With Vladimir Putin seeking constitutional changes that could allow him to stay as president until the 2030s, Russia's strained relations with the West may persist. But if it chooses, Russia can chart a more dynamic future with closer Western ties.
Mar 23, 2020 The Hill
Deteriorating living standards have put Russians on edge, and fears of economic stagnation have risen. Russia has the capacity to do better. So why is the economy stagnating?
Mar 9, 2020 The Hill
Russia and the United States are still locked in a nuclear cold war. Thousands of nuclear weapons are deployed, some on high alert. Although the United States prudently withdrew from several past arms control treaties with Russia, it could be in America's interest to extend New START.
Feb 13, 2020 Inkstick
Elder statesmen are again warning of nuclear dangers. But have they risen? Maybe, but they remain only faint echoes of Cold War era risks, creating an opportunity to deliberately and carefully take steps to avoid future risks.
Dec 12, 2019 The Hill
Georgia's status as a post-Soviet democratic leader is under challenge. A flawed presidential election, use of force against protesters, and political manipulations have strained public confidence and brought mounting public protests. Domestic calm may hinge on improving political dialogue and conducting free and fair parliamentary elections next year.
Dec 9, 2019 The National Interest
It will take time to assess the extent to which Russia has “won“ in Syria. Absent a peaceful end to the conflict and an infusion of large-scale Western aid, downside risks for Russia could take some of the bloom off of its rose in Syria.
Oct 29, 2019 The National Interest
The West has only modest capacity to influence circumstances in most post-Soviet countries. In Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova, however, the West has the potential to make a real difference by supporting civil society and improved governance.
Sep 16, 2019 The National Interest
Rising public protests in Russia may be putting the Kremlin on the defensive at home. But Moscow is playing offense abroad, challenging the West more than at any time since Ronald Reagan's presidency. Reagan's strategy to counter the Kremlin back then offers insights that could help guide U.S. policy today.
Aug 9, 2019 RealClearWorld
An incipient Eurasian “democratic spring” may not yet be on the horizon, but political awareness and civil society are gaining ground. The West could contribute by continuing to help to fill information vacuums, and by offering training and support for nurturing civil society, conducting free and fair elections, and developing competitive politics.
Jun 13, 2019 Newsweek
The Mueller report could help mobilize political pressure in the United States for a stronger posture toward Russian activities that harm American and allied interests. But the Kremlin will likely still see propaganda, disinformation, and subterfuge as useful tools to undermine America's values and cohesion.
Apr 26, 2019 The Hill
By leveraging the efficiencies of globalization and cultivating ties with prosperous partners, Russia could increase its economic potential and improve living standards for its people. And by engaging more positively with the world, it could gain influence in the forums that matter, such as the G20 and multilateral institutions.
Feb 14, 2019 Newsweek
Democratic bright spots are emerging in Armenia and Georgia despite their being wedged between less-than-democratic regional powers. Both countries seek to consolidate democratic gains and overcome poverty while managing daunting challenges from Russia and separatist conflicts. While pursuing these priorities, the countries deserve continued, strong Western support.
Jan 23, 2019 The National Interest
President Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria reverses his administration's recent policy of retaining them as long as Iranian troops stay. U.S. withdrawal would give Bashar al-Assad, Iran, and Russia freer rein to subdue opposition forces. And Assad could feel emboldened to act with greater impunity and brutality.
Jan 10, 2019 The National Interest
In December, two supersonic nuclear-capable Russian bombers visited Venezuela, the third such excursion for the warplanes since 2008. Might Moscow intend to pose a threat, perhaps even nuclear, to the Western Hemisphere? If so, how could Washington respond?
Jan 8, 2019 The Hill
Moscow's seizure of Crimea and war in eastern Ukraine have led the West to sanction Russians and expand aid to Ukraine, and NATO to shift land and air forces eastward. Expanded Russian coercion may draw more NATO naval power closer to Russia’s shores and lead to tougher sanctions.
