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Digest | Oct 15, 2021
Analysis | Oct 13, 2021
Mutual interest in fighting terrorism simply cannot counter all the negatives in current U.S.-Russian relations to serve as a basis for improved overall bilateral ties.
Analysis | Oct 12, 2021
The prompt stabilization of the European gas market is not only in the interests of collapsing European companies, but of Gazprom, too.
Digest | Oct 08, 2021
Analysis | Oct 06, 2021
Even though a cyber treaty would be unverifiable, it may be possible to set limits on certain types of behavior and to negotiate rough rules of the road by combining deterrence and norms and appealing to the self-interest of the states involved.
Post | Sep 30, 2021
Speakers of every language have their verbal tics, but one Russian phrase seems to resurface constantly in official or semi-official speech and writing—particularly when it comes to comparisons with the West: “no worse and even better than.” Some of these “no worse” propositions go back as far as the 18th century, to the reign of Russia’s first emperor, Peter the Great, who was also, perhaps, the first Russian ruler to prioritize adopting Western know-how to make the Russian state more capable of competing with Europe’s leading powers. As early as 1724, Ivan Pososhkov, Peter I’s contemporary and a supporter of his reforms, wrote in his critique of mercantilism: “God has blessed us Russians with grain and honey and all matter of drinks. We have a countless plentitude of vodkas; our beers are top-notch and our honeys superb … no worse than from the Rhine, and much better than bad ones from the Rhine.”1

Following the Bolshevik Revolution, the use of “no worse” persisted as the emergent Soviet state continued to compete with the West. With its people short on personal freedoms and high-quality consumer goods, the Bolshevik leadership emphasized all the ways in which the Soviet state was “no worse and even better than” the West as the two wrangled in global competition. The dissolution of the USSR 30 years ago did not end the “no worse” habit. In recent years, Russian officials, business leaders and journalists have applied this convention to everything from missile technologies and special forces to wine and tornadoes. Their counterparts in other former Soviet countries have retained a similar taste for the “no worse” trope.