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Leonid Bershidsky
For Leonid Bershidsky's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Jul 7, 2023
Wagner coup cost Russia suspiciously little money
If Vladimir Putin’s defense spending numbers are correct, it’s likely that Yevgeny Prigozhin overstated the size of his mercenary army.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Jul 2, 2023
Vladimir Putin is weakened — but his system isn’t
Russia’s predatory system of bureaucrats, officers, managers and media personalities won’t object to change at the top — as long as they can count on getting fed.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Jun 22, 2023
Putin’s nuclear scare tactics will fall flat
Ukraine and the West are smart to take Russia’s nuclear doctrine at face value: No nukes will fly until and unless Russia faces an existential threat. So far, it hasn’t.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Jun 14, 2023
War in Ukraine so far favors the defense
The evolution of military technology confers a natural advantage on the much-ridiculed Russian troops as they face the current Ukrainian onslaught.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Jun 2, 2023
Ukraine’s attacks on Russia are a calculated gamble
Bringing the war to Russian soil may have a short-term military upside. But high civilian casualties could cause a “Chechnya effect” that works to Putin's long-term advantage.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
May 23, 2023
Bakhmut falls, but is it really a Russian victory?
The 200-plus day siege of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut may be over but what comes next isn’t exactly to Moscow’s benefit.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Apr 28, 2023
Why Russian TV isn’t Tucker Carlson’s dream job
The Russian propaganda apparatus has long treated ex-Fox host Tucker Carlson — used him — as one of its own. The collateral damage he has inflicted on Ukraine is both real and insidious.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Apr 9, 2023
Putin’s paranoia deviates from its Soviet roots
Russia has yet to resort to the drastic reprisals of the Stalinist years, but the regime’s opponents still face some deepening perils.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Mar 27, 2023
Finally, a serious offer to take Putin off Russia’s hands
The International Criminal Court just made it easier for any successor to get rid of Vladimir Putin.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Mar 7, 2023
Putin has decided to normalize his war
Vladimir Putin's just-grin-and-bear-it message in his state-of-the-nation speech means that he has no idea how Russia wins the war.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Feb 8, 2023
Vladimir Putin's favorite entrepreneur specializes in war
The support that the leader of the Wagner mercenary group enjoys in invasion-era Russia reflects Vladimir Putin’s unusual idea of private enterprise.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Nov 23, 2022
How the Russia-Ukraine war can and cannot end
Brewing talk of a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine demands an honest look at the possible end games.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Oct 20, 2022
The wishful theory of a ‘strategic Russian defeat’
Advocates want to transform a defeated Russia in the way Germany and Japan were after they lost World War II. But that will not be easy.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Oct 16, 2022
Vladimir Putin couldn’t care less about red lines
Vladimir Putin doesn't really operate according to the logic of provocation and response. Instead, he is constantly searching for opportunities to gain an advantage.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Oct 6, 2022
Russia’s war hawks are no longer marching in lockstep
The loss of the strategic city of Lyman to Ukrainian forces has prompted a level of finger-pointing among Putin's military partners that threatens his hold on power.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Sep 28, 2022
Vladimir Putin’s war has come home to Russia
The “partial mobilization” of reservists may have sowed unrest, but by deepening the engagement of ordinary Russians, it will sharpen the conflict for both Russia and Ukraine.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Aug 24, 2022
Why Russian nationalists are a big target for both sides
Ukraine and the Kremlin have strong reasons to fear an uncompromising radical vision of a revived Russian empire.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Jul 17, 2022
A global famine is still an avoidable disaster
Putin's desire to maintain Russia's status as a leading grain exporter gives the U.S. and its allies leverage to try to restore Ukraine's unhindered access to global commodity markets.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
May 29, 2022
Why so few big rats have fled Putin’s ship
If the rats aren't running, Vladimir Putin's ship isn't sinking, at least not from the rats' point of view.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Apr 17, 2022
Yes, Russians know what their military is doing in Ukraine
They are finding out for themselves through unofficial news sources or from other citizens — even if they are too cautious to admit it fearing the police state.

Longform

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