Russia Analytical Report, June 6-13, 2022

This Week's Highlights

  • Henry Kissinger tells historian Niall Ferguson that Putin’s problem is that “he’s head of a declining country” and “he’s lost his sense of proportion in this crisis.” Yet, at the end of this war, “a place has to be found for Ukraine and a place has to be found for Russia—if we don’t want Russia to become an outpost of China in Europe,” according to Kissinger.
  • CFR’s Richard Haas believes Putin’s “deep investment in the war” means it “will require someone other than him to take steps that would end Russia’s pariah status, economic crisis and military quagmire.”
  • Ukrainian officials tell the Wall Street Journal that, “at the current rate of advance, absent a sizable increase in Western weapons deliveries, it would likely take the Russians until August or September to take all of the Donbas region.” And “Ukraine's fate will largely depend on how fast and in what quantities these heavy weapons arrive,” according to the Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov and Stephen Fidler.
  • Putin’s claim that his “destiny” is to “return and strengthen” territories, much like it had been for Peter the Great, demonstrates that “he is a master at appropriating history and its victories,” according to Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  • Alexei Levinson of the Levada Center pollster infers some of Moscow’s hopes and intentions for Russia’s post-war future based on sociological research. Among these is the sense that, even without a conclusive victory in Ukraine, Russia will have both the will and the wherewithal to do what no other countries in its neighborhood are prepared to do, with popular support. Writing in Russian for Meduza, he also speculates that one of the main drivers of the Kremlin’s decision to invade Ukraine was the fear that Europe’s green transition would strip Russia of its status as a great power.

NB: The next Russia Analytical Report will appear on Tuesday, June 21 due to the U.S. Juneteenth holiday.



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

Nuclear security and safety:

“What’s at risk due to Russia’s nuclear power dominance?” Matt Bowen and Paul Dabbar, The Hill, 06.12.22. The authors, a research scholar at Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy and a former U.S. undersecretary of energy now with the center as a distinguished visiting fellow, write:

  • “The stark reality is that if Russia stopped delivery of enriched uranium to U.S. power companies, the U.S. could see impacts on reactor operation possibly this year or next. That could lead to reactor outages and, given nuclear power is over 20% of the generation capacity in [some] areas of the country, electricity prices would jump even further than today’s electricity price inflation. There may not be even enough power in those regions to cover demand. Furthermore, if there was any question that Russia might use its energy exports for political purposes, it was made clear this last month when it stopped natural gas deliveries to Poland, Bulgaria and Finland.”
  • “The U.S. needs some proactive policy and purchasing action to start to address this situation. For example, a U.S.-based conversion facility that has been idled for years now plans to restart in 2023 at half its nameplate capacity, but it could displace an even greater amount of Russian conversion services with support from U.S. government policy as well as purchases from private power companies. For enrichment, the U.S. government and private power companies could look at strategies to expand U.S. production and technology to replace the Russian supply as quickly as possible.”

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:

  • No significant developments.

Iran and its nuclear program:

  • No significant developments.

Humanitarian impact of the Ukraine conflict:

“It's time to confront Putin's destructive war on grain,” The Washington Post Editorial Board, 06.08.22. The authors write:

  • According to the Economist, the number of those with access to food so poor that their lives or livelihoods are at immediate risk—'acute food insecurity’— has risen from 108 million to 193 million over the past five years, and Mr. Putin's war will send it even higher. This is the time for affected countries to implore Mr. Putin to stop the madness. A host of nations in Africa, the Middle East and East Asia will feel the pinch of a food crisis. Egypt gets 85.6% of its wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine. Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi ought to knock on the Kremlin's door. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been trying to negotiate an exit corridor for Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea and should keep at it. President Xi Jinping of China, which has warned of a bad winter wheat harvest, ought to tell his ‘good friend’ Mr. Putin that spiking global hunger and famine right now will only make him more enemies.”
  • “Ukraine's silos are full, and another harvest is nearing, but the critical port of Odessa is mined to prevent a Russian invasion, and Russia blockades the Black Sea. It would be tricky to create naval convoys to safely export the grain from Ukraine, but all options and routes ought to be examined. There are no easy answers, but the food security of millions of people is at stake, and a root cause of their misery is one man in the Kremlin.”

“Climate disasters collide with Ukraine war to deepen hunger crisis,” Sarah Kaplan, The Washington Post, 06.13.22. The author, a climate and science reporter, writes:

  • “When Russia invaded earlier this year, threatening Ukraine's exports of grains, crop-rich India was seen as a global buffer, making up for the shortfall. But this spring's erratic rains and scorching heat killed crops and made it dangerous for farmworkers to harvest, devastating India's production. In response, India announced in May they would shut down all grain exports, staving off famine in their own country but threatening starvation abroad.”
  • “It was yet another climate-driven shock to a global food system already in upheaval, and a sign of the hunger crisis that looms as the planet warms. As of last week, about 750,000 people around the world were facing a food security ‘catastrophe’—at which ‘starvation, death, destitution and extremely critical acute malnutrition levels are evident’—according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.N. agency tasked with fighting global hunger. About 49 million are at risk of falling into famine conditions in the months ahead, according to a Hunger Hotspots report published last week by the FAO and the World Food Program, the United Nations' food assistance branch.”
  • “Without humanitarian interventions, experts project that even more people could fall into famine by the end of the year.”

“Who Will Remember the Horrors of Ukraine?” Linda Kinstler, NYT, 06.13.22. The author, whose book “Come to This Court and Cry: How the Holocaust Ends” was published last month, writes:

  • “Genocide is a crime of negation. It is not merely the mass murder of a people; it is also the systematic erasure of their history and culture, the bombing of archives, the burning of artworks. Genocide does everything it can to deprive its victims of justice. It swallows up testimony the moment it is uttered and tries to mobilize it for the purposes of denial. This is what Russian forces have done all over Ukraine.”
  • “As the historian Francine Hirsch has pointed out, Russians and Ukrainians are both looking back to Nuremberg but are taking dramatically different lessons from its example. As more trials begin, there will be further echoes of the past. The first public war crimes trial of Nazis was conducted by Soviet authorities in the city of Kharkiv in 1943, in the city’s drama theater. Today, Ukrainians are calling for a new Kharkiv tribunal, a ‘Nuremberg 2022.’ These words circulate as hashtags online, appeals for a justice still to come.”

Military and intelligence aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts:

“Ukraine Fears Defeat in East Without Surge in Military Aid,” Yaroslav Trofimov and Stephen Fidler, WSJ, 06.13.22. The authors, chief foreign-affairs correspondent and bureau chief at large for the Journal, write:

  • “The war in Ukraine has turned into a grinding artillery contest where Russia is steadily gaining ground thanks to its overwhelming advantage in firepower. As the U.S. and allies gather Wednesday [June 15] to discuss fresh military aid to Kyiv, Ukraine's fate will largely depend on how fast and in what quantities these heavy weapons arrive.”
  • “At the current rate of advance, absent a sizable increase in Western weapons deliveries, it would likely take the Russians until August or September to take all of the Donbas region, Ukrainian officials estimate.”
  • “If Russia secures the Donbas region, Mr. Putin might pause the offensive to regroup and rearm, Ukrainian officials estimate. A cease-fire that some European politicians are proposing, and that would maintain Russian control over southern Ukraine, could last several months or even years. But that pause would be just a prelude to a fiercer assault, they say, as Mr. Putin's strategic goal—seizing Kyiv and eliminating Ukraine as a sovereign state—remains unchanged.”
  • “The Russian advances in the Donbas region have been relatively slow, with Russian forces battling for the town of Severodonetsk, the administrative center of the Ukrainian-controlled Luhansk region, since early May. Yet, since withdrawing troops from Kyiv and the rest of northern Ukraine to focus on the Donbas region, Russia has managed to score significant advances, seizing the towns of Popasna, Kreminna and Rubizhne in the Luhansk region and Svyatohirsk and Svitlodarsk in the Donetsk region. With the exception of Svitlodarsk, which Ukrainian forces abandoned to avoid encirclement, almost all the areas taken by Russia have been rendered largely uninhabitable by shelling.”

