Russia Analytical Report, July 23-30, 2018

This Week’s Highlights:

  • Trump can't ruin the GOP's foreign-policy principles, because there aren't any to ruin, claims Philip Zelikow. Most Republicans who defend Trump over Russian issues do so because they support him for other reasons—just as the disproportionate Republican attention to Benghazi had little to do with Libya, writes this history professor.
  • Trump’s unusual behavior on Russia has created an opening for the Democratic Party to raise Americans’ threat perceptions of Russia, according to Chatham House senior fellow Micah Zenko. Democrats correctly focus the blame for election interference on Moscow, but refrain from examining why U.S. society is so prone and open to such foreign-directed interference, he writes. Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times makes a similar point, arguing that while it is tempting for American liberals to blame Russia for their Donald Trump nightmare, the real problems, in both countries, begin at home. As important, while the Democratic Party may gain in the short-term by inflating the Russia threat, doing so will be at the longer-term peril of the United States, according to Zenko.
  • The uptick in American anxieties following Putin’s invitation to Trump to visit Moscow highlights the extent to which Russia’s efforts at political influence in the U.S. seem counterproductive to Moscow’s long-term interests, argues Paul Saunders, executive director of The Center for the National Interest.
  • The Belarusian leadership’s Russia policy represents symbiosis of adjusting to Moscow’s changing moods, the reciprocal sovereignization of foreign and domestic policy and a constant desire not to cross the Kremlin’s unspoken red lines, writes Artyom Shraibman. In all of this, there is no running away to the West, nor digging foxholes and waiting for Russian tanks, according to Shraibman, a political commentator for the Belarusian portal

I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda

Nuclear security:

  • No significant commentary.

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:

  • No significant commentary.

Iran and its nuclear program:

  • No significant commentary.

New Cold War/Sabre Rattling:

“This Is Not Your Grandfather’s KGB,” David Ignatius, The Washington Post, 07.26.18The author, a veteran foreign correspondent-turned-columnist, writes: “Putin probably doesn’t mind that his intelligence activities are so blatant that they’re a subject of daily public debate. His goal isn’t to steal secrets but to destabilize America’s political system. … Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA Russia specialist, sees a generational change in Russian intelligence. “The price of the shift to a faster, quick-kill approach is an increase in sloppiness. … There’s less oversight by older, more experienced cadre.” … Putin was shaped by the KGB’s rigid bureaucracy and tight secrecy. But as Russia’s president, he has embraced a different operating model—looser, more fragmented, with different services competing for the leader’s favor. The old KGB was broken into two pieces … the SVR, which inherited the foreign spying mission that Putin had served, and the FSB, which took over domestic security. The FSB has become increasingly involved in foreign operations … The GRU, traditionally the most adventurous wing of Russian intelligence, now appears to be resurgent after costly mistakes in the 2008 Georgia war. … The Skripal poisoning illustrates Russia’s willingness to take risks and its lack of concern about getting caught. … An intriguing example of Russia’s new generation of spycraft is the case of Maria Butina … Putin is running a multiplatform spy service for the Internet era—as quick, disposable and potentially devastating as a Snapchat image.”

NATO-Russia relations:

“A Russian Attack on Montenegro Could Mean the End of NATO: Trump doesn’t think the country is worth defending. Putin has already tried to destabilize it once—the West can’t let it happen again,” Jeffrey A. Stacey, Foreign Policy, 07.27.18The author, a national security consultant, writes: “Most worryingly for the West, the coup de grâce could come in the Balkans, long the stage for Russian competition with the West. … Trump appears to be playing along with a Russian ploy that could shatter the NATO alliance by going after its newest member. … An armed Russian incursion in Montenegro—involving hybrid or traditional warfare—would give Trump an opportunity to make good on his word to Fox News and tell NATO allies that Washington will not honor Article 5 of the NATO treaty … Without U.S. involvement in an operation by the NATO Response Force … Europe would likely back off … Russia’s attack would not occur via land-based forces, which would have to travel through multiple countries that lean Western. Instead, the attack would likely come by sea and air. … Unless NATO is fully prepared to counter the threat militarily, the immediate consequence of a Russian attack on Montenegro would be the effective end of the most powerful military alliance in world history.”

