Welcome to OGs and OFZs
2020’s been quite the year and it’s been too long since I got to run a newsletter daily. 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 and the evolution of economies and politics out of the COVID shock. 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 larger macroeconomic questions - stimulus plans, arcs of economic recovery, trade politics and more - is unavoidable, and I think more necessary than ever. So 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: the petrostates of the world, Russia (admittedly a special case) included.
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 since we are now through the looking glass in terms of economic orthodoxy. 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. Finally, it leaves me space to occasionally put out posts that aren’t in newsletter format, and 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.
As a rule, I don’t do it all for free anymore, but will be providing all content regardless if one pays or not until the audience is a sufficient size to start changing balance. My initial thinking is that one newsletter a week (Fridays) will be free, but to have access to the newsletter daily, the archive, as well as most posts (I will share some for free regardless), I’d ask that you pay $5/month or else $50 a year. Similarly, if you are a student or else faculty and think you’d find it interesting and that it could be a resource for your students, I’m offering an 80% discount at a whopping $1/month and may consider one-off discounts for early signups to encourage more subs. I know that a lot of belts are a bit tighter during this time, but hopefully those of you who know my work or else are curious and want to just try out a month find that it’s worthwhile. Please don’t hesitate to DM me on Twitter or else email me at email@example.com if you have ideas, questions, comments, are interested in collaborating on pitches or projects, are curious about applying some of these ideas to other settings or contexts you work in, or else you know of any work in political risk and energy kicking around I might be able to help on.