Mark Galeotti

Mark Galeotti

Mark Galeotti heads the consultancy Mayak Intelligence and is honorary professor at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies and the author of over 25 books on Russia. His latest, Putin’s Wars: From Chechnya to Ukraine, is out now.

Putin wants to talk about Russia’s future, not the war

Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the Federation Council (the upper chamber of the legislature) is rarely an exciting event, but it does provide an opportunity to gauge his mood and assess his priorities. This year’s – the longest yet, at over two hours – was in many ways his stump speech for March’s presidential elections,

Mark Galeotti

Putin’s nuclear doctrine has been revealed

Secret documents have been leaked that reveal Russian scenarios for war games involving simulated nuclear strikes. They shed light on Moscow’s military thinking and its nuclear planning in particular, but ultimately only reinforce one key factor: if nuclear weapons are ever used, it will be a wholly political move by Putin. The impressive 29 documents

Why Macron won’t send troops to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron does enjoy a good grandstanding. Having once been keen to present himself as a possible bridge-builder with Moscow, he is now suggesting that western troops might go fight in Ukraine – secure in the knowledge that his bluff is unlikely to be called. At a press conference at the end of

The fantastical myths that swirl around Vladimir Putin

If there is one man who is probably happiest that Vladimir Putin’s travel schedule has been so heavily curtailed of late, it is probably the Federal Protection Service officer responsible for ensuring the product of the president’s bathroom breaks return to the Motherland. Foreign powers may, after all, go to extreme lengths to test his

Two years on, the Ukraine war matters more than ever

There are inevitably voices in the West questioning the value of committing more than £5.5 billion a month in support of the war in Ukraine. It looks for now deadlocked at best, and at worst – in light of the recent Russian capture of Avdiivka – a slow defeat. Yet it is important to realise

Expelling the Russian ambassador would be a mistake

Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke for many people horrified by Alexei Navalny’s death in a Russian prison last week when he suggested that the Russian ambassador to the UK ought to be expelled in response. Labour’s David Lammy and the SNP’s Ian Blackford also advocated this back in 2022. This, however, would be a mistake. It’s a

How the West can truly avenge Navalny’s death

With the Kremlin now claiming that it needs to hold on to the body of opposition leader Alexei Navalny for another fortnight for ‘tests’, there is little doubt in the West that Vladimir Putin’s regime was either directly or indirectly to blame. Inevitably, the talk is now of punishing it. Junior Foreign Office minister Leo

What Tucker Carlson gets wrong about Russia

‘I have seen the Future and it works,’ proclaimed leftist American journalist Lincoln Steffens after visiting Bolshevik Russia in 1919. By then, of course, the Cheka, or All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, Profiteering and Corruption, was already summarily executing presumed enemies of the people in droves. Now, conservative pundit Tucker Carlson is admiring Vladimir Putin’s

Is Nato ready for war with Russia?

38 min listen

Welcome to a slightly new format for the Edition podcast! Each week we will be talking about the magazine – as per usual – but trying to give a little more insight into the process behind putting The Spectator to bed each week. On the podcast: TheSpectator’s assistant foreign editor Max Jeffery writes our cover story this week, asking

How long will Nadezhdin dare to defy Putin?

Despite a little eleventh-hour drama, Boris Nadezhdin’s bid to become the only genuine opposition candidate in March’s Russian elections has been blocked. What’s interesting is not that he was barred, but what this whole process says about the evolution of ‘late Putinism.’ Once, after all, it was marked both by a – limited but real

Zelensky’s rivalry with Zaluzhny spells bad news for Ukraine

Is he out or not? After a night of claim, counter-claim, rumour and speculation, it appears that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has decided not to dismiss his commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny. Tension, however, clearly remains between the two – and this is bad news for Ukraine. Ukrainian news outlets were the first to begin claiming that

Putin’s Kaliningrad visit wasn’t a threat to Nato

President visits part of his own country. Shock. Vladimir Putin’s visit yesterday to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, perched precariously on the other side of the Baltic states, was not, as some overheated commentary has claimed, a threat to Nato. Rather, it was a sign of his renewed need to campaign domestically. The threat from

Who shot down the plane carrying Ukrainian PoWs?

It will prove to be a terrible and tragic irony if it turns out that Kyiv shot down a Russian transport aircraft today that was transporting Ukrainian prisoners of war ready to be exchanged. Around 11 a.m. local time this morning an Il-76 transport aircraft crashed in a fireball near the Russian village of Yablonova in

Why is Zelensky echoing Putin’s rhetoric?

Today is Ukraine’s Day of Unity which necessarily had to be marked with an expression of national pride. However, president Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to issue a decree ‘On the Territories of the Russian Federation Historically Inhabited by Ukrainians’ represented not simply that, but an open political challenge to Moscow, and one which strangely echoed Putin’s

Despite three years in prison, Navalny still scares Putin

The March presidential elections in Russia will, of course, be a stage-managed farce, but that doesn’t mean that real politics has been entirely extinguished. It offers a narrow window of opportunity for the opposition to try and connect with the Russian people – so the Kremlin is doing its best to muzzle them. On the

Has Putin really revived Stalin’s infamous spy-catching unit?

Is Moscow reviving a notorious 1940s security agency? Or is the suggestion that the infamous SMERSH counterintelligence unit has been revived in Russia simply a way to troll the West? Worse yet, could it be that the country is facing the threat of a neo-Stalinist revival? A recent video circulated on Russian social media shows

Mark Galeotti

Putin’s migrant headache

The Russian economy has become heavily dependent on migrant workers, largely from Central Asia. As the defence ministry tries to recruit them into the army, and certain extremists call for them to be sent home, the Kremlin is having to tread a fine line between economic pragmatism, nationalism and the immediate needs of the war.

Russia’s egg shortage is panicking Putin

The fall of the house of the Romanovs in 1917 may have been a long time coming, but arguably it was finally triggered by bread prices. It would be ironic if another Russian autocrat fell to food, which may help explain why the Kremlin has been moving so decisively to address Russia’s egg crisis, after

Does Putin use body doubles?

It has become something of a fad to try to identify and quantify the body doubles of Vladimir Putin. There are even outlandish claims that the man himself is dead and has been replaced by one. But why the fascination? It is hardly unusual for autocrats to have doubles – as a shield against assassination or