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  • Author: James M. Acton
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Ambiguity about whether a weapon is nuclear-armed prior to its launch is an underappreciated, serious, and growing danger. Rising geopolitical tensions and the decay of arms control are exacerbating the risk that such pre-launch warhead ambiguity could lead to nuclear use in a crisis or conflict. Recent developments in technology—as well as potential future advances, such as the development of ambiguous intercontinental missiles—further add to the danger. A first step toward reducing these risks is to enhance awareness among decisionmakers of the causes and potential consequences of ambiguity. Unilateral and cooperative risk-mitigation measures could further reduce the danger of escalation, including in conflicts between the United States and Russia or the United States and China.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, United States of America
  • Author: Yehuda Shaffer, Stefan D. Cassella
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In the past few years, a number of European banks have been implicated in money laundering scandals in countries such as Cyprus, Malta, Latvia, and, most recently, Scandinavia. Although European and international voices are putting pressure to take further action by all including the banks against this, the issue continues to emerge in the continent. In this short article, we attempt to explain this trend and how might it be resolved.
  • Topic: Crime, Economics, Finance, Business , Financial Crimes, Banks, Currency
  • Political Geography: Russia, Soviet Union, Latvia, Scandinavia, Cyprus, Malta
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: What’s new? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy came to power in 2019 promising to bring peace to Ukraine’s Donbas region, where government and Russian-backed separatist forces are locked in low-level combat. Yet a full, sustained ceasefire remains elusive. Although casualties have dropped from their 2014-2015 peak, fighting continues to kill soldiers and civilians. Why does it matter? Each of the warring parties wants a ceasefire but only if it will lead to peace on its own terms. All prefer to tolerate continued fighting rather than stop the shooting under conditions they deem unfavourable. What should be done? A comprehensive ceasefire is likely unattainable under today’s political conditions. In its absence, the parties should pursue sectoral bilateral disengagements with clear humanitarian and related goals, even as they seek a durable political settlement through talks.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Peace, Armed Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: With the Syrian regime’s offensive in Idlib paused, the time is now for a deal sparing the rebellion’s last stronghold the full wrath of reconquest. The parties should pursue an improved ceasefire including the regime, Russia, Turkey and the Islamist militants entrenched in the province. What’s new? A Russian-backed Syrian regime offensive against rebel-held Idlib halted when Russia and Turkey negotiated a ceasefire in March. Turkey is sending reinforcements, signalling a military response to what it deems a national security threat. For now, this step may dissuade Russia from resuming the offensive, but the standoff appears untenable. Why does it matter? Successive Russian-Turkish ceasefires in Idlib have collapsed over incompatible objectives, diverging interpretations and exclusion of the dominant rebel group, Hei’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is UN-sanctioned and considered by Russia and others a terrorist organisation. A Russian-backed regime offensive to retake Idlib likely would result in humanitarian catastrophe. What should be done? All actors should seek a more sustainable ceasefire – optimally including HTS, notwithstanding legitimate concerns about the group – that avoids the high military, political and humanitarian price of another offensive. Turkey should push HTS to continue distancing itself from transnational militancy and display greater tolerance for political and religious pluralism.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Conflict, Syrian War, Islamism, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: To help Ukraine find peace, the EU, NATO, and member states must seek new approaches to arms control discussions with Russia and European security as a whole. They should also consider a more flexible sanctions policy, such that progress in Ukraine may lead to incremental easing. What’s new? Russia’s Ukraine policy, including its military intervention, is driven both by Moscow’s goals in Ukraine itself and its longstanding desire to revise Europe’s security order. Western responses are similarly driven by both Ukraine-specific and Europe-wide interests. A sustainable peace plan must address both sets of factors. Why does it matter? Efforts to make peace in Ukraine by solving problems specific to Ukraine only will fail, because the causes of the conflict are both local and geostrategic. A truly sustainable peace should address European security as a whole to make Russia, its neighbours and the entire continent safer. What should be done? European states should engage Russia in discussions of European security, including regional and sub-regional arms limitations. They should also consider adjusting the current sanctions regime to allow for the lifting of some penalties if Russia contributes to real progress toward peace.
