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:
- In his interview with The Economist, French President Emmanuel Macron said: "To my mind, what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” and advocated for European autonomy in defense. In response, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised NATO, according to the New York Times, while German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas rejected Macron's characterization. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Macron was “overreacting,” but Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry, wrote that Macron’s were "[g]olden words … an exact definition of the current state of NATO," The Moscow Times reports.
- Macron also said in his interview with The Economist, “I look at Russia and I ask myself what strategic choices it has. … I don't believe much in this stand-alone option … A second path that Russia could have taken is the Eurasian model … I don't believe for one second that his [Putin’s] strategy is to be China's vassal. … I don’t see how, in the long term, his project can be anything other than a partnership project with Europe.”
- Russia and the U.S. have named the people who will be responsible for the creation of a high-level group in the business sector, which Putin proposed last year to Trump, according to Kommersant. On the Russian side, President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin will deal with the issue, and on the American side, the head of the American-Russian Business Council, Daniel Russell, has been named.
- The U.S. Navy Secretary says the U.S. is engaged in great power competition and that, through military procurement, Russia and China were “all of a sudden in your supply chain, [which is] not to the best interests of what you’re doing,” Financial Times reports.
- Russia’s navy is on track to deploy up to 32 of its “Poseidon” thermonuclear drones across four submarines, The National Interest reports, citing Russian state media.
- Russia has remained a target of international terrorist groups, particularly ISIS, according to the U.S. State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism. Low-level militant terrorist activity remained a problem in the North Caucasus in 2018 despite increases to counterterrorism activities and political consolidation efforts, the reports said. Reuters reports that Russia's FSB has identified 2,000 Russian nationals who are relatives of militants in the Middle East and could try to return to Russia, posing a terrorist threat.
- The dollar denominated Russia Trading System index hit 1,471 as of Nov. 7, its highest level in six years, according to bne Intellinews. This week’s performance pushes the market a little higher into territory it has not explored since the annexation of the Crimea in 2014.
This Week’s Highlights:
- Russia can only be an international spoiler; behind the adventurism, it is a country in decline, claims Harvard Prof. Joseph Nye, while Peter Roberts, director of military sciences at RUSI, argues that Russia is arguably in its ascendency.
- When Russia travels abroad, it goes for security buffers as in Ukraine, status as in Syria and mostly money elsewhere, writes Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. Russia is back and here to stay, Trenin argues, and in the world increasingly dominated by the U.S.-China rivalry, major independent actors such as Russia could play an important role in averting a costly bipolar confrontation.
- There are ten narratives frequently used by officials discussing Russian foreign policy, writes CNA’s Dmitry Gorenburg. The most frequently used narratives included outside intervention in sovereign affairs, whataboutism, the promotion of international structures in which Russia plays a leading role and Russophobia.
- We cannot afford to lose the parity in nuclear weapons with Russia that the New START Treaty affords, argues Rose Gottemoeller, the chief U.S. negotiator for New START. The outcome would be too dangerous to U.S. national security, she writes, but if New START lapses, that could happen, and fast. So, it serves American interests to extend the treaty.
- Russia and China wouldn’t jointly threaten Washington with military action, writes James Jay Carafano, vice president at the Heritage Foundation. A central element of both their strategies is that they want to win against the United States “without fighting.”
- A closer look at Ukraine suggests that what Zelenskiy needs is not symbolic lethal aid (let alone presidential offers he can’t refuse), but thoughtful support for his dogged efforts to reach a peace agreement, writes Sophie Pinkham, author of a book on post-Soviet Ukraine.