Analysis

This listing contains all the analytical materials posted on the Russia Matters website. These include: RM Exclusives, commissioned by Russia Matters exclusively for this website; Recommended Reads, deemed particularly noteworthy by our editorial team; Partner Posts, originally published by our partners elsewhere; and Future Policy Leaders, pieces by promising young scholars and policy thinkers. Content can be filtered by genre and subject-specific criteria and is updated often. Gradually we will be adding older Recommended Reads and Partner Posts dating back as far as 2011.
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Why Russia Is Unlikely to Use Zapad-2021 to Intervene Militarily in European Countries

Simon Saradzhyan August 31, 2021 Partner Posts
As Russia prepares to hold exercises in its western regions again, we hear warnings that Moscow will use the wargames as cover for aggression against another country; however, the conditions necessary for a Russian military intervention are absent.
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Afghanistan Has Never Been Moscow or Washington’s to Win or Lose

Sergey Radchenko August 16, 2021 Recommended Reads
Radchenko: When it comes to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden made the right call, even if the execution was far less impressive than the orderly Soviet pullout some 30 years ago. What is left in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal was never going to be pretty but nor did the Soviets leave a pretty sight. But this hardly changes the basic issue: Getting in was a mistake; getting out was the right thing to do. Because in the end Afghanistan was never Moscow’s, or Washington’s, to win or lose. 
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Afghanistan Is a Wake-Up Call for ‘Major Non-NATO Allies’

Nikolas K. Gvosdev August 16, 2021 Recommended Reads
From Afghanistan to Hungary, there is confusion about what alliance means and what steps the United States is prepared to take on behalf of those it considers allies. These matters need resolution because the United States cannot allow any doubt about what commitments it is prepared to enforce, especially with great power competitors more prepared to test any ambiguity in America’s stance.
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Does the Collective Security Treaty Organization Have a Future?

Kirill Krivosheev July 09, 2021 Partner Posts
The CSTO still has a chance to prove itself—if it can demonstrate effective and coordinated work after the impending withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
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Russia’s National Security Strategy: A Manifesto for a New Era

Dmitri Trenin July 07, 2021 Partner Posts
The central feature of the new strategy is its focus on Russia itself. The Russian leadership has every reason right now to turn homeward to address the glaring weaknesses, imbalances and inequalities of the country’s internal situation.
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The HMS Defender Incident: What happened and What Are the Political Ramifications?

Dmitry Gorenburg July 01, 2021 RM Exclusives
Inadvertent escalation poses the greatest risk of a political confrontation between Russia and NATO resulting in armed conflict, and as long as one or both sides believe that it is beneficial to use their military forces to make political points, we should expect more incidents of this type to take place.
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The Prospects for US-Russia Climate Engagement Under Moscow’s Chairing of the Arctic Council

Katarina Kertysova May 19, 2021 RM Exclusives
Russia will take over the Arctic Council's rotating chairmanship at a time when the organization grapples with multiple challenges and Russia-West relations have hit another historic low.
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Will Russia Invade Ukraine (Again)?

Simon Saradzhyan April 14, 2021 Recommended Reads
Not a day goes by without dire warnings of an imminent Russian military invasion of Ukraine, but Putin is unlikely to order an offensive against Ukraine unless Zelensky makes the first military move on the Donbass chessboard.
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Russia-Ukraine War Alert: What’s Behind It and What Lies Ahead?

Dmitri Trenin April 13, 2021 Recommended Reads
Going overkill in terms of military maneuvers on the Ukrainian border now may avoid the need to do terrible things at a later point.
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Declassified Sources on Gagarin

Asif Siddiqi April 12, 2021 Partner Posts
Collectively these 20 declassified documents provide an extraordinary peek into the preparations and implementation of the flight of Yuri Gagarin, the first Soviet cosmonaut, who flew into space on April 12, 1961.
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The Russian Military is Facing a Looming Demography Crisis

Ethan Woolley February 01, 2021 Partner Posts
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the newly formed Russian Federation’s demography essentially walked off a cliff.
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Should U.S. Missile Defenses Be a Part of Arms Control Negotiations With Russia?

Steven Pifer January 26, 2021 Recommended Reads
The Biden administration should consider whether the benefits to United States and allied security of limiting all nuclear weapons, including non-strategic nuclear arms, would justify accepting some constraints on missile defense.