Soviet Union

  • Flowers at the grave of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny following his funeral at the Borisovskoye cemetery in Moscow, Russia, March 1, 2024, photo by Stringer/Reuters

    Commentary

    Moscow's History of Unforced Errors Is the West's Hidden Advantage

    In challenging the West, Russia often shoots itself in the foot. It has done so again with the murder of Alexei Navalny. While policymakers cannot count on Russian blunders continuing, it's worth considering the number of unforced errors Moscow has committed over the years and their consequences.

    Mar 4, 2024

  • A collage showing a Soviet nuclear ballistic missile in Red Square, Moscow; a Soviet ship using a water cannon against a Chinese fisherman on the Ussuri River, May 6, 1969; and a U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat aircraft launching from the flight deck of the USS Independence, March 10, 1996, photos by CIA, China Photo Service/Dutch National Archives, and U.S. Navy

    Report

    Managing Escalation Between Nuclear-Armed Powers

    The return of great-power competition and the war in Ukraine have highlighted the stark risks of conflict with nuclear-armed rivals. What lessons can be learned from historical cases that could help identify adversary thresholds and manage escalation during a potential crisis?

    Feb 22, 2024

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Autocrat's Predicament: The Political Peril of Economic Upgrade in Single-Party Authoritarian Regimes

    In their quest for national revival, China's leaders under Xi Jinping have sought to improve the economy's performance. The disappointing economic record of authoritarian regimes provides ample grounds for doubt, yet not all have failed. Why have some succeeded where most did not?

    Feb 1, 2024

  • Flags of United States and China on computer processors, photo by kritsapong jieantaratip/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Winning the Tech Cold War

    Emerging technologies increasingly make it possible for machines to innovate much faster and more efficiently than humans ever could. The Pentagon can draw some important lessons for technology competition with China by looking at the U.S.-Soviet race to develop nuclear weapons during the Cold War.

    Aug 17, 2023

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a military parade on Victory Day in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2023, photo by Gavriil Grigorov/Pool via Reuters

    Commentary

    Putin Is Following Brezhnev to a Dead End

    Four decades ago, Leonid Brezhnev led the USSR into what many Soviets called the “era of stagnation.” Vladimir Putin is taking Russia down a similar path. The USSR tried to recover by turning to reform-minded leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, but too late. The USSR collapsed. Could Russia?

    May 23, 2023

  • Russian Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack planes release smoke in the colours of the Russian flag during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia June 20, 2020, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Report

    Future U.S. Peacetime Policy Toward Russia: Exploring the Benefits and Costs of a Less-Hardline Approach

    Using four historical case studies, the authors found that limited less-hardline approaches can lead to durable but narrow gains. However, issues left unaddressed by these approaches may still undermine the relationship over the long term.

    May 17, 2023

  • Brezhnev and Nixon talk during Brezhnev's June 1973 visit to Washington during the beginning of detente between the United States and the Soviet Union, photo by World History Archive/Alamy

    Research Brief

    What Should Future U.S. Policy Toward Russia Be in Peacetime?

    Russia's invasion of Ukraine has made a constructive U.S.-Russia relationship implausible for the foreseeable future. But once the fighting stops, the United States will continue to face long-term incentives to improve the stability and predictability of its relations with Moscow.

    May 17, 2023

  • The Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 6, 2022, photo by Vlad Karkov / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

    Commentary

    The West and Russia the Day After

    In the 1990s, after the breakup of the USSR, the West adapted to and helpfully influenced the birth of 15 new republics. If liberalizing change comes anew, the West may seek to help Russia heal itself for the long term.

    Oct 19, 2022

  • The Kremlin's Spasskaya Tower and St. Basil's Cathedral seen through an art object in Zaryadye park in Moscow, Russia, March 15, 2022, photo by Evgenia Novozhenina/Reuters

    Commentary

    If Regime Change Were to Come to Moscow

    Strains in Russia over the war in Ukraine and punishing economic sanctions could spark regime change in Moscow. Although prospects for this are uncertain, the West might be prudent to begin considering how to deal with any new government.

