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  • Author: Pietro A. Shakarian, Lusine Gigoyan
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: U.S.-Russia relations are in a deep crisis. However, the current state of these relations should not prevent the two powers from cooperating on resolving global problems. Rethinking Russia assesses six global health challenges, which can bring Moscow and Washington together.
  • Topic: Health, International Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Trafficking , Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Andrei Korobkov
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The buzz surrounding the so-called “Russian trace” in the U.S. elections, started by former presidential candidate from the Democratic party Hillary Clinton during her 2016 failed presidential campaign, continues to evolve. New accusations spring up, leading to new investigations. Started in mid-2016 by Clinton’s claims about the Russian hackers, who allegedly disclosed information contained on the Democratic Party National Committee servers, it increasingly targets the members of President Donald Trump’s inner circle, including some of his family members. Appointed to deal initially with a narrow set of issues, the Independent Prosecutor Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director, has to deal with the quickly expanding set of claims and accusations.
  • Topic: Intelligence, Bilateral Relations, Elections, Domestic politics, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Pavel Koshkin
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: After the victory of republican Donald Trump at the 2016 presidential election followed by the series of probes into the Kremlin’s alleged meddling in the American domestic affairs, Russia turned into political mainstream in the U.S. However, the revived interest toward this country failed to translate into increasing funding of Russia Studies programs. And here is why.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Elections, Academia, Area Studies
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Pavel Koshkin
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: 2017 brought both successes and disappointments to Russia on the international arena. Moscow succeeded in establishing dialogue with its rivals in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia and Turkey. It also participated in the Astana peace talks to come up with a compromise with Ankara and Tehran on Syria. Besides, Russia together with its Syrian allies defeated the Islamic State of Iraq and the Greater Syria (ISIS). Afterwards, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced about the partial withdrawal of the Russian troops from Syria. One of the biggest challenges became the strengthening of the American sanctions against Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Russia dossier probe conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Congress is also a very important event, because it could deepen the crisis in U.S.-Russia relations. Parliamentary and presidential elections in Europe also matter: They took place amidst the buzz about the Russian cyber threat and hackers, and this indicates that there is not trust toward Russia in European countries today.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Sanctions, Elections, Islamic State, Negotiation
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Parenkov
  • Publication Date: 05-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Donald Trump needed to visit to the Vatican to change the opinion that there were serious differences between the new Administration and the Holy See, expressed in the media. After their mutual attacks during the US electoral campaign and negative reaction of the Catholic community to Trump’s first legislative initiatives, the meeting with Pope Francis was aimed at restoring president’s relations with the world’s biggest religion and sending a positive message to its 70 million followers in the United States.
  • Topic: Religion, Catholic Church, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Europe, Vatican city, United States of America
  • Author: Akop Gabrielyan
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: ANALYSISOPINION NATO-Russia Relations: Overcoming Agony 17.07.2017Featured Image Akop A. Gabrielyan – the founder and the leader of the “Consensus” youth NGO, expert in the policy of the post-soviet states. If anything, the central tenet of the Hippocratic oath: first do no harm – Primum non nocere – is the first motto to be applied to today’s dialogue between Russia and NATO, a military and political organization. The dialogue essentially boiling down to interaction between Russia and the United States, the alliance’s leader, has offered fewer grounds for optimism over the years. Noticeably worse relations, whose downward spiraling trend is too serious a phenomenon to be even referred to as “the Cold War”, are degenerating into an agony. This is testified by some experts predicting an unavoidable military conflict and a real deterioration in the situation amid the Ukraine and Syria conflicts that Russia and NATO (the US) treat differently. For instance, Moscow officially suspended a deal with the US to prevent mid-air collisions over Syria in response to America’s attitude towards April’s deadly chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, NATO, Partnerships, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eurasia, United States of America
  • Author: Fernanda Magnotta, Roman Chukov
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Last Friday, during the G20 summit, the US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for the first time. The meeting was surrounded by expectations and marked by all types of speculation. The bilateral relationship has been controversial since the Obama administration, but the polemics have gained momentum in last year’s election when Trump came to power. Trump’s agenda becomes even more critical as he has been waging a war on the American media since the campaign. Trump popularized the term “fake news” by accusing the CNN network of making up facts, and made the “post-truth” concept the word of the year of 2016, according to Oxford University. In addition, he decided to communicate directly with the American society through Twitter not to depend on the curatorship of the country’s major media outlets.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Media, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Nikolay Pakhomov
  • Publication Date: 08-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: When US President Trump on August 2 signed a bill that reinforces and expands to some extent sanctions on Moscow, the anti-Russian campaign emerged somewhat divorced from real policy-making. The bill has clarified the Congress position on the matter, with the ongoing investigation into Trump’s and his acolytes’ alleged ties with Russia shifting public attention to the legal aspect. While lambasting Trump, some intellectuals seek to establish nominal correlations between the US president and Russia and to draw historical parallels between the two countries. This clearly creative approach on the part of experts and pundits produces remarkable results.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, History, Donald Trump, Boris Yeltsin
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Lada Kochtcheeva
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: With the advance of globalization, the spread of new technologies and communication, diffusion of power to non-state actors, as well as the emergence of new forms of rivalry and statecraft, the concept of “gray zone” conflict has very recently produced substantial debates in the US and internationally. Most analysts do not view this phenomenon as entirely new, but they distinguish certain characteristics of gray zone and argue that it will progressively depict and challenge the international system in the near future. The gray zone form of conflict is usually defined by the presence of several crucial elements including rising revisionist states that seek to alter some aspect of the existing, status quo international order, incremental or gradual strategy often ambiguous, and unconventional tools, which are short of outright war. Actors using a gray zone method strive to achieve their goals while minimizing the scope and scale of actual fighting[3]. Russia’s actions in Eastern Europe are often described by the theorists of gray zone conflict as using multi-instrument strategies while employing direct action. China’s use of incremental approaches to produce a critical basis for its claims in the South China Sea also represents a prominent example of the gray zone conflict.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Globalization, Conflict, Gray Zone
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Maxim A. Suchkov
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: The American military strike on a Syrian airbase has rather demonstrated President Trump’s burning desire to adopt a more hawkish stance – both at home and abroad – than has been launched merely in retaliation for the terrible chemical attack. At home, it was a gimmick to consolidate his position in Congress, secure bipartisan support (primarily GOP’s approval), cement his voting base, and shed the image of the Kremlin’s lackey, which has increasingly been weakening his presidential mandate and left little room for political maneuver. Moreover, this step was due to receive the approbation of the major “domestic sponsors”, including the military-industrial complex, the oil industry, and financiers. Finally, it can be treated as the comeback of the “strong leader”, the translation of Trump’s election pledge into a policy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Conflict, Syrian War, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eurasia, Middle East, Syria, United States of America
  • Author: Ilya Dyachkov
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Rethinking Russia
  • Abstract: Occasional escalations on the Korean Peninsula each time are hotly debated in mass media, but can hardly surprise experts. Typically, difficult periods start in spring and there are several reasons for that. Exactly at this time the United States and the Republic of Korea usually conduct a joint exercise. This fact cannot but bother the DPRK. By the way, the scale of the maneuvers becomes larger every year: for instance, the personnel can practice such operation as seizure of Pyongyang. One more reason is connected with the actions and statements of North Korea itself. The North Korean missile launches, making Seoul and Tokyo nervous, usually “fall” exactly on May or April.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, Crisis Management, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: South Korea, North Korea, Korean Peninsula, United States of America