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  • Author: Heather A Conley, Matthew Melino
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Russian malign influence seeks to exploit every weakness and societal division within in a respective country. An adviser to Russian president Vladimir Putin, Vladislav Surkov, recently stated that “Foreign politicians talk about Russia’s interference in elections and referendums around the world. In fact, the matter is even more serious: Russia interferes in your brains, we change your conscience, and there is nothing you can do about it.” It must be understood that everything from religion, history, facts, information, racial and ethnic tensions, illicit financing, and institutional and economic weakness, can be weaponized. The mobilization of the Orthodox Church (in Montenegro through the Serbian Orthodox Church) is one such weapon in the Kremlin’s effort to resuscitate pan-Slavism and unite the Slavic world under Russian patronage. Doing so supports the Kremlin’s narrative that only Russian president Vladimir Putin is the true “defender of the faith,” and all that is culturally traditional and conservative. In effect, the Russian and Serbian Orthodox churches “interfere in [one’s] brain and alter an individual’s conscience” because the church touches many aspects of daily life, from the blessing of cars and homes to encouraging followers to fight against the decadence and liberalism of the West. The intermingling of financial support and the creation of outlets for the church’s charitable works can often be traced back to Russian ultra-nationalist oligarchs with close political and financial ties to the Kremlin. One particularly active figure in this space is Konstantin Malofeev who created the Charitable Foundation of St. Basil the Great, which is in part charged with spreading the Russian Orthodox faith. Mr. Malofeev’s spiritual adviser, Orthodox priest Bishop Tikhon, is also President Putin’s spiritual adviser. It is reported that Mr. Malofeev and Mr. Surkov also closely coordinate their activities. The Kremlin is also weaponizing history as it attempts to revitalize the historical role of the Russian Empire as the true defender and “protector” of its Slavic brethren in Montenegro from its clashes with the Ottoman Empire. Today, Russia defends its Slavic brethren from the West and makes powerful appeals to a common Slavic identity and Orthodox culture to wield greater influence in Montenegro.
  • Topic: NATO, International Cooperation, Hegemony, Foreign Interference
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, North America, Montenegro
  • Author: Kathleen H. Hicks
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Northern Europe, and specifically the Baltic and Norwegian Seas, has been the site of increasingly provocative and destabilizing Russian actions. The country’s use of a range of military, diplomatic, and economic tools to undermine the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its allies highlights the need to monitor and understand Russian activity. The region is characterized by complex factors like unique geographic features, considerable civilian maritime traffic, the presence of advanced Russian and Western military capabilities, and strategic proximity to Russia and the Kola peninsula, home to the Russian Northern Fleet. While the Norwegian and Baltic Seas do differ in key ways, they are linked by the emerging risk posed by Russia’s long-range strike capabilities. Responding to Russian challenges across the competitive space requires a deep understanding of the Northern European maritime environment. Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), defined by the United States as the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of a nation or region, is an exceptionally broad concept. At its core, MDA has three functions: the collection of raw data, the analysis of that data, and the action of disseminating information to and coordinating among the different components of the framework. In order to provide security in Northern Europe, NATO and its allies must use MDA frameworks to understand and respond to the challenges above, on, and underneath the sea, as well as the surrounding land environment. While some constructive work has been done to address the evolving Russian threat, NATO and its partners must make changes to their current MDA capabilities to evolve alongside with it. Russia presents three challenges of particular concern to the MDA efforts in Northern Europe: maritime hybrid warfare, electronic and cyber warfare capabilities, and long-range strike systems. Maritime Hybrid Warfare—The Russian military is experienced and effective in its use of hybrid warfare, seen in Syria, Crimea, and Northern Europe. The ambiguity possible in the maritime domain lends itself well to this strategy. Russia uses three specific approaches in this realm: deception through different types of vessels including civilian ships, deniable forces like the amphibious and light infantry that easily navigate the complex Baltic and Norwegian Seas, and the country’s well-developed and diverse force for seabed warfare. Cyber and Electronic Warfare—Russia’s advanced EW capabilities have the potential to hinder information gathering and dissemination methods, which are both vital functions of MDA. These capabilities are challenging for military personnel but potentially devastating in civilian contexts, especially as civilian networks and technology (like GPS) are far less secure. Long-Range Strike Capabilities—New challenges for NATO and Northern European partners have emerged with Russia’s development of a long-range precision strike complex. The weapons, now being mounted on new and existing Russian naval vessels, give these vessels the option to stay in the Barents or White Seas and strike targets across Northern Europe. This, combined with air force capabilities based on the Kola Peninsula and in Kaliningrad, presents threats unlike any seen by NATO before. These capabilities require NATO and its partners to use MDA frameworks to monitor launch platforms across the domain. The modern history of MDA begins in the United States, with Homeland Security Presidential Directive – 13 (HSPD-13) / National Security Presidential Directive – 41 (NSPD-41) issued in 2004 by President George W. Bush. The document lays out core interests for the United States to enhance security in the maritime domain and creates a cooperative framework to support MDA operations across different spheres. At the same time, the European concept of maritime security awareness was built upon the U.S. definition of the challenge, placed within the context of rising illicit traffic in the Mediterranean. A weakness of the original MDA and Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA) concepts is that many of the associated capabilities and frameworks are focused on civil maritime issues. Given the global proliferation of advanced military capabilities, like antiship cruise missiles, NATO and its partners require a holistic understanding of the maritime environment that focuses on everything from civil maritime actions to high-end military operations and even issues associated with the maritime environment. A key implication of the heightened maritime threat environment is the need to improve the integration of and attention to undersea aspects of MDA. Antisubmarine warfare (ASW), a traditional strength of Western naval intelligence and operations, has atrophied since the end of the Cold War. Today, Russian submarines with conventional long-range missiles pose a threat to NATO. ASW must be integrated with MDA to address these concerns. Comprehensive understanding of the undersea realm should extend beyond ASW. Russia’s amphibious special forces and combat swimmers threaten more than just military targets, including civilian vessels and undersea cables, which are an integral part of MDA. ASW technology can be useful in countering these and other threats. In the Norwegian Sea, the biggest challenge for NATO is detecting advanced ultra-quiet submarines. This issue is sharpened by dramatically depleted stockpiles of sonobuoys, a constant need for increasingly advanced sonobuoy technology, and an American unwillingness to share highly classified information about the undersea domain. NATO would benefit from an apparatus like the ASW Operations Centers (ASWOC), used most prominently during the Cold War to streamline ASW operations. Integration of platforms is a challenge in the Baltic Sea as well, largely because Sweden and Finland are not NATO states, making data sharing challenging. Frameworks like Sea Surveillance Co-Operation Baltic Sea (SUCBAS) and the Maritime Surveillance (MARSUR) project facilitate the work of regional states to address these issues but more must be done. Additionally, NATO monitoring of the Baltic region is largely domain specific and suffers from not examining the maritime domain holistically. The alliance and its partners should also act to focus on resiliency to continue to operate in the face of jamming and nonkinetic attacks from Russia. The key to enhancing MDA capabilities in Northern Europe is the integration of frameworks across the maritime domain. Cooperation between NATO states and allies is vital to understanding the complex environment. The CSIS study team has identified seven recommendations of particular importance: Create a Baltic Sea MDA analytic center at the Baltic Maritime Component Command (BMCC) at Rostock, Germany; Empower a small analytic team at the BMCC to focus on maritime hybrid issues; Develop a training course for military intelligence officers on best practices for Baltic Sea MDA analysis; Create a classified Baltic Sea data environment that can incorporate both NATO and partner states; Develop a multinational operational framework for the Baltic Sea; Integrate subsurface sensors and antisubmarine warfare into a comprehensive MDA framework; and Acquire significant stockpiles of advanced sonobuoys and associated acoustic processing systems. These priority recommendations are presented in detail in Chapter 4 of the report, along with others. Collectively, their implication would markedly enhance security in Northern Europe by closing identified gaps and ensuring capabilities for collection, analysis, and action in MDA.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North Atlantic, North America, Western Europe, Baltic Sea, Norwegian Seas
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Tensions on the Korean Peninsula preoccupied both Russia and China as the two Koreas edged toward war at the end of 2010. Unlike 60 years ago when both Beijing and Moscow backed Pyongyang in the bloody three-year war, their efforts focused on keeping the delicate peace. The worsening security situation in Northeast Asia, however, was not China”s only concern as Russia was dancing closer with NATO while its “reset” with the US appeared to have yielded some substance. Against this backdrop, Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao traveled to Moscow in late November for the 15th Prime Ministers Meeting with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. This was followed by the ninth SCO Prime Ministers Meeting in Dushanbe Tajikistan. By yearend, Russia”s oil finally started flowing to China through the 900-km Daqing-Skovorodino branch pipeline, 15 years after President Yeltsin first raised the idea.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Asia, Tajikistan, Korea
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Unlike the relatively uneventful first quarter in China-Russia relations, the second quarter was full of confusion, crises, and even conflicts along the peripheries of Russia and China and within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Following the sinking of the ROK Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26, the Korean Peninsula experienced significant tension. On April 6, riots and violence broke out in Kyrgyzstan, leading to the ousting of the Bakiyev government two days later. Both Russia and China joined the US-sponsored UNSC sanctions against Iran, although with differing degrees of reluctance. In the midst of this activity, Moscow cautiously and conspicuously orchestrated a “reset” of its foreign policy with a clear tilt toward Europe and the US. Russia's new round of Zapad-Politik (Westpolitik), eliciting quite a few surprises, if not shocks, for its strategic partner in Beijing.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Beijing
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: For much of the third quarter, Russia and China were besieged by disasters of various kinds. Leaders sent each other messages to express their sympathy and support while relief materials were delivered. Bilateral relations began to gather momentum at the end of August when Prime Minister Putin attended the opening of the Russian-Chinese oil pipeline. In September, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization kicked off its Peace Mission 2010 exercise in Kazakhstan. This was followed by President Medvedev‟s state visit to China in the name of “comprehensively deepening Russian-Chinese strategic partnership relations.” All of this occurred against the backdrop of heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula after the sinking of the South Korea Navy ship in March and the rapid deterioration of China-Japan relations after Japan‟s seizure of a Chinese fishing boat in early September.
