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

U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda:

Russia’s domestic news:

  • Russia’s natural population decline will reportedly set an 11-year record this year. In the first 10 months of this year, deaths outnumbered live births by 259,600, according to Rosstat data cited by RBC. It was the highest natural population decline since 2008, when deaths outnumbered births by 362,000, according to The Moscow Times.

Foreign affairs, trade and investment:

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This Week’s Highlights:

  • NATO does not need more eastern presence to convey its resolve to Russia, argues Stimson Center senior fellow Melanie W. Sisson; what it needs is for Russia to believe that its forces have the ability, and that its governments have the willingness, to get there fast.
  • Sabine Fischer thinks the EU should take up Macron's initiative to clarify its relationship with Russia and channel it into a debate at the European level. This should be done with a clear understanding that no reciprocal actions are to be expected from Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Fischer, a member of the EU-Russia Expert Network on Foreign Policy.
  • The Belt and Road Initiative is calculated to sideline Russia, pull Europe closer to Asia and establish China as the pre-eminent power in the world's richest, most populous region—Eurasia, claims Philip Stephens of the Financial Times.
  • Tony Barber of the Financial Times argues that Moscow appears interested in dialing down the conflict in Ukraine, but not at any price and, therefore, a breakthrough on Ukraine may have to wait, at best, until the 2020 U.S. election campaign is over. Carnegie Moscow Center’s Tatiana Stanovaya writes that the Kremlin will continue to hold a political foothold in the Donbas that will provide it with leverage to influence Ukraine's foreign policy.
  • Belarus' unique network of bilateral, military-to-military agreements with its neighbors could help Belarus serve as a geographic cushion between NATO and Russia, protecting the two against miscalculation, writes Vitali Shkliarov, a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Davis Center.
  • Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Moscow Center writes that 10,000 little Putins try to guess how the "big Putin" in the Kremlin would behave in their place and act accordingly, producing a toxic mix of injustice and inhumanity. The ordinary citizen, who preferred to adapt and conform rather than chafe at the ever-tightening noose, bears no less responsibility for the current situation than do the authoritarian leaders, according to Kolesnikov.
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