“Mr. Putin Meddles in Another Country,” Editorial Board, The Washington Post, 07.25.18The news outlet’s editorial board writes: “Macedonia is smaller than Maryland, has a population of just 2 million and is bordered on three sides by NATO members, so its accession to the alliance ought to be both logical and of scant concern to Moscow. Yet the Putin regime launched an ugly campaign of bribery and subterfuge to stop it. According to Greek authorities, Russia tried to pay off Greek clerics and officials to oppose the deal; according to Macedonia’s prime minister, Moscow funneled hundred of thousands of dollars to NATO opponents there … Macedonia probably will join NATO. And despite the machinations of Mr. Putin and his White House friend, our bet is that the alliance will outlast both of them.”

Missile defense:

  • No significant commentary.

Nuclear arms control:

  • No significant commentary.


  • No significant commentary.

Conflict in Syria:

“Trump Should Work With Putin to Develop a New Framework for Syria: U.S.-Russia relations have reached a generational low—but there’s still room for cooperation to avert a wider war in the Middle East,” Alexander Bick and Brian Katulis, Foreign Policy, 07.23.18The authors, associate director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, write: “The United States and Russia share a key interest in Syria: Neither country wants to see an escalation that could spark a wider war, either between the two leading nuclear powers or between Israel and Iran. … Trump should pursue tough diplomacy with Russia to develop a new framework to de-escalate the conflict in Syria … by leveraging the three de facto zones of control that already exist to freeze the conflict and restart discussions on Syria’s political future. This would involve three key steps: Clue in the rest of the team. … Launch a new diplomatic effort with Russia and Turkey. … Expand stabilization aid.”  

Cyber security:

  • No significant commentary.

Elections interference:

“How Washington Can Prevent Midterm Election Interference: Information Sharing With Silicon Valley Is Crucial,” Joshua A. Geltzer and Dipayan Ghosh, Foreign Affairs, 07.25.18The authors, the executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a fellow at New America and Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, write: “Faced with mounting evidence of continued Russian efforts … the administration needs to take concrete steps to prevent further foreign interference. … Washington needs to place the priority on informing the private sector about what the government is seeing on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections. … The government can even go one step further by declassifying at least portions of what it is learning through sensitive sources and methods so that this information can be shared with the private sector. … It is striking to read that Facebook, not the government, had called the recent meeting—the first of its kind between tech companies and state agencies leading up to the midterms—a mere six months before the upcoming midterms. Let’s hope that a second meeting happens soon and that this time the government shows up prepared not only to learn but to share what it already knows.”

“Butina Is Just the Tip of the Russia Iceberg,” Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post, 07.29.18The author, a columnist for the news outlet, writes: “[Maria] Butina … has many counterparts, agents of influence who are openly agitating for Russian interests … Gianluca Savoini, the leader of the enigmatic Lombardy-Russia Cultural Association, seems to perform a similar role in Italian politics … Bela Kovacs, a Hungarian member of the European Parliament, is on trial in Budapest on a charge of spying on European Union institutions on behalf of Russia. Along with many others, they too are part of a long-term project, though it's not a proletarian revolution. Instead, it's a kleptocratic coup d'état … Butina is at most the tip of the iceberg, one of the sillier, more junior players in a broader game. Far more important are Russian oligarchs bearing bribes or Russian hackers probing vulnerabilities in our political system as well as our electrical grid. To push back against them … we will need not only to catch the odd agent but also to make our political funding systems more transparent, to write new laws banning shell companies and money laundering, and to end the manipulation of social media.” 

Energy exports from CIS:

“Western Sanctions on Russia’s Oil and Gas Sector: A Damage Assessment,” Tatiana Mitrova, Carnegie Moscow Center, 07.25.18The author, director of the Skolkovo Energy Center, writes: “They [the sanctions] operate with an accumulating effect: the more time passes, the greater the potential technological backlog, financing gap and negative consequences … In the long run, sanctions may jeopardize Russia’s oil and gas production volumes and the development of pipeline infrastructure, gradually squeezing the country out of foreign markets, limiting its export revenues and undermining the stability of the Russian economy. … A more consistent application of the current sanctions regime’s financial constraints and a broader interpretation of their technology restrictions could have noticeable negative consequences for Russian oil. … The sanctions also create room for imposing restrictive measures on the gas sector … [P]erhaps the greatest problems for the Russian gas sector may come from the expanded application of the sanctions to export pipelines under CAATSA. … In the longer term, up until 2030, it will be difficult for Russia to maintain its gas production volume. … [T]he country’s oil and gas deposits are objectively deteriorating. … Russian companies currently lack native technology and equipment to develop unconventional and offshore reserves. And sanctions limit access to foreign technology.”

