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Event | April 30, 2019

Trend or Exception? Democratization in Armenia

Join the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), Harvard Armenian Students Association and AGBU Young Professionals for a panel discussion on Armenian democratization.
Event | May 01, 2019

Russian Nuclear Orthodoxy

Join the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) for a talk with Dmitry Adamsky on the intertwining of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russia's armed forces.
Analysis | April 25, 2019

It's Time to Rethink Russia's Foreign Policy Strategy

Russia's rapidly changing geopolitical situation necessitates a restructuring of its inconsistent foreign policy. Primarily, it must renounce any aspirations to military or political domination. The author describes the steps that the Russian government must instead take to promote stability and growth.
Analysis | April 25, 2019

With North Korea, Russia Knows It Can Only Play Second Fiddle to China and US

This week’s summit between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un—the first between the Russian and North Korean leaders—has proved to be as underwhelming as expected. While the two spent twice as much time talking face-to-face as had been planned, they neither announced any major agreements nor appeared to have achieved any progress toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

In fact, the Kremlin had even warned before the talks that no major statements or deals were likely. And it did so for a reason: Contrary to some experts’ views, Russia is neither the key to denuclearizing North Korea nor can it “deliver” an arms control agreement covering North Korea’s arsenals, even in exchange for a softening of Western sanctions on Moscow. While Russia is an important player in both regional and international non-proliferation efforts, it has substantially less leverage vis-à-vis North Korea than either the U.S. or China; Moscow cannot single-handedly achieve a breakthrough in efforts to push Pyongyang into rolling back its nuclear weapons program, even though it shares America’s interest in a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. (Granted, Moscow is perhaps more skeptical that this can be achieved.)

Moscow’