Post-Putin Russia: Plan of Reforms

Post-Putin Russia: Plan of Reforms

One of the claims of the current regime in Russia is that there is no alternative to Vladimir Putin as a leader or to his regime as a political system accepted by the majority of the Russian people. Deputy chief of staff Vyacheslav Volodin famously encapsulated this vein of thinking when he said, “There is no Russia today if there is no Putin.”

At IMR, we believe that this thinking is wrong. An alternative to the regime does exist, but over the last decade, the regime has managed to marginalize it by destroying and vilifying the democratic opposition, silencing dissenting voices, and repressing the protest movement. Still, the opposition is often criticized for not offering a viable and comprehensive alternative plan for the country’s future—an agenda that would effectively counter the Kremlin’s narrative.

The Institute of Modern Russia has decided to address this issue. This year we’ve launched an initiative that would essentially change the agenda by developing a reform program for post-Putin Russia to facilitate democratic transition and help the country become a prosperous state based on the rule of law. As a first step within this initiative, a group of Russia’s leading constitutional law experts prepared the report titled “Constitutional Crisis in Russia and How to Resolve It,” a profound work that dissects one of the country’s acutest problems—the erosion of the democratic essence of the Russian Constitution—and provides possible solutions.

The second report of the series, titled “Russia’s Healthcare System: Current State of Affairs and the Need for Reforms,” outlines the dire situation in the country’s healthcare and offers policy solutions that can facilitate the much needed change.

The latest report focuses on Russia's economy and is titled “Demonopolization of the Economy as an Axis of Russia’s Future Reforms.” It provides a profound analysis of the fundamental problems facing the country's economy and offers a blueprint of potential reforms.

In the future, we plan to address other grave issues, such as reforming Russia’s judiciary, law-enforcement, military, and pension system.

imrussia.org and IMR Review

imrussia.org and IMR Review

Since 2011, the Institute of Modern Russia has been developing its analytical online publication imrussia.org, featuring original, high-quality content in both English and Russian. The goal of the publication is to guide our audience (policymakers, pundits, journalists, scholars, and other Russia observers) through the intricate ways of Russian politics, to debunk major stereotypes, and to dismantle myths created by Kremlin propaganda. We seek to establish a genuine platform for discourse that can bring the Russian and Western worlds together, engage them in a dialogue, and promote mutual understanding.

Our website features articles on the key developments in Russian politics, economy, foreign policy, and legal and social spheres. This unique content comes in various formats, including analysis, interviews with political commentators (both Russian and Western), op-eds, and our latest addition: periodical roundups of the best media content, research papers, and reports on Russia. A selection of content originally featured on imrussia.org is republished in this quarterly journal, IMR Review.

Policy Analysis and Research

Policy Analysis and Research

This project aims to inform and educate policymakers, media, and think tanks on relevant issues in Russian politics by producing in-depth analysis, research papers, and policy recommendations.

As part of this project, IMR and the Legatum Institute (London) jointly commissioned a series of studies to analyze the challenges of Russia’s transition from the former Soviet Union. The first paper of the series was a study of Russia’s postmodern dictatorship, and subsequent works were dedicated to corruption issues in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. IMR worked with its sister publication The Interpreter to produce an 88-page report titled “An Invasion by Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine,” the most comprehensive compilation of evidence on the war in Ukraine to date.

One of our most acclaimed reports is “The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture, and Money,” a study of the Kremlin’s disinformation war and propaganda efforts. Authored by two prominent journalists—Michael Weiss and Peter Pomerantsev—it’s been extensively cited by the media, politicians, scholars, etc. 

IMR has also been collaborating with the Political Capital Policy Research and Consulting Institute (Hungary) on a study identifying the relevant connections between the Kremlin and Europe’s far right and far left forces. And, as part of the project titled “Faces of Patriotism,” we have partnered with the Levada-Center, a Moscow-based independent pollster, to conduct a number of public opinion surveys that were included in the recent paper on Russian understandings of patriotism.

 

Public Outreach and Dialogue

Public Outreach and Dialogue

Contributing to the public dialogue is an important part of our work. Speaking directly to policymakers, political analysts, the media, and the general public helps generate ideas and stimulate debate on a number of crucial issues regarding Russia.

As part of this project, IMR organizes conferences, roundtables, public talks, and presentations in the United States and Europe. Since 2011, we have collaborated with numerous NGOs, think tanks, and academic institutions, including Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Atlantic Council, the Legatum Institute, the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, and many more.

IMR has also partnered with some of these organizations to hold conferences on Capitol Hill and in European Parliament with a goal of bringing the West’s attention to human rights violations and political repressions in Putin’s Russia. Past speakers have included Sen. Ben Cardin; Rep. Jim McGovern; European Parliament members Guy Verhofstadt, Kristiina Ojuland, and Edward McMillan-Scott; Freedom House president at the time David Kramer; Lithuanian ambassador to the United States Žygimantas Pavilionis; Lantos Foundation president Katrina Lantos; Russian politicians Mikhail Kasyanov, leader of the People’s Republic Party, and Dmitry Gudkov, a State Duma member; and the slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.

The Interpreter

The Interpreter

The Interpreter (interpretermag.com) was launched on May 1, 2013, by IMR and the Herzen Foundation. The project was immediately hailed as both well timed and long overdue. In its first year, The Interpreter has been read by hundreds of thousands of people from all over world—including journalists, human rights groups and policymakers—and its content has been cited by The New York Times, The Lost Angeles Times, The Guardian (where its work is syndicated as part of the Post-Soviet States network), Business Insider, The Atlantic, The Diplomat, Index on Censorship, Journal of Democracy, and Foreign Policy.  

Since February 2014, The Interpreter has become an international “must-read” for breaking news on Ukraine; its reporting and analysis has been solicited by presidents, ambassadors, NATO and the U.S. State Department. Journalists have routinely turned to it as an invaluable resource for understanding a highly complex conflict. More than anything, The Interpreter has been credited with debunking Kremlin propaganda and disinformation about the Euromaidan protest movement; establishing Russia’s military operations in Crimea, and also breaking news pertaining to Russia’s ongoing yet still-denied warfare in east Ukraine.

Starting January 2016, The Interpreter is published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.