U.S.-Russian economic ties:

  • No significant commentary.

U.S.-Russian relations in general:

“There’s No Such Thing as ‘Traditional’ Republican Foreign Policy. Trump can't ruin the GOP's foreign-policy principles, because there aren't any to ruin,” Philip Zelikow, Foreign Policy, 07.24.18The author, a professor of history at the University of Virginia, writes: “Most Republican officeholders have expressed objections to Trump’s submissiveness to the Russian leader and Russian interests but also made clear that they don’t see it as cause to break with their party’s leader. … There are two generalizations about the history of Republican foreign-policy beliefs that I believe are unassailably true: Ironclad generalization 1: For at least the last 100 years, every leading Republican politician, without exception, was firmly—usually stridently—anti-communist. Ironclad generalization 2: For at least the last 100 years, there has been no other consensus among leading Republican politicians about the character or direction of U.S. engagement with the rest of the world. … Most Republicans who defend Trump over Russian issues do so because they support him for other reasons—just as the disproportionate Republican attention to Benghazi had little to do with Libya. … Trump can't ruin the GOP's foreign-policy principles, because there aren't any to ruin.”

“Democrats Will Regret Becoming the Anti-Russia Party: Riling up the public against Moscow is good for Democrats in the short term—and bad for America,” Micah Zenko, Foreign Policy, 07.24.18The author, a senior fellow at Chatham House, writes: “Perceptions of foreign threats are socially constructed. Within American domestic politics, that means threats are largely constructed by the two major political parties. … [Trump’s] unusual behavior has created an opening for the Democratic Party to raise Americans’ threat perceptions of Russia. … When a political party increases its animus toward a foreign country … it introduces second-order effects that can manifest themselves years later. … The singular foreign-policy focus on Russia also comes with opportunity costs, most notably with regards to China. … There is also a delicate domestic matter that comes with discussions of Russia’s alleged electoral interference. Democrats correctly focus the blame on Moscow but refrain from examining why U.S. society [is] so prone and open to such foreign-directed interference. … The Democratic Party may inflate the threat posed by Russia and Vladimir Putin for short-term political gain, but it does so at the longer-term peril of the United States.”

“Revenge on the US Is Sweet for Vladimir Putin: The Russian president draws satisfaction from embarrassing America,” Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, 07.23.18The author, chief foreign affairs columnist for the news outlet, writes: “Russia and the West can observe the same set of events and see different things happening. … Russia has intervened violently in Ukraine, shot down a civilian aircraft and then poisoned people in Britain, and so has been hit with economic sanctions. The Russians look at the same events and conclude the economic sanctions are further proof of the ingrained Russophobia of the west. Acknowledging these differences of viewpoint should not mean succumbing to total relativism. … But now the American democratic system … is itself in deep trouble. Russia, meanwhile, is once again treated by a US president as a peer superpower. For Mr. Putin, it is a moment of sweet revenge. For American liberals, it should be a cause for reflection. Much of what has gone wrong in Mr. Putin’s Russia flows from its failure to deal with domestic problems … Now it is tempting for American liberals to blame Russia for their Donald Trump nightmare. But the real problems, in both countries, begin at home.”

“Russia Is Not the Soviet Union: Today's Russia is weak and not an existential threat. The messianic, superpower of the USSR was,” Ted Galen Carpenter, The National Interest, 07.28.18The author, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, writes: “U.S. leaders have embraced the same kind of uncompromising, hostile policies [toward Russia] that Washington pursued to contain Soviet power. It is a major blunder that has increasingly poisoned relations with Moscow … Today’s Russia … is a conventional, somewhat conservative, power, whereas the Soviet Union was a messianic, totalitarian power. … An equally crucial difference is that the Soviet Union was a global power … with global ambitions and capabilities to match. … The Kremlin’s ambitions are focused heavily on the near abroad … The Soviet Union was the world’s number two economic power … Russia has an economy roughly the size of Canada’s … It also has only three-quarters of the Soviet Union’s territory … and barely half the population of the old USSR. … [T]hat population is shrinking and is afflicted with an assortment of public health problems … Russia is not a credible rival, much less an existential threat, to the United States and its democratic system. … The only undiminished source of clout is the country's sizeable nuclear arsenal. … Finally, Russia’s security interests actually overlap substantially with America’s—most notably regarding the desire to combat radical Islamic terrorism. … A fundamental shift in U.S. policy is needed, but that requires a major change in America's national psychology. … It will be the ultimate tragic irony if, having avoided war with a totalitarian global adversary, America now stumbles into war because of an out-of-date image of, and policy toward, a conventional, declining regional power.”