  • Topic: NATO, Communications
  • Political Geography: Russia, Japan, China, Kazakhstan, South Korea
  • Author: Sergey Markedonov
  • Publication Date: 11-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As Kyrgyzstan plunges into crisis and the threat of a second Afghanistan in Central Asia looms large, the situation in the "Big Caucasus" seems less pressing and thus overshadowed. The worst scenarios predicted by analysts and politicians for the period of the 2008 August war have not been realized. The Russian attempt to "replace the regime" of Mikhail Saakashvili or apply the Georgian pattern in Ukraine, expected by many in the West, has not taken place. Neither have the attempts from the West (the United States, NATO, and others) to "nudge Georgia into a rematch," which were expected in Moscow. Nonetheless, the Caucasus region remains one of the most vulnerable spaces in Eurasia. In the Caucasus, the first precedent of a revision of borders between the former Soviet republics was established. For the first time in Eurasia, and particularly in the Caucasus, partially recognized states have emerged. While their independence is denied by the United Nations, it is recognized by the Russian Federation, a permanent member of the UN Security Council. After the "hot August" of 2008, Moscow demonstrated its willingness to play the role of a revisionist state for the first time since 1991. Russia defines the "Big Caucasus" as the sphere of its vital interests and priorities and consequently pretends to be a key stakeholder for the whole region.
  • Topic: NATO, Islam, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, United States, Central Asia, Eurasia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Moscow, United Nations
  • Author: Mark Kramer
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In the latter half of the 1990s, as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was preparing to expand its membership for the first time since the admission of Spain in 1982, Russian officials claimed that the entry of former Warsaw Pact countries into NATO would violate a solemn ''pledge'' made by the governments of West Germany and the United States in 1990 not to bring any former Communist states into the alliance. Anatolii Adamishin, who was Soviet deputy foreign minister in 1990, claimed in 1997 that ''we were told during the German reunification process that NATO would not expand.'' Other former Soviet officials, including Mikhail Gorbachev, made similar assertions in 1996—1997. Some Western analysts and former officials, including Jack F. Matlock, who was the U.S. ambassador to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1990, endorsed this view, arguing that Gorbachev received a ''clear commitment that if Germany united, and stayed in NATO, the borders of NATO would not move eastward.'' Pointing to comments recorded by the journalists Michael Beschloss and Strobe Talbott, former U.S. defense secretary Robert McNamara averred that ''the United States pledged never to expand NATO eastward if Moscow would agree to the unification of Germany.'' According to this view, ''the Clinton administration reneged on that commitment . . . when it decided to expand NATO to Eastern Europe.''
  • Topic: NATO, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North Atlantic, Moscow, Germany, Spain
  • Author: Stephen F. Szabo
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Washington Quarterly
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Both Russia and Germany are back on the U.S. agenda. Russia will be a key element of a wide array of policies to the Obama administration, including dealing with Iran and the construction of a broader nonproliferation regime, energy security, nuclear arms reductions, and Afghanistan. Russia policy will also be central to U.S. designs for NATO, including how to deal with Georgia and Ukraine, and the viability of a pan-European security structure.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Russia, Europe, Washington, Ukraine, Georgia, Berlin
  • Author: Yu Bin
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Between June 14-18 Russian and Chinese heads of state interacted on a daily basis at three summits: the Ninth annual SCO summit and the first ever Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) summit (both in Yekaterinburg), and their own annual bilateral meeting in Moscow. The locus of Russian-China relations was, therefore, “relocated” to Russia. Economic issues dominated these meetings as the global financial crisis deepened. Mounting danger on the Korean Peninsula and instability in Iran were also recurring themes. President Hu Jintao's five-day stay in Russia ended when he joined President Dmitry Medvedev to watch a spectacular performance by Chinese and Russian artists in Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre for the 60th anniversary of Russian-China diplomatic relations.
  • Topic: NATO, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Iran, India, Brazil
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Comparative Connections
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: U.S.-Russia relations began the quarter with an informal, yet cordial summit in Moscow in early July. The two presidents met again in New York and Pittsburgh in late September and agreed to push forward a number of agreements, most notably covering arms control and cooperation in Afghanistan. The two also appeared to agree that the incipient Iranian nuclear program needs urgent attention. In what some viewed as a huge concession from Washington, the Obama administration announced prior to the Pittsburgh G20 meeting that it was scrapping a controversial missile defense system that was due to break ground soon in Poland and the Czech Republic. This move, combined with vague Russian promises of support for sanctions against the newly emboldened Iranian regime, gave observers hope that relations could find a common strategic footing. Nevertheless, optimism surrounding U.S.-Russia relations is strictly cautious, as major areas of disagreement still remain, including most notably Moscow's hostile relationship with the governments of Georgia and Ukraine.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, New York, Ukraine