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Articles in Russia, Ukraine, and Caucasus

Radicalization of Russia’s Muslims—Are Crimean Tatars Next? (Part 2)

By Asya Pereltsvaig | April 11, 2016 |

[Part 1 can be read here. Thanks to Iryna Novosyolova for a helpful discussion of some of the issues discussed in this post.]
 
In 2014, the Russian Federation acquired another Muslim group that may prove troublesome both within Russia and globally: the Crimean Tatars. According to the 2002 Russian census, there were only 4,131 Crimean Tatars living in the country, concentrated …

Radicalization of Russia’s Muslims—Are Crimean Tatars Next? (Part 1)

By Asya Pereltsvaig | April 10, 2016 | 14 Comments

[Thanks to Iryna Novosyolova for a helpful discussion of some of the issues discussed in this post.]
 
A recent article in Foreign Affairs listed the use of the French language as the best predictor of a country’s rate of Sunni radicalization and violence, and particularly of the percentage of a country’s Muslim population that joins in the international Jihad. According to …

Tatarstan: A “Hostage of Freezing Relations between Russia and Turkey”?

By Asya Pereltsvaig | February 4, 2016 | 4 Comments

[Many thanks to Ekaterina Lyutikova for most helpful discussions of some of the issues discussed in this post, as well as for the photos, some of which are used as illustrations below. I’m also grateful to Martin W. Lewis for helpful discussions and edits and for modifying the Wikipedia map of Percentage of Ethnic Tatars, used below.]

Tatarstan has not been …

Mapping Crime and Substance Abuse in Russia

By Asya Pereltsvaig | January 20, 2016 | 2 Comments

In the previous post, I examined regional differences in demographic issues across Russia. As many sources note, alcoholism is one of the biggest factors contributing to low life expectancy and high rate of death from non-natural causes. In fact, Russia ranks at the top in terms of both alcohol consumption (especially by men), as discussed in detail in my earlier …

Mapping Russia’s Demographic Problems

By Asya Pereltsvaig | January 18, 2016 | 12 Comments

[Note to readers: customizable maps of Russia are now available in Russian here.]
Much has been written about Russia’s demographic problems, particularly in the 1990s and 2000s. The country as a whole is characterized by low birth rates and high abortion rates; high death rates, especially from non-natural causes; rather low life expectancy, especially for men; and skewed sex ratios. This …

Mapping Regional Differences in Economic and Social Development in Russia—A GeoCurrents Mini-Atlas

By Asya Pereltsvaig | January 14, 2016 | 13 Comments

Generalized indicators of economic and social/human development, such as GDP per capita or HDI, typically place Russia into a medium-high category. However, such ratings overlook regional differences in economic and social development, which are highly pronounced in Russia. To examine these regional patterns, GeoCurrents has created a mini-atlas of Russia, designed using GeoCurrents customizable maps, which are available for free …

Customizable Maps of Russia for Downloading

By Martin W. Lewis | December 22, 2015 |

The basic GeoCurrents customizable map of Russia has been divided into its 85 constituent units, which are officially knows as Russia’s federal subjects.

Ukraine Lecture Slides

By Martin W. Lewis | April 22, 2015 | 3 Comments

Dear Readers,
Unfortunately, regular posting continues to be delayed due to other obligations. I do, however, hope to write a brief post on some of those “other obligations” later this week. Mostly, however, I have simply been busy preparing slides for my weekly lectures this term on the history and geography of current global events. This week’s lecture focused on Ukraine. …

Final Maps on “Geopolitical Anomalies”

By Martin W. Lewis | April 5, 2015 | One Comment

This post merely contains some of the additional maps that I prepared for my March 31 lecture on the history and geography of current global events. These maps, like those in the two preceding posts, focus on geopolitical irregularities and anomalies in a region of the world that might be called the “Greater Middle East” (for lack of a better …

Geopolitical Anomalies in the “Greater Middle East,” Part 2

By Martin W. Lewis | April 4, 2015 | 3 Comments

(note: The introduction to this post is found in the post of April 1)
Thus far we have examined a number of geopolitical anomalies in a sizable region of the world centered on Saudi Arabia. We have not yet looked at the most serious challenge to the standard model, however, that of state collapse. Other important issues remain to be considered …

Geopolitical Anomalies in the “Greater Middle East,” Part I

By Martin W. Lewis | April 2, 2015 | 9 Comments

(Note: The introduction to this post is found in the previous post, that of April 1))
A detail from the Wikipedia map of United Nations members, discussed in the previous post, shows only one non-member in the region that we might crudely dub the “greater Middle East,” which is the focus of today’s post. That non-member is the Palestinian territory, composed …

Ukrainian Regionalism and the Federal Option

By Martin W. Lewis | April 4, 2014 | 41 Comments

Like many other pundits, David Frum fears that Vladimir Putin is plotting to transform Ukraine into a weak federation and then transform some of its federal units into de facto Russian dependencies. As he argues in a recent Atlantic article:

In the weeks since Russian forces seized Crimea, Vladimir Putin’s plan for mainland Ukraine has become increasingly clear: partition. Putin’s ambassadors …

Energy Issues in the Ukrainian Crisis

By Martin W. Lewis | March 27, 2014 | 4 Comments

Energy issues figure prominently in many discussions of the conflict in Ukraine. As is often noted, Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas gives Moscow significant leverage. Ukraine, moreover, is weakened by its own dependence on Russian energy, and its situation is complicated by the Russian natural gas pipelines that transverse its territory. Less often noted are Ukraine’s own significant gas …

Russian Envelopment? Ukraine’s Geopolitical Complexities

By Martin W. Lewis | March 24, 2014 | 16 Comments

The current issue of Time magazine features an article by Robert Kaplan that emphasizes the geographical aspects of what he refers to as “endless chaos and old-school conflicts,” especially in regard to Ukraine. In general, I appreciate Kaplan’s insistence on the abiding importance of geography and I am impressed by his global scope of knowledge, although I do think that …

The Sochi Olympics and the Circassians: A Media Failure?

By Martin W. Lewis | February 7, 2014 | 33 Comments

When lecturing on the Caucasus last fall, I asked my Stanford students if any of them had ever heard of the Circassians. Out of a class of roughly 100 students, two raised their hands. I then told that class that the Circassians had once been an extremely well known if often misunderstood ethnic group, and I predicted that by February …

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