“US-Russia Summitry Is at Center Stage Again: If the Kremlin wants a less hostile United States, then its leaders may do well to spend considerably more time assessing the predictable consequences of Russia’s actions,” Paul J. Saunders, The National Interest, 07.29.18The author, executive director of The Center for the National Interest, writes: “The underlying problem … is that neither the [U.S.] president nor his top aides have effectively explained their objectives in the U.S.-Russia relationship or the American national interests at stake. … [W]hile additional presidential-level meetings may be useful and even necessary … it is difficult to understand how President Trump could have viewed inviting Putin to Washington as a good idea. … Putin’s very public invitation to Trump to visit Moscow may look like a no-lose proposition for the Russian president. … [However,] the Russian president has further stoked American anxieties about U.S.-Russia relations … Whether Putin intended this last result or not, it highlights the extent to which Russia’s efforts at political influence in the United States seem counterproductive to Moscow’s long-term interests, almost no matter what one thinks Russia’s objectives may be. … For Russia, like for the United States, there are profound differences between a lack of meaningful cooperation and a reflexively hostile relationship … The latter relationship could present the most extreme dangers, up to and including a nuclear conflict. … The most important summits between leaders in Washington and Moscow … took place precisely when the two governments recognized the dangers of inveterate mutual hostility and sought to limit them. Can they do so again?”

“Trump Can't Win at Foreign Policy the Way He Wins at Golf,” David Ignatius, The Washington Post, 07.25.18The author, a veteran foreign correspondent-turned-columnist, writes: “The Helsinki summit showed that Trump thinks he's his own best foreign policy adviser. The formal interagency process that traditionally surrounds such big events all but disappeared for the U.S.-Russia encounter, with no full National Security Council meetings to prepare for Helsinki and none last week to discuss its results. … Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and one of Trump’s closest informal advisers, outlined the challenge in an interview Tuesday: ‘A major problem for Trump is that he’s a golfer; he doesn’t play a team sport. The rest of the team has to know . . . what play you’re calling.’ … How should Trump's senior advisers deal with a president who operated in Helsinki as a one-man show? … According to Gingrich, Mattis's discussions with Trump about the catastrophe of nuclear war helped persuade the president to embrace an arms-control initiative with Putin. … Trump has given Mattis the freedom to run the Pentagon. Mattis, in return, has been almost agonizingly discreet … Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is … the member of Trump's inner circle who seems most similar to him in outlook and temperament. He's the chief action officer on North Korea and Iran, the administration's two most ambitious, dangerous challenges. … The final piece of the post-Helsinki puzzle is national security adviser John Bolton. He is deliberately tightening the NSC circle, reducing the frequency of formal principals' meetings … Trump, the solo golfer, won't succeed unless he plays with the other members of his foursome.”

“The United States and Russia Aren’t Allies. But Trump and Putin Are,” Robert Kagan, Brookings Institution/ NPR, 07.24.18The author, a Brookings senior fellow, writes that the Trump-Putin summit “was a meeting between allies, with convergent interests and common goals. These, incidentally, have nothing to do with the 2016 election. They have to do with a common view of the liberal world order that the United States helped create seven decades ago. Both leaders seek its destruction. … He [Putin] has regarded the U.S.-led liberal world order as Russia’s greatest adversary his whole life. … Putin never had an interest in integrating Russia into the liberal world order … He depends on confrontation and chaos. And, as it happens, so does Trump. That has certainly been his strength in domestic politics, and he has transferred his domestic modus operandi to the world stage. … It is not just the European Union that he regards as a hostile foe—it is all the institutions and arrangements of the liberal world to which past American presidents of both parties have paid their allegiance.”

