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. 

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Argument in the Foreign Policy

What The West (Still) Gets Wrong About Putin

Asking whether to appease or not appease him is completely beside the point.

By , a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
JUNE 1, 2022

One of the reasons it’s so difficult to understand Russian intentions—and what is at stake in the Ukraine war—is the significant divergence between how external observers see events and how they are viewed from the Kremlin. Things that appear obvious to some, such as Russia’s incapacity to achieve a military victory, are perceived completely differently in Moscow. The fact is that most of today’s discussions over how to help Ukraine win on the battlefield, coerce Kyiv into concessions, or allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to save face have little in common with reality.

Here I will debunk five common assumptions about how Putin sees this war. The West needs to look at the situation differently if it wants to be more effective in its approach and decrease the risks of escalation.

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Comment for The Toronto Star

Four ways to understand Russia’s Vladimir Putin — a president on the edge of war

Putin is one of the world’s longest-serving leaders currently in office

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Comment for The Foreign Policy

Is Biden’s Foreign Policy Grade A Material?

More than 30 experts grade the U.S. president’s first year of foreign policy.

PUBLISHED

By Tatiana Stanovaya, nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center and founder of political analysis firm R.Politik

If Biden’s goal was to appease Russia while ousting its problems from the international agenda to create more room for the U.S.-China relationship, his grade would be poor: C-. After a year of Biden’s presidency, the Russia challenge has only intensified. The current situation appears to be tense and insoluble: The West can’t deliver written security guarantees while Russia appears to be stubbornly obsessed with obtaining them. But is that Biden’s fault?

There is reason to suggest that without Biden’s efforts to begin a substantial dialogue with Russia, the current crisis would have emerged earlier and could have been more impetuous and devastating. For the first time in 30 years, Washington proposed the kind of dialogue Moscow could not have even hoped for years ago. Putin values this respectful and serious way of negotiating, without negligence and arrogance, even if it comes with the threat of sanctions. This is something Putin would be reluctant to lose; thus, it might work.

The main problem of Biden’s position is the kind of compromises he may have to make to avert military escalation, especially as Moscow amasses troops against Kyiv, Ukraine. War would threaten Biden’s personal standing domestically and internationally. That is why some in Moscow have made the bet that Biden may only serve one term in office—and is therefore willing to sacrifice his domestic standing in favor of European geopolitical stability. Considering all this, it’s hard to imagine how Biden could do any better.

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Comment for Bloomberg

U.S. Potash Sanctions May Push Belarus Deeper into Putin’s Arms

  • Lukashenko loses potash revenue as Lithuania halts transit
  • Impact on budget may help speed up Russia-Belarus integration

By Evgenia Pismennaya, Yuliya Fedorinova, and Aliaksandr Kudrytski
20 January 2022, 06:00 CET

While Lukashenko hasn’t yet asked Russia for support, the Kremlin expects the Belarusian leader to make an approach for help with budget shortfalls caused by the ban on potash sales, according to two senior Russian officials with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. Any assistance is likely to be limited, they said.

“Lukashenko is being strangled” by the U.S. sanctions, said Tatiana Stanovaya, a political consultant and founder of R.Politik. Russian President Vladimir Putin “will use the situation to bind Lukashenko even more” closely to Russia, she said.

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Comment for Bloomberg

Putin Could Burst Xi’s Olympic Dream With a War in Ukraine

The Chinese president is due to host his Russian counterpart at the Beijing Winter Games in early February.

Updated on

Still, some say if Putin does plan to act, he will do so at the best time for Russia, despite the potential fallout.

“Putin can’t sacrifice Russia’s strategic interests and security to make a neighbor feel good, even if he is highly respected and strategically important,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a political consultant and founder of R.Politik. If the Russian leader believes security talks with the U.S. are achieving nothing “then he will go into Ukraine, regardless of any request from China.”

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Comment for The New York Times

The Russian president appears on camera almost daily, talking about things like cryptocurrency, green energy and the World’s Fair. But not about Ukraine.

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Comment for Swissinfo.ch

Ukraine crisis: what next after the Blinken-Lavrov talks?

(Reuters) – Here is a snapshot of what to look out for next in the Ukraine crisis after the latest U.S.-Russia talks produced – as expected – no breakthrough.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. side would respond in writing next week to a set of security proposals that Russia presented in December, including a demand to bar Ukraine from ever joining NATO. A formal U.S. rejection could provide Russia with a pretext to move ahead with the unspecified military response it has threatened. Tatiana Stanovaya, head of political analysis firm R.Politik, said Moscow needed a written U.S. reply “as cast-iron proof of a refusal to provide Russia with security guarantees. This is partly a trap, of course, because any such written response will be used to discredit the U.S. negotiating position.”

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Comment for The Telegraph

Fortress Russia: How Putin’s sanction-proof Moscow leaves the West toothless over Ukraine

Banning iPhones or switching off Russian banks from the Swift transfer system will affect policy but are unlikely to devastate the economy

Being too stingy, however, may have been an intentional policy. “There are just two things that are required from financial officials in Russia: save up as much as you can and prepare the tools to adapt the economy to the shock of fresh sanctions,” said Tatyana Stanovaya, head of the R.Politik political analysis firm. “They have been getting ready for Russia to live under sanctions for a long time. In the [Kremlin’s] logic, whatever they do, the worst kind of sanctions are inevitable.”

Many in the Russian establishment including top businessmen and finance officials may be genuinely worried about the prospect of war but they do not have much say when it comes to President Putin’s foreign policy forays. “For the part of the Russian establishment that does make decisions – Putin and his allies from security services – sanctions have no effect on Russia’s policies and could even be viewed as a positive factor, cultivating a besieged fortress mentality,” Ms Stanovaya said. “For them, sanctions are the inevitable, necessary cost for ensuring Russia’s security as they see it.”

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Comment for Bloomberg

Qaddafi’s Son Won’t Rule in Libya, Aide to ‘Putin’s Chef’ Says

  • Maxim Shugaley sees little hope for Saif Qaddafi in elections
  • Prigozhin ally who was held in Libyan jail speaks in interview

While Shugaley says he’s not involved in Wagner, the think tank he heads, the Foundation for the Protection of National Values, is sponsored by Prigozhin. And Shugaley’s willingness to discuss his activities in places ranging from Africa to Afghanistan marks a departure from a previous policy by Prigozhin and his lieutenants of keeping a low profile.

“For Prigozhin, his status as a defender of national interests is hugely important,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the Russian political consulting firm R.Politik. “He wants to demonstrate this to Putin.”

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Comment for The Moscow Times

A Week of Russia-West Diplomacy Ends in Deadlock

By Felix Light, 14 January 2022

“Military-technical solution”

With the latest round of talks concluded, there is some disagreement about whether Putin’s December threat of a “military-technical solution” to the Ukraine crisis is probable or even inevitable.

For Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of political consultancy R.Politik, the failure of a lengthy series of talks to deliver a solution to the Ukraine crisis means that a return to conflict in the region is now more likely than ever.

“The risk of war is real,” said Stanovaya. “And it grows every time negotiations fail.”

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