Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has been unprecedented in its embrace of modern technology for the execution of its foreign policy and intelligence operation. This article examines Russia’s relationship to the internet and computer technology, beginning with the early 1990s and detailing the growth of technology’s popularity with the Russian public and Russian government up through 2017. Particular attention is paid to the skill with which Russia’s illiberal political institutions and security services exploit the ‘wild west’ nature of the internet and the manipulable nature of modern technology and media, as well as how and why the West and U.S. failed to anticipate Russia’s rise as a digital superpower and continue to fail to counter its dominance.
The Russian Federation believes that the post-Soviet region is strategically important and considers it to be the exclusive zone of its influence. Each of the former republics occupies a specific place in its foreign and security policy. The article attempts to determine the place of Georgia and Ukraine in the aforementioned policy. It is based on analysis of Moscow’s policy towards them, including actions that clearly enabled the implementation of a strategic political turn towards the West, which for the Kremlin would mean a gradual loss of influence in the area of the former USSR.
In order to effectively counter hybrid warfare, it is necessary to understand it. However, certain aspects of hybrid warfare are often confused with traditional soft power. This article aims to highlight the differences between the two by analyzing the relationship between Bulgaria and Russia. The latter enjoys considerable opportunities to exercise soft power, but often must accompany them with hybrid means. Yet, labeling everything as hybrid warfare becomes detrimental to the topic itself. Moreover, it runs the risk of ascribing greater power to the Kremlin which may not truly be the case. The aim of the authors is to expose the threats, opportunities, and limits of Russian influence in Bulgaria and the possible outcomes.
Understanding Cross-Border Conflict in Post-Soviet Central Asia: The Case of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
Despite the prevalence of works on ‘discourses of danger’ in the Ferghana Valley, which re-invented post-Soviet Central Asia as a site of intervention, the literature on conflict potential in the cross-border areas of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan is fairly limited. Yet, the number of small scale clashes and tensions on the borders of the Batken and Isfara regions has been growing steadily. Accordingly, this work seeks to contribute to the understanding of the conflict escalations in the area and identify factors that aggravate tensions between the communities. In particular, this article focuses on four variables, which exacerbate tensions and hinder the restoration of a peaceful social fabric in the Batken-Isfara region: the unresolved legacies of the Soviet past, inefficient use of natural resources, militarisation of borders, and lack of evidence-based policymaking.