Ride of the Russkis: The Wagner Group in Syria

Ride of the Russkis: The Wagner Group in Syria

The last two weeks have seen the widespread coverage of clashes between U.S.-backed Kurdish forces and Russian private military contractors. As many as 300 Russian nationals fighting with the Wagner PMC (private military company) were reportedly killed in Syria, including by possible US airstrikes. If true, this would constitute the most serious Western-Russian military clash since Turkey shot down a Russian jet in November 2015.

From Cyber to Khyber - Russia's New Footprint in South Asia, Part II

From Cyber to Khyber - Russia's New Footprint in South Asia, Part II

Russia has been rapidly expanding its military and political footprint across South Asia over the past several months. Simultaneously pursuing military exercises with Pakistan and signing bilateral cyber pacts with India, Moscow has found itself as the middle man between two nuclear-armed rivals. But why is this happening now? This series will examine Russia's relations with both India and Pakistan to try to identify what long-term trends are at work in the region.

Not in Our Backyard II: Russia’s Secret Fight to Deny the West Influence in the Balkan States

Not in Our Backyard II: Russia’s Secret Fight to Deny the West Influence in the Balkan States

An attempted coup in Montenegro in October 2016 as the country prepared to join NATO prompted accusations of Russian involvement. But how credible are the allegations? In the final part of this series on Russian involvement in the Balkans, Lekisika's Sean Crowley investigates this incident as well as broader Russian efforts to maintain influence in the region. 

Not in Our Backyard I: Why NATO’s Balkan Presence Upsets Russia

Not in Our Backyard I: Why NATO’s Balkan Presence Upsets Russia

As the tensions between the Russian Federation and the United States in Ukraine and Syria receive the most media attention, the two states are waging a shadow war of political and economic influence and cloak and dagger activities in the Balkans. Part One of this two-part Leksika investigation examines the historical motives for why Russia wishes to limit Western influence in the region. 

Examining the Logic behind Pakistan’s Support for Damascus

Examining the Logic behind Pakistan’s Support for Damascus

Since the start of hostilities in 2011, Pakistan has shown consistent support for the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. Despite protests coming from Pakistan’s security partners - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States, as well as from domestic Islamist actors, Islamabad has remained persistent in its approach. What can explain this policy? This paper will examine the historical legacies of the Pakistan-Syria partnership, the presence of global Jihadist actors in both countries, as well as key geopolitical considerations in an attempt to identify the logic in Islamabad. 

Information War or Cyber War? Exploring the Russo-Ukrainian Digital Conflict

Information War or Cyber War? Exploring the Russo-Ukrainian Digital Conflict

Since the collapse of the Yanukovych government in 2014, Ukraine has found itself destabilized, divided, and vulnerable to outside attacks - military or otherwise. Though the annexation of Crimea and subsequent war in south-eastern Ukraine captured international headlines, careful Western observers have also been following the cyber dimension of the conflict with great interest. While most observers have focused on the cyber-attacks harming Ukrainian infrastructure, might there be another objective? Might the ongoing cyber conflict in Ukraine be about influence, rather than subversion? 

From Cyber to Khyber – Russia’s New Footprint in South Asia, Part I

From Cyber to Khyber – Russia’s New Footprint in South Asia, Part I

Russia has been rapidly expanding its military and political footprint across South Asia over the past several months. Simultaneously pursuing military exercises with Pakistan and signing bilateral cyber pacts with India, Moscow has found itself as the middle man between two nuclear-armed rivals. But why is this happening now? This series will examine Russia's relations with both India and Pakistan to try to identify what long-term trends are at work in the region.

Moldovan Elections I: Setting the Stage

Moldovan Elections I: Setting the Stage

Moldova's Presidential elections have once again put democracy in this small Eastern European country to the test. Candidates from outside the political mainstream are making serious progress, and come from both pro-EU and pro-Russian camps. In part one of this new series Leksika will provide an overview of the existing candidates and explain why Moscow is likely to gain more influence in Moldova regardless of outcome.