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SnapshotsJul 1, 2020 | 20:30 GMT
Russia’s Constitutional Changes Appear Headed for Approval
Preliminary results of Russia’s constitutional referendum suggest the amendments will easily be passed despite opposition groups potentially disputing results, thus setting the Kremlin on a course to prepare its political system for a future without President Vladamir Putin. With 55 percent of votes already counted, Russia’s electoral commission announced July 1 that 76.6 percent of voters have approved the proposed constitutional amendments. A turnout of about 65 percent projects a high level of legitimacy for the vote, which will support the Kremlin’s democratic narrative and limit public backlash. 
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Quarterly ForecastsJun 29, 2020 | 00:02 GMT
2020 Third-Quarter Forecast
While many of the trends identified in our annual forecast remain slowed down by COVID-19, their pace is picking up as countries carefully emerge from lockdown.
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AssessmentsJun 15, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Protesters in New York City kneel at an intersection to demand an end to systemic racism and police brutality on June 11, 2020.
U.S. Unrest Further Strains Trump’s Ties With Global Allies
Global U.S. allies are increasingly condemning the White House’s heavy-handed response to the nationwide protests following George Floyd’s death, suggesting a further erosion of U.S. leadership that could compromise Washington’s ability to find consensus on its controversial agenda of multilateral economic and security issues. Commentary from reputable news outlets and elite opinion-makers in Europe over the past week have questioned whether American internal polarization and discord would weaken its ability to function as a reliable ally. Increasingly irritated with the White House’s break from long-standing diplomatic norms, European governments appear to be translating opinion into policy action by challenging Trump’s proposed adjustments to the Group of Seven (G-7) summit and U.S. military posture in Europe.
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On GeopoliticsMay 10, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A mother takes photos with her baby under cherry blossoms in full bloom in Tokyo, Japan, on March 29, 2015.
The Geopolitics of Postmodern Parenting
During the two months I recently spent away from work to fulfill my demographic duty, I found that most of my conversations with visitors followed the same pattern. The talk quickly turned from the standard cooing over my baby girl to an intensive debate over parental leave: how much time and flexibility to grant new parents in the workforce, how to reconcile career ambitions with the responsibilities of human procreation, how to compensate for the crazy cost of child care and how to boost birthrates. As a white-collar, taxpaying working mother in the United States, I had become one of the statistics I used to pore over as an analyst pondering the implications of aging and shrinking populations. But you don't have to be a parent -- or an analyst, for that matter -- to care about this stuff. In fact, a lot of the global angst today over stagnant economic
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SnapshotsMay 1, 2020 | 15:36 GMT
Russia's Prime Minister Has Coronavirus. What's Next?
In an April 30 video conference with President Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced he would be temporarily stepping back from his responsibilities after testing positive for coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19. First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov, who up until recently served as Putin's direct advisor on economic policy, will now serve as acting prime minister. Given Belousov's expertise and political alignment with Putin, Mishustin's leave is not expected to meaningfully alter government operations or policy direction in Moscow, which has become almost entirely geared toward navigating the economic fallout from low oil prices and economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia's leadership, however, will still be limited in its ability to regain control over its economic growth trajectory amid the global health crisis.
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AssessmentsApr 28, 2020 | 16:58 GMT
The Kremlin.
The Russian Regime Accelerates Its 'Management' of Democracy
Though democratic processes are codified by law in Russia, government limitations on opposition activity and efforts to control nearly every aspect of political life have rendered elections largely a formality. Without an opposition able to operate effectively, the Kremlin enjoys carte blanche to define policy and maintain power. For nearly two decades, the United Russia party has dominated Russian politics as an instrument of President Vladimir Putin's control. The system known in Russia as "managed democracy," under which opposition activity is heavily suppressed, has made this possible. Taking control of the media narrative plus creating new parties to draw away votes from the opposition will be key to Putins ability to retain power.
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AssessmentsApr 20, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A woman wearing a protective mask carries a grocery bag in Dedovsk, Russia, on April 16, 2020. To contain the COVID-19 outbreak, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently extended the government’s national stay-at-home order until May.
Russia's COVID-19 Measures Short-Change Its Economy
Despite the likely dire economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian government has continued to resist significant stimulus spending, which has resulted in limited support measures that are unlikely to protect all of Russia’s businesses. This will ultimately hamper Russia’s long-term economic recovery -- a self-inflicted wound as a result of Moscow’s unwillingness to change its conservative spending practices, even in the face of a historic global crisis. 
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AssessmentsApr 16, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A pumpjack outside the Russian city of Surgut.
The Golden Age of Russian Oil Nears an End
Russia's easily accessible oil reserves have long been the cornerstone of its economy. But these conventional fields are depleting, leading to the need to invest and expand into more untapped sources. This transformation will not be easy or cheap, as various factors have led to a poorly optimized oil sector that's ill-equipped to soften the blow of rising costs. The key to maintaining a strong energy market, and securing the capital needed to develop new and expensive fields, will instead rest on whether Moscow can secure its foothold in China's increasingly oil-hungry market. In any case, Russia may have little choice but to accept that its glory days of oil dominance and high profit margins are nearing an end. 
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GuidanceMar 31, 2020 | 14:53 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Yerevan, Armenia, to participate in a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on Oct. 1, 2019.
What 12 More Years of Putin Means for Russia
The Kremlin’s efforts to extend President Vladimir Putin’s 20-year presidency will enable Moscow to sustain the policies that have seen Russia reclaim its great power status, while postponing the political and socio-economic instability that could result from transitioning to a new leader. Prolonging Putin’s tenure, however, will introduce greater long-term political challenges as he ages and risks a potential health emergency while in office. But even without such a crisis, postponing a succession until 2036 will still set Russia’s political elite up for having to deal with a transition of power at a time when popular pressures will be mounting over severe economic hardships.
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