“Putin Wanted to Interrogate Me. Trump Called It 'An Incredible Offer.' Why?” Michael McFaul, The Washington Post, 07.27.18The author, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, writes that during the Helsinki summit, “Putin made his American counterpart an offer: He would permit U.S. law enforcement officials to witness the Russian interrogation of 12 Russian spies accused by the United States of interfering in the 2016 campaign, if his own agents could observe the interrogation of a similar number of American intelligence officers who, Russia alleges, committed crimes on Russian soil. … Trump called Putin's crazy proposal ‘an incredible offer.’ … Russian journalists began pinging me, asking for my reaction to a statement from the spokesman for the top Russian prosecutor that implied I was under investigation for violating Russian law! … I thought my days of dealing directly with Putin's regime were over. Yet, here it was spewing yet another crazy story about me, only now ratcheting up the intimidation by accusing me of a crime. … A few days after the Helsinki summit, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House was still considering Putin's proposal … A flurry of outraged public reaction ensued, punctuated by a very rare bipartisan 98-to-0 vote in the Senate in defense of me and my fellow Americans on Putin's list. … I'm relieved to know that my government will not ask me to be interrogated by Russian law enforcement officials, but I still need my president to defend me and the other Americans from the next possible escalatory step … If the Trump administration does not act, then Congress should adopt new sanctions and other coercive moves to deter Russia from threatening U.S. government officials with detention.”

II. Russia’s relations with other countries

Russia’s general foreign policy and relations with “far abroad” countries:

  • No significant commentary.


“Russia Fever Is Distracting the United States From the China Threat,” Josh Rogin, The Washington Post, 07.25.18The author, a columnist for the news outlet, writes: “Russia again dominated the conversation at this year's Aspen Security Forum, an annual event where senior intelligence, law enforcement and national security officials huddle with industry and media to compare notes. … Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein gave a speech on foreign influence operations almost entirely devoted to Russia, barely mentioning China. But in the few instances China did come up during the conference, officials unanimously sounded the alarm. ‘China, from a counterintelligence perspective, in many ways represents the broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country,’ Wray said. … Coats told me he agreed with Wray that the United States needs to become more aware of China's strategy and recognize the challenge as bigger and more complex than Russia's. Coats said the United States has to make a fundamental decision as to whether China is a ‘true adversary’ or a ‘legitimate competitor.’ He said right now it is showing some signs in each direction. … Russia is a real short-term problem, but China is the greater long-term challenge. The United States must respond to what Wray calls China's ‘whole of society’ strategy with our own whole-of-society response. The frame for that discussion should be how to preserve American leadership and the world order China seeks to supplant.”

“How Dangerous Is Putin's Russia? A sober look at the Russian threat is necessary,” Lyle J. Goldstein, The National Interest, 07.29.18The author, a research professor at the U.S. Naval War College, writes: “Trump may have sought to gauge Putin’s willingness to talk about possibly shared concerns regarding China’s rise [during the Helsinki summit]. … there are Russians that are extremely concerned about the ascent of the eastern colossus. … Indeed, the Russian national-security commentator Alexander Chramshikin wrote a fascinating, high-profile article a few months back that starkly warned the Kremlin against its pro-China inclinations. … this Russian analyst appears to admit that Kremlin strategic actions against Europe have been quite over the top … Chramshikin contends that China covets Russia’s resources and also territory. He claims that the supposed partnership between Moscow and Beijing has resulted in no benefit … He views the pro-China tilt in Kremlin policy as a straight-jacket that inhibits better relations with other Asian powers, including both Japan and India, as well as the ASEAN countries. In working closely with China, he asserts that Russia is ‘digging its own grave.’ Above all, he is against the Kremlin having to make a dichotomous choice between the West and China, fearing that the choice may involve a dreaded capitulation to one or the other.” 


  • No significant commentary.

