In the MEDIA

R.Politik CEO and founder, Tatiana Stanovaya, is regularly quoted by major Russian and international media outlets. She is available for commentary in Russian and English.

All articles published by Tatiana Stanovaya and R.Politik’s other editors and analysts will be included here. 

Commentary for The Guardian

Kebabs and rock music: Moscow’s ruse for luring the young away from politics

‘Spoiler’ festivals are being held in Russia to try to keep young protesters off the streets

But the so-called “spoiler festivals” are also indicative of a government unlikely to make concessions and focused instead on tactics to win over young people and those sceptical of the protests.

“It is an attempt to distract people with a festival, a positive spectacle,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a political scientist. “The opposition may believe it is stupid, and of course there were not 300,000 people last week, but there are many people in Moscow who are neutral or negative to the protests. This is an appeal to them.” …

The tactic of alternative programming was used during the 2011-12 protests, when the government set up pro-Putin rallies, Stanovaya noted. Attendance could top 150,000 at those events, exceeding the size of anti-Putin protests, although some supporters were bussed in.

But in the new Moscow, pro-Putin rallies are unlikely to return. Instead, Kremlin figures have sought to challenge young political energies toward social activism and the opposition protest this weekend will be recognised by the city. But, late in negotiations, the city told opposition members they would not be allowed to have music during the event.

“They don’t want it to be a celebration,” Stanovaya said. The organisers have said they will have music anyway.


Commentary for La Croix

À Moscou, les manifestants bravent la pluie et la peur

L’opposition qui appelait pour la quatrième semaine consécutive à défiler contre l’interdiction de participer aux élections municipales de la ville de Moscou a rassemblé entre 20 000 et 50 000 personnes malgré la pluie et la peur des arrestations lors d’une manifestation autorisée.

« Le régime n’est pas disposé à engager un dialogue avec l’opposition et est incapable de le faire, prévient la politologue Tatiana Stanovaya, dans une analyse publiée par la fondation Carnegie. Face à une telle rigidité, les manifestations continueront de peser sur le système politique du pays. Tant que les membres de l’administration présidentielle chargés de la gestion de la politique intérieure ne trouveront pas les instruments permettant de désamorcer la situation, la réponse sera menée par des hommes en uniforme. »


Commentary for the Carnegie Moscow Center

Protests Expose Russia’s Regime Rivalry

The government clearly underestimates the nature of the crisis simply because it contradicts Putin’s worldview: that he continues to enjoy broad popular support and there is a “responsible” opposition which is represented in parliament, plays by the rules, and doesn’t rock the boat. As per Putin, the other opposition simply doesn’t exist, and the protesters are just a bunch of thugs. No one tells the president that the situation has drastically changed since his triumphant election victory in the spring of 2018, and that the country has entered a new phase.


Commentary for The Moscow Times

The Kremlin Sees Signs of Foreign Interference All Around

One lawmaker pointed to the dual citizenship of a rapper who performed at a Moscow vote protest as evidence of meddling.

As the protests have ballooned over the past few weeks, the authorities have put the blame for the dissatisfaction at the feet of foreign agents. Those citing interference include officials in the upper reaches of the Russian government, said political scientist Tatiana Stanovaya.

“The authorities have no doubts about this version of events,” she said. “Putin believes this.”  …

“If in years past officials talked about foreign interference mostly in the context of an information campaign or propaganda, now it’s become real politics,” said Stanovaya. “And it has also steadily moved from the margins into the mainstream.”

“The battle against foreign interference can turn into a big, multi-faceted campaign with many different players who will fight against meddling because they have received signals from the top that this is what they should be doing,” she added.


Commentary for The Independent

Vladimir the Great: How 20 years of Putin has shaped Russia and the world

Oliver Carroll looks at the two decades of scandals, wars and crises that have both challenged and defined Putin’s rule, and his Russia

“Putin saw a need to consolidate the masses around him,” says Tatyana Stanovaya, a non-resident fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Centre.

“So he sought a new engagement with what he saw as the democratic majority. This was the first time we began to hear discussions about the spiritual underpinnings of the nation, family values, and a patriotic wave that led to Crimea.” …

“Over his leadership, Putin became much more relaxed in the way he treated killing operations,” says Carnegie’s Tatyana Stanovaya. “Before it was always the dark side of power, a matter left unspoken. Now the Kremlin is less reserved about it. Death has become a much more overt instrument.”


Op-ed, The Moscow Times

How the Russian State Is Losing Its Instruments of Governance

No one in the Kremlin is currently working on long-term political strategy.

It is hardly a secret that the domestic policy “curators” were extremely unhappy with Sergey Sobyanin, who has been held entirely responsible for this summer’s political crisis in Moscow. Yet what would Sergey Kiriyenko’s vision look like, and what tactics would the administration be using if Moscow had not been entrusted to Sobyanin?

On the other hand, observers are constantly talking about a rebellion by the so-called “siloviki”— officials with ties to law enforcement. The exit of the civilian “curators’ left a vacuum, which has been eagerly filled by actors from the state security services.

According to unverified accounts, in late July Putin held a meeting at which security service heavyweights Nikolai Patrushev and Alexander Bortnikov “explained” to Putin that the Moscow protests were an attempt to export a foreign-led “color revolution” to Russia. The management of the Presidential Administration got into trouble with Putin and several mid-level staffers from the foreign policy bloc were sacked.


Commentary for CNBC

‘Life is getting harder for Putin’: Experts say Moscow protests show president’s power could be waning

Tatiana Stanovaya, a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Center in Moscow, told CNBC that disapproval of Putin is increasing, nonetheless.“In Russia, we have growing discontent among ordinary Russians and this is seen through the falling approval ratings of Putin. The decline began in June 2018 so it’s a general process,” she said. Stanovaya noted that the Moscow protests had started as a local movement but had become nationalized due to the perceived harshness of the authorities’ response.

“In the beginning it was (a) Moscow conflict but the Kremlin’s support of harsh tactics by the authorities meant that it became a federal case and a federal agenda,” she told CNBC last week. She believed Putin had underestimated the situation: “He thinks it will calm down but i don’t think so. I think he will have to face some longer-term risks from parts of Russian society” unhappy with his rule, she noted.


Interview for L’Observatoire

« 3 QUESTIONS À » Tatiana Stanovaya

1) Au terme de nombreuses manifestations fin juillet et début août, Sergueï Tchemezov, patron de Rostec et ami de 30 ans de Vladimir Poutine, a fait des déclarations remarquées, soulignant notamment le besoin d’une opposition et mettant en garde contre une nouvelle stagnation. Assiste-t-on aux premières failles du système ?

Le mécontentement au sein de l’élite quant à la direction empruntée par le pays, latent ou exprimé ouvertement, existe depuis plusieurs années. Cela concerne à la fois l’ampleur de la confrontation avec l’Occident et les défis internes liés principalement à la qualité de la gouvernance. Cependant, récemment, et en particulier dans le cadre de la crise à Moscou, une autre ligne de fracture plus nette a vu le jour : sur la marge de manœuvre accordée aux forces de l’ordre, ou plus généralement aux porteurs de l’idéologie “sécuritaire” (aux siloviki), qui, ces dernières années ont pris une position dominante dans le système de prise de décision.

Il est important de comprendre que Vladimir Poutine voit de nombreuses questions internes de développement à travers le prisme de la sécurité nationale et des relations avec l’étranger, d’où une confiance plus prononcée dans l’approche et la vision du monde des structures de forces. A mon avis, la déclaration de Sergueï Tchemezov est, avant tout, la manifestation d’une opposition de plus en plus prononcée d’une partie de l’élite poutinienne privilégiée à la domination des approches des siloviki pour résoudre les problèmes internes du pays.


Commentary for The Financial Times

Russians feel the pain of Vladimir Putin’s regime

“The essence of this response is the attempts of the institutions of power to individually prove to Putin their ‘political responsibility’ and ‘trustworthiness’,” says Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of R. Politik, a political consultancy. “As the saying goes, ‘those who can protect themselves, save themselves’. This is the erosion of the regime.” …
“The current criminal prosecution of the opposition resembles the protests of 2012 [against Mr Putin’s return to the presidency]. However, there is a fundamental difference — then Putin was personally involved in the promotion of this response?.?.?.?It was clear that this was a matter of principle for him,” says Ms Stanovaya. “This means that criminal prosecution [now] will not necessarily be ‘holistic’ and thoughtful, but rather chaotic and conflicting,” she adds. “After all, it is one thing to not let [the opposition] take part in the polls, and quite another to sweep away all the unwanted people into police trucks.”

Commentary for Libération

Pourquoi Emmanuel Macron reçoit Vladimir Poutine au fort de Brégançon

«Lors de son arrivée au pouvoir, Macron a d’abord été vu avec perplexité, confirme la politologue russe basée en France Tatiana Stanovaya. Trop inexpérimenté, faible et dépendant des Etats-Unis… Les Russes ne voyaient pas d’avancée majeure possible avec lui. Les griefs étaient également d’ordre émotionnel.» …

«La relation a beaucoup évolué en deux ans, dit Tatiana Stanovaya. Particulièrement depuis ce début d’année 2019. Et puis de nombreux officiels russes voient toujours les deux pays comme fondamentalement amis et partenaires, depuis toujours.» …

Si Macron, qui a pris l’initiative d’améliorer les relations bilatérales franco-russes, peut être vu en Russie comme un président de meilleure composition pour remonter la pente, Moscou ne s’enflamme pas pour autant. «Il y a toujours des doutes sur son vrai pouvoir, explique Tatiana Stanovaya. Macron est aussi toujours vu comme naïf et ambitieux, pensant qu’il va pouvoir tout accomplir, mais fonctionnant sur le mode “beaucoup de bruit pour peu de résultats”.» Les dossiers chauds ne manquent pas

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