R.Politik’s founder, Tatiana Stanovaya, is regularly quoted by major Russian and international media outlets. She is available for commentary in Russian and English.

Commentary for Le Monde

Entre le Kremlin et la classe moyenne russe, un divorce profond et durable

En empêchant la participation des candidats de l’opposition aux élections locales, dimanche, le Kremlin a probablement amplifié le mécontentement des électeurs.

Par

Tatiana Stanovaya, du groupe de réflexion R.Politik, M. Poutine a été informé, en juillet, sur la contestation estivale directement par Alexandre Bortnikov, le patron du FSB, et Nikolaï Patrouchev, celui du Conseil de sécurité, qui lui ont présenté les manifestations comme une tentative pilotée depuis l’Ouest de déclencher une « révolution de couleur », un Maïdan en plein cœur de la capitale. Qu’ils y croient ou non importe peu – la rhétorique complotiste a contaminé depuis longtemps les hautes sphères de l’Etat –, le résultat est que le Kremlin a choisi la répression plutôt que le dialogue. Après les matraques de juillet-août ont suivi les condamnations pénales de septembre.

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Commentary for AFP

Russians go to polls after summer of protests

September 8, 2019 | Agence France-Presse

Tatyana Stanovaya, head of the R.Politik analysis firm, said the campaign exposed a growing rift between authorities bent on preserving the status quo and Russians wanting political change.

“The Moscow parliament elections have become a litmus test of the authorities’ ability to accept this new reality,” Stanovaya told AFP.

Authorities briefly jailed nearly all opposition politicians seeking to get on the ballot in Moscow.

Several people were also imprisoned for alleged violence against police, even though opposition supporters said their rallies were peaceful.

Commentary for CBC News

After the largest street protests in years, Russia’s opposition asks what’s next?

Chris Brown · CBC News · Posted: Sep 09, 2019 4:00 AM ET

“Society itself is very frustrated,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a non-resident scholar at Moscow’s Carnegie Centre.

We don’t have [political] campaigns — the effort of the Kremlin to move forward new ideas is dead– Tatiana Stanovaya, Carnegie Centre

“I think the Kremlin has underestimated the risk coming from the opposition and the protests,” said Stanovaya, who also heads R.Politik, a Paris-based think-tank that studies Russian society.

After almost 20 years with Vladimir Putin at the top of Russia’s government, political stagnation has set in, she says. The protests are a clear indication of the appetite for change.

And prosecutors tried to strip two couples of their parental rights for bringing their toddlers to the anti-government rallies.

Stanovaya says she fears such heavy-handed tactics are bound to become more commonplace. “This is the only instrument they have [left],” she said, referring to the Putin administration. “They are not ready to build dialogue with liberals or the progressive class, so the only instrument they have is the security services.”

“People know how to organize around a cause when they see one, but there is no permanent political force left behind —not in terms of a political movement or a party or structures, or even political demands,” says Lipman.

Still, Tatiana Stanovaya says the current discontent in Russian society right now is “flammable” and she doubts it will take much of a spark to ignite things again. “I think the next campaign will be rather challenging for the Kremlin.”

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Commentary for Libération

Donbass : entre Russie et Ukraine, échange de bons procédés

Par Veronika Dorman

Qui perd, qui gagne dans cette entreprise ? Personne et tout le monde, s’accordent les observateurs. «L’échange est équivalent, assure à Libération Tatiana Stanovaya de la plateforme analytique R.Poltik. Et porte un coup aux siloviki [services de sécurité, ndlr] de part et d’autre. Pour la Russie, rendre les marins ukrainiens et Sentsov était une décision très difficile à prendre du point de vue du FSB [dont ces arrestations sont l’œuvre], et pour les services secrets ukrainiens, la livraison de Tsemakh [dont l’arrestation en territoire séparatiste en juin avait représenté une belle réussite] est un choc. Les deux parties ont fait des concessions significatives.»

«Pour Poutine, ça ne change rien, tempère Tatiana Stanovaya. Il sait très bien que tout le monde sait tout. Tout ceci n’est en aucun cas la reconnaissance de quoi que ce soit. C’est un échange égalitaire. D’ailleurs, ni Poutine, ni personne autour de lui ne parle jamais de “prisonniers”.» Le président russe a néanmoins qualifié l’échange «massif» de «bon pas en avant vers une normalisation».