“Spy agencies must realize the power of open source intelligence,” Ardi Janjeva and Alexander Harris, FT, 06.06.22. The authors, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute think-tank and a research associate at The Alan Turing Institute, write:

  • “The exponential increase in publicly available data means citizen investigators are now able to track military build-ups, expose human rights abuses and discredit false narratives peddled by state actors in the process.”
  • “The benefits for spy agencies are manifold. Intelligence that can be gathered from the internet or a public database is a cost-effective and minimally intrusive course of action, which frees up resources for insights that cannot be discovered from open-source information. One recent example is a UK intelligence briefing in January suggesting that Russia planned to overthrow Kyiv’s elected government and install a puppet regime led by former Ukrainian politician Yevheniy Murayev.”
  • “While open-source information was able to document Russia’s troop build-up in detail (the ‘who,’ ‘what’ and ‘where’), it could not explain whether the aim was to create coercive leverage in negotiations or to prepare for direct military action (the ‘why’ and ‘what next’). This example demonstrates the need for a mutually reinforcing relationship between Osint [open-source intelligence] and secret intelligence, where the two are combined to produce meaningful analysis.”
  • “Without long-term investment dedicated to Osint capabilities and training, what could be a revolution in working practices will only ever be a short-term boost. The concept has been proved on the battlefields of Ukraine—the least governments can do now is maximize its potential.”

“With Billions Going to Ukraine, Officials Warn of Potential for Fraud, Waste,” Warren P. Strobel and Gordon Lubold, WSJ, 06,13,22. The authors, national security reporters for the Journal, write:

  • “With the U.S. sending roughly $130 million a day in military aid to Ukraine plus economic and other assistance, current and former U.S. officials warn that more must be done to ensure arms and money aren’t diverted, stolen or misused.”
  • “No instances of malfeasance have emerged. .... [But g]iven the vast scale of the aid and the absence of U.S. and NATO oversight personnel in Ukraine, veterans of past U.S. military assistance campaigns say it is likely a matter of time before problems emerge.”

Punitive measures related to Ukraine and their impact globally:

Russia’s Role in the Global Economic Order Has Turned Out to Be More Significant Than the West Believed, Fyodor Lukyanov, Russia in Global Affairs, 06.03.22. The author, who is the journal’s editor and a research professor at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, writes:

  • “The EU intends to make a purposeful effort to rid itself of Russian raw materials, although economically this is totally impractical and mostly unprofitable.”
  • “The surplus Russian resources will go to Asian markets—oil immediately, gas in a couple of years—when this country has the necessary infrastructure in place. The Asian countries are completely satisfied with this situation, because now they will hold the advantage that Europe has had so far: The presence of a very large, stable and relatively cheap source of raw materials. In addition, there is an opportunity to seek more favorable conditions, compared to the general world situation, especially in the near future, while Russia adapts to changing circumstances. If the described scheme becomes a reality, the departure from globalization will proceed at a faster pace.”
  • “The resources of Eurasia, most of which are either located in Russia or depend on its transport and logistics capabilities, have become an important pillar of development for the world’s leading players since the end of the 20th century.”
  • “A change in the political balance in Eurasia will affect the entire world order, and not in favor of those who were its chief beneficiaries until recently.”  

Ukraine-related negotiations:

“No Peace at Any Price in Ukraine: It’s Too Soon for a Lasting Diplomatic Settlement,” Alina Polyakova and Daniel Fried, Foreign Affairs, 06.08.22. The authors, president/CEO of the Center for European Policy Analysis and a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council, write:

  • “To the extent that both the German and Korean solutions worked, they did so thanks to U.S. security guarantees and U.S. troops.”
  • “Western policymakers must accept a harsh truth in Ukraine: The war is likely to grind on for some time.”
  • “Those who doubt Ukraine’s capabilities should consider how much the country has accomplished so far. Just as initial assumptions of a quick Russian victory were wrong, current assumptions of a slow but unstoppable Russian advance may be off, too.”
  • “Ukrainian military success is not inevitable. But it is possible. Putin will not be impressed by firm speeches from Western leaders. What he may well respect, however, is a defeat on the ground, which could convince him to negotiate a settlement that he could portray through his propaganda machine as a victory.”
  • “The United States, Europe and Ukraine’s other friends have a responsibility to help Ukraine prevail commensurate with that possibility. The goal now for the West is to thwart an adversary—not to convince or pressure Ukraine to give up. That means sending more arms to Ukraine and putting more economic pressure on Russia.”
  • “As long as Ukrainians are willing to fight for their homeland and all of Europe, it is the West’s duty to support them. Peace may sound like an appealing talking point, but Ukrainians know that it cannot come at any price. Western policymakers should listen.”

“Is Time on Ukraine’s Side?” Marvin Kalb and Henry J. Aaron, Brookings, 06.10.22. The authors, senior fellows at Brookings, write:

  • “If, as current polls suggest, the Republicans win control of Congress in November, America’s leadership of the global response to Russian aggression in Ukraine would be challenged at home and surely weakened. Reports from Moscow suggest Putin is banking on just such an outcome to the November elections. In other words, Putin may feel time is on his side.”
  • “Much may yet depend on three basic interrelated issues.”
    • “First is whether Ukraine can sustain the fight—hold ground, inflict losses, maintain home-front morale.”
    • “The second issue is military. Although Ukrainian forces have so far prevailed in northern Ukraine, including in defense of Kyiv, they are clearly struggling to maintain their position in the Donbas.”
    • “The third issue concerns the impact of the war and of Western sanctions on the Russian people. Whether Western economic sanctions can do enough damage to the Russian economy to force Putin to readjust his war aims remains uncertain. History gives scant cause for optimism. Economic sanctions have rarely, if ever, caused nations to abandon what they regarded as vital national security objectives.”
    • “Finally, as the war stumbles along, one wonders whether the tight alignment of national interests between the United States and Ukraine will survive. With the passing of time and changes in their domestic politics, it’s likely that differences will emerge.” 
  • “It would be unwise now for them [Western leaders ] to talk of divisive compromises that may later have to be forced on Ukraine as the price for peace.”

“Is an Unjust Peace in Ukraine Better Than a Just War?” Carl Delfeld, National Interest, 06.12.22. The author, a senior fellow at the Hay Seward Center for Economic Security and a former U.S. board member of the Asian Development Bank, writes:

  • “In terms of timing, there are several reasons to begin negotiations over the next few months backed by a united front and aggressive military tactics.”
    • “First, if Russia is not responsive or does not demonstrate good faith during negotiations, it strengthens the case for sustained Ukrainian military action.”
    • “Second, while European and American support of Ukraine is currently strong, the risk of that support wavering will increase as the conflict continues and the world faces greater economic challenges.”
    • “Third, the cost of the war is increasing every day.”
    • “Fourth, it is a paradox that even if Ukraine achieves its ultimate goal of pushing Russia entirely out of its borders, including Crimea, the risks of nuclear escalation rise considerably.”
  • “One realistic option is that Ukraine could renounce joining NATO and become a non-nuclear, non-aligned country in return for receiving border security guarantees from its Western supporters. While historians prefer to analyze how and why wars begin, how wars end is equally important and never easy. Ukraine doves, hawks and those in between need the wisdom and courage to heed Roman statesman Cicero’s advice that sometimes ‘an unjust peace is better than a just war.’”

