Russia

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RAND is renowned for its landmark studies of the Soviet government and military during the Cold War. Today, RAND explores Russia's economy, environment, and technology sector, and its complex and changing relations with NATO, Europe, Asia, and the United States. In addition, the RAND Business Leaders Forum--a membership organization comprising top Russian, American, and European executives and policymakers--has engaged Russia's elite on a political and economic level.

  • A Russian military vehicle rolls past a house set on fire by South Ossetian militia in the Georgian village of Kvemo-Achebeti outside the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, August 18, 2008, photo by Denis Sinyakov/Reuters

    Content

    A New Era in Relations with Russia

    Sep 21, 2016

    In the last decade, Russia has revamped its military, invaded two neighboring countries, intervened on behalf of President Bashar al Assad in Syria, and threatened NATO with nuclear saber rattling, aerial incursions, and military exercises.

  • The Kremlin appears on top of a map of the Mediterranean region, photos by yulenochekk/Fotolia and Naeblys/Fotolia

    Report

    How Does Russia View the International Order?

    May 18, 2017

    Russia sees the U.S.-led international order as a threat to its interests. U.S. and Russian interests overlap in some areas, such as counterterrorism. But they are directly opposed in others. What are America's policy options?

Explore Russia

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with scientists, representing the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in Novosibirsk, Russia February 8, 2018

    Commentary

    Free Lunches for Adversaries

    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

  • German troops cross the Neris River during the 2017 Iron Wolf exercise in Stasenai, Lithuania, June 20, 2017

    Commentary

    A 'Glass Half-Full': Next Steps for Enhancing Deterrence on NATO's Eastern Flank

    The United States and key allies have taken steps toward redressing the imbalance in military power between NATO and Russia in Northeastern Europe. But NATO's defense planners must be clear-eyed about what remains to be done.

    Feb 12, 2018

  • Russian trucks seen on the road heading to Deir al-Zor in Kabakeb near Deir al-Zor, Syria September 21, 2017

    Commentary

    Russia Is Not a Viable Counterterrorism Partner for the United States

    Russia is America's adversary and its actions, particularly attempts to fracture NATO, do not align with larger U.S. security goals. Even where there are areas in which the two countries could work together to mutual benefit, any cooperation should be judicious, measured and treated with the requisite degree of skepticism.

    Feb 9, 2018

  • A U.S. Army sniper during a combined live-fire exercise in Adazi training area, Latvia, photo by Pablo N. Piedra/U.S. Army

    Report

    Assessing the Conventional Force Imbalance in Europe: Implications for Countering Russian Local Superiority

    This report outlines how NATO and Russian force levels and capabilities have evolved in the post--Cold War era and what recent trends imply for the balance of capabilities in the NATO member states that border Russia in the Baltic Sea region.

    Feb 5, 2018

  • Participants march on the street during Alilo, a religious procession to celebrate Orthodox Christmas in Tbilisi, Georgia, January 7, 2018

    Report

    Religion, Conflict, and Stability in the Former Soviet Union

    Religion is a visible force in the sociopolitical life of post-Soviet countries. Understanding how religion has contributed to peace or tensions in the region could inform policymakers and others working to bring stability to the former Soviet republics.

    Jan 15, 2018

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran, Iran, November 1, 2017

    Commentary

    Iran's Efforts to Create Instability Abroad Have Led to Protests at Home

    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

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Gennady Timchenko, founder and owner of a privately held investment vehicle Volga Group, visit a new concert hall of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 3, 2017

    Commentary

    Not All Russian Oligarchs Are Alike

    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

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin (2nd L) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (R) visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria, December 11, 2017

    Commentary

    Russia Trapped in Syria

    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

  • A Russian soldier on top of an army vehicle keeps watch outside a border guard post in the Crimean town of Balaclava, March 1, 2014

    Report

    How Russia's Military Has Evolved

    The Russian armed forces are not like the Soviet Army in size, depth, or global ideological aspirations. But Russia has demonstrated its military competence and operational flexibility in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Syria.

