This page features the weekly news and analysis digests compiled by Russia Matters. Explore them by clicking "Read More" below the current week's highlights and subscribe using the subscribe links throughout the site, like the one below, to receive our digests via email. Past digests are available in the News Archive, which is accessible via the link on this page.
This Week’s Highlights
- U.S. and Russian diplomats failed to agree on embassy staffing and consular services during an Oct. 11-13 visit to Moscow by U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, AFP reports; however, Nuland had productive discussions on near-future contacts between the Russian and American presidents and on Ukraine, according to TASS. The agency quoted Nuland as saying she and deputy head of the Kremlin administration Dmitry Kozak discussed their countries’ shared interest “in the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.”
- In recent weeks, American officials said they had begun passing intelligence to the Russians about specific hackers who the United States believes are behind threats to companies, cities and infrastructure, The New York Times reports; officials say their Russian counterparts have sounded cooperative, but have not yet made arrests.
- A recent poll from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs said the share of Americans who favor defending Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia if Russia were to invade increased from 44 percent in 2014 to 59 percent today, The Washington Post reports.
- The Russian-Chinese joint exercise Maritime Interaction 2021, scheduled for Oct. 14-17, has started in the Sea of Japan, TASS reports, citing the press office of Russia’s Pacific Fleet. Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry said a Russian warship on Oct. 15 prevented U.S. Navy destroyer USS Chafee from what it described as an attempt to intrude into Russia’s territorial waters in the Sea of Japan, according to AP.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that tensions surrounding Taiwan should be resolved through talks by the countries of the region without outside interference. "To my mind, China does not need this, the use of force. China is a giant powerful economy and … has emerged as the world’s top economy in terms of purchasing power parity, outpacing the United States," Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying Oct. 13. “I ... believe that President Xi Jinping is my friend,” Putin told CNBC in separate comments.
- The deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, Yuri Kokov, told Rossiiskaya Gazeta that Russia has intelligence on “terrorists’ aspirations” to get information on the manufacture of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, “as well as their increased attention to the possible use of pathogenic biological agents and toxic chemicals.”
- Russia’s spending on the nuclear weapons complex by 2024 will increase by 14% as compared to 2022, Interfax quoted State Duma Defense Committee head Andrei Kartapolov as saying.
This Week’s Highlights
- “Absent another galvanizing terrorist attack of the scale of 9/11, a substantive revival of U.S and Russian intelligence cooperation is unlikely,” writes Paul Kolbe, director of the Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center. “The U.S. and Russia should of course exchange threat information, particularly related to terrorist WMD plans and ambitions. But history teaches us that such cooperation is unlikely to remain anything other than one-off exchanges.”
- “U.S. interests in the Middle East are best advanced by a sober, clear-eyed appraisal of the specific challenges posed by Russian activity—not breathless alarmism,” write the Carnegie Endowment’s Frederic Wehrey and Andrew S. Weiss. “In particular, Washington should recognize that in many instances, Moscow will fall short because of its limited capabilities and the ability of local actors to confound its plans.”
- “In the longer term, the current equilibrium in Sino-Russian relations is not stable,” writes Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “China dwarfs Russia economically and offers a viable alternative to Western technology and financial resources that are becoming less available or are increasingly considered unreliable and unsafe in Russia. ... In the next few decades, Russia’s status and role in world affairs will depend far less on its military and diplomats and much more on the success or failure of its domestic transformation.”
- “The current energy crisis [in China] shows just how paradoxical the transition to green energy in China will be,” write Vita Spivak, an analyst for Control Risks. “On the one hand, Beijing needs to guarantee the country’s energy security, and therefore buy more coal. On the other hand, it needs to reduce its dependency on coal-fired energy and move over to gas-powered electricity plants. Both of these imperatives create new opportunities for Russian exporters of energy commodities.”