Great Power rivalry/new Cold War/NATO-Russia relations:

“Henry Kissinger at 99: How to Avoid Another World War: The Cold War Statesman on Putin, China and Our New Moment of Peril,” Niall Ferguson, The Times, 06.12.22. The interviewer, a historian, writes:

  • “I ask if the U.S. is more divided today than at the time of Vietnam. ‘Yes, infinitely more,’ he [Kissinger] replies.”
  • “I ask: ‘Can any leader fix this?’ [Kissinger:] ‘What happens if you have unbridgeable divisions is one of two things. Either the society collapses and is no longer capable of carrying out its missions under either leadership, or it transcends them…’ [Ferguson:] ‘Does it need an external shock or an external enemy?’ [Kissinger:] ‘That’s one way of doing it. Or you could have an unmanageable domestic crisis.’”
  • “‘There’s no question that Zelensky has performed a historic mission,’ Kissinger agrees. ‘He comes from a background that never appeared in Ukrainian leadership at any period in history’—a reference to Zelensky being, like Kissinger, Jewish. ‘He was an accidental president because of frustration with domestic politics. And then he was faced with the attempt by Russia to restore Ukraine to a totally dependent and subordinate position. And he has rallied his country and world opinion behind it in a historic manner. That’s his great achievement.’ The question remains, however, ‘Can he sustain that in making peace, especially a peace that implies some limited sacrifice?’”
  • “‘I thought he was a thoughtful analyst,’ Kissinger says [of Putin], ‘based on a view of Russia as a sort of mystic entity that has held itself together across 11 time zones by a sort of spiritual effort. And in that vision Ukraine has played a special role. The Swedes, the French and the Germans came through that territory [when they invaded Russia] and they were in part defeated because it exhausted them. That’s his [Putin’s] view.’ Yet that view is at odds with those periods of Ukraine’s history that differentiated it from the Russian empire. Putin’s problem, Kissinger says, is that ‘he’s head of a declining country’ and ‘he’s lost his sense of proportion in this crisis.’ There is ‘no excuse’ for what he has done this year.”
  • “‘NATO was the right alliance to face an aggressive Russia when that was the principal threat to world peace,’ he replies. ‘And NATO has grown into an institution reflecting European and American collaboration in an almost unique way. So it’s important to maintain it. But it’s important to recognize that the big issues are going to take place in the relations of the Middle East and Asia to Europe and America.’”
  • “[Kissinger:] ‘The question will now be how to end that war. At its end a place has to be found for Ukraine and a place has to be found for Russia—if we don’t want Russia to become an outpost of China in Europe. … Waiting for China to become Western’ is no longer a plausible strategy. ‘I do not believe that world domination is a Chinese concept, but it could happen that they become so powerful. And that’s not in our interest.’ Nevertheless, he says, the two superpowers ‘have a minimum common obligation to prevent [a catastrophic collision] from happening.’ This was in fact his main point at Davos, though it went largely unnoticed.”

Debate: Kissinger vs. Soros on Russia’s War in Ukraine,” Russia Matters, 06.09.22. Nikolas K. Gvosdev of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and Melinda Haring of the Atlantic Council weigh in on the diverging views expressed in Davos by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and billionaire philanthropist George Soros on what the West should and could do to end the hostilities initiated by Russia against Ukraine:

  • Gvosdev sees the two men’s differences flowing from “fundamentally different assumptions about the nature of the international system and whether ‘means’ or ‘ends’ should have primacy in the formulation of policy, as well as their respective sense of time frames for action.”
  • Haring, in turn, believes that Russia is an imperial power that must be defanged; in her response, she largely agrees with Soros, arguing for the Kremlin’s complete defeat, which she defines as “pushing Russia out of the Donbas completely, bringing Russia’s war criminals to justice … and forcing Moscow to pay for the damages it has caused.”

A Ukraine Strategy for the Long Haul. The West Needs a Policy to Manage a War That Will Go On,” Richard Haass, Foreign Affairs, 06.10.22. The author, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes:

  • “Wars end in only one of two ways: when one side imposes its will on the other, first on the battlefield, then at the negotiating table, or when both sides embrace a compromise they deem preferable to fighting. In Ukraine, neither scenario is likely to materialize anytime soon.”
  • “With victory and compromise both off the table for the foreseeable future, the United States and Europe need a strategy for managing an open-ended conflict.”
  • “‘Managing,’ not ‘solving,’ is the operative word here, because a solution almost certainly would require a fundamental change in Moscow’s behavior, caused either by widespread popular protest in Russia stemming from economic collapse or massive casualties or by Chinese pressure. No solution is likely to happen; it is more probable that one will have to await the emergence of a new Russian leader who is prepared to accept a truly sovereign Ukraine, and that, unfortunately, is beyond the West’s ability to bring about.”
  • “Ukraine will almost certainly hold out. It will, for good and understandable reasons, resist giving up any territory. Ukrainians are confident in the strength of their military and its superior morale, and they believe that territorial compromise would merely feed Putin’s appetite.”
  • “The West thus needs a strategy for the long haul.”
    • “While avoiding direct military involvement, the United States and Europe should keep providing Ukraine with the arms it needs.”
    • “They should back Ukraine’s goal of restoring its full territorial integrity through an open-ended policy of sanctions and diplomacy while holding fast in their refusal to recognize any territory that Putin attempts to make part of Russia.”
    • “They should welcome Finland and Sweden into NATO, either formally as full members or as de facto members covered by side assurances if Turkey continues its opposition.”
    • “They should do all this because they must uphold a critical international norm: that borders cannot be altered by force.”
    • “Sanctions against Russia remain critical.”
    • “The West should also attempt to restore grain exports from Ukraine, which are central to the world’s food security.”
    • “Publicly, U.S. officials should frame the war in Ukraine in terms of order, not democracy. Many of the world’s governments are not democratic, but they can relate to the importance of not being invaded.”
  • “Ultimately, what is probably required to end the war is a change not in Washington but in Moscow. In all likelihood, given Putin’s deep investment in the war, it will require someone other than him to take steps that would end Russia’s pariah status, economic crisis and military quagmire. The West should make clear that it is ready to reward a new Russian leader prepared to take such steps even as it keeps up the pressure on the current one.”

“Ronald Reagan offers a blueprint for dealing with Russia after Ukraine,” Simon Miles, The Washington Post, 06.06.22. The author, an assistant professor at Duke University, writes:

  • “The time has come to ask how to deal with Russia going forward. And while that relationship will not be a new Cold War—the old Cold War had an ideological component, especially in the Soviet Union, which is absent today—American policymakers and their allies can learn a great deal from their 20th-century predecessors. Facing a similar challenge, Ronald Reagan implemented a mixture of carrots and sticks—a blend of competition and cooperation—which once again fits the situation.”
    • “Reagan engaged with the Soviet Union to keep tensions under control, but also to lock in U.S. advantages through diplomatic agreements. Reagan recognized that achieving this latter goal required the United States to expand and flex its military power. Doing so would allow him to exploit and prey upon the Kremlin's numerous—and often self-inflicted—weaknesses.”
    • “Wisely, Reagan offered the Soviets no face-saving off-ramp from the mess of their own making [in Afghanistan]. Instead, he pressured the Kremlin leadership to scramble for any exit they could find—letting the Soviets lose and then take stock.”
    • “While the Soviets were flailing in Afghanistan, Reagan was expanding upon Jimmy Carter's military buildup.”
  • “But this is only half the story of Reagan's management of U.S.-Soviet relations. He also sought to build trust and to understand Soviet needs and realities—a crucial component in the beginning of the end of the Cold War.”
  • “Reagan's mixture of carrot and stick set the table for real gains once Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985, giving the president a negotiating partner who shared his vision of a nuclear-free world.”
  • “The similarities between the two moments provide the contours of a strategy for the Biden administration. As in Afghanistan in the early 1980s, Russia faces the prospect of a humiliating defeat in Ukraine. The United States is aiding Russia's foe, not only with weapons and equipment, but with solidarity and support—as it did with the Afghans in the 1980s. Reagan's example suggests that the United States allow Russia to lose its war and force Putin to face the consequences of his actions. But Reagan also offers another, equally important lesson: When Russia finally comes to understand the limits of its power, the United States would be wise to be ready to come to the table and negotiate.”

