Emil Avdaliani

The China-US Confrontation: A Russian View

| July 4, 2018

China and the US have different geopolitical imperatives, so tensions are bound to increase between the two powers. Russia’s position in the nascent confrontation will be important to watch, as it is simultaneously under pressure from the West and in the shadow of Chinese economic strength. Russia will likely see US-China competition as providing an opportunity to improve its own geopolitical position.

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Russia in Syria: Caught Between Iran and Israel

| June 24, 2018

Intermittent Israeli strikes against Iranian positions in Syria have alarmed Russia, which is trying to solidify its military gains there. Active Israeli interference could bring down the highly unstable security architecture the Russians are working on in Syria. Moscow must balance between its war ally, Iran, and Israel, an important regional player – two states with radically different geopolitical imperatives.

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The HIV Crisis in Russia

| May 22, 2018

Russia is experiencing an ever-growing number of reported HIV cases since the breakup of the Soviet Union. An estimated 1.5 million HIV cases are accompanied by a general decline in the Russian population that is expected to continue over the next several decades. A diminished population will directly affect Russia’s army, its military capabilities, and its economy, and thus its ability to position itself as a world power.

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Russia vs. the West: The Beginning of the End

| May 13, 2018

The Russia-West confrontation has, over the course of the past several years, reached its most tense point since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Differences between the two sides will only grow as neither side wants to make concessions on Syria, North Korea, Ukraine, Georgia, etc. However, there is also a strong possibility that the West is making significant headway in its competition with Russia over the former Soviet space.

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Despite His Victory, Putin’s Problems Will Grow

| April 15, 2018

On March 18, Russia elected Vladimir Putin for a fourth presidential term, making his rule the longest since Joseph Stalin’s. But this next term will be a new experience for both Putin and the Russian people. In terms of foreign policy, Moscow face increased Western challenges. Internally, Putin will have to decide whether to prolong his rule in 2024 or pick a successor – a process with significant foreign policy reverberations that will involve reshuffles and elite infighting inside the Kremlin.

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The Nascent Russia-Lebanon Alliance and Israel

| March 23, 2018

Though Russia has been gradually increasing its economic and military influence in Lebanon, it is unlikely that Moscow is prepared to irreparably compromise its relations with Israel. Russia faces competition from other actors in Syria, and good relations with Israel can serve its interests there.

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The US National Security Document and the Return of Geopolitics to Eurasia

| March 9, 2018

The new National Security Strategy of the US enumerates the major problems and challenges facing the US and its institutions, as well as the policies Washington plans to adopt to carry out its foreign policy agenda. Though the major thrusts of the document are relatively close to what US statesmen have expressed over the past few years, it can be argued that the new strategy signals a significant development in the US approach to foreign relations: the return of geopolitics.

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The Myth of Russian Weakness

| March 2, 2018

Western-centric expectations of Russian collapse in the face of its recent foreign policy and domestic setbacks fail to consider the Russian mindset, political culture, and “rules of the game,” thus grossly underestimating the regime’s and the country’s resilience.

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Russia and the Israeli-Syrian-Iranian Confrontation

| February 15, 2018

On February 11, 2018, Israel conducted multiple airstrikes on Syrian-Iranian targets in Syria in response to the downing of an Israeli F-16 in Israeli territory following infiltration by an Iranian drone. Moscow’s mild reaction to these events reflects its desire to maintain cooperation with both Tehran and Jerusalem.

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Russia’s Eurasian Disunion

| February 5, 2018

When the Eurasian Economic Union (aka the Eurasian Union) was unveiled in early 2015, it had one major goal: to strengthen Moscow’s position across the former Soviet space. By promising economic benefits and military protection, the Kremlin managed to bring Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan into the Union and solidify its influence over them. However, the Eurasian Union has stalled since then. It lags considerably far behind other major unions across the Eurasian continent in terms of overall economic and political influence, and will continue to face major geopolitical competition from the European Union (EU).

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