Owen Matthews

Russia

Putin says he’s making Russia great again. In reality, it’s crumbling

This is Putin’s time. Next week, the Fifa World Cup kicks off in Moscow, and the Kremlin has spared no expense to showcase Vladimir Putin’s new Russia as a vibrant, safe and strong nation. Half a million visitors will be welcomed — with the Russian press reporting that the notorious ‘Ultra’ hooligans have been officially […]

By Owen Matthews

Russia

The 10 graphs that explain Vladimir Putin’s Russia

This is an edited version of a presentation given by Owen Matthews at The Spectator’s What does Russia want? event. What I’d like to do is give a run-through of how we got to where we are with Russia. From the end of the Cold War onwards, focusing on the economy – and how the […]

By Owen Matthews

Russia

The diplomat expulsion game is a pointless charade

Diplomats are poker chips. The pomp and mystery that accrues to the diplomatic and intelligence services en poste overseas conceal a simple truth: in today’s world, journalists, bankers, NGOs and bloggers are, far more often than not, better informed than diplomats about the countries in which they operate. I know this to be true in […]

By Owen Matthews

Putin’s great soccer game

Authoritarian regimes love grand international sporting events. There’s something about the mass regimentation, the set-piece spectacle, the old-fashioned idea of nation states competing for glory that appeals to leaders who wish to show off the greatness of their country to the world. Berlin ’36, Moscow ’80, Sochi ’14 — nothing says ‘we’re here, get used […]

By Owen Matthews

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