“This Is No Time for Western Resolve to Ebb Over Ukraine,” Financial Times Editorial Board, 06.12.22. The authors write:

  • “Without directly discussing borders, U.S. President Joe Biden has also set out a position more robust than Macron’s, and not inconsistent with that of Zelensky. The U.S. will not press Kyiv to make territorial concessions. It wants a ‘democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine’ that can deter future aggression. But it will not try to ‘bring about [Putin’s] ouster,’ or encourage or enable Ukraine to strike beyond its borders.”
  • “While some may privately differ, Western leaders ought to be able to unite around these frameworks—and use them as a guide in all contacts with Russia’s Putin. Above all, they should respect the principle of deciding ‘nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine.’”

“Divisions in the West Threaten Ukraine,” Gideon Rachman, FT, 06.13.22. The author, the paper’s chief foreign affairs commentator, writes:

  • “A lot will depend on what impact the new artillery systems promised to Ukraine have in the coming weeks. Despite their underlying divisions, most Western governments seem to think that if Ukraine can force Russia back to where its armed forces began on Feb. 24, before the invasion, then this would provide a basis for serious negotiations.”
  • “Unfortunately, however, there is no guarantee that Ukraine can achieve this kind of victory—or that either side will stop fighting, if the Feb. 24 lines are reached. In Ukraine, as in Vietnam, the definition of victory is dangerously elusive and the result may be a long, brutal war of attrition.”

“NATO Is Out of Shape and Out of Date,” Edward Lucas, FP, 06.07.22. The author, a nonresident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, writes:

  • “Notwithstanding its apparent unity of purpose since the start of Russia’s war, NATO looks out of shape and out of date. In the run-up to their summit, the allies have been furiously haggling over the language in their new strategic concept, which will frame the alliance’s mission for the coming years and will be unveiled in Madrid. What will it say about Russia? About China? What sacrifices and risks are the member states really willing to accept? Are they willing to pool sovereignty in order to streamline decision-making? Nothing in recent weeks suggests that these questions will get clear answers.”
  • “Any threat or provocation from Russia is unlikely to be clear or conveniently timed. More likely it will be something deliberately ambiguous, such as a Russian drone that ‘accidentally’ strays onto the territory of a front-line state and hits a target. Some countries would favor a tough response. Others would fear escalation and want dialogue. Still others would take the ambiguity as a convenient excuse to do nothing. Would the 30—soon to be 32—national representatives in the North Atlantic Council, the alliance’s deliberative body, really make a speedy and tough decision on how to react? More likely, some of them would plead for delay, diplomacy and compromise. Those actually facing the possibility of attack would be far more hawkish, preferring a sharp military confrontation to even the smallest Russian victory.”

“Former NATO Chief: We ‘Overestimated’ Russia’s Military. Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks to FP about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, the future of NATO, and more,” Ravi Agrawal, FP, 06.06.22. The interviewer, who is the magazine’s editor in chief, quotes Rasmussen as saying:

  • “I think we have made two miscalculations. We have overestimated the strength of the Russian military. Despite huge investments in military equipment and the reopening of old Soviet bases, we have seen a very weak Russian military. It remains to be seen why this is. I think corruption may be one of the reasons. But the other miscalculation is we have underestimated the brutality and the ambitions of President Putin.”
  • “We cannot save Putin from humiliation. The cost of face-saving for Mr. Putin will be much higher than an outright defeat for the Russian troops in Ukraine. That’s why my conclusion is that Ukraine must win this war, because if Putin succeeds in Ukraine, he won’t stop. He will continue into Moldova, Georgia and eventually also put pressure on the three Baltic states. That’s why the Ukrainians must win, and they have the will to fight. It’s our duty to give them the means to fight.”

“NATO-Russia: It’s time to suspend the Founding Act,” Daniel Fried, Steven Pifer and Alexander Vershbow, The Hill, 06.07.22. The authors, former ambassadors who also served as senior directors on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, write:

  • “The Founding Act contained two key assurances to show that NATO enlargement posed no military threat to Russia. First, NATO members reiterated that they had ‘no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members’ (the ‘three no’s’). Second, the Alliance stated that ‘in the current and foreseeable security environment,’ NATO defense did not require the ‘additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces’ in new members. Russia pledged to exercise similar restraint.”
  • “The Alliance can continue to observe the ‘three no’s’ in deterring Russian nuclear threats. NATO should, however, renounce its pledge to refrain from the additional permanent stationing of substantial combat forces.”
  • “The Founding Act was an opportunity to build a new Europe by establishing mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation between Russia and NATO. Unfortunately, it has failed. Suspension will leave open the possibility that it might be restored at a future point, when Russia renews its adherence to the principles of the rules-based international order. However, that may only come after Putin has left office and a new generation of Russian leaders demonstrates that Russia once again shares the goal of a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe.”

“The Real End of Pax Americana. Germany and Japan Are Changing—and So Is the Postwar Order,” Mark Leonard, Foreign Affairs, 06.13.22. The author, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, writes:

  • “The Biden administration hopes that the war in Ukraine will cement a global alliance of democracies, putting both Russia and China on the back foot... But as Germany and Japan become more powerful and more embedded in their respective regional security orders, they are likely to become more assertive in setting their own agendas. That is precisely what happened in the Middle East, where U.S. retrenchment has made countries less willing to follow Washington’s lead without getting something in return. Saudi Arabia, for instance, rejected U.S. requests to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to increase oil production to meet elevated demand. Instead, Riyadh worked with Moscow to keep oil prices high. Other U.S. allies in the region, including Israel and the United Arab Emirates, have been similarly resistant to U.S. demands.”
  • “The changes afoot in Berlin and Tokyo suggest that a different kind of relationship is on the horizon, one that is more balanced than the alliances Washington built and maintained in the postwar era. As the relative importance of U.S. defense contributions falls and the costs of alignment rise, it seems unlikely that Washington will be able to count on automatic support. Instead, the United States will have to get used to more cooperative and equitable relationships in which alignment is earned.”

China-Russia: Allied or aligned?

“With Great-Power Crisis Comes Great-Power Opportunity: The War in Ukraine Should Prompt a New Opening to China,” Francis J. Gavin, Foreign Affairs, 06.09.22. The author, director of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, writes:

  • “Russia’s war has starkly, if surprisingly, demonstrated that Washington’s standing in the world is stronger than previously assumed. Moscow’s flaws have been exposed. Perhaps more consequentially, the crisis has revealed that China’s position vis-à-vis the United States is weaker than many thought. U.S. President Joe Biden will be tempted to exploit these newfound advantages—to draw attention to Chinese problems and highlight American advantages. He should resist that temptation, recognize that China isn’t Russia, and quietly explore whether new global realities allow for a mutually beneficial accommodation with China.” 
  • “[H]istory offers lessons for how the Biden administration might pursue an accommodation with China.”
    • “First, it would have to develop a strategy to deal with the political costs of an effort that will be unpopular with many and that may not succeed.”
    • “Second, the administration must discreetly find an interlocutor who both speaks for the president and is well respected in Beijing.”
    • “Third, the administration would have to be realistic about what it can achieve.”
  • “There is no guarantee that China would respond positively to such a gesture. Beijing may not think the balance of power has shifted in the United States’ favor. Or worse, it may think the balance of power has shifted so dramatically that it must move against Taiwan now or forever lose its chance. Biden will have to bet that Chinese leaders see what he sees: a stronger United States flanked by reinvigorated allies, a weakened cast of authoritarian powers and a potentially enormous downside to deepening rivalry. Should he pursue the path of accommodation, the odds of success will be long—but no longer than those Kennedy faced in 1963. Back then, relations between superpowers were far worse, the geopolitical and ideological divisions between them were much deeper and the issues were equally irreconcilable. In a nuclear world, however, Kennedy recognized that his greatest obligation was to seek peace. Biden must do the same.”

