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

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.”


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.


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»?
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.”


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.


Commentary for The Moscow Times

As Discontent Simmers, Russia’s Ruling Party Dons Camouflage in Countrywide Elections

Candidates from the ruling United Russia party are running as independents or under different banners on Sept. 8.

While the pension overhaul sent Putin’s ratings tumbling, it was his party that took the biggest hit.

“All official institutions have seen a drop in ratings, but United Russia was hit the hardest because the Kremlin placed all of the blame for pension reform on the party,” said political scientist Tatiana Stanovaya.

At the heart of the argument is whether to vote for the so-called systemic opposition parties like the Communist Party and the far-right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, which the authorities use to allow voters to vent frustration, but which in effect do the authorities’ bidding.

But if Navalny manages to convince anti-government voters to take his strategy, Stanovaya believes it could be “dangerous” for the authorities.

“Navalny has understood the vulnerability of the regime and is attacking it head on,” she said. “For liberals, it’ll be a question of what price they are willing to pay.”


Commentary for Deutschlandfunk

Opposition unerwünscht

Blutende Demonstranten, mehr als tausend Festnahmen – die Moskauer Sicherheitskräfte sind vor einigen Tagen hart gegen protestierende Bürger vorgegangen. Die haben den Kampf für freie Wahlen nicht aufgegeben. Das Kräftemessen geht weiter.

Nach Ansicht der Politologin Tatiana Stanovaya vom Analyse-Zentrum R.Politik war anfangs offen, ob Kandidaten der Opposition zur Wahl zugelassen werden.
„Das Bürgermeisteramt wollte anfangs, dass ein paar gemäßigte, liberale Oppositionelle teilnehmen. Bei den Leuten aus dem Umfeld Nawalnys allerdings war man im Kreml und im Bürgermeisteramt einer Meinung: Für sie sollte das nicht gelten.“


Commentary for Le Figaro

À Moscou, l’opposition écrasée par les autorités

«Cette affaire pénale est une tentative d’écraser FBK et d’utiliser ce prétexte pour une campagne de propagande visant à montrer à la population que Navalny est lui-même un truand et un voleur», analyse la politologue Tatiana Stanovaya. «La position de Poutine a toujours été que l’emprisonner lui donnera de la popularité et une image de victime. Son opinion a peut-être évolué, d’autant plus que Poutine s’occupe de moins en moins des affaires domestiques, dans lesquelles les structures de sécurité prennent de plus en plus d’initiatives», souligne toutefois la directrice de R. Politik.


Commentary for The Guardian

Kebabs and rock music: Moscow’s ruse for luring the young away from politics

‘Spoiler’ festivals are being held in Russia to try to keep young protesters off the streets

But the so-called “spoiler festivals” are also indicative of a government unlikely to make concessions and focused instead on tactics to win over young people and those sceptical of the protests.

“It is an attempt to distract people with a festival, a positive spectacle,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, a political scientist. “The opposition may believe it is stupid, and of course there were not 300,000 people last week, but there are many people in Moscow who are neutral or negative to the protests. This is an appeal to them.” …

The tactic of alternative programming was used during the 2011-12 protests, when the government set up pro-Putin rallies, Stanovaya noted. Attendance could top 150,000 at those events, exceeding the size of anti-Putin protests, although some supporters were bussed in.

But in the new Moscow, pro-Putin rallies are unlikely to return. Instead, Kremlin figures have sought to challenge young political energies toward social activism and the opposition protest this weekend will be recognised by the city. But, late in negotiations, the city told opposition members they would not be allowed to have music during the event.

“They don’t want it to be a celebration,” Stanovaya said. The organisers have said they will have music anyway.


Commentary for La Croix

À Moscou, les manifestants bravent la pluie et la peur

L’opposition qui appelait pour la quatrième semaine consécutive à défiler contre l’interdiction de participer aux élections municipales de la ville de Moscou a rassemblé entre 20 000 et 50 000 personnes malgré la pluie et la peur des arrestations lors d’une manifestation autorisée.

« Le régime n’est pas disposé à engager un dialogue avec l’opposition et est incapable de le faire, prévient la politologue Tatiana Stanovaya, dans une analyse publiée par la fondation Carnegie. Face à une telle rigidité, les manifestations continueront de peser sur le système politique du pays. Tant que les membres de l’administration présidentielle chargés de la gestion de la politique intérieure ne trouveront pas les instruments permettant de désamorcer la situation, la réponse sera menée par des hommes en uniforme. »


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