Dec 7, 2018 Fox News Channel
The Trump administration is seeking agreements with North Korea and Iran to eliminate their nuclear arms potential. Success may hinge on cooperation between the White House and Congress.
Nov 27, 2018 The Hill
Sanctions on Russians can be a powerful and effective tool, but in some cases there is a risk of spillover damage to other United States interests. It is worth considering whether America's interests may be best served by ensuring that penalties applied to Russia for misbehavior hit home against those responsible for it.
Nov 20, 2018 The Moscow Times
The longer Russia delays in improving relations with its neighbors, the more likely they will pursue alternative options. It is also likely that tensions will persist between those neighbors and Russia—and in Russia's relationship with the West. Efforts to ease that tension should be high on the list of Western priorities with Russia.
Oct 4, 2018 The National Interest
The United States and its allies are increasingly frustrated over malign activities by Russia. This week the U.S. unveiled new sanctions, and is expected to impose even more in the future. But choosing sanctions requires care. Their purpose should be to penalize Russia for misbehavior, but not to isolate Russians.
Aug 22, 2018 Reuters
Russia will threaten U.S. midterm elections in November, although by how much is unclear. Moscow might be more restrained this year, but it could be wilier.
Aug 14, 2018 Fox News Channel
At the July 16 summit in Helsinki, President Trump might stress that the West will persist in imposing costs on Russia for current and any future malign interventions. At the same time, he could offer to work with Putin in the search for peace in Syria and Ukraine if Moscow were to decide to withdraw its forces.
Jul 11, 2018 The Hill
In preparing for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump could benefit from a coordinated Western approach toward Moscow as a prelude. Absent this, his hand will be seriously weakened.
Jul 5, 2018 The American Interest
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will hold their first formal summit on July 16. Their agenda will likely include the main sources of strain in relations, but they might find it easier to make concrete progress if they start with lower-profile issues as Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan did at their first summit.
Jul 2, 2018 Reuters
To prepare for possible meetings with his North Korean and Russian counterparts, President Trump can learn lessons from decades of high-profile summits between U.S. presidents and Kremlin leaders.
Jun 5, 2018 Fox News Channel
Since its renewed independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia has made steady progress toward full European and Euro-Atlantic integration, and stabilized relations with Russia. Continuing on this path is a key test of whether it is still possible for reforming former Soviet countries to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic community.
May 23, 2018 The National Interest
Russia overrates the efficacy of the military and underrates political and economic assets. Through this outdated prism the Kremlin sees Europe as America's weak sister. This miscalculation has led Russia repeatedly to err, as shown by decades of frustrated efforts to divide Europeans and split them from the U.S.
May 10, 2018 The Moscow Times
Russia says it is ending a centuries-long quest to join the West and preparing for “100 years of geopolitical solitude.” If Russia goes this way it will be because of its own unwise policies, not a Western cold shoulder.
May 7, 2018 The Cipher Brief
Two prominent poisoning assassination attempts and Kremlin denials of gas attacks by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad raise doubts about Moscow's commitment to the purposes of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Never has the future of negotiated arms control involving Russia been at greater risk.
Apr 19, 2018 RealClearDefense
Russia has become more daring with the West with its retaliatory expulsions and may face a high price. An angered West could turn from expulsions to economic countermeasures.
Apr 3, 2018 The Hill
Vladimir Putin has won a flawed election to a fourth term as Russia's president, and Donald Trump has suggested the two will likely meet soon. For the Kremlin leader, however, a summit may draw shortcomings into sharper relief. If the two presidents meet, several key issues will await them.
Mar 22, 2018 The Hill
In a March 1 address to the nation, Russian President Vladimir Putin evoked Soviet-era exaggeration, proclaiming barely feasible economic and social goals and boasting of nuclear arms that are unlikely to change the strategic balance. Continued exaggeration could sap public confidence in the legitimacy of Russia's ruling system and leaders.