“The best China strategy? Defeat Russia,” Fareed Zakaria, The Washington Post, 06.09.22. The author, a columnist, writes:

  • “The best China strategy right now is to defeat Russia. Xi Jinping made a risky wager in backing Russia strongly on the eve of the invasion. If Russia comes out of this conflict a weak, marginalized country, that will be a serious blow to Xi, who is personally associated with the alliance with Putin. If, on the other hand, Putin survives and somehow manages to stage a comeback, Xi and China will learn an ominous lesson: that the West cannot uphold its rules-based system against a sustained assault.”
  • “Most of the people in top positions in the Biden administration were senior officials in the Obama administration in 2014, when Russia launched its first invasion of Ukraine, annexed Crimea and intervened in eastern Ukraine. They were not able to reverse Moscow's aggression or even make Putin pay much of a price for it. Perhaps at the time, they saw the greatest threat to global order as the Islamic State, or they were focused on the ‘pivot’ to Asia, or they didn't prioritize Ukraine enough. Now they have a second chance, but it is likely to be the last.”

“The Sheriff and the Banker? Russia and China in Central Asia,” Janko Šćepanović, War on the Rocks, 06.13.22.  The author, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Russian Studies in the School of Politics and International Relations of East China Normal University in Shanghai, writes:

  • “China’s gradual and growing bilateral and multilateral security ties with some of Russia’s closest partners have not escaped Moscow’s sight. Officially, it does not admit any concern. In the words of Vladimir Putin, Russia understands China’s need to pursue defensive ties that help it protect its vast territory from regional threats. Jeanne L. Wilson correctly writes that while there are few signs of dissatisfaction, time might not be on Russia’s side.”
  • “Beijing’s bilateral support for poor and vulnerable states like Tajikistan helps Russia, too, by reinforcing its ‘soft underbelly.’ Russia realizes that Central Asian states need it and will continue to rely on it, irrespective of their developing ties with China. This was visible in the cases of Tajikistan and Kazakhstan in 2021 and 2022, respectively, when the two asked for Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization to bolster their security and provide peacekeepers. The existing Russo-Central Asian institutionalized links remain important, which was clear during the Kazakh riots in January 2022.”
  • “More broadly speaking, even with diminished means Russia will not need that much to act as a regional security provider. The January 2022 Collective Security Treaty Organization peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan required only around 2,500 peacekeepers, most of whom came from Russia and did not need to engage in any actual fighting. At that small a price, the operation reaffirmed the roles of both the treaty organization and Russia … as reliable partners to Central Asian states. Significantly, in a show of solidarity and respect for Russia’s nominal role of a ‘sheriff,’ China expressed support for the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan. This and Russia’s lack of objection to China’s bilateral security assistance to Tajikistan are part and parcel of the two states’ synchronized vision for Central Asian security.”

“Has China Lost Europe? How Beijing’s Economic Missteps and Support for Russia Soured European Leaders,” Ian Johnson, Foreign Affairs, 06.10.22. The author, a senior fellow for China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes:

  • “China’s failures in central and eastern Europe highlight the country’s increasingly ideological approach to foreign affairs under Xi Jinping. Most of these failures were self-inflicted. China has long been suspicious of Western alliances, such as NATO, but its decision to openly endorse the Russian position went a step further, essentially telling countries in the 16+1 to abandon one of their key foreign-policy priorities.”
  • “People in the Chinese foreign policy establishment must have recognized how badly this would play in the region, but they were apparently unable to sway the Chinese leadership. Instead, Xi’s desire to strike a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he has strong personal relations, won out. This behavior is part of an overall sidelining of China’s foreign-policy experts in favor of ideologues closer to Xi.”
  • “In the economic sphere, investing in the less wealthy countries of Europe would have been a challenge under any circumstances. But China’s unwillingness to see troubled projects through to completion made the situation worse.”
  • “Beijing’s unyielding approach to Europe may not last forever. Analysts and officials in central and eastern Europe who have dealt with China say that its officials are now strong linguistically in the mosaic of languages and cultures that make up the region. And the Chinese leadership is persistent—although its ambassador’s visit to the region last month was considered a failure, Beijing is unlikely to give up. Success, however, will depend on a return to more pragmatic policies. And with Xi Jinping likely to take another five-year term at a key Communist Party meeting this autumn, that sort of course correction may have to wait.”

“Russian-Chinese Dialogue: Model of 2022” (in Russian), produced by the Russian International Affairs Council, the Russian Academy of Sciences and Fudan University, 2022. The documents takeaways are:

“When signing the Treaty of Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation in 2001, Russia and China made a long-term choice in favor of promoting the principles of a multipolar world order.”

“Russia and China are equally interested in the stability and prosperity of Central Asia and Eurasia as a whole, although their views on how these goals should be achieved may differ.”

“In 2021, with the withdrawal of coalition troops, the situation in Afghanistan changed dramatically; the Taliban returned to power in the country. Under the new conditions, Russia and China should strengthen cooperation on the Afghan issue and pay more attention to it in regional cooperation.”

“The crisis in Kazakhstan has demonstrated that risks of destabilization remain in Central Asia due to the activities of terrorist and extremist movements or the intervention of external forces.”

“Under the new international conditions, the role of the SCO [Shanghai Cooperation Organization] could increase … [including] cooperation in the field of ICT [information and computer technologies], counteracting the militarization of this sphere.”

“Strengthening the interaction between the SCO and the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization] seems relevant, in particular establishing information exchange in the field of combating transnational crime.”

8. “Russian-Chinese partnership ... can help mitigate the effects of Western sanctions.”

Missile defense:

  • No significant developments.

Nuclear arms control:

  • No significant developments.


  • No significant developments.

Conflict in Syria:

  • No significant developments.

Cyber security:

“Nuclear Weapons Must Be Safe from Cyber Threats,” Erin D. Dumbacher and Lynn Rusten, The National Interest, 06.07.22. The authors, a senior program officer at the Nuclear Threat Initiative and vice president of its Global Nuclear Policy Program, write:

  • “There are no international agreements that prohibit cyberattacks against nuclear or related systems. While it is hard to imagine verifiable, legally binding agreements for this purpose, it may be possible to develop norms and practices whereby states with nuclear weapons agree to refrain from such attacks because of mutual self-interest. These and other cooperative measures should be considered in the failsafe review and taken up in strategic stability talks when the political environment is conducive to them.”
  • “At a time when tensions between nuclear powers are higher than ever, each state with nuclear weapons must be vigilant against the risks of miscalculation, unintended escalation and the unacceptable consequences of nuclear use. This includes assuring cybersecurity and resilience. Though negotiating new nuclear agreements with Russia and China in the near term seems unlikely, the Biden administration can, with its failsafe review, identify and undertake unilateral steps to reduce the risks that nuclear weapons could be used, and set a positive and responsible example for the world.”

