Topic:

Russia

Russian Soft Power in the Middle East

| July 26, 2019

Russian soft power efforts in the Middle East are bearing fruit, as many young Arabs now view Moscow as an ally and the US as unreliable. Russia wants to build more ties with the Muslim world and views Trump’s presidency as an opportunity in that regard. This ambition is tempered somewhat by the Muslim jihadist threat in Russian areas and, of course, the painful legacy of the war in Afghanistan.

Expect a War Between Russia and China in the 2020s

| July 18, 2019

Notwithstanding the seeming friendship between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Russian president Vladimir Putin, and the growing congruence of both countries’ interests in undermining the US-led international order, relations between Russia and China remain at their core as brittle and prone to mutual suspicion and distrust as they have in the past. It is not unreasonable to expect that that underlying animosity will erupt into violence in the relatively near future.

Russia’s and China’s Geopolitical Offensive in Africa

| July 10, 2019

Both China and Russia have increased their influence on the African continent through money, diplomacy, and other measures – efforts that go directly against US interests. Washington has paid little attention to Africa and will find it difficult to compete with Moscow and Beijing, particularly as other geopolitical theaters require its immediate attention.

Russia Joins Gulf States in Coaching Sudan’s Military

| July 9, 2019

Russia has emerged as Saudi Arabia’s and the UAE’s silent partner in assisting the Sudanese military’s efforts to weaken, if not defeat, a months-long popular revolt that has already toppled president Omar Bashir.

Arab, Russian, and Pakistani Protesters Learn the Lessons of 2011

| June 27, 2019

Demonstrators in Sudan, Algeria, and nations beyond the Middle East such as Pakistan and Russia are applying lessons learned from the 2011 popular Arab revolts as the Sudanese military uses an apparent Saudi-United Arab Emirates template to crack down.

Russia Resurrects Mass Mobilization

| June 25, 2019

Mass mobilization saved the Russian state on many occasions in past centuries, proving effective against Charles XII, Napoleon I, and Hitler. The Russians are still inclined toward mass mobilization, even though modern wars tend to be more short-term. The large-scale military spending required to sustain mass mobilization will create additional problems for the already embattled Russian economy.

Russian-Iranian Strains Raise Possibility of US-Israel-Russia Deal on Syria

| June 14, 2019

With Israel set to host an unprecedented meeting of the national security advisors of the US, Russia, and Israel, this week’s efforts by German FM Heiko Maas and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to mediate between the US and Iran could prove to be but a sideshow. The meeting of the national security advisors, against the backdrop of Syrian and Russian forces pummeling Idlib, the last major stronghold of Syrian rebels, takes on added significance with strains emerging in relations between Moscow and Tehran.

Putin’s Turkish Gambit

| June 9, 2019

The first-ever NATO member state to shoot down a Russian military jet has willingly fallen in line with Vladimir Putin’s “Turkish Gambit,” a strategy designed to drive a deep crack into the NATO alliance.

Russian Elites and Why They Matter

| May 23, 2019

Mainstream analysis of Russian foreign policy decision-making often neglects to factor in the influence of the Russian elites. Despite the inclination of the current Russian government to centralize, elite groups continue to exert considerable influence. Their support for the government is crucial for Vladimir Putin, and their disenchantment with him would be fatal to his rule.

Why Rapprochement with Russia Is Unlikely Under Zelensky

| May 15, 2019

Ukraine has a new president, 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelensky. While some argue that Kiev’s policy toward Russia is now likely to undergo a significant positive change, geopolitical realities suggest the opposite. Ukraine-Russia relations might in fact worsen now that Moscow has eased the citizenship process for Donbas residents.