Mar 15, 2018 Newsweek
When leaders take actions that are unpopular with wide audiences, propagandists have it easy. While Western leaders should not make propaganda potential the primary factor when weighing policy decisions, neither should they wholly disregard the opportunities that unpopular policies will offer adversaries.
Feb 13, 2018 U.S. News & World Report
Iran has spent billions of dollars in its quest to be a regional leader, but its main achievement has been to spark instability across a wide swath of the Middle East. Ordinary Iranians are struggling and protesters are urging a retreat from costly foreign fights and more aid at home.
Jan 12, 2018 The National Interest
The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury must report to Congress the main “oligarchs” in Russia, judged by their closeness to the “regime” and net worth. This broad approach, not aimed at specific wrongdoers, poses several risks.
Jan 8, 2018 The Hill
The world economy has reached its strongest point since the global financial crisis a decade ago. But rising political risks may cloud prospects in 2018 and perhaps beyond.
Jan 7, 2018 Fox News Channel
Russia alone can neither guarantee the future security of Syria nor mobilize the resources to enable it to recover and rebuild. Only by linking arms with the international community to edge out Iran, forge broader-based governance and spur economic growth can Russia hope to achieve lasting success in Syria.
Dec 20, 2017 The Cipher Brief
The main sources of strain in Moscow's ties with the West are actions, such as Russia's aggression in Ukraine. But untruths add fuel to the fire and can provoke stronger Western reactions and impede the search for solutions.
Dec 4, 2017 Real Clear World
Since World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom have played disproportionate roles in dealing with Russia. Now continental Europe must assume more of the burden in advancing Western values and interests with an unpredictable and at times unruly Moscow.
Sep 16, 2017 U.S. News & World Report
Georgia is an emerging democracy in a difficult region with mainly authoritarian regimes nearby. To overcome severe challenges from Russian military occupation and economic weakness, it deserves sustained Western support.
May 25, 2017 The National Interest
Moscow has achieved tactical successes in Syria, but without Western and regional help, its long-term strategic interests could be at risk. Denying strong evidence that the regime of Bashar al-Assad attacked civilians with sarin gas makes it harder for Moscow to obtain the Western and regional help it needs to secure its interests there.
Apr 24, 2017 Newsweek
Public demonstrations in Minsk and across Russia hint that winds of political change and disillusionment with stagnation and corruption may be reaching both countries. Their leaders will blame the West, try to ride out the protests and, despite differences, will likely stick together.
Mar 29, 2017 The National Interest
President Vladimir Putin is Russia's charmer-in-chief, with years of experience in high-level diplomacy. As part of Russia's influence operations, Putin may seek to entice or suborn Western leaders. How might he try to win them over?
Mar 18, 2017 U.S. News & World Report
Improving relations with Russia is a worthy goal. President Donald Trump could seek to partner with Moscow on some issues, like North Korea, while keeping up heat on others, such as aggression in Ukraine.
Mar 4, 2017 U.S. News & World Report
A series of small steps is more likely to improve Western and Russian security than an attempt at a total reset. At the same time, sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and NATO actions to reassure and protect allies, must continue.
Jan 3, 2017 U.S. News & World Report
If executed properly, President-elect Trump's diplomacy could help reverse a destabilizing downward spiral in U.S.-Russian relations and create a vision of what normal relations might entail.
Dec 5, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
Russia is a declining economic power whose foreign policy has led to isolation and criticism. But Putin may have an inflated sense of Russia's importance and expect one-sided U.S. concessions. If so, diplomacy could run into headwinds early in the Trump administration.
Nov 21, 2016 Newsweek
Russia's current anti-Western stridency coincides with rising internal repression. That may limit what the next U.S. president can do to improve relations.
