2020 was quite the year and I'd missed writing a newsletter daily. In the spirit of funemployment, I started OGs and OFZs is meant to pick up where I last left off and build on the work I once did for FPRI’s BMB Russia as editor-in-chief. The opening slant is still Russia (and Eurasia) centric covering politics and business, but it’s also going to cover the political risks, economy, and international nature of the energy transition, the evolution of economies and politics out of the COVID shock, and the larger sweep of macroeconomic trends and forces as they affect Russia and Eurasia. So while there’ll still be commentary on the biggest news out of Russia (and occasionally the no longer former Soviet states in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia), the aim is talk about Russia and those countries in a bigger context as well as cover other seemingly less related topics. Bringing in these larger questions - stimulus plans, arcs of economic recovery, trade politics, shifts in US foreign policy, the intersection of security and economics, and more - is unavoidable, and I think more necessary than ever. With that in mind, there’ll also be room for takes on US politics or the Green Deal in the Eurozone or China’s net zero commitments or conflicts in the Middle East as they reveal the contours of what the future looks like for not just the winners — countries with greater fiscal capacity, better tech, or else vital metal and mineral wealth — and also the “losers” of the energy transition, primarily Russia and most of Eurasia at present for my purposes. Daily content will largely be Russia and the smattering of Eurasia. Over time, my hope is to do more diverse separate posts and eventually guest posts, most of which you will either have to be a signed up member or else a paid member to access. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has, once again, completely overturned prior expectations and set the commentariat alight.
Through it all, I also hope to escape some of the inevitable stuffiness that occurs in more formal settings. That doesn’t mean I intend to start spewing four-letter words in your inboxes each day, but rather that there be a more conversational tone and a bit more room to take a stab at things and, frankly, be wrong. It also leaves a little more space, hopefully, for applying novel interpretations of broader questions of political economy in a Eurasian context. The world is changing very quickly, we have little idea what comes next, and curiously, we so far have limited evidence that countries like Russia are adapting in kind though issues like climate change have rapidly come to the fore for policy agendas. Finally, it leaves me space to occasionally put out posts that offer analysis or else make room for short thought experiments or dives into new ideas as I find that there’s more every day I don’t know and too little time to know it.
Now that I'm gainfully employed, I can't write as much content anymore, nor do I think that'd add much value at this point for my readers if I'm just trying to plug a few bits and bobs together without any thought. Everything will be free so no need to pay. I'm hoping to write daily, but I can't make any promises. Nothing I write reflects the views of my employer.