“The U.S.-Russia conflict is heating up—in cyberspace,” David Ignatius, The Washington Post, 06.07.22. The author, a columnist, writes:

  • “As the war in Ukraine rages, a long-standing battle between Russia and the United States over cyberspace is also heating up, with a top Russian diplomat warning of ‘catastrophic’ consequences if the United States or its allies ‘provoke’ Russia with a cyberattack.”
  • “Andrei Krutskikh, the top cyber expert at the Russian Foreign Ministry, charged in an interview on Monday [June 6] with the Russian newspaper Kommersant that the United States had allegedly ‘unleashed cyber aggression against Russia and its allies.’ … Krutskikh continued ominously: ‘We do not recommend that the United States provoke Russia into retaliatory measures. A rebuff will certainly follow. It will be firm and resolute. However, the outcome of this “mess” could be catastrophic, because there will be no winners in a direct cyber clash of states.’"
  • “The Biden administration, for its part, accused Russia last month of conducting ‘malicious cyber activity’ against Ukraine, including an attack on a commercial satellite communications network that damaged systems in other European countries. The State Department condemned Russia's cyber-meddling, but the senior official said the United States hasn't seen the ‘huge attacks’ some were expecting, perhaps because the Russians ‘don't want a war on two fronts.’"
  • “The U.S.-Russian contest over cyberspace will play out in this September's election for a new secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union, a U.N. agency that could, in theory, take over internet governance. Two leading candidates are Doreen Bogdan-Martin, an American who currently runs one of the ITU's bureaus, and Rashid Ismailov, a Russian who has worked in his country's communications ministry and for Huawei, Nokia and other companies. Watch that space, folks.”

Energy exports from CIS:

  • See nuclear security section above.

Climate change:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian economic ties:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian relations in general:

“Russian Disinformation Efforts on Social Media,” Elina Treyger, Joe Cheravitch and Raphael S. Cohen, RAND, June 2022. The authors, senior political scientists and a defense analyst with RAND, write:

  • “Russia views social media as a double-edged sword, at once harboring anxieties about social media's potential to undermine Russia's security and recognizing its advantages as a low-cost and potentially highly effective weapon of asymmetric warfare.”
  • “Russia's use of social media outside the former Soviet Union picked up most markedly in 2014, suggesting that this behavior is, in part, a reaction to the West's response to the Ukraine conflict.”
  • “The Russian disinformation machine has been neither well organized nor especially well resourced (contrary to some implications in popular media) and the impact of Russian efforts on the West has been uncertain.”
  • “However, even with relatively modest investments, Russian social media activity has been wide reaching, spreading disinformation and propaganda to sizable audiences across multiple platforms.”
  • “Russia appears to view its own activity as successful, so the threat posed by this activity is likely to persist—and, potentially, to grow.”
  • “Western countermeasures have raised awareness of Russian activities, but their impact on Russia's efforts has been uncertain, and Russia appears undeterred.”
  • “Moreover, Russia's social media–based information warfare is evolving. Russia is likely to continue pursuing some of the same goals and targets but is developing more sophisticated tactics and techniques aimed at circumventing Western countermeasures.”

“The Door Between Russia and America Is Slamming Shut,” Anastasia Edel, NYT, 06.09.22. The author—who grew up in southern Russia, lives in San Francisco and published a book on Putin—writes:

  • “Apart from wreaking physical horror, Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine is erasing countless intangibles, among them the collective good will of the West toward Russia.”
  • “This is a loss for both countries, and Russia’s will be greater if Mr. Putin continues doubling down on carnage and isolation. That future isn’t set in stone. After all, the perestroika years, when the Soviet Union embarked on wholesale reforms in the name of openness, showed that Russia is capable of change.”

II. Russia’s domestic policies

Domestic politics, economy and energy:

“Fascism: A Label Repurposed and Misapplied,” Andrew Bacevich, Quincy Institute for Responsbile Statecraft, 06.07.22. The author, president and board chairman at the institute, writes:

  • “[Timothy] Synder’s mid-May op-ed in the New York Times offers a case in point. ‘We Should Say It,’ the title advises. ‘Russia Is Fascist.’ … I just wish Professor Snyder would stick to history.”
  • “The truth is that neither Russian ‘fascism’ nor its Chinese variant poses a significant danger to American democracy, which is actually threatened from within.  Joe Biden once appeared to grasp this reality, even if he now finds it politically expedient to pretend otherwise.”
  • “Our salvation lies not in flinging around the f-word to justify more wars, but in rediscovering a different lexicon. To start with, consider this precept to which Americans were once devoted: Charity begins at home. Charity, as in tolerance, compassion, generosity and understanding: that’s where the preservation of our democracy ought to begin.”

“Communism Still Haunts Russia; Putin's tyranny followed organically from the decade of anarchy kicked off by the Soviet collapse,” Robert D. Kaplan, WSJ, 06.08.22. The author, who holds a chair in geopolitics at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, writes:

  • “A post-Putin Russia is by no means imminent. The West will need to be patient and understanding.”
  • “If Mr. Putin's military defeat in Ukraine does ultimately lead to unrest in Moscow, the drama will only heighten. A post-Putin Russia will continue to be Europe's greatest geopolitical challenge, and so we should be wary about quick fixes in Russian society or politics.”
  • “But because Russian bestiality in Ukraine is in part the end result of a century of ideology, it follows that a break from ideology offers the best hope for the future. A day may yet come when the West will have to help Russia.”

“Vladimir Kara-Murza from jail: The worst nightmare for political prisoners,” Vladimir Kara-Murza, The Washington Post, 06.07.22. The author, a Russian opposition activist and Post contributing columnist, writes:

  • "‘The prisoner's worst nightmare is the thought of being forgotten.’ I would often quote this line passed on by Irwin Cotler—a towering figure in the human rights community, former justice minister of Canada and international lawyer for prisoners of conscience, including Andrei Sakharov, Natan Sharansky and Nelson Mandela—at events and hearings we held around the world to draw attention to the plight of political prisoners in Russia.”
  • “According to the (almost certainly incomplete) count by the Memorial Human Rights Center, there are hundreds of prisoners of conscience in Vladimir Putin's Russia. People such as Alexei Navalny, Andrei Pivovarov, Lilia Chanysheva, Alexei Pichugin, Yuri Dmitriev, Pavel Zelensky and many, many others—whose only ‘crime’ is to hold political or religious beliefs unwelcome in the Kremlin. Please remember them. Please speak out on their behalf. Please advocate their release—which will come, I have no doubt.”

“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: Why the Russian Public Is Tired of the War in Ukraine,” Andrei  Kolesnikov, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 06.07.22. The author, a senior fellow at the endowment, writes:

  • “One thing we can say for sure is that however the conflict ends, Russians will still be outcasts, equated in Western public opinion to the Germans in 1945. With 14 million people pushed from their homes, a truly staggering number, Russians will continue to face isolation and condemnation.”

“Putin's vision of nationalism and Russian exceptionalism,” David Ignatius, The Washington Post, 06.09.22. The author, a columnist, writes:

  • “Putin's invasion of Ukraine represents his version of what a U.S. official [who specializes in Russia] calls ‘Russian exceptionalism’—the idea that Russia is a unique Eurasian imperial system, historically sprawled across two continents, that can play by its own rules.”
  • “One inspiration for Putin's dream of an exceptional Eurasian empire is the late Russian historian Lev Gumilev, according to the U.S. official. In Putin's 2016 annual speech to the Russian Federal Assembly, he lauded what Gumilev had called passionarnost, which could be translated as ‘passionism.’ Rather than trying to become Western and bourgeois, Gumilev argued, Russia should recognize that it ‘owed its heritage more to the fierce nomads and steppe tribes of Eurasia,’ as the Financial Times explained in a 2016 essay about the Russian historian.”
  • “It would be comforting to think that the Ukraine war and its assault on the European order are simply products of Putin's fevered imagination. But they have deep roots in the history and culture of the sprawling Russian federation. This truly is a battle of East vs. West—and of two versions of exceptionalism.”

