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.
primer

Russia and US National Interests: Maintaining a Balance of Power in Europe and Asia

Nikolas K. Gvosdev August 05, 2020 RM Exclusives
In this primer, the first in an exclusive series designed to facilitate a reassessment of America’s relationship with Moscow, Nikolas K. Gvosdev argues that U.S. policy toward Moscow should not create incentives for closer Russia-China ties.
article

Where US Sees Democracy Promotion, Russia Sees Regime Change

Benjamin Denison July 29, 2020 RM Exclusives
If U.S. officials were to critically assess the track record of American regime change, they might see that Russian statements against U.S. democracy promotion reflect genuine anxiety about regime security.
article

Russian Moves in Afghanistan Are About Regional Stability, Not Revenge on US

Artemy M. Kalinovsky July 22, 2020 RM Exclusives
U.S. politicians may feel betrayed by Russia’s engagement with the Taliban, but to understand what Russia is up to, they need to stop imagining that Moscow’s every move is somehow intended to undermine the U.S.
Competing Views on Russia

Olga Oliker on Russia: Insights and Recommendations

RM Staff July 16, 2020 RM Exclusives
Russia presents a critical foreign policy challenge to the U.S., "one which will be poorly served by either demonization or conciliation," writes leading Russia expert Olga Oliker. "What is needed is considered, knowledgeable and nuanced policy."
article

How Improved US-Russian Relations Could Weaken Putin’s Case for Remaining in Kremlin Until 2036

Paul Saunders July 08, 2020 RM Exclusives
A more nuanced understanding of Putin’s possible motives for the amendments to Russia's constitution—and how the U.S. could shape them in its policy toward Russia—could facilitate Russia’s leadership transition rather than hinder it.
article

Unplugging the Baltic States: Why Russia’s Economic Approach May Be Shifting

Emily Ferris July 01, 2020 RM Exclusives
The probability of Russia resorting to a Crimea-style intervention in the Baltics remains low. As a key energy supplier and major trading partner for the region, Russia has more to gain by using economic levers as opposed to military ones to retain influence.
article

Russia’s Constitutional Amendments Keep Several Futures Open for Putin

Marlene Laruelle June 25, 2020 RM Exclusives
The aim of the amendments is to keep Putin’s—and Russia's—portfolio of possibilities as wide as possible while reinforcing Russia’s sovereignty from the international scene and the country’s self-reliance.
book review

Belton: Russia’s Kleptocracy Is a Tool for Undermining the West

Lynn Berry June 17, 2020 RM Exclusives
Through interviews with key figures, Belton sheds new light on Putin and argues that the kleptocracy of the Putin era was about far more than just lining pockets: It was about buying influence and threatening the West.
article

New Document Consolidates Russia’s Nuclear Policy in One Place

Olga Oliker June 04, 2020 RM Exclusives
Russia’s new nuclear deterrence strategy document confirms that its policy is not “escalate to de-escalate,” but the document isn't likely to put the debate to rest.
article

The Risks of Autonomous Weapons Systems for Crisis Stability and Conflict Escalation in Future US-Russia Confrontations

Burgess Laird June 02, 2020 RM Exclusives
Autonomous weapons systems could foster crisis instability, conflict escalation in contests between the U.S. and Russia in multiple ways. Policymakers must consider if the putative advantages of such systems are worth the potential risks they may raise.
article

Khodorkovsky Marks the Spot: Russia’s Turning Point From Economic Freedom to State Control

Sergei Guriev May 28, 2020 RM Exclusives
Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s sentencing 15 years ago this month signaled the end of Russia's market reforms and the beginning of ever-increasing state control.
article

Russia and Collective Security: Why CSTO Is No Match for Warsaw Pact

Dmitry Gorenburg May 27, 2020 RM Exclusives
The CSTO is too organizationally weak and insufficiently integrated to serve as a capability multiplier for its members, and the weakness of other member states' military forces make them of limited value to Russia as military allies.