Les deux chefs d’Etat se sont parlé à plusieurs reprises au téléphone durant l’été et les principaux paramètres de l’échange de prisonniers ont été réglés au plus haut niveau. De son côté, Vladimir Poutine est bien prêt à mettre un terme au conflit dans le Donbass, qui empoisonne depuis cinq ans ses relations avec l’Occident, souffle une source diplomatique française. «Ce qui est sous-estimé en Occident, c’est que Poutine ne cherche pas la guerre, abonde Tatiana Stanovaya. Il veut régler le conflit dans le Donbass selon ses propres conditions. Tout le monde est fatigué de la confrontation. Le Donbass coûte cher, pour l’image, pour l’économie, d’un point de vue humanitaire… La Russie n’a pas besoin du Donbass en tant que tel, mais d’un régime légitime prorusse, reconnu par Kiev, avec un statut d’autonomie. Elle a besoin d’instruments internes à l’Ukraine pour bloquer le vecteur atlantiste de Kiev. Voilà le but ultime.»

En attendant, un sommet au format Normandie est prévu à Paris à la fin du mois, et Moscou voit d’un bon œil l’implication active dans le dossier ukrainien d’Emmanuel Macron qui, dans sa démarche d’engagement avec Vladimir Poutine, émerge comme son nouvel interlocuteur européen, alors que l’Allemagne, en pointe sur le conflit depuis 2014, est en retrait ces derniers mois. «Pour Moscou, le changement de rhétorique du président français est le signe que l’Occident commence à devenir raisonnable. La vague antirusse se retire, le bon sens reprend le dessus sur les émotions. La Russie a besoin de quelqu’un en Occident pour expliquer à l’Ukraine qu’il faut respecter les accords de Minsk. Macron peut jouer ce rôle, pense-t-on à Moscou», analyse Stanovaya. Signe de la détermination française à relancer des relations de «confiance et de sécurité» avec la Russie, ce lundi, le ministre des Affaires étrangères, Jean-Yves Le Drian, et celle des Armées, Florence Parly, rencontrent à Moscou leurs homologues russes Sergueï Lavrov et Sergueï Choïgou pour une réunion du comité consultatif de coopération et de sécurité, pour la première fois depuis l’annexion de la Crimée.

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Commentary for AP

Protests over Russian local election make Kremlin nervous

September 7, 2019
“The government can’t offer any vision of the future, any positive agenda,” said Tatiana Stanovaya of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The authorities treat the public with contempt, and a rift between the government and society is widening.”

“There is a deep rift between the liberal-minded, pro-modernization part of the ruling elite and the conservative and isolationist part that wants to tighten the screws and confront the West and peddles allegations of foreign interference to justify the crackdown on protest,” Stanovaya said.

Last weekend, the authorities abruptly changed course, allowing protesters to march across central Moscow unimpeded even though the demonstration wasn’t authorized. In a sudden show of clemency, the courts also dropped charges against some of those who were accused of involvement in riots and moved a couple of others from jail under house arrest.

The about-face appeared to reflect divisions at the top.

There is no immediate sign that protests could spread to other regions and pose a threat to Putin’s rule.

Stanovaya said that the brewing discontent in the provinces has been driven by social and environmental issues and hasn’t yet focused on Putin. She predicted that political protests will gradually grow across Russia, adding that a violent response by the authorities would only fuel anger and foment more protests.

“It all depends on how stupid the authorities are,” she said. “In Moscow, the authorities’ action led to the escalation of the crisis. The government’s disproportionate response to the opposition actions has radicalized the situation and caused the conflict to expand.”

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Commentary for the Wall Street Journal

Russia’s Opposition, Barred From Moscow Vote, Looks Elsewhere for Gains

Putin’s opponents hope a wave of dissent will carry them past a crackdown and their own discord

By Thomas Grove and Ann M. Simmons

Updated Sept. 6, 2019 9:02 am ET

But city elections like the centerpiece ballot in Moscow are being pushed off limits for the opposition as the Kremlin addresses this chink in its armor.
“Even that vulnerability must be closed,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, founder and CEO of political analysis firm R. Politik.

Sergei Chemezov, the head of arms conglomerate Rostec who worked alongside Mr. Putin in the KGB in East Germany, recently spoke in defense of the opposition in a leading Russian media outlet. His remarks prompted opposition leaders and Russia-watchers to wonder how high support for the protests goes.