“The Future Defederation of Russia. All empires eventually fall apart. The Russian Federation is next,” Alexander Etkind, The Moscow Times/Desk Russie, 06.08.22. The author, a professor of history at the European University Institute in Florence, writes:

  • “What happened to the Russian Empire? It disintegrated at the end of an imperialist war. What happened to the Soviet Union? It disintegrated at the end of the Cold War. What will happen to the Russian Federation? The answer is obvious, even if it saddens many.”
  • “Almost all empires disappeared in the 20th century, in a process that has been called ‘decolonization.’ Empires were defeated by other types of state: national and federal. Contemporary Russia, a nation-state, calls itself a federation, like Germany or Switzerland, when in fact it is behaving like an empire in its hour of decline.”
  • “I am not calling for the collapse of the Russian Federation—I am predicting it, and that makes a difference. Again, the disintegration could have been avoided—it would have been enough not to start a war with Ukraine. But revanchism was stronger than caution.”
  • “The territories that belonged to other national entities before becoming part of Russia after the Second World War (East Prussia, parts of Karelia, the Kuril Islands) will leave the federation with undisguised pleasure. Ethnic and religious tensions in particularly complex regions such as the Caucasus may lead to new wars. With the collapse of the federation, social inequalities, a hallmark of Russia in recent decades, will increase further. The provinces producing raw materials will be richer, and other regions will be poorer. Enjoying freedom, their people will show new creativity. They will start trading in what only free societies can create.”

“The Informational Dictator’s Dilemma: Citizen Responses to Media Censorship and Control in Russia and Belarus,” Samuel Green, PONARS, June 2022. The author, director of the Russia Institute at King's College London, writes:

  • “The two contrasting approaches to media control and censorship in Belarus and Russia—one focused on coercion and the other, until recently, focused on curation and cooptation—have given rise to two very different media systems, and two very different structures of media consumption.”
  • “Given recent developments in Russia, the Kremlin may want to take notice of Lukashenka’s struggles in the media sphere. Russia’s pre-2021 approach to media control allowed for many media outlets and perhaps most media consumers to exist in a grey zone, in which oppositional messages could not be entirely excluded but in which few oppositional citizens could be impervious to state messaging. Moscow’s current tack risks undoing that, pushing oppositional media consumers into a space beyond the state’s reach, even as audiences for state television continue to decline. As oppositional audiences grow, Putin—like Lukashenka—will find it increasingly difficult to win them back.”

Vladimir Putin’s meeting with young entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists,”, 06.09.22. In excerpts from the meeting transcript, Putin was quoted as saying:

  • “The world is changing, and it is doing so rapidly. In order to claim some kind of leadership—I am not even talking about global leadership, I mean leadership in any area—any country, any people, any ethnic group should ensure their sovereignty. Because there is no in-between, no intermediate state: Either a country is sovereign, or it is a colony, no matter what the colonies are called.”  
  • “Yes, there were eras in the history of our country when we had to retreat, but only in order to mobilize and move forward, concentrate and move forward.”
  • “We would never have hypersonic weapons if it were not for the capabilities of our science and industry. ...The same is true of the economy in general. A limping, sneezing and coughing economy is the end of it. What kind of consolidation of society can we then talk about? And if there is no consolidation, there will be nothing else, either… In order to be able to effectively possess and use all of that, it is necessary to address basic tasks, such as demography, which means healthcare, environment, research, education and upbringing, which is very important.”
  • “We visited the exhibition dedicated to the 350th birth anniversary of Peter the Great. Almost nothing has changed. It is a remarkable thing. You come to this realization, this understanding. Peter the Great waged the Great Northern War for 21 years. On the face of it, he was at war with Sweden taking something away from it… He was not taking away anything, he was returning [something]. This is how it was. The areas around Lake Ladoga, where St. Petersburg was founded. When he founded the new capital, none of the European countries recognized this territory as part of Russia; everyone recognized it as part of Sweden. However, from time immemorial, the Slavs lived there along with the Finno-Ugric peoples, and this territory was under Russia’s control. The same is true of the western direction, Narva and his first campaigns. Why would he go there? He was returning [lands] and reinforcing, that is what he was doing. Clearly, it fell to our lot to return and reinforce as well. And if we operate on the premise that these basic values constitute the basis of our existence, we will certainly succeed in achieving our goals.”
    • “Military Operation as Second Pandemic” (in Russian), Andrei Kolesnikov, New Times, 06.13.22. The author, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, writes: “Putin will soon need another mobilization: The presidential campaign should be starting in less than a year and a half. What will he offer up? Most likely, the “post-operational” restoration of the ‘returned and strengthened’ imperial territories he himself destroyed. He has already equated himself with Peter the Great, who ‘returned and strengthened’ imperial territories. Our autocrat is a master at appropriating history and its victories—so much so, that it sometimes seems as if the Russian president personally took the Reichstag in May 1945. And, perhaps, the exploitation of imperial narratives will be the main … offering to the masses.”
    • “Putin Invokes Peter the Great as Russia Prepares for Long War,” Mark Episkopos, The National Interest, 06.12.22. The author, a national security reporter for the magazine, writes: “The thrust of the Russian president’s message extends far beyond the war unfolding in Ukraine. It speaks to the restoration of what Putin sees as Russia’s rightful place in the international system, supposedly stolen from it in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse through the loss of empire on the one hand and successive rounds of NATO expansion on the other. For the 69-year-old leader who is approaching his 24th year of rule, it has become a matter of personal legacy and national destiny to revise Russia’s standing in the post-Cold War global order. As the war in Ukraine roils on with seemingly no diplomatic offramps, it risks becoming—like Peter’s Great Northern War—a long and bitter conflict with irrevocable consequences for Europe’s security architecture.”

Defense and aerospace:

“Sanctions and Satellites: The Space Industry After the Russo-Ukrainian War,” Jeremy Grunert, War on the Rocks, 06.10.22. The author, a major in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps and an assistant professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, writes:

  • “The short-term impact of the Russo-Ukrainian war and its resulting sanctions provide some hints at its likely effects on the commercial space industry over time.”
    • “The lines of important space-related industries, such as the space-launch market and the international market for aerospace and technology items, are likely to be re-drawn.”
    • “Russia’s share of the space-launch market is likely to diminish even further than it already has over the past several years, potentially pushing the country out of the commercial space-launch business entirely.”
    • “States will likely begin paying greater attention to their economic dependencies on others—a reckoning that implicates (but by no means is limited to) the commercial space market.”
    • “Finally, as the military benefits and impacts of commercial and private space systems become increasingly apparent, the risk that private space systems will become military targets rises. For private space industries, these changes portend both risks and rewards.”
  • “As Russia is increasingly sidelined from the outer-space launch and commercial technologies markets, commercial space entities in Europe and the United States, as well as developing space industries around the world, stand to reap the benefits of these growing markets. The increasing risk of attack or interference, however, will impose additional costs on an already expensive and inherently risky industry.”
  •  See section on military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts above.

Security, law-enforcement and justice:

  • No significant developments.

III. Russia’s relations with other countries

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

“Japan-Russia Relations After the Russian-Ukrainian War,” Felix Chang, FPRI, 06.08.22. The author, a senior fellow at FPRI, writes:

  • “As dim as relations between Japan and Russia have become, they are not hopeless. Japan did not entirely cut itself off from Russia. While Tokyo banned the import of Russian coal, it did not stop purchases of Russian oil and natural gas. More interestingly, in April, Japan struck a new deal with Russia over salmon and trout fishing quotas.”
  • “The tighter Western economic sanctions against Russia are, the more leverage Japan has, especially if China and Russia were to fall out as they did during the Cold War. Although [Prime Minister Fumio] Kishida may have little interest in talking to Russia now, Japan might find itself in a better position to do so in the future. Naturally, doing so too soon would run the risk of irritating Japan’s Western allies, particularly the United States. But Tokyo could argue that, going forward, it would benefit Washington to have Japan focused on China, rather than looking over its shoulder at Russia. In the meantime, Tokyo would do well to encourage others to turn the screws on Moscow just a bit more.”

