The presence of pro-Moscow Chechen forces in Syria has gathered widespread attention in recent months. What motivates their deployment to the country? What role do they play in Moscow's wider foreign policy strategy? This new Leksika series will attempt to answer these questions.
Russia argues that Western meddling in its self-declared “sphere of influence” left it with no choice but to shore up its defenses leading to the present rivalry between the two powers. To what extent have American policies triggered the rise of a paranoid security class in Russia traditionally hostile to the United States, and can both sides overcome their seemingly incompatible worldviews?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite the United States' longstanding relationship with the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte appears perfectly willing to seek closer ties with states such as the Russian Federation in light of what the Filipino president views as uncalled for American criticism of his hardline counter-narcotics policies.
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.
The dispute between Russia and Japan over the southern Kuril Islands represents one of the longest territorial disputes in East Asia. In recent years, Japan and Russia have been attempting to resolve the dispute through bilateral cooperation and economic trade. What are the prospects for success however? What might the implications be for the wider region?
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?