Oct 31, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
Washington must act soon to raise the costs of Syrian and Russian killing in Aleppo. Otherwise, the quarter-million people who live there could be in danger, and the Kremlin might think that it can mount further challenges to the West.
Oct 6, 2016 USA Today
Even as Washington pursues cooperation with Moscow on Syria and other issues, America should expose Russia's obsession with propaganda and disinformation.
Sep 13, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
Russia is more willing than the West to use military power, even though it has less of it. The West should reconsider whether its efforts to deter Russian military interference are enough.
Aug 27, 2016 Newsweek
Russian cybercrime, Olympics doping, and other active measures have one thing in common: Moscow admits no wrongdoing. These scandals exacerbate the frigid relations between Moscow and the West. Diplomacy sometimes works slowly, but it helps.
Aug 1, 2016 Newsweek
Seeking relief from Western sanctions, the Kremlin is waging a campaign of public distortion and intimidation to split Europe from America, and Europeans from each other. But many of its tactics are clumsy and self-defeating.
Jun 11, 2016 Newsweek
The Donbas occupation is straining Russia's economy, world power status, and relationship with the West. Only by pulling out of eastern Ukraine and reforming its economy can Russia gain broader acceptance and reach its potential as a great power.
Jun 1, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
Given the dangerous environment and the small size and relative military weakness of Georgia, it wisely pursues a good neighbor policy in all directions. Still, the country must improve its defense posture and for Georgia, the main security balancer is the United States.
May 25, 2016 The National Interest
Russian aggression in Ukraine and nuclear saber rattling are jeopardizing the very global nonproliferation efforts that this week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington seeks to further. Moscow's actions deserve a stronger response than they have received.
Apr 1, 2016 The National Interest
A penchant for zero-sum statecraft and coercing neighbors lessens Russia's stature. By cooperating more in the international arena, Russia could become a greater power.
Mar 21, 2016 Newsweek
Effective and enduring political settlements result from quid pro quos, not irrational pursuit of one-sided advantage. Recognizing that contending parties have legitimate interests in the complex Syria conflict could help bring an end to a destructive war in a volatile but vital region.
Mar 18, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
Moscow remains ambivalent but the West and its Arab partners could improve cease-fire prospects in Syria. They will have to drive the peace process to maintain pressure for political accommodation and also do more to help the rebels they back avert a military imbalance.
Feb 18, 2016 Newsweek
Russia is losing ground in domestic politics, economics, and foreign policy. It could take steps to strengthen its position, such as withdrawing from Ukraine, privatizing inefficient state enterprises, and improving the investment climate.
Jan 25, 2016 Newsweek
Georgia is poised to make big changes to reinvigorate its democracy and economy, but it needs support to deter risks and advance progress. With one-fifth of its territory occupied by Russia and facing risks every day, Georgia needs more Western aid, including military training, technology, and defensive arms.
Jan 5, 2016 U.S. News & World Report
To find peace in Syria, cooperation among outside powers will be an essential first step. But before going forward, the great powers should soberly assess prospects for an enduring peace accord, as well as the resources required.
Nov 16, 2015 Foreign Policy Concepts
If ISIS was responsible for the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268, a Russian passenger jet, this may alter the strategic equation for Moscow.
Nov 9, 2015 Fox News Channel
By responding more robustly to Russia's interventions, the West could reduce military asymmetries in Ukraine and Syria and improve prospects for negotiated outcomes.
Nov 1, 2015 Newsweek
Russia wants to be sure that it's not ignored if and when the West succeeds in implementing a broader, more effective solution to the Syria-Iraq-ISIL problem. This is a task far beyond Russia's capabilities, but one that America, the West, and regional powers may be able to accomplish.
Oct 2, 2015 Politico
There is much to be said for Eurasia's rich ethnic, national, religious, and cultural diversity. In the economic sphere, however, Eurasians should reassess bad habits, such as weak property rights, centralized state control, and associated corruption.