“Arctic Repercussions of Russia’s Invasion,” Michael Paul, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), 06.10.22. The author, an SWP senior fellow, writes:

  • “Russia accounts for about half the Arctic’s population and territory. For that reason alone, cooperation cannot be suspended indefinitely. But which issues could be meaningfully discussed with Moscow—and how, when and with whom? Together with an American colleague, Russian researchers have identified one topic. Their proposal for an effective regional governance system for civil nuclear safety in the Arctic builds on the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation of 1996, which dealt with the radioactive legacy of the Soviet navy (and contributed indirectly to the founding of the Arctic Council). It also takes up one element of the Arctic Council Strategic Plan, which was adopted in 2021 in Reykjavik under the Icelandic chairmanship. Along with rescue operations and cleaning up oil pollution, these are issues whose significance is uncontested among the Arctic states—and in retrospect formed a significant basis for successful cooperation in the Arctic.”
  • “But restarting cooperation will not be easy, even if Russia ended the war tomorrow. It will be a long time before the Arctic can become a region of constructive dialogue again.”

“Why the Kremlin Considers the War in Ukraine to Be the Right Decision, No Matter What” (in Russian), Alexei Levinson, Meduza, 06.10.22. The author, a sociologist with the independent Moscow-based Levada Center pollster and head of its department of socio-cultural studies, writes, in summary, that:

  • According to Levada’s research, Vladimir Putin, following the example of the late Vladimir Zhirinovsky, gradually “managed … to align his sense of the world with that which had formed within Russian society” after the failure of both communism and democracy, combining “fragments of the Soviet and the post-Soviet layered onto archaic structures that divide the world into ‘us’ and ‘them,’ with different norms for the one and the other. That is what Russians have picked up on, and that is why they have welcomed the majority of Putin’s steps and gestures.”
  • Based on this, we can make some inferences about the Russian leadership’s logic and plans. Consider how the world will likely change by the mid-21st century and what Russia’s place in it would have been if not for the invasion of Ukraine: It is these future scenarios that seem to have “forced the Kremlin to do what it did on Feb. 24.”
  • Prior to the war, the Kremlin feared that Europe’s green transition would deprive Moscow of the political heft and economic benefit it derived from being Europe’s chief supplier of hydrocarbons. Indirect evidence suggests that in 2021 the Russian leadership gradually came to believe that Europe’s clean-energy plans, if realized, could deprive Russia of its great-power status.
  • The solution was to become “Europe’s political hegemon,” able to dictate its own rules, by using force to pull “Central Europe’s largest country” into Moscow’s camp. This would give Russia the “political capital” to be on par with the U.S. and China and divide the world into spheres of influence, especially since Russians believed that Europe was in steep decline, America’s president was weak and distracted and Ukraine was a “‘circus’ run by a ‘clown.’” They also believed Russia had a mighty army, which had seen trillions of rubles.
  • Russia and Ukraine are both “transitional” countries, with diverse populations, where elites who accumulated wealth in the 1990s are dependent on the leader. Russia’s diversity, however, is essentially “imperial,” with a dominant, relatively homogenous ethnic majority; in Ukraine, on the contrary, diverse ethnic and religious groups co-exist as equals. This explains the difference in how long the two countries’ leaders have stayed in power.
  • In Ukraine’s battle of elites over the past few decades, those who favored a pro-Western course have been coming out on top. Russia also has elites who feel they would benefit from such a course. But, thus far, the elites who have prevailed are those who find the existing “transitory state most beneficial: expenditures are borne by the state, while revenue goes to [business] owners… These elites have been oriented first and foremost toward the export of natural resources and feared a change in the economic model. … They hired the special services” to preserve this status quo, producing a leader-directed battle that has ejected some elites and given priority to others.
  • Putin has complained that Russia is difficult to govern. This is, in large part, an ongoing consequence of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which had a hierarchy of officials in charge of all aspects of the country’s life. One reason that Russia continues to allow its citizens to leave, unlike “classical totalitarian regimes,” is to rid itself of those who don’t fit into an easily governable system.
  • If Europe’s green transition were to undermine Russia’s place in the world, while Ukrainians grew closer to Europe and saw an improved standard of living, Russians, seeing this, might be expected to demand changes akin to those in the 1990s.
  • Even though its military operation in Ukraine didn’t go according to plan, Russia’s leadership remembers that ordinary Russians, according to multiple polls, are willing to live “simply,” and the state has enough coercive force to deal with those who dissent. So there’s nothing to worry about on the home front.
  • As for a conclusive victory in Ukraine, it would be nice but not absolutely necessary. Ukraine will need a decade or so to recover, even with European help. So Moscow can keep the war going or wind it down, “without losing face, of course.” The West won’t be writing off Russia and some acceptable deal will be made.
  • And so, here’s how we reconstruct the hopes and intentions of Russia’s leadership for the country’s post-war future based on what we know (without making any forecasts): Russia will keep exporting fossil fuels, though earning less than before; Russia will have a powerful, battle-hardened military and all its neighbors will remember that; Russia will have leaders prepared to do what no other leaders in its neighborhood are prepared to do, with popular support; the Russian people will be proud of their country; life in Russia will be fine—nothing fancy, but all the essentials, like food and fuel, will be available; and what keeps people going will be hope for the future.


"‘Ukrainian Nazis’ as an Invented Enemy,” Georgiy Kasianov, RussiaPost, 06.08.22. The author, a professor at the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Poland, writes:

  • “Ukrainian nationalists sought to present themselves as the true representatives of the Ukrainian people, the only force that correctly understand Ukraine’s past, present and future. They claim to speak on behalf of all ethnic Ukrainians, indistinctly claiming that all Ukrainians are nationalists or should be nationalists. In their view, the cause of the problems of Ukraine and Ukrainians lay in deviation from the principles of nationalism.”
  • “Russian propaganda actively makes use of such exaggerated claims, presenting Ukraine as a sanctuary of nationalism. Like all propaganda, it is based on a selective approach to the facts, inflating some and ignoring others. The existence of right-wing nationalist organizations and parties in Ukraine, the presence of their representatives in government and regular street actions have been presented as the triumph of stone-age nationalism.”
  • “An inevitable evolution was observed: from the idea of a ‘fraternal Ukrainian people’ to that of Ukraine captured by nationalists and finally to all Ukrainians somehow being infected with nationalism. The apotheosis was the accusation that all Ukrainians were either Nazis or Nazi collaborators, active or passive.”
  • “Combined with the extreme militant cult surrounding the Victory of 1945, which has become a consolidating myth for Russia, ‘Ukrainian Nazism’ looks like an increasingly dangerous fake aimed at dehumanizing Ukrainians and eliminating Ukraine.”

Russia's other post-Soviet neighbors:

“How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine has Affected Kazakh Politics,” Maximilian Hess, FPRI, 06.08.22. The author, a Central Asia fellow at FPRI, writes:

  • “A referendum on June 5 in which Kazakhs voted on whether to remove Nazarbayev’s constitutionally protected role, restore the constitutional court and remove some presidential powers, as well as banning the president’s family from certain posts, passed easily, with the caveat that elections in Kazakhstan are not seen to be free and fair.”
  • “Despite the referendum, Tokayev has been unable to fully escape Nazarbayev’s legacy. Members of Nazarbayev’s family have been removed from positions at a host of state agencies, but Nazarbayev appears to be quietly living out a long-overdue retirement.”
  • “The protests and Russian intervention in January proved that Kazakhstan remains firmly within Russia’s sphere of influence despite decades of this supposed multi-vectoral foreign policy under Nazarbayev. Tokayev may be willing to attempt to portray himself as independent of Moscow given the fallout from its unilateral invasion of Ukraine, but he is an experienced practitioner in presenting this image rather than a leader genuinely seeking to move out of Moscow’s orbit.”