Analysis

This listing contains all the analytical materials posted on the Russia Matters website. These include: RM Exclusives, commissioned by Russia Matters exclusively for this website; Recommended Reads, deemed particularly noteworthy by our editorial team; Partner Posts, originally published by our partners elsewhere; and Future Policy Leaders, pieces by promising young scholars and policy thinkers. Content can be filtered by genre and subject-specific criteria and is updated often. Gradually we will be adding older Recommended Reads and Partner Posts dating back as far as 2011.
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Contending With—Not Accepting—Spheres of Influence

Steven Pifer March 05, 2020 RM Exclusives
While Washington does have to deal with Russia's efforts to establish a sphere of influence in its neighborhood, that doesn't mean the U.S. should accept the legitimacy of those efforts.
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Ukraine and NATO: Disconnect Between State Policy and Public Opinion Is Less Dangerous Than Russia

Daniel Shapiro May 09, 2019 RM Exclusives
Governments in plenty of countries have pushed through major foreign policy initiatives such as NATO entry despite formidable opposition among their citizens. This doesn’t necessarily mean Ukraine should do the same.
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Gangster Geopolitics: The Kremlin’s Use of Criminals as Assets Abroad

Mark Galeotti January 17, 2019 RM Exclusives
Since the worsening of relations with the West in 2014, the Kremlin has increasingly adopted a “mobilization state” approach, turning to any available foreign-policy levers. Gangsters are no exception.
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Five Nations Bicker Over Whether the Caspian Is Lake or Sea

Rahim Rahimov September 05, 2018 Partner Posts
While the countries' leaders hailed the summit as a historic success, experts noted that the convention failed to resolve any disputes and instead merely formalized the existing status quo.
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The August War, Ten Years On: A Retrospective on the Russo-Georgian War

Michael Kofman August 17, 2018 Recommended Reads
In 2008, Moscow demonstrated the will and ability to actively contest the U.S. vision for European security, veto NATO expansion in its neighborhood and challenge Washington’s design for a normative international order where small states can determine their own affairs independent of the interests of great powers.
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Opposition to Nord Stream 2 Makes No Sense for America or Europe

Eugene Rumer August 12, 2018 Recommended Reads
U.S. President Donald Trump and his critics at home and in Europe have found common ground in opposing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
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Can Moscow Mediate Between Israel and Iran in Syria?

Mark N. Katz May 18, 2018 RM Exclusives
As tensions between Iran and Israel rise to new heights, Russia finds itself in a tricky position—trying to balance between two states that are friendly with Moscow but mortal enemies to each other.
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Who Can Prevent a War Between Israel and Iran? Russia

Joost Hiltermann May 03, 2018 Recommended Reads
Russia is uniquely suited to mediating between Israel and Iran, but the West may not support its efforts.  
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Russian-Saudi Rapprochement? Iran and Economic Strain Will Make It Tough

Mark N. Katz September 28, 2017 RM Exclusives
Ties between Moscow and Riyadh remain fragile. Saudi Arabia’s main concern is Iran, while Russia wants both investment and sway in the Middle East. Balancing their geopolitical and economic interests will not be easy.
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Assad Is a Long Way From Victory in Syrian Conflict

David Gardner March 08, 2017
The problem facing Russia and Iran, Assad’s major allies, has a hefty price tag.
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Why Russia Values a Non-Nuclear Iran More Than Higher Oil Prices

Simon Saradzhyan August 11, 2016 Recommended Reads
Although it could have benefited from the failure of nuclear talks with Iran, Russia still chose to support the July 2015 deal. The possible reasons why Moscow chose to support the deal provide a lesson for world leaders looking to build a constructive relationship with Russia on the basis of shared interest.
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The Limits of Russian-Iranian Cooperation

Nikolay Kozhanov November 27, 2015 Recommended Reads
Although Tehran is reassuring Moscow of its partnership in Syria, cooperation between Russia and Iran faces an uncertain future.