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 Radio Free Europe

Accused Of Downplaying COVID-19 Figures, Kremlin Clamps Down On ‘Fake News’

Commentary for The Moscow Times

In First Address to Nation on the Coronavirus, Putin Holds Back From Stringent Measures

The Russian leader also delayed a vote on constitutional changes that could see him remain in power until 2036.

The Russian president also said that all interest and dividend payments leaving Russia will incur a 15% tax — up from the current 2%.

Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the political analysis project R.Politik, said that the form and substance of Putin’s address stayed true to his history as a populist leader.

“In Russia, the authorities have always been scared to look weak and to instill panic in society,” she said. “They are trying to inspire confidence in the people and to make it look like the situation is under control.”

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Commentary for Foreign Policy

In the Coronavirus, Putin May Have Met His Match

The Russian leader still wants to make himself president for life. But COVID-19 is fomenting new distrust in the state he built.

But while the official response has begun to view the spread of coronavirus as a more serious threat, measures taken by the government appear to reflect political priorities over public health and safety concerns. Putin did not use his speech last week delaying the April vote to impose a full-scale quarantine on Russia. Instead the Russian leader announced a week of paid holiday, introduced smaller-scale measures to boost the country’s economy, and insisted that Russians take the spread of the virus more seriously.

“It looks like Putin is not fighting against the virus, but against his decreasing ratings,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, the founder of the political consultancy R.Politik and a scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “The problem of the Russian authorities is that they are afraid to be seen as weak. They think stricter measures will make it look like the state is losing control and can’t manage the situation.”

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Commentary for VoA

Russia Embraces Quarantine Tactics Amid Coronavirus Surge

By Charles Maynes
March 30, 2020 04:36 PM

Others argued that Putin was merely distancing himself from more unpopular restrictions — at least until they were trial-ballooned by the hapless Moscow mayor — in effect, playing good cop to Sobyanin’s bad.

Putin threw Sobyanin “before the firing squad, and himself remained in the shadows, giving speculation that Sobyanin is acting on his own,” wrote Tatiana Stanovaya, a political analyst with R.Politik, in a post to her Telegram channel.

Stanovaya chalked the showdown to the shifting improvisational nature of Putin’s rule, one in which “circumstances rule.”

“And who rules the circumstances, rules Russia,” added Stanovaya.

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Commentary for New York Times

The Russian leader hates to deliver bad news and wants to distinguish his rule from the turbulent presidency of Boris N. Yeltsin. So he is leaving it to his minions to announce harsh measures.

Mr. Putin, always wary of associating himself with bad news, last week delivered a surprise television address to the nation, warning that Russia “cannot isolate itself from the threat,” but then announced a weeklong paid vacation for the whole country.

This left the streets of Moscow and other cities filled with people enjoying their time off. The Kremlin later had to clarify that the country was not being given a bonus vacation but was simply being asked to stay at home.

Tatiana Stanovaya, a nonresident scholar at Carnegie Moscow Center, said that Mr. Putin’s public detachment from the health crisis fit into what, since he annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, has been his view that the presidency is not so much a job as a sacred mission.

“This is all connected to his sense of having a personal mission,” she said. “Why should he spend his sacred political capital on a virus?”

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Commentary for The Washington Post

As Moscow enters strict quarantine, Putin has been notably silent

By Isabelle Khurshudyan 

March 30, 2020 at 2:32 p.m. GMT+2

Roughly two-thirds of Russia’s confirmed coronavirus cases are in Moscow, so Sobyanin, a technocrat who was tapped to head Russia’s coronavirus task force, has taken on the “bad cop” burden for Putin, Galeotti said. Tatiana Stanovaya, head of the R. Politik think tank, wrote on the Telegram messaging app that Sobyanin “has turned out to be Russia’s biggest European” by imposing strict measures similar to those in France, Italy and Spain.

Even Mishustin has seemingly been following Sobyanin’s lead. A pattern has emerged in the past week of Sobyanin first announcing restrictions for Moscow before Mishustin then applies them to the rest of the country.

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The article for Carnegie Moscow Center

Putin’s Coup: Cunning Plan or Improvisation?

By Tatiana Stanovaya,

March 18, 2020

In recent days, one question has divided Russia’s political analysts: did Vladimir Putin plan all along to reset the clock on his presidential terms, enabling him to run again in 2024, or was it an improvised move? Many are convinced that there was no such plan at the outset, and that the decision was made in response to events unfolding. It’s well known that Putin is not so much a strategist as a good tactician who reacts to circumstances swiftly, at times to considerable success.

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The article for Carnegie Moscow Center

Keeping His Options Open: Why Putin Decided to Stay On

By Tatiana Stanovaya

March 13, 2020

Putin, a man torn by conflicting impulses, has opted for stability in moving to stay on as president after 2024. In doing so, he surprised the elite and even some in the presidential administration, deceiving those around him—though not the public—with his talk of changes in leadership and overhauling Russia’s political system. His real intentions are impossible to know, but his priority is clear: keeping his options open.

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Commentary for The Financial Times

Vladimir Putin keeps political plan on track despite virus crisis

Russian leader plans to hold ballot that could extend term ‘at all costs’

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Commentary for Bloomberg

Putin’s Aides Shocked by His Presidential Power Play

Vladimir Putin’s surprise move to allow himself to remain as president until 2036 caught even many Kremlin insiders off guard, leaving some feeling deceived by his motivation for changing the constitution…

It also reveals difficulties Putin faced in maintaining a careful political balance as rival Kremlin factions began jostling for position ahead of a succession that was still four years away. The move was seen as a way to end growing uncertainty about the president’s ability to keep control and bring restless elites into line, two senior officials said.

“This was one of the most brilliant special operations of Putin’s rule,” said Tatiana Stanovaya, head of R. Politik, a political consultancy. If he had set out his plan in January, “it would have triggered massive protests and given time to derail the referendum,” she said.

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