    Mar 18, 2022

  • U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., September 16, 2021, photo by Leah Millis/Reuters

    Commentary

    Summit Gives Biden Chance to Nudge Post-Soviet States Toward Democracy

    President Biden may invite Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine to his “summit for democracy” in December. By both praising and nudging these imperfect democracies to do more to achieve their democratic potential, Biden could give his agenda more meaning.

    Sep 20, 2021

  • A recruit from the presidential regiment waits for a ceremony to take the oath at a military base in Kiev, Ukraine, November 16, 2013, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    Commentary

    How America Can Help Re-Shape the Post-Soviet Countries

    For the post-Soviet states, development could bring better living standards and social conditions and promote more stable politics and inclusive governance. The West would make the most difference by focusing on mid-ranked states, especially those undertaking reforms.

    May 17, 2021

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin during an end-of-year videoconference with members of the Russian government at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, December 24, 2020, photo by Mikhail Klimentyev/Reuters

    Commentary

    Arms Control Held Hostage

    President-elect Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have wisely promised to extend the 2010 New START Treaty, which cuts long-range nuclear arms. The two leaders may also pursue a broader follow-on accord, but frigid U.S.-Russian relations could put this out of reach. Progress on arms control often comes when political winds are warmer.

    Dec 28, 2020

  • Officials wearing protective gear take body temperatures at a check point, in Marneuli near Tbilisi, Georgia, March 23, 2020, photo by Irakli Gedenidze/Reuters

    Commentary

    COVID-19 Crisis Could Spur Post-Soviet Fixes

    Much of the post-Soviet space remains afflicted with authoritarian rule, inefficient economies, corruption, and regional tensions. The COVID-19 crisis could prod countries to address key issues, but they will need help. Targeted Western aid could help willing countries make progress.

    May 8, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Russian Assessments and Applications of the Correlation of Forces and Means

    The authors examine how Russia assesses and applies the correlation of forces and means -- the military balance between two opponents at the global, regional, and local levels -- and outline recent relevant developments in Russian military thought.

    Apr 20, 2020

  • Map depicting Russia's gray zone aggression, images by Harvepino and Serdarbayraktar/Getty Images. Design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Report

    Understanding Russia's Hostile Measures and How to Counter Them

    Russia has used hostile measures to sow disorder, weaken democratic institutions, and undermine NATO cohesion. But it also has a long track record of strategic shortfalls and even ineptitude. Exploring opportunities to deter, prevent, and counter Russia's behavior is critical in both the gray zone and conventional war.

    Jan 7, 2020

  • U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev have a few final words after a marathon meeting to conclude their mini-summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, October 12, 1986, photo by Denis Paquin/Reuters

    Commentary

    Return of Nuclear Doomsday

    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

  • Detail of the english word

    Commentary

    How Can the United States Support Democracies in the Former USSR?

    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

  • Chess pieces with U.S. and China flags superimposted on world map background

    Commentary

    Is This the Beginning of a New Cold War?

    It has become increasingly common for observers of world affairs to contend that the United States and China have either entered into or are poised to embark on a new Cold War. While the contours of a long-term contest between Washington and Beijing are undoubtedly forming, especially in the economic realm, the analogy is problematic.

    Dec 12, 2018

  • News Release

    News Release

    RAND Identifies New Strategies for Countering Russian Social Media Influence in Eastern Europe

    Russia is waging a social media campaign in the Baltics, Ukraine and nearby states to sow dissent against neighboring governments, as well as NATO and the European Union.

    Apr 12, 2018

  • A dark Russian sky with a binary code background

    Report

    How to Counter Russian Social Media Influence in Eastern Europe

    Russia uses social media in nearby states to sow dissent against neighboring governments and NATO. Options for countering the Kremlin's campaign include tracking and blocking propaganda more quickly and offering alternative content to help displace the Russian narrative.

    Apr 12, 2018