Aug 13, 2015 The Moscow Times
In implementing the prospective Iran nuclear agreement, the West cannot forget its engagement in the vulnerable South Caucasus. The Iran deal changes the equation for all three countries and perhaps opens new opportunities.
Jul 28, 2015 Newsweek
A U.S. rejection of the Iran nuclear agreement would send the wrong message, not only to Iran but also to America's closest allies, and it would not serve American interests in the region.
Jul 22, 2015 War on the Rocks
If the Kremlin is contemplating further action in Ukraine, it faces a tough choice. The decision could have an enduring impact on Russia's fortunes.
May 26, 2015 Newsweek
Though China and Russia share key economic interests and oppose what they claim to be a U.S.-dominated world order, their relationship over time promises to be uneven and tense.
May 13, 2015 Reuters, The Great Debate blog
Russia's aggression abroad and repression at home have altered the basic assumptions of earlier Western policy. By misjudging the tolerance for aggression in Europe, Moscow is bringing on the encirclement it fears. The West is now better prepared to deal with any further aggression and more confident that Ukraine's future will be as part of an enlarged Europe.
Apr 17, 2015 U.S. News & World Report
The West's most pressing task is to help Ukraine defend itself and survive economic catastrophe. But the West also needs a broader strategy to discourage future Russian coercion of neighbors, help them protect themselves, and counter President Vladimir Putin's false narrative about Western intentions and lack of political will.
Feb 17, 2015 The National Interest
A cease-fire agreement could stop the fighting in Ukraine by Sunday. RAND experts William Courtney and Olga Oliker discuss what was accomplished during the summit in Minsk, whether the U.S. should arm Ukraine, and what other options exist for supporting Ukraine.
Feb 12, 2015 The RAND Blog
Cheaper oil, government interference, and market dynamics jeopardize the future of Russian and Caspian energy. To be globally competitive, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan should let the private sector play a greater role and make more decisions on commercial, rather than political grounds.
Jan 16, 2015 The National Interest
Few expect that Moscow will cede Crimea or end its opposition to NATO expansion anytime soon. But Russia can still begin to reverse its strategic decline. Expanding opportunities for Russia's people, reforming the economy, and improving relations with neighbors are the way forward.
Dec 24, 2014 U.S. News & World Report
Germany and America are leading Western policy in addressing the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The basic strategy is to support Ukraine and pressure Moscow to halt aggression, while leaving the door open to diplomacy. Sustaining Western unity is essential, but may not be easy to achieve.
Dec 8, 2014 The National Interest
Leadership squabbles and instincts for retribution are testing Georgia's democracy. If leaders do not come together to strengthen the political system and governance, Georgia's future could hang in the balance.
Nov 26, 2014 The Woodrow Wilson Center
Twenty years ago this week, the United States transported over 600 kilograms of at-risk, weapons-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Kazakhstan to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for safekeeping. Kazakhstan had the courage to trust its new relationship with the U.S. to help prevent the proliferation of dangerous material to countries that might seek to build nuclear weapons.
Nov 21, 2014 The National Interest
Frozen conflicts describe places where fighting took place and has come to an end, yet no overall political solution, such as a peace treaty, has been reached. Ukraine is likely to host such conflicts for some time, in Crimea and the Donbas region. Georgia's experience offers lessons for Ukraine.
Nov 7, 2014 The National Interest
Russia faces major challenges, some self-inflicted. Freedoms vital to the creation of a modern civil society are declining. Dominant, state-controlled energy and aerospace companies are losing ground, weakening a strained economy. Russia's relationship with Europe, its most important economic partner and a cultural beacon, is fracturing.
Sep 23, 2014 The National Interest
Despite uncertainty about Russian military plans and the outcome of Ukrainian operations against pro-Russian separatists, it's not too soon to consider how to lay the foundations for a negotiated solution. If Moscow were unwilling to reach a fair settlement, the West would have options to increase its leverage.
Aug 27, 2014 The National Interest