    Dec 7, 2017

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a briefing for reporters at the end of the APEC summit in Danang, Vietnam, November 11, 2017

    Commentary

    Kremlin Untruths Boomerang

    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

  • Multimedia

    Recommendations for a Future National Defense Strategy

    Drawing from his expertise and war-game experience, David Ochmanek provides recommendations to inform a future national defense strategy. He explains that while U.S. forces are currently misaligned with challenges from the country's greatest adversaries, including China and Russia, gaps can be overcome with investments in existing technology to protect our forward bases; reach into contested areas; and identify, track, and engage enemy forces.

    Nov 30, 2017

  • U.S. soldiers approach their transport plane on Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, September 13, 2017

    Testimony

    Recommendations for a Future National Defense Strategy

    War games and analysis suggest that U.S. forces could lose the next war they are called upon to fight. The nation must invest in new field systems and military capabilities to create a robust defensive posture vis-à-vis China, Russia, and other adversaries.

    Nov 30, 2017

  • Polish Army PT-91 tank is seen during Silver Arrow 2017, the multinational military drills involving eleven NATO member countries in Adazi, Latvia October 29, 2017

    Commentary

    How NATO Could Accidentally Trigger a War with Russia

    An increased NATO presence in the Baltics could motivate Russia for an invasion. U.S. and NATO deployments in the region should take seriously Russian beliefs about NATO capabilities in planning future deployments, and by pursuing transparency and negotiation in future deployments in the Baltic region.

    Nov 13, 2017

  • Spanish Army soldiers run during the Silver Arrow 2017, the multinational military drills involving eleven NATO member countries in Adazi, Latvia October 29, 2017

    Commentary

    Deterring the Unthinkable: NATO's Role Along the Eastern Flank

    As NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels to set the stage for the 2018 NATO summit, key issues will include defense burden-sharing and NATO’s role to the south in counterterrorism and refugee management. But strengthening deterrence to the East must remain the top priority for the alliance.

    Nov 7, 2017

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin attends the first working session of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017

    Testimony

    Russia's Approach to Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency

    The United States and Russia have both suffered at the hands of Islamic militants. But any attempts by Moscow to compare its campaign against jihadists with America's war on terrorism are inaccurate. Russia's brutal methods have often made things worse, so the United States shouldn't view Russia as a viable counterterrorism partner.

    Nov 7, 2017

  • Congressman Adam Schiff speaks at a House Intelligence Committee meeting about Russian use of social media to influence U.S. elections, Washington, D.C., November 1, 2017

    Commentary

    Covert Influence Is the New Money Laundering

    Anti-money laundering laws provide lessons for combating covert influence operations, such as Russian meddling in the U.S. election. These laws could be adapted for online media models that do not require users to be paid customers.

    Nov 6, 2017

  • U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagles arrive at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, where USAF will assume control of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission from the Polish air force on August 30, 2017

    Report

    How Might Russia Respond to U.S. and NATO Posture Changes?

    The escalation in tensions between Russia and NATO since 2014 has led to numerous proposals to enhance U.S. and NATO posture on the Alliance's eastern flank. Assessing Russia's possible reactions is vital to any analysis of which posture and capability enhancements the U.S. and NATO should pursue.

    Oct 10, 2017

  • Arctic waters

    Commentary

    Policy Challenges in the Arctic: Q&A with Abbie Tingstad

    Abbie Tingstad discusses how the opening of the Arctic by climate change could strain relationships among Arctic nations, how these changes will affect indigenous communities, and what to make of Russia's military buildup in the region.

    Oct 6, 2017

  • Saudi Arabia's King Salman (L) speaks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin (R) during a welcoming ceremony upon his arrival in Moscow, Russia, October 4, 2017

    Commentary

    King Salman and Putin Deals Leave the U.S. Out in the Cold

    Riyadh plans to invest in Russian energy assets and possibly arms. The deals will lead to the manufacture of arms in Saudi Arabia and likely the transfer of military technology. These agreements thwart the U.S.- and EU-led sanctions regime and send an important signal to Washington.

    Oct 4, 2017

  • News Release

    U.S.-Russia-China Cooperation Could Hinder the Proliferation of Hypersonic Missiles, Reduce Risk of Strategic Wars

    Despite their differences, Russia, China and the United States should act jointly to head off a little-recognized security threat—the proliferation of hypersonic missiles beyond the three nations. The spread of this new class of weapons would increase the chance of strategic (missile-based) wars and would jeopardize nations small and large—including the three nations that now have the technology.

    Sep 27, 2017