Russia's other post-Soviet neighbors:

“Belarus’s Second Front: Is Lukashenko Really Afraid of Russia?” Artyom Shraibman, Carnegie Moscow Center, 07.24.18The author, a journalist and political commentator for the Belarusian portal, writes: “According to Western diplomats, on the eve of large-scale opposition rallies, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry preemptively explains away the harshness with which security forces may react to protesters as the desire to prevent ‘provocations’ from the east. … Either Lukashenko seriously fears Russia swallowing up Belarus, or he has simply decided it is a convincing argument for his audience at this point in time. Judging by the actions of Belarusian authorities in recent years, the truth is somewhere in the middle. … Lukashenko and his elites do appear to be a little nervous, as though they sense that Moscow is the bull in the regional china shop. … [A]fter the start of the Ukraine crisis, Minsk decided it was time to defend itself against the most aggressive elements of Russia’s external propaganda. … On the other hand, Minsk is not pursuing closer political and economic relations with the West at the level that would be necessary if it truly considered its dependence on Moscow to be a threat. … [I]f any consistent behavior can be identified, it is a symbiosis of adjusting to Moscow’s changing moods, the reciprocal sovereignization of foreign and domestic policy, probing for various options and a constant desire not to cross the Kremlin’s unspoken red lines or anger Moscow to the point of no return. In all of this, there is no running away to the West, nor digging foxholes and waiting for Russian tanks.”

“Black Sea’s Back, Alright? A New Special Series,” Chris Miller, War on the Rocks, 07.26.18The author, assistant professor of international history at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, writes: “Only certain post-Soviet states have become real battlegrounds, and all are located along the shores of the Black Sea. Consider, for example, the frozen conflicts that emerged from the Soviet collapse and that have been sustained with Russian help. Of these conflicts — Moldova’s breakaway Transnistria region, Georgia’s ongoing disputes with its Abkhazia and South Ossetia territories, and now the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine — all ring the Black Sea. … The United States has struggled to devise a strategy toward the Black Sea basin in part because Americans have been divided about how much the region matters, and what issues they should prioritize. … The 2008 and 2014 wars happened in large part because Georgia and Ukraine underestimated Russia’s determination to retain its position of power in the region and overestimated Western powers’ willingness to help them. Yet the continued independence of Georgia and Ukraine suggests that the Kremlin has misread things, too … Any attempt to devise an American strategy toward the Black Sea … will require not only a clearer reckoning about which U.S. interests in the region are worth defending, but also a deeper understanding of the regional factors with which U.S. policies will intersect.”

III. Russia’s domestic policies

Domestic politics, economy and energy:

The Crisis That Could Take Down Putin's Presidency: Domestic politics—not tension with the US—poses the biggest threat to Putin,” Kristy Ironside, The Washington Post, 07.26.18The author, an assistant professor of Russian history at McGill University, writes: “Putin is being assailed for … muting criticism of an unpopular plan to increase Russians' retirement age. The bill … would mandate that men retire at 65 instead of 60, and women retire at 63 instead of 55. … In reforming Russia's pension system, Putin faces the impossible task of satisfying older citizens who see their pensions as a right and guarantee … and younger citizens whose contributions to the pension system are critically needed, but who are now incensed that they might not get to enjoy the same rights and guarantees. Across the board, Russians are grousing at being asked to pay into a system, when the new retirement ages and low life expectancy mean that they won't earn back what they paid in. … Some Russians now see Putin as a threat to their very well-being. And what they decide will have a far greater say in Putin's long-term political fate than anything tied to President Trump or relations with the U.S.”

Defense and aerospace:

“Russia's Shifting Defense Establishment: A reshuffle in Russia's defense industry is likely to have consequences,” Mathieu Boulegue, The National Interest, 07.24.18The author, a research fellow at Chatham House, writes: “One aspect often overlooked in the analysis of the new Russian government is the dismissal of long-time Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin. On May 18, Rogozin was replaced by former Deputy Defence Minister Yuriy Borisov … Although a major reshuffle within the military industry, Rogozin’s dismissal only comes as a half surprise. Rogozin’s demotion seems radical, yet he was given a consolation prize with the position of General Director of Roscosmos. … On June 13, former Kalashnikov CEO Alexey Krivoruchko was appointed Deputy Defense Minister in charge of armament. … A likely policy implication of the nominations of Krivoruchko and Borisov to new positions is the strengthening of the personal networks of long-time Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov. … Network changes within the OPK do not bode well for Shoigu, especially since Chemezov has been lobbying against him and criticizing his military leadership in Syria. … Recent reshuffles in the OPK are also likely to have direct industry consequences. The most evident is the emergence of Rostec as a ‘critical mass’ inside the defence industry.” 

Security, law-enforcement and justice:

  • No significant commentary.