This page features the weekly news and analysis digests compiled by Russia Matters. Explore them by clicking "Read More" below the current week's highlights and subscribe using the subscribe links throughout the site, like the one below, to receive our digests via email. Past digests are available in the News Archive, which is accessible via the link on this page.
This Week’s Highlights:
- Russia is ready to discuss mutual inspections with the U.S. in order to save the INF Treaty, according to a senior Russian official, Reuters reports. A senior U.S. official told the Wall Street Journal that a confidential proposal was given to the Russians earlier this year that might have saved the INF treaty, to which the Russians didn't respond.
- Russia has told the U.S. that two of its strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons will leave Venezuela on Dec.14, the White House said according to Reuters. However, on Dec. 12, Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper reported that Russia is reviewing plans to deploy strategic bombers full time in Venezuela.
- U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said Dec. 13 that a meeting between presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin would not be held until Moscow released three Ukrainian navy vessels and their crews. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Dec. 14 rebuffed the call, saying it could not take precedence over Russia's justice system, according to Reuters.
- The U.S. has denounced the "predatory" practices of Russia and China in Africa as it unveiled a refocused Africa strategy that will include an end to "indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent," according to RFE/RL.
- Rosneft has reportedly canceled plans to invest in joint projects worth up to $30 billion with the National Iranian Oil Company over fears of U.S. sanctions, Reuters reports.
- Fifty-five percent of respondents in a new Levada poll said they hold Russian President Vladimir Putin responsible for the nation’s problems, marking a four-year high and a 6 percent increase over the past year, according to The Moscow Times.
Dear readers: Please be advised that the Russia Analytical Report will not be coming out on Dec. 24 or Dec. 31 due to U.S. public holidays. We look forward to resuming publication Jan. 7.
This Week’s Highlights:
- Structural realities make the prospects for a Chinese-Russian alliance in the longer run grim; however, political leaders live in the present, writes Harvard Professor Graham Allison. With Russia on its side, this adds to China’s heft, pairing a nuclear superpower with an economic one. The result is “an increasingly thick and consequential alignment” between Russia and China, Allison writes.
- According to Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, an illuminating parallel to today’s world order is the nineteenth century Concert of Europe. Haas reminds us that World War I broke out some 60 years after the Concert of Europe had for all intents and purposes broken down in Crimea. According to Professor Yan Xuetong, the world order emerging following the end of the post–Cold War period of U.S. hegemony will be a bipolar one, with China playing the role of junior superpower. Rather than form clearly defined military-economic blocs, most states will adopt a two-track foreign policy, siding with the United States on some issues and China on others, according to Yan.
- Until a better formula is found for ensuring strategic balance and limiting the spread of nuclear weapons, it is a dangerous mistake for U.S. President Donald Trump to jettison agreements like the INF Treaty and New START, argues the New York Times editorial board. Steven Pifer of Brookings asks if Europeans care about the INF Treaty. If they do, European governments will have to make preserving the treaty an urgent priority in their relations with Moscow, Pifer writes.
- A clear-eyed U.S. approach to the Middle East requires accepting that China or Russia, maybe both, will likely gain more of a footing in the region as the U.S. pulls back, argue Associate Professor Mara Karlin and Brookings senior fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes. The good news, they write, is that neither power is likely to make a real bid for regional hegemony.
- It was up to U.S. authorities whether to prosecute Butina or let her hold overt meetings with conservatives, deeming them harmless to national security and perhaps even useful for fostering communication, writes Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky. They decided to prosecute, a decision that sends a message to Americans saying that any Russian they meet could be a Kremlin agent.