes about conventional arms control in Europe. Finally, Oliver Meier lays out a possible pathway for Russia to dismantle its Novichok program within the framework of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

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China’s Rise Can Unite NATO

The rise of China gives the alliance renewed purpose after years of deadlock. It falls on Europe to invest in the opportunity that the Biden administration offers, argues Henrik Larsen in this CSS Policy Perspective. A new transatlantic bargain is needed, in which Europe invests more in the continent’s own security in return for the US engaging in a transatlantic dialogue about how best to counter China as a threat to resilience and liberal order. The incoming Biden administration offers an opportunity for a joint transatlantic approach to China, provided that Europe safeguards its critical infrastructure for continued intelligence sharing and joint military planning, and also shoulders a ..

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Trend Analysis Civil Protection 2030: Uncertainties, Challenges and Opportunities

Artificial Intelligence, Digitalization, Climate Change – many overarching trends and developments have the potential to alter the lives of billions of people in the coming years. For society, most of these trends represent both a challenge and an opportunity. In any case, they will also affect the civil protection system in Switzerland. The objective of this report is therefore twofold. First, it aims to provide a systematic analysis of twelve technological, societal and environmental trends for the next ten years, and second, it makes recommendations on how the civil protection system in Switzerland could be optimized in view of their impact. The analysis thus serves as a supportive foun..

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The Evolving Cyber Threat Landscape during the Coronavirus Crisis

In light of the societal changes wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, this report examines the impact this crisis has had on the general cybersecurity threat landscape during the first two quarters of 2020. This report highlights that the coronavirus pandemic has generated a set of remarkable and psycho-​societal, technical, and logistical-​economic circumstances upon which malicious actors have capitalized. The analysis of the COVID-​19-related cyber threats conducted for this report shows an overarching degree of continuity in terms of the types of attacks, threats actors, and the volume of attacks. Adversarial behavior has, however, changed and evolved in terms of scale, sophisticat..

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No 118, Caucasus Analytical Digest: Arts in Society

The topic of this issue is Arts in Society. It looks at how both artists and newly-​founded grassroots institutions seek exchange with the international art world without completely turning away from local traditions, and how the Soviet-​style accessibility of art for the general population can be maintained under different political-​ideological conditions and used to develop artistic diversity. Nasta Agrba and Asida Butba analyze how SKLAD (a cultural centre in Sukhum/i) became a learning tool to get to know the place they live in better. Secondly, Kerstin Klenke, in conversation with Olivia Jaques, provides insight into the current Abkhaz musical landscape. Thirdly, Shoghakat Mlke-..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 259: Russian Military Strategy

The topic of this issue is “Russian Military Strategy.” In it, the authors challenge Western received wisdom about Russian strategy and aim to stimulate critical thinking. Andrew Monaghan critiques the West’s fixation on Russian hybrid warfare as outdated, while Dima Adamsky argues that Anti Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) is, contrary to Western conventional wisdom, nonexistent in the Russian lexicon. Michael Kofman unpacks these concerns further, questioning the scenarios for a Russian fait accompli in the Baltics envisioned by Western defense planning circles and challenging the claim that a Russian “fait accompli strategy” is even possible. Pavel Sharikov rounds out the issue by sug..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 258: Media Capture

The topic of this issue is 'Media Capture'. Firstly, Heiko Pleines analyzes the control of business and state actors over mass media in Russia. Secondly, Esther Somfalvy summarizes the chain of events that led to the mass walkout of all leading editorial staff of the business newspaper Vedomosti and highlights the context in which it took place. Finally, Anna Litvinenko posits that the Russian state continues to tolerate social media, as they also provide a number of benefits for the regime, such as citizen feedback, illusion of democracy and a way to vent people’s anger.

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Russian Analytical Digest No 257: Russia and Belarus

The topic of this issue is “Russia and Belarus.” In it, Margarita M. Balmaceda, Siarhei Bohdan, Fabian Burkhardt, Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau, Oxana Schmies and Joerg Forbrig assess the protests in Belarus after the presidential election from the perspective of Russia’s role in Belarus. An interview with Russian sociologist Lev Gudkov and an opinion poll highlighting Russian attitudes towards Belarus round out the issue.

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Romania’s National Cybersecurity and Defense Posture

This Cyberdefense Report by Alice Crelier provides a brief overview of Romania's national cybersecurity and cyberdefense policy. It outlines key events that have influenced Romania’s threat perception and lays out the evolution and shifts of its cybersecurity and defense policy. It also provides an overview of the national organizational framework, summarizes key strategy documents, as well as describes its main international and national partnerships.

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Monitoring and Reporting under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

This Risk and Resilience Report by Kevin Kohler, Andrin Hauri, Florian Roth, Tim Prior and Benjamin Scharte discusses the national coordination of reporting under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030 (SFDRR). Looking at six case studies (Austria, France, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland), it finds that there is considerable institutional variety in how the reporting is organized between ministries. Some countries struggle with data availability. Other common critical issues include that data on infrastructure and insurance claims are not shared by the private sector, and that the comparability of data within and between countries is not always given due..

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Estonia’s National Cybersecurity and Cyberdefense Posture

This Cyber Defense report by Kevin Kohler aims to provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the evolutionary path that Estonia’s national cybersecurity and cyberdefense policy has taken since 1991. To do so, the report outlines the trigger events, the major policy documents, and the current organizational structure. It should be noted that this report is non-​exhaustive and therefore, there are numerous sectoral developments, specialized regulations, and smaller governmental organizations that this study does not specifically touch upon.

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Israel’s National Cybersecurity and Cyberdefense Posture

This Cyber Defense report by Jasper Frei provides a brief overview of Israel's national cybersecurity and cyberdefense policy. It outlines key events that have influenced Israel’s threat perception and lays out the evolution and shifts of its cybersecurity and defense policy. It also provides an overview of the national organizational framework, summarizes key strategy documents, as well as describes its main international and national partnerships.

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Japan’s National Cybersecurity and Defense Posture

The aim of this study is to provide the reader with a better understanding of the evolution of Japan's cybersecurity and defense policy since the year 2000. In addition to the policy areas in which the Japanese government is active in protecting cyberspace, the report explains the security-​related events that have triggered the need for government involvement. In addition, the report analyzes the key strategic documents that are still shaping Japanese government behavior and thinking on cybersecurity, and examines how cyber security is organized in Japan (ministries, agencies, councils and more). It should be noted that this study only deals with organizations and instruments in which the..

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Russian Analytical Digest No 256: Russia's Arctic Policy

The topic of this issue is Russia’s Arctic Policy. Firstly, Nurlan Aliyev gives an overview of Russia’s Arctic Policy through 2035; secondly, Svetlana Badina describes the diversity of Russia’s Arctic cities; thirdly, Leah Silinsky lays out the broad dimensions of Russia’s response to the COVID-​19 pandemic and then shows how these policies affected developments in the Arctic.

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