Opinions

This article represents personal opinions of the author. Stopfake editors may not share this opinion.

The Daily Vertical: Putin’s image police (transcript)

By Brian Whitmore, for RFE/RL Like any head of state, Vladimir Putin has an army of bodyguards to protect him. But unlike most heads of state, he now seems to also have guards protecting pictures of him as well. Police have apparently been deployed in Kuzbass and Yakutsk to guard Putin’s campaign billboards. According to a report by RFE/RL’s Russian Service, the billboard bodyguards were dispatched after somebody wrote the

The Daily Vertical: More Than One Way To Undermine Your Neighbor’s Sovereignty (Transcript)

By Brian Whitmore, for RFE/RL There’s more than one way to steal your neighbor’s territory. There’s more than one way to undermine your neighbor’s sovereignty. There’s more than one way to violate your neighbor’s independence. You can do it Crimea-style, quickly and forcefully — sending in your little green men, staging a referendum at gunpoint, and following up with the pomp and circumstance of a formal annexation ceremony. Or you

Militarily, Baltic region is stable; but in terms of information war, it’s not, Latvian expert says

By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia The situation in the Baltic region militarily is “quite stable,” Andis Kudors says, not only because NATO has beefed up its defenses there but because Vladimir Putin is interested in the first instance in maintaining the status quo in Russia, something that would be threatened by an attack on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The director of the Riga Center for Research on the Politics

Most people in the West make two fatal mistakes about Moscow ‘media,’ Yakovenko says

By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia Most people in the West continue to make two “fatal” mistakes about the media in Putin’s Russia, Igor Yakovenko says. They assume that Russians who call themselves journalists are in fact journalists and that Russian propaganda is propaganda in the normal sense. “Few in the West understand,” the Russian commentator writes, “what the world is dealing with in the form of the Putin regime

Russians so overwhelmingly apolitical that poll numbers are meaningless, Kagarlitsky says

By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia Given that 90 percent of Russian society is “apolitical,” Moscow commentator Boris Kagarlitsky says, “it is impossible” to say how much support Vladimir Putin or anyone else has. Indeed, asking that question under Russian conditions now is completely inappropriate. This comment from the director of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements came in response to a question posed by Kazan’s Business Gazeta to a number

Putin’s ‘hybrid peace’ more threatening to Ukraine than his ‘hybrid war,’ Portnikov says

By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric about Ukraine has changed in order to curry favor with Russians in advance of the presidential poll, but his approach on the ground has not changed, laying a potential trap for Ukrainians and meaning that his “hybrid peace” is even more dangerous than his “hybrid war,” Vitaly Portnikov says. There is the great danger that Ukrainians and their supporters elsewhere, the

Edward Lucas: The repressive state

By Edward Lucas, for CEPA How many political prisoners languish in Russia’s jails and penal colonies? The short answer is that nobody knows. Harassment makes it hard for human rights organizations to track these cases. Many of those convicted are jailed for “non-political” crimes. Estimates range from dozens to hundreds. But the cases we do know about are bad enough. Take, for example, Yuri Dmitriev—one of the country’s greatest historians of

Edward Lucas: Russian political theater

By Edward Lucas, for CEPA Russia is having a presidential election this year. Right? Wrong. In fact, the Kremlin is staging a play about an election, rather than a real contest with real voters, real candidates, real competition and real doubt about the outcome. The performance will be realistically and expensively staged, with the characters in appropriate costumes, and plenty of expertly produced props. The acting will be excellent. Presumably

Putin’s Russia now ‘an empire of lies,’ not ‘an evil empire,’ Pastukhov says

By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia At the everyday level, Vladimir Pastukhov says, it is unlikely that Russians lie more than people in other countries do; but in the public sphere, the lie is not criticized but rather encouraged,” making it “almost the norm of public politics not only in the eyes of the authorities but in those of the population as well. There are many reasons for the official

Russia can only affect Lithuanian society with internal problems – analyst

By The Baltic Times The Kremlin can only have an effect on Lithuania’s society, if it is shaken by internal problems, says Lilia Shevtsova, political scientist and analyst at the international policy institute Chatham House. “I do not believe that Russian disinformation, the activity of Russia Today, Sputnik, Russian media or Russian social networks is a very powerful factor of influence. It could be a factor of influence only when

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