The Interpreter

A special project of Institute of Modern Russia

Andrew Bowen

Andrew S. Bowen is a Ph.D student in Political Science at Boston College and a researcher for the geopolitical consultancy Wikistrat. He holds a M.S. in Global Affairs from New York University and a BA in Political Science and International Relations from UC Davis. His current research interests include money laundering, corruption and organized crime. He can be reached at [email protected] and tweets at @Andrew_S_Bowen.
June 10, 2015

Kadyrovtsy: “Vladimir Putin’s Combat Infantry” and Ramzan Kadyrov’s Henchmen

In Late December of last year, Chechnya’s excitable leader Ramzan Kadyrov gave a fiery speech to thousands of his troops, pledging to be “Vladimir Putin’s combat infantry” and to perform tasks the Russian military could not fulfill. While never shy of publicity (see his Instagram) or incendiary statements and actions, stunts such as the speech
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April 20, 2015

Zaslon 2015: Preparing for Russia’s Own Maidan

Mass protests, violent attacks against the police, Molotov cocktails, stones, sticks, women and children… The scene could easily be mistaken for the Maidan early last year, but in fact it was a recent training operation by Russia’s Interior Ministry to prepare for just such an eventually on the streets of Moscow—Zaslon 2015. The scene of
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March 19, 2015

Nemtsov or Kirov? Russia’s Descent Into Terror

In the aftermath of the murder of Nemtsov there have been comparison’s to the murder of Kirov in 1934, marking the beginning of the Terror unleashed by Stalin. Despite the flagrant nature of this murder, and the circumstantial evidence linking it, if not Putin himself, to members of the political elite (such as Kadyrov in
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March 2, 2015

Bullets, Bombs or Euros

Look at Ukraine and a few things become clear. The first is that Russia is willing to pledge bullets and troops to meet its goals. The other is that the West, and especially the EU, are more willing to fight with dollars and Euros rather than bullets. Since the early occupation of Crimea, sanctions and
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February 3, 2015

If Ukraine’s Separatists Get Their “100,000 Volunteers,” They May Be Mostly Russian Soldiers

With fighting raging in Ukraine and any sign of a legitimate peace agreement gone over this latest round of fighting, both Kiev and the rebels are looking to beef up their numbers and prepare for what is sure to be another long stretch of fighting. Apparently the self-declared “Donetsk People’s Republic,” or DNR, has grand
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January 28, 2015

Pseudo-States, War Crimes and Winter in Ukraine

In some ways it was inevitable; neither side was content with the status quo. Kiev was loathe to accept the de facto suzerainty that had been established in the east, and the ongoing civilian and military casualties were becoming a political liability, a symbol of President Poroshenko’s refusal or inability to bring the Donbass back
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December 31, 2014

Is it Really Navalny That The Kremlin Fears?

The fate of the anti-corruption and opposition leader Alexey Navalny over his most recent criminal charges has come to a rather abrupt and seemingly impromptu end. Sentenced to a suspended 3.5 years, he was spared the far harsher sentence the prosecution sought of ten years in prison. However the real victim was his brother Oleg,
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December 9, 2014

Christmas in Grozny

On December 4, hours before Putin was to give a defiant speech about Russia being surrounded by enemies and defeating any attempts to divide it, terrorists conducted an impeccably-timed and surprising attack in the manicured capital of the former war torn republic of Chechnya, Grozny. Despite claims from Ramzan Kadyrov—Chechnya’s social media obsessed overlord— that
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October 22, 2014

Responding To Russia’s Threats In The Baltics Is Like Playing ‘Whack-a-Mole’

Not long after an Estonian counter-intelligence (KAPO) officer was kidnapped and paraded before Moscow TV cameras, Sweden is now playing its own version of “whack-a-mole,” with its navy hunting for phantom objects after reports suggest a Russian submarine or mini-sub is stranded in its waters. It is not clear exactly what is happening. Reports have
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September 25, 2014

Black Sea Fleet: A Return to Russia’s Great Power Pretensions

As the guns begin to fall silent over Europe’s newest frozen conflict (or at least some of the guns), joining a long and terribly depressing line of conflicts such as Transdniester, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the exact opposite is happening to Russia’s defense policy and military plans in the region. Russia continues to fly provocative
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