  • Topic: NATO, War, Sanctions, European Union, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Jakob Lindgaard, Moritz Pieper, Cecilie Felicia Stokholm Banke
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Turkey-NATO relations are still sufficiently strong to keep the relationship from the brink, a new DIIS-report finds. But more dynamics are also gaining strength to render further troubles increasingly likely. The future of Turkey’s NATO membership has been the subject of heated debate of late, from both outside and within Turkey. What ramifications will Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air anti-missile system have for Turkey’s NATO future? Has the Syrian conflict exposed deep strategic differences between Turkey and other key NATO members? In response to such questions, a number of foreign policy practitioners as well as researchers and long-standing Turkey watchers have cautioned that a number of centripetal forces – dynamics that keep member states together - remain sufficiently strong at a structural level to keep Turkey-NATO relations on track. There seems to be widespread agreement on both sides that the alternative is simply worse. At the same time, the report also argues that these centripetal forces are losing their strength, and that centrifugal forces pulling the alliance apart are gaining strength and salience. Barring wild card developments, the net result is that this will increase the likelihood of further troubles ahead for Turkey-NATO relations The report is based on an analysis of the published policy commentary, scholarly literature, as well as a series of semi-structured interviews conducted with practitioners and academic experts during the course of 2019.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Turkey, Middle East, Denmark
  • Author: Soner Cagaptay
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Turkey, Russia, and Washington have compelling reasons to welcome a new ceasefire agreement, however imperfect, but they still need to address the longer-term dangers posed by the Assad regime’s murderously maximalist strategy. Recent fighting between Turkish and Syrian regime forces in Idlib province has seemingly wiped away the last vestiges of the September 2018 Sochi agreement, brokered by Russian president Vladimir Putin as a way of pausing hostilities and dividing control over the country’s last rebel-held province. Beginning last December, renewed Russian and Syrian attacks against civilians sent a million residents fleeing toward the Turkish border, creating another humanitarian disaster. Then, on February 27, thirty-three Turkish soldiers were killed when their unit was attacked in Idlib—Ankara’s largest single-day loss in Syria thus far. Turkey initially blamed Bashar al-Assad for the deaths, but eyes soon turned to his Russian patron as the more likely culprit, elevating tensions between Ankara and Moscow to a level not seen since Turkish forces shot down a Russian plane in November 2015. Meanwhile, the Turkish military and its local partner forces launched a string of attacks against the Syrian regime and its Iranian-backed militia allies. On March 5, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Putin in Moscow to discuss these rising tensions. If the two leaders reach another ceasefire deal, will it last any longer than the short-lived Sochi agreement? More important, what effect might it have on the latest refugee crisis threatening to wash over Turkey and Europe?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Treaties and Agreements, Syrian War, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, United States of America, Idlib
  • Author: Artur Kacprzyk
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Trump administration is sceptical about extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START, NST), which is to expire in 2021. It wants to sign a new deal with Russia and China covering all kinds of nuclear weapons. It will not be possible, however, to negotiate such a complex agreement before NST expires. In effect, there is a growing risk of a collapse of U.S.-Russia strategic arms control, which would negatively affect NATO as well: it would deepen both the divisions over the future of deterrence policy within the Alliance and the differences in the U.S. Congress on the modernisation of America’s nuclear forces.
  • Topic: NATO, Arms Control and Proliferation, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, United States of America, North America
  • Author: Łukasz Maślanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron initiated a Franco-Russian dialogue aimed at improving bilateral relations, as well as EU-Russia relations. This effort could be confounded by the growing Russian engagement in Africa, mainly through their military, business, and propaganda activities. These are increasingly harmful to France, which traditionally engages in the politics and economies of African states. The French government hasn’t yet prepared any coherent strategy vis-à-vis the Russian challenge, preferring to wait it out.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Europe, Eurasia, France
  • Author: Michał Wojnarowicz
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia is strengthening its relations with both the Palestinian Authority leadership and Hamas in Gaza Strip. It is part of Russia’s consistent strategy towards the Middle East to build a network of influence among regional actors and boost its image as an attractive political partner. In developing relations with the Palestinians, Russia exploits Israel’s sensitivity to Russian activity in Syria, poor relations between Palestine and the U.S., and the deadlock in the peace process.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Grand Strategy, Hamas
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Gaza, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Karol Wasilewski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The agreement signed on 5 March between Russia and Turkey has halted the offensive by the Syrian army on Idlib and led to a new division of influence in the province. Both Turkey and Russia are using the truce to strengthen their military presence in this territory. The coronavirus pandemic may delay the resumption of fighting in Idlib, giving the EU time to prepare for a renewed escalation and attempts by Turkey to instrumentally use an exodus of Syrian refugees to exert pressure on the Union.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Syrian War, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, Idlib
  • Author: Anna Maria Dyner
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Outside its borders, Russia has military bases in the post-Soviet space and in Syria. The main goal is to increase Russian military security and political influence in countries in which these bases are located. Despite economic difficulties related to the drop in oil and gas prices and the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia will maintain its network of bases, which it considers an important element of influence.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Economics, Military Strategy, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia
  • Author: Jakub Benedyczak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has become an opportunity for the Russian authorities to increase repressive measures and test Chinese solutions for digital control of society. Most of the solutions will probably be maintained after the pandemic eases, especially given the deepening economic crisis and potential of protests.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Surveillance, Coronavirus
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia
  • Author: Paweł Markiewicz
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Arctic has become another contested area between the U.S., Russia, and China. The region’s growing importance for global trade and American security means the U.S. goal is largely to maintain freedom of navigation in the Arctic. For this reason, the Trump administration strives to increase American capacities to operate in the Arctic. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will delay implementing these plans; nevertheless, they will be achieved in the long term and the U.S. will also expect support in the Arctic from NATO allies.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, NATO, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Lauren Speranza
