Clifford Gaddy, an economist specializing in Russia, was a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program's Center on the United States and Europe. He is the co-author of “Bear Traps on Russia’s Road to Modernization” (Routledge, 2013). His earlier books include “Russia’s Virtual Economy” (Brookings Institution Press, 2002) and “The Siberian Curse” (Brookings Institution Press, 2003). His current book project is entitled “Russia's Addiction: The Political Economy of Resource Dependence,” and is set to be published in 2015. Gaddy is also the co-author of the recently released second edition of “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin” (Brookings Institution Press, 2015).
The idea that [Nemtsov's] murder might lead the Russian population at large to rebel against the climate of hatred and intolerance and demonisation of the liberal, Western-oriented democratic opposition is a deep illusion.
It is a fundamental principle of Russian foreign and security policy in particular that you can't really trust anyone. You have to have some kind of form of intimidation or hook or blackmail threats that would ensure that they behave the way you want.
This regime is more consciously prepared to deal with low oil prices than either the Soviets or the authorities in the 1990s. It’s possible that they are over-extended, but Putin is a strategic planner who has certainly considered life at various price points.
Shifting some of the potential supply over to Asia gives, at least in theory, Gazprom a stronger negotiating position with the Europeans. It's all about who is most dependent on whom and the strength of your bargaining position.
The ways in which Russia can play with this gas lever, how it can use it, these are not things that they just think of from one day to the next. They've thought out the scenarios; they've gamed it all; they have fallback options; they're using it very tactically.
Ukraine...has not found alternatives to Russian gas, and it will not be able to. They are too expensive. Gas is and will always be a Russian lever.
[Putin]'s probably the most formidable adversary America has seen in quite a while. He's clever and duplicitous, very skilled at playing people's own weaknesses and blunders against them — skills he honed as a KGB case officer.
Russia's most critical bottleneck in the next 20-30 years is its shrinking labor force. Under those circumstances it makes no sense to have policies to attract more people to Siberia -- that weakens the national economy