“We see there is some internal resistance including among figures who are close to Putin,” said Ms. Stanovaya at R. Politik.

“The regime is weakening and the nonsystemic opposition will grow stronger,” she said, referring to opposition forces that operate outside of politics. “People are taking that into account.”

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Commentary for The Washington Post

The Kremlin’s foes got on the same page for an election. Can they stay there?

Once the council, or city Duma, gets down to business, though, “I don’t believe they can create something like a coalition,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, the head of a think tank called R.Politik. “They will not work together.”
Last month, at a Communist Party rally in Moscow, its leader, Gennady Zyuganov, attacked the liberals as being under the sway of foreign governments. While banners with Stalin’s likeness flapped in the breeze, he talked about his party’s wish “to restore the Soviet Union in a new form.”

That is not what Navalny and his allies envision.

The Communist Party is often disdained by urban liberals as a tame grouping nurtured by the Kremlin to give the appearance of democratic opposition in Russia. But it is misguided, Stanovaya said, “to think the Communists are a party that always plays the game with the Kremlin, that they’re under Kremlin control.”

There are party branches all over Russia, creating a strong and widespread network. As quiescent as it has been, Stanovaya said that if it were galvanized, it could pose a bigger threat to the Kremlin than the liberals could ever dream of.

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Commentary for LETTERA43

Cosa c’è dietro il calo di consensi del partito di Putin a Mosca

Creato per garantire il controllo, Russia Unita non riesce più a comunicare alcunché di positivo. Mancano idee, e il sistema è appannato. L’analisi.

Al Cremlino potranno anche considerarla una vittoria. Ma è «una vittoria molto debole, ed ha il retrogusto amaro di una legittimazione davvero bassa per i candidati pro-Putin», dice a Lettera43.it la direttrice dell’istituto di analisi politica R.Politik Tatiana Stanovaya. Il meccanismo del “voto tattico” ideato da Navalny è stato «una sfida ardua per le autorità, e l’unica strategia ben formulata per poter esprimere alle urne la protesta». Secondo l’analista, il potere in Russia sta sperimentando «una crisi della sua comunicazione politica e la sparizione dell’attuale sistema partitico» fondato su Russia Unita. Nel prossimo futuro, Putin e i suoi collaboratori dovranno rispondere a questioni vitali, dice Stanovaya. La prima: che fare con l’opposizione “non sistemica”? Permetterne la partecipazione alla vita politica o sopprimerla? E poi, che fare con Russia Unita diventato «più un peso che uno strumento di controllo politico»? Inoltre, come riagganciare una società, «frustrata e politicamente disorientata, in cui cresce lo scontento»?
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Commentary for POLITICO

Where’s Putin? President’s party pulls election disappearing act

United Russia party candidates are standing as ‘independents’ in Moscow ballot.

Despite United Russia’s unpopularity, meaningful reforms to shake up the party are unlikely in the near future, said Tatiana Stanovaya, head of the political analysis firm R.Politik. That’s because, she said, Putin’s advisers are feeding him inaccurate information, telling him that United Russia’s ratings are declining solely because of pension reforms and that the situation is “manageable and stable.”

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Commentary for The Carnegie Moscow Center

Repression Rollback: First Moscow Protesters See Charges Dropped

After two months of trial and error in dealing with the Moscow protests, it looks like the Russian authorities have started to define their red lines. As before, the slightest physical resistance to the authorities is met with harsh punishment, but the siloviki have stopped short of openly fabricating cases: not for the sake of society, but because this concerns the president too. The level of repression is abating, together with the displeasure of the civilian section of the elite closest to the president, which had been alarmed by the siloviki’s attempts to alter the status quo.

Russia’s Investigative Committee this week dropped rioting charges against five people who had taken part in protests over opposition candidates being barred from running in upcoming elections to the Moscow city parliament. It also asked for two more suspects to be released from pretrial detention centers and put under house arrest instead. On the same day, courts started handing down prison sentences to people convicted of using violence against law enforcement officers during the protests. It seems that the crisis that started to form in mid-August in the authorities’ repressive reaction to the protests is taking shape. Mass prosecutions like those seen following protests on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in 2012 are quickly falling apart, but as before, the authorities are not prepared to forgive the use of violence against the security services.

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