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Tackling hybrid threats, particularly from state actors such as Russia and China, remains one of the greatest challenges for the transatlantic community. Hybrid threats have gained more traction among policymakers and publics across Europe and the United States, especially in a world with COVID-19. Over the last five years, Euro-Atlantic nations and institutions, such as NATO and the European Union (EU), have taken important steps to respond to hybrid issues. But, as hybrid threats become more prominent in the future, policymakers must move toward a more coherent, effective, and proactive strategy for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats. To develop such a transatlantic counter-hybrid strategy for Russia and China, this paper argues that two major things need to happen. First, transatlantic policymakers have to build a common strategic concept to guide collective thinking on hybrid threats. Second, transatlantic policymakers need to take a range of practical actions in service of that strategic concept. In a strategic concept for countering Russian and Chinese hybrid threats, Lauren Speranza offers five strategic priorities that could form the basis of this strategic concept and presents a series of constructive steps that NATO, the EU, and nations can take, in cooperation with the private sector and civil society, to enhance their counter-hybrid capabilities against Russia and China.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Diplomacy, Politics, Science and Technology, European Union, Innovation, Resilience, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Eurasia, Asia
  • Author: Hans Binnendijk, Conor Rodihan
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: The conventional military threat from Russia towards Europe most acutely affects a number of frontline Nordic and Baltic states from the Barents Sea in the Arctic through the Baltic Sea region: Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. Since Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014, these countries, in concert with other Euro-Atlantic allies and partners, have concentrated on strengthening their own defenses and on developing and enhancing eight sets of different defense cooperation arrangements. As the only two non-NATO and militarily nonaligned nations in the region, Finland and Sweden’s role in regional security and their level of cooperation with these and other partners poses challenges as well as opportunities for deterrence and defense in Europe’s northeast. These two countries have particularly emphasized cooperation with partners as they seek to build an interlocking web of security relationships to improve defense in the region. The core arrangements within this network include: The Finnish-Swedish bilateral defense relationship; Nordic Defense Cooperation; Nordic-Baltic Eight; The Northern Group; NATO Partnerships; The European Union; Ad hoc arrangements such as the Joint Expeditionary Force; Framework Nations Concept, and European Intervention Initiative; Finnish-Swedish-US trilateral and bilateral defense cooperation. These “geometries of deterrence” vary in scope, scale, and membership, but taken together, they enhance a range of important components of deterrence. In Geometries of Deterrence, Hans Binnendijk and Conor Rodihan assess the contributions of each of these arrangements against an ideal or “gold standard” for conventional military deterrence, before evaluating the arrangements collectively and offering recommendations to further strengthen deterrence for Finland, Sweden, and indeed for all of Northeastern Europe.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Northern Europe
  • Author: Igor Delanoe
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Since the late 2000s, the Russian Federation has expanded its naval footprint in the Eastern Mediterranean, and even resurrected its Mediterranean Squadron in 2013. The backbone of this operational squadron is provided by units coming from the Black Sea Fleet, complemented by vessels from other Russian naval formations (namely, the Northern, Baltic, and Pacific Fleets, as well as the Caspian Sea Flotilla) on a rotational basis. As the Russian State Armament Program for the period 2011-2020 was implemented, the Black Sea Fleet received new warships and new diesel-powered submarines. Consequently, by the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Moscow’s naval footprint in the Mediterranean had already been reconstituted. Yet, since the mid-2010s, a structural change occurred in the Mediterranean Squadron’s order of battle. The Squadron has morphed qualitatively and quantitatively, and has become more capable. Featuring fewer ex-Soviet large platforms and more modern green water units, this naval task force has been assigned mainly a defensive objective: locally counterbalance navies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and protect Russia’s southern flank from perceived instability emanating from the Mediterranean’s southern shore, in the context of the Arab Spring. Moreover, Moscow’s direct military involvement in the war in Syria has provided the Mediterranean Squadron with a new purpose while highlighting a conventional deterrence mission.
  • Topic: NATO, Armed Forces, Navy, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Anton Lavrov
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: Before the start of the military intervention in Syria in 2015, even top Russian generals were uncertain what the result would be. Shortly before the start of the intervention, the Russian Aerospace Forces (RuAF) received hundreds of new airplanes and helicopters and new “smart” precision weapons. Almost all of them had never been tested in real combat. The pilots and commanders also did not have combat experience and were trained by textbooks filled with outdated concepts and tactics. The five years of war in Syria have been the most intense period of transformation for the RuAF since the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The Russian military not only gained an unprecedented amount of experience, but also made substantial improvements in tactics and strategy.
  • Topic: Military Affairs, Military Intervention, Conflict, Syrian War, Air Force
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Charles Bartles, Lester Grau
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The Syrian Civil War produces a new set of problems involving extended urban combat, intense fights for key resources (oil fields, water, and lines of communication and supply), conventional combat among irregular units, ethnic and religious cleansing, a large number of foreign combatants with varying motivations, and contending outside powers fighting a proxy engagement. The Russian Federation is not an expeditionary power, and its entry into Syria on the side of the regime has strained its logistical resources. From the beginning of the Syrian campaign, it was clear that Russian involvement was initially envisaged to be through the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS). Although the Syrian government was on the verge of collapse, and the Syrian military was on its hind legs and a shell of its former self, there was a sufficient number of Syrian ground units that were mission capable. With this understanding, the VKS was to be the principal supplier of Russian combat power aimed at disruption of the command and control and leadership of the groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime through the provision of reconnaissance and target destruction. In particular, Russia’s priority was the destruction of the Western-backed, moderate opposition groups, since it saw these as the greatest immediate threat to Assad. The Islamic State (ISIS) and other Sunni extremist groups were targeted, but sat lower on Russia’s priority list. As with other such operations, «mission creep” soon resulted in Russia’s involvement quickly expanding past the provision of aerospace support to planning, and, in some cases, conducting ground operations. General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, confirmed this expansion of Russian involvement in a December 2017 interview. Russia’s ground-based contingent in the Syrian campaign involves a diverse set of forces and capabilities. Some of the key features of this expanded ground force mission included a Russian model of military advisors, integrated and modernized fires, mobility and countermobility operations, a featured role for military police, use of coastal defense, spetznaz, and private military company (PMC) forces. Russian ground forces have benefitted from the opportunity to provide combat experience to a large number of professional soldiers, conduct battlefield testing of new systems and observe the impact of different terrain on tactics. The forces opposing the Syrian government provide a different opponent than the “enemy” encountered in normal Russian peacetime training and much of the “Syrian experience” is discussed and dissected in Russian professional military journals.
  • Topic: Armed Forces, Military Intervention, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Samuel Ramani
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: After spending nearly three decades as a marginal player in the Horn of Africa, the Russian Federation has made significant progress towards recapturing its great power status in the region. Russia has engaged with all countries in the Horn of Africa and refused to take sides in the region’s most polarizing conflicts, so Moscow can be best described as an “engaged opportunist” on the Horn of Africa. Russia is principally focused on establishing itself as the region’s leading arms vendor, but prospectively, has one eye on constructing a Red Sea base. Russia’s resurgence in the Horn of Africa has generally dovetailed with the People’s Republic of China’s regional aspirations, but has placed it increasingly at odds with France and the United States. Looking ahead, Russia’s ability to link its Horn of Africa strategy to its aspirations in the Middle East will shape the future trajectory of its involvement in the region. The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan organization that seeks to publish well-argued, policy-oriented articles on American foreign policy and national security priorities.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Engagement
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Eurasia, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Aaron Stein
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Foreign Policy Research Institute
  • Abstract: The United States has an interest in allowing the Russian Federation to “win” an outright victory in Syria, so long as it secures from Moscow an agreement that is favorable to the Syrian Kurds, builds in negative consequences for an external actor targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces, and establishes a “deconflict plus”-type mechanism to continue to target Islamic State- and Al Qaeda-linked individuals in Syria. A forward-looking policy that the incoming Biden administration could consider is to deprioritize the nascent threat of the Islamic State as a key factor in driving U.S. national security strategy, and instead focus more intently on long-term competition with great powers. This approach would seek to shape how Moscow spends finite defense dollars—at a time of expected global defense cuts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic—in ways that are advantageous to the United States. It also would seek to limit the cost of the U.S. presence in Syria—to include secondary and opportunity costs not accounted for in a basic cost breakdown of the U.S. war against the Islamic State. This approach is not without risk, particularly from a nascent Islamic State insurgency in Russian-controlled territory, but seeks to match U.S. strategic priorities with action and to impose upon a long-term competitor the costs of victory for its intervention in Syria.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Foreign Policy, War, Syrian War, Strategic Competition
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Arik Burakovsky, Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: With both Russia and China facing increasingly confrontational relations with the United States, the two countries have increased ties with each other and have pursued similar approaches in opposition to the US government concerning Iran, Syria, and Venezuela. Steve Biegun, US Deputy Secretary of State, recently characterized the developing relationship between Russia and China as one built on “mutual determination to challenge the United States.” To better understand how experts think about Russia’s relations with the other great powers, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs recently conducted a survey of 201 American experts on Russia. The survey finds that a majority describe the relationship between Russia and China today as one of mostly partnership. They also describe India as primarily a partner to Russia, both today and in the future. By contrast, they say that Russian relations with the United States and the European Union are mostly competitive. But they anticipate that in 20 years, rivalry between Russia and China will grow, perhaps creating space for reducing tensions with the United States.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Partnerships
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arik Burakovsky, Dina Smeltz, Brendan Helm
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Abstract: US Experts Anticipate Future Decline for Russia Among the Great Powers OCTOBER 6, 2020 By: Arik Burakovsky, Assistant Director, Russia and Eurasia Program, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University; Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow, Public Opinion and Foreign Policy; Brendan Helm, Research Assistant Although President Trump initially hoped for improved relations between the United States and Russia, during his tenure the US government has overtly declared Russia a top threat to US national security. Congress and the administration widened Obama-era sanctions against Russia after alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Data from a recent survey of American experts on Russia, conducted by The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs paints Russia as a declining power. The results show that while experts anticipate changes in the global balance of power in the next 20 years, with China overtaking the United States, they do not expect Russia to come out stronger over that time frame. Experts draw attention to Russia’s cracked economic and political foundation in the present and its likely decline over the next two decades due to economic mismanagement and faltering soft power. Now there are the lingering economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to add to this list.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Power Politics, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Lars Hauch
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: This report examines Syria’s Constitutional Committee process and parallel military developments during the Syrian civil war to reveal that the two have so far been interconnected. It arrives at the conclusion that the Government of Syria and Russia created and subsequently manipulated various linkages between conference room and battlefield to increase their own advantage. This has included the use of the Constitutional Committee as a placeholder to avoid greater Western diplomatic, or even military, efforts to resolve the conflict; the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure to force opposition bodies out of Syria; and polarization of the Committee by engaging in continuous human rights abuses among the Syrian population during negotiations. The Constitutional Committee can still help build bridges, but this requires redressing the balance of forces on the battlefield first. A joint Turkish-European military humanitarian intervention in northwestern Syria can serve this purpose and revitalize efforts to negotiate a (late) solution to the war.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Constitution, Humanitarian Intervention, Syrian War, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Zaki Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: By carrying on the activities of the Russian military contingents in Syria and with its backing of Libya’s renegade general Khalifa Haftar, Moscow seeks to reassert its role in the Mediterranean and leverage a strategy for generating low-risk yet high yield wins.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Geopolitics, Military Intervention
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Libya, Syria, Mediterranean
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: A range of actors are manipulating the information environment to exploit the Covid-19 crisis for strategic gain. ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre is tracking many of these state and non-state actors online and will occasionally publish investigative data-driven reporting that will focus on the use of disinformation, propaganda, extremist narratives and conspiracy theories. The bulk of ASPI’s data analysis uses our in-house Influence Tracker tool—a machine learning and data analytics capability that draws out insights from multi-language social media datasets. This report includes three case studies that feature China, Taiwan, Russia and Africa
  • Topic: Internet, Social Media, COVID-19, Misinformation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Taiwan, Asia
  • Author: James Sherr
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: The aims of this report are to explain Ukraine’s consolidation, resilience and determination to make its own decisions despite great asymmetries of power and Russia’s exploitation of its vulnerabilities and divisions; to describe why President Volodymyr Zelensky represents an opportunity as well as a challenge to Russia; and to set out necessary and realistic goals for the West.
  • Topic: Security, History, Resilience, Non-Traditional Threats
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Ivo Juurvee, Anna-Mariita Mattiisen
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: This report revisits the spring 2007 crisis in Estonia, centred on the World War II memorial known as the Bronze Soldier statue. The crisis is well-known both in Estonia and abroad. It was one of the first wake-up calls to the cooling of relations between Russia and the West. It also involved the first use of wide-ranging cyber-attacks against a state.
  • Topic: Security, History, Cybersecurity, Resilience, Hybrid Warfare , Hybrid Threats
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Estonia
  • Author: Heinrich Brauss, Kalev Stoicescu, Tony Lawrence
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in 2014, NATO has revitalised its core business of deterrence and defence and adapted it to today’s political and geostrategic circumstances. In the Baltic region, the most visible expression of this effort has been the deployment of the enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups in Poland and the three Baltic states. These are, in turn, backed up by a readiness and reinforcement strategy, which NATO has also strengthened through the adoption of a number of measures agreed by the Allies. But deterrence is a complex matter that involves political, diplomatic, military, economic, cyber, information-related, and other aspects. In the Baltic region, the constraints of geography coupled with the proximity of the region to Russia pose particular challenges to NATO’s approach. The region remains a focus of tensions between Russia and the West and the three Baltic states are still NATO’s most vulnerable members. Moscow, meanwhile, pretends that it is particularly threatened in the Baltic region, where it regards the territory of the Baltic states as a potential bridgehead of American power projection and presents NATO’s deterrence measures as a deliberate, unprovoked and unjustified build-up of forces around its periphery. Two interdependent developments in the period since 2014 have pointed to a particular need to re-examine the credibility of NATO’s posture as it pertains to the Baltic region: first, Russia’s continued programme to achieve conventional military superiority in its western direction; and second, its recent deployment of new mobile, land-based, intermediate-range, nuclear-capable missiles. The former has given Russia has a substantial numerical advantage in ground forces in the Baltic region which give Moscow the option of executing a rapid land-grab attack before NATO could react. The latter could be used to try to decouple Europe from the extended nuclear deterrence provided by the US, paralysing NATO decision making and undermining the Allies’ resolve. Full and expeditious implementation of all decisions taken at Warsaw and Brussels to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence posture is therefore imperative. In this policy paper, we recommend some steps that NATO should take in order to strengthen the deterrent effect of NATO forces and to ensure that timely reinforcement of its peripheries is feasible. In the light of a US Congressional request for a detailed assessment from the Pentagon on whether to expand US military presence in the Baltic states, we pay particular attention to the role of US forces in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Political stability, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Baltic States
  • Author: Konrad Muzyka
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Centre for Defence and Security - ICDS
  • Abstract: Since Vladimir Putin declared the fall of the Soviet Union to be the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century, prompting concerns that Moscow would seek to rebuild its influence by conquering territories on its borders, Russia has deployed combat troops into Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, and inserted private military companies into the Central African Republic, Libya, Mozambique, South Sudan and Venezuela. But there is little consensus among analysts about the meaning of Russia’s military behaviour, or how far it might go in pursuing its interests. Is it trying to rebuild a version of the former Soviet Union? Does it have the will and capability to go to war? Under what circumstances might it be ready to commit combat troops? And how do these questions relate to its immediate neighbourhood, in particular to the Baltic region? This analysis examines Russia’s fundamental motives for going to war in the ‘near abroad’, describes how Russia might wage war in the Baltic states, and identifies some of the indicators that might suggest it is preparing to do so.
  • Topic: War, Military Affairs, Geopolitics, Private Sector
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, Baltic States
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: “Georgians have always had a grievance complex, because Turks or Persians have always suppressed them. The lack of independence, the inability to have one’s own state — all this instilled in Georgians a sense of deprivation. Now they are hot-tempered, light up for any reason. Now flashed.” This is what Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party leader tweeted after riot police in Tbilisi fired rubber bullets against thousands of nonviolent protesters outside of the Georgian Parliament on June 20, 2019. On that day, Georgian officials welcomed into the Georgian Parliament a Russian delegation, headed by member of the State Duma Sergey Gavrilov, within the framework of the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy. Outside of the Parliament, civilians staged a snap protest against the ongoing Russian occupation of 20 percent of Georgian territory. Days before his scandalous appearance in the chair of the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Mr. Gavrilov gave an interview to the Georgian television network Rustavi 2 and stated, “We have recognized the independence of Ossetia and Abkhazia [two breakaway Georgian regions where Russian military forces are stationed] and we have to build our relations on new reality.” Soon after, Georgians saw him chairing an international assembly in the Georgian Parliament in Russian, an occurrence which was deeply humiliating for members of the Georgian public, many of whom lost friends and family members in the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Territorial Disputes, Economy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Kaha Baindurashvili
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russian sanctions might not be that impressive, but they are extremely dangerous for Georgian unity. Russia has been destabilizing that unity since Georgia’s independence in 1991, first through its proxies— Abkhaz and Ossetian separatists and militias— and then later more openly from 2004 onwards. The Kremlin’s political aims behind the sanctions are obvious. Russian officials do not have high expectations for their numerical impact, but the propaganda accompanying them could have a more powerful impact. The Ivanishvili victory in 2012 and promised political and media tolerance has opened doors to Russian propaganda too; since then, banned Russian media outlets have started freely broadcasting in Georgia, while the anti-Kremlin, Georgian-funded, Russian-language television network PIK was shut down.
  • Topic: Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, Economy, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Georgia
  • Author: Mohanad Hage Ali
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Syrian conflict has magnified threats to minorities with long-term implications both within and beyond Syria’s borders. The deployment of excessive firepower by the Russian and Iranian-backed Assad regime, and the concurrent rise of Islamic extremism have had both direct and indirect impacts on minorities. Local, regional, and international actors have weaponized minority groups to bolster their influence, further intensifying schisms in the Syrian social fabric and in the international community as a whole. The flow of one million Syrian refugees to Europe between 2015 and 2016 strengthened an already powerful wave of anti-immigration, nationalist populism throughout the continent and across the Atlantic. As an openly Islamophobic and, more implicitly, anti-Semitic movement, the wave has contributed to widening the scope of the Syrian conflict’s schismatic effects beyond the country’s borders.
  • Topic: Minorities, Violent Extremism, Refugees, Syrian War
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: A tumultuous month in north-eastern Syria has left a tense standoff among the regime, Turkey and the YPG, mediated by Russia and, to some degree, still the U.S. All parties should respect the ceasefire as the regime and YPG negotiate more stable long-term arrangements. What’s new? The U.S. withdrawal announcement and subsequent Turkish incursion in north-eastern Syria shattered an awkward but fairly stable stalemate that had persisted for several years. A Russian-brokered ceasefire and partial reversal of the U.S. withdrawal have restored the impasse, but in far more fragile form. Why does it matter? The ceasefire leaves the biggest question unanswered: who will govern and police the north east? As the Syrian regime, Turkey and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) all stake potentially irreconcilable claims, and the U.S. stays put at the area’s oil fields, the emerging dispensation is highly volatile. What should be done? All sides should respect the ceasefire. The U.S. should protect its Kurdish and Arab partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces and prioritise stability in the north east in discussions with Russia and Turkey. The YPG should reassess its exclusive reliance on U.S. protection and pursue mutually beneficial arrangements with Damascus.
  • Topic: Syrian War, Negotiation, Crisis Management, YPG
  • Political Geography: Russia, Turkey, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: International Crisis Group
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Russia and the separatists it backs in Ukraine’s east are no longer quite on the same page, especially since the Kremlin abandoned ideas of annexing the breakaway republics or recognising their independence. The rift gives the new Ukrainian president an opportunity for outreach to the east’s embattled population, including by relaxing the trade embargo. What’s new? Russia’s gradual retreat from any plans to annex parts of eastern Ukraine has opened schisms between Moscow and its separatist proxies in the region. Why does it matter? For Kyiv, these divides could create opportunities to restart dialogue with the people of the east. Such contacts, in turn, could help lay the groundwork for Ukraine’s unification. What should be done? The rift between Moscow and its proxies should inform new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s policies. Kyiv should look to rebuild relations with the inhabitants of separatist-held areas, by easing the economic blockade on the east and increasing outreach to the population there.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Geopolitics, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Stephen J. Blank
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Wherever one looks, Russia is carrying out aggressive military and informational attacks against the West in Europe, North and South America, the Arctic, and the Middle East. This “war against the West” actually began over a decade ago, but its most jarring and shocking event, the one that started to focus Western minds on Russia, was the invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Given this pattern, the National Security Council (NSC) in 2014 invited Stephen Blank to organize a conference on the Russian military. We were able to launch the conference in 2016 and bring together a distinguished international group of experts on the Russian military to produce the papers that were then subsequently updated for presentation here.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, War, Military Strategy, Military Affairs, Authoritarianism, Cybersecurity, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Asia, Syria, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Antulio J. Echevarria II, Sam J. Tangredi, Mathieu Boulegue, Keir Giles, C. Anthony Pfaff, Karen J. Finkenbinder, Massimo Pani, Richard A. Lacquement Jr., John F. Sullivan
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Our 2019 Spring/Summer issue of Parameters features three forums. In the first forum, A2/AD Myths: Chinese & Russian, Sam Tangredi’s “Anti-Access Strategies in the Pacific: The United States and China” puts Beijing’s A2/AD capabilities in perspective and encourages the United States to consider developing an anti-access strategy of its own to deter possible Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. Keir Giles and Mathieu Boulegue’s “Russia’s A2/AD Capabilities: Real and Imagined,” explode some of the myths concerning Russia’s A2/AD capabilities and recommend ways to promote a stronger defense of the Baltic states and Eastern Europe. The second forum, Enhancing Security & Stability, considers how to address emerging and periodic challenges in regional and functional stability. In “Human Security in the Arctic: Implications for the US Army,” Tony Pfaff explains the growing importance of Arctic security for Army strategists. The challenges of climate change will require the Army, including the Alaska National Guard, to reallocate forces to this important region. In “Projecting Stability: A Deployable NATO Police Command,” Massimo Pani and Karen Finkenbinder propose methods NATO could use to project a stability force to crisis situations within 5 days, to be augmented with additional police forces and command elements within 30 days. Our third forum, On Strategic Foundations, offers two articles that explore the reliability of some of the conceptual foundations of our strategic thinking. Richard Lacquement Jr. discusses the use of historical analogies as one of humanity’s most important adaptive techniques in “Analogical Thinking: The Sine Qua Non for Using History Well.” He suggests pattern recognition may aid in clarifying context and in guiding action in unfamiliar intellectual terrain. In “Reconsidering Sun Tzu,” John Sullivan challenges readers to be more critical of orthodox interpretations of Sun Tzu’s Art of War. After all, the unexamined theory is not worth teaching.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, Arctic, United States of America
  • Author: Stefan Forss, Juha Pyykönen
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: With enhanced cooperation from the U.S. Army, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Nordic partner nations could combine efforts with each other and with the Alliance to deliver effective and visible regional deterrence against a resurgent Russia in the Nordic-Baltic region. This monograph by two leading Finnish defense academics explores the regional defense environment and optimum roles for the United States.
  • Topic: NATO, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Deterrence, Army
  • Political Geography: Russia, Finland, North America, Nordic Nations, United States of America
  • Author: Tim Hwang How
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: How should the defense community best organize to combat modern campaigns of propaganda and disinformation? Without a broader strategic concept of the nature of the challenge posed by these techniques, current efforts and investments run the risk of simply chasing the latest tactics without establishing enduring security. This monograph offers a way forward, proposing a cohesive strategic framework for thinking about modern information warfare and its effective conduct.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: Russia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Lukas Milevski
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: In this monograph, Dr. Lukas Milevski examines the logic of grand strategy in practice, defined by its most basic building block—combining military and non-military power in war. He lays out competing visions of how to define grand strategy and why the aforementioned building block is the most fundamental. The monograph establishes the essential logic of military power through annihilation and exhaustion or attrition as well as through control of the opponent’s freedom of action. This baseline understanding of strategic action and effect in war allows an exploration of how the utility and meaning of non-military instruments change between peacetime and wartime and how they may contribute to the strategic effort and includes discussion of specific examples such as the U.S. interwar war plans and the Stuxnet cyberattack on Iranian nuclear facilities. The author also links this combination to present-day Russian and Chinese attempts at mixing military and non-military power.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Affairs, Grand Strategy, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Michael A. McCarthy, Matthew A. Moyer, Brett H. Venable
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States lacks a cohesive strategy to deter Russian aggression. Despite being militarily and economically inferior, Russia has undermined the United States and its allies by exploiting the “gray zone,” or the conceptual space between war and peace where nations compete to advance their national interests. In dealing with Russia, the United States must shift its strategic framework from a predominantly military-centric model to one that comprises a whole-of-government approach. The holistic approach must leverage a combination of diplomacy, information, military, and economic (DIME) measures. In this timely and prescient monograph, three active duty military officers and national security fellows from the Harvard Kennedy School look to address this contemporary and complex problem. Through extensive research and consultation with some of the nation’s and academia’s foremost experts, the authors offer policymakers a menu of strategic options to deter Russia in the gray zone and protect vital U.S. national security interests.
  • Topic: National Security, War, Military Affairs, Economy, Peace, Deterrence, Gray Zone
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Jeffrey L. Caton
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: publication cover In 2015, the Department of Defense (DoD) released the DoD Cyber Strategy which explicitly calls for a comprehensive strategy to provide credible deterrence in cyberspace against threats from key state and nonstate actors. To be effective, such activities must be coordinated with ongoing deterrence efforts in the physical realm, especially those of near-peers impacting critical global regions such as China in the Asia-Pacific region and Russia in Europe. It is important for the U.S. Army to identify and plan for any unique roles that they may provide to these endeavors. This study explores the evolving concept of deterrence in cyberspace in three major areas: • First, the monograph addresses the question: What is the current U.S. deterrence posture for cyberspace? The discussion includes an assessment of relevant current national and DoD policies and concepts as well as an examination of key issues for cyber deterrence found in professional literature. • Second, it examines the question: What are the Army’s roles in cyberspace deterrence? This section provides background information on how Army cyber forces operate and examines the potential contributions of these forces to the deterrence efforts in cyberspace as well as in the broader context of strategic deterrence. The section also addresses how the priority of these contributions may change with escalating levels of conflict. • Third, the monograph provides recommendations for changing or adapting the DoD and Army responsibilities to better define and implement the evolving concepts and actions supporting deterrence in the dynamic domain of cyberspace.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Non State Actors, Cybersecurity, Army
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Michael A. Hunzeker, Alexander Lanoszka
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) face daunting challenges in the Baltic region. Russia is behaving aggressively. Its military is more capable than it has been at any point since the end of the Cold War. More importantly, Russia is finding creative ways to subvert the status quo and to sow discord without triggering Article 5 of NATO, which declares that an attack against one member is an attack against all. These problems are formidable, but we have reason to be optimistic. Far from shattering NATO’s cohesion and undermining its resolve, Russian aggression has reinvigorated the alliance. Nor is Russia an unstoppable adversary. It has many weaknesses. Indeed, Russian fears over those vulnerabilities might be driving its aggressive foreign policy. Even if this is not the case and Russia is indeed a relentless predator, it is nevertheless a vulnerable one. The United States and its NATO allies can take advantage of these vulnerabilities. After assessing Russian intentions, capabilities, and limitation, this monograph recommends a hedging strategy to improve early detection capabilities, enhance deterrence in unprovocative ways, and improve regional defenses against a hybrid threat. Achieving these goals should help the United States deter Russia and reassure regional allies more effectively while managing our own worst fears.
  • Topic: NATO, Cold War, Military Strategy, Landpower, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Keir Giles
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: Russia’s annexation of Crimea and intervention in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, alarmed not only Western-leaning states in Central Europe and the Baltic but also Moscow’s traditional allies. These events signaled that Moscow is now willing and capable of using direct military force against perceived strategic threats in its self-proclaimed region of vested interests. With the exception of Ukraine and the Baltic States, this Letort Paper examines how Russia’s front-line states have adjusted their foreign policy posture since 2014. Belarus, Moldova, the states of Central Asia and the South Caucasus calculate the benefits and risks in their relationship with Moscow and either make concessions or strengthen their defenses accordingly to avoid triggering a Russian reaction. This Letort Paper provides a range of policy recommendations intended to maximize the opportunities of a new alignment with the West for these states while minimizing the risk of Russia, using again, those capabilities it has demonstrated in Ukraine and Syria.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Territorial Disputes, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Ukraine, Crimea
  • Author: Anne De Tinguy, Annie Daubenton, Olivier Ferrando, Sophie Hohmann, Jacques Lévesque, Nicolas Mazzuchi, Gaïdz Minassian, Thierry Pasquet, Tania Sollogoub, Julien Thorez
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Regards sur l’Eurasie. L’année politique est une publication annuelle du Centre de recherches internationales de Sciences Po (CERI) dirigée par Anne de Tinguy. Elle propose des clefs de compréhension des événements et des phénomènes qui marquent de leur empreinte les évolutions d’une région, l’espace postsoviétique, en profonde mutation depuis l’effondrement de l’Union soviétique en 1991. Forte d’une approche transversale qui ne prétend nullement à l’exhaustivité, elle vise à identifier les grands facteurs explicatifs, les dynamiques régionales et les enjeux sous-jacents.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Corruption, Democratization, Economics, Health, International Security, Natural Resources, Conflict, Multilateralism, Europeanization, Political Science, Regional Integration
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Veronika Jóźwiak
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Hungarian-Russian economic relations are based on the energy industry. Hungary’s efforts to build closer political relations with Russia after 2010 did not result in a marked increase in bilateral trade, investment, or greater Russian influence outside the energy sector. EU economic sanctions imposed on Russia and the introduction of counter-sanctions in 2014 caused a significant drop in Hungarian exports to Russia. However, this has not resulted in substantial losses to the Hungarian economy.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Bilateral Relations, Sanctions, European Union, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, Hungary
  • Author: Mateusz Piotrowski
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The U.S. will create a new branch of the armed forces to conduct operations in space. This is a response to the increased threat from China and Russia, which are rapidly developing space systems for military use. As a result of the U.S. actions, NATO adopted its first space policy. The effects of this policy also oblige allies who do not have space capabilities and who will have to work out their own policy towards this domain.
  • Topic: NATO, Science and Technology, Armed Forces, Military Affairs, Space Force, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In none of the conflicts in the post-Soviet area have so many foreign fighters participated than in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014. It is estimated that more than 17,000 fighters from 55 countries have fought there on either side. Those fighting on the Russian side pose a special challenge to Ukraine’s security and to neighbouring countries because these fighters can engage in terrorism or other radical actions and are part of Russia’s hybrid warfare.
  • Topic: War, Bilateral Relations, Armed Forces, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Agnieszka Legucka, Jędrzej Czerep
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia’s increasing presence in Africa is motivated by global political ambitions and economic goals. To expand its influence, Russia is involved in local conflicts and fuels anti-Western sentiment. Competing with EU and U.S. countries, it is simultaneously becoming an important security partner for many African governments. An obstacle to Russia further increasing its presence in Africa is its weak economic condition, which not only limits the possibility of economic expansion on the continent but also its interference in internal political processes in African countries.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Politics, Bilateral Relations, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, African Union
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As a result of the change of power in Armenia in 2018, the Armenian-Azerbaijani talks on the territorial and ethnic conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh have intensified. However, they have not yielded results because the authorities of both countries are under strong internal public pressure, limiting the possibility of compromise. Russia is using the conflict as an instrument of political influence towards both countries. Strengthening the involvement of French and U.S. diplomacy in the work of the Minsk Group and increasing its importance would limit Russia’s role as the main mediator in the conflict.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Territorial Disputes, Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, United States of America