20 years under Putin: a timeline


Scared of Putin’s Shadow

Marlene Laruelle, Foreign Affairs

The latest round of U.S. sanctions targets rebel leaders from eastern Ukraine, but also includes some individuals who may not be part of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or directly involved in the Ukraine conflict. What does it take to be sanctioned by the U.S.?


Disarm and Modernize

John Mecklin, Foreign Policy

Is military innovation the new trend in weapons proliferation? The modernization of weapons worldwide could challenge the foundations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


One Professional Russian Troll Tells All

Dmitry Volchek and Daisy Sindelar, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

In an interview with RFE/RL, a former employee of the Internet Research center in St. Petersburg, effectively a “troll factory,” sheds light on what life is like as a paid Russian Internet troll.


How Nemtsov’s Murder Could Force Putin Into a Big Decision

Shaun Walker, The Guardian

After Boris Nemstov’s murder in Moscow, tensions have arisen between Russia’s power structures. These tensions could make it harder for Putin to control the political opposition. No matter who was responsible for the killing—the Kremlin, the West, a group of Chechens, other extremists, or someone else—the various theories signal uncertainty about who will wield power in Russia in the future.


The Russian Politics of Multiculturalism

Anna Alekseyeva, Open Democracy

Putin claims to endorse multiculturalism but in practice he argues that people must develop their identities on the basis of “shared values, a patriotic consciousness, civic responsibility, and solidarity.”


In Russia, Exhibition Seeks to Show Ivan Wasn’t So Terrible

James Marson, The Wall Street Journal

A new historian in Russia says that Ivan the Terrible was not as “terrible” as many say he was. The historian, Alexander Myasnikov, calls the moniker an instance of European PR that seeks to present Russia negatively. Although other historians have come forward to question Myasnikov’s view of history, calling it skewed, the Kremlin has supported this new interpretation. The West is worried that this kind of historical revisionism will fuel the Kremlin’s drive to promote nationalism.


The Paradox of Kremlin Propaganda: How It Tries to Win Hearts and Minds

Pavel Koshkin, Russia Direct

The U.S. needs to rethink how best to deal with the information war Russia has been waging against the West. The Kremlin has been more effective than the West at attracting public support for its position regarding the Ukraine conflict, including by inducing Russians to promote Kremlin views on social media.


Sanctions-Strapped Russia Outguns the U.S. in Information War

Nicole Gaouette, Bloomberg Politics

Russia is pouring copious amounts of money into media and propaganda, despite the fact that the country’s economy is suffering due to Western sanctions and depressed energy prices. Spending has increased significantly and does not look like it will let up anytime soon.


Closing the Doors on a Museum of Political Repression in Russia

Susanne Sternthal, The Washington Post

Perm-36, a Russian NGO that conducts research and provides information about the Soviet Union’s Gulag labor camps, was been shut down by the Russian government. It then reopened under state control—as the Museum of the History of Camps and Workers of the Gulag—and critics are concerned that it will no longer focus on the repressive nature of the camps or the political prisoners who perished. The government had long disapproved of the NGO’s activities, and its shutdown follows a pattern of government avoidance of the repression and crimes committed during Stalin’s purges and the Soviet era overall.


This week's roundup was compiled by Seraphima Mixon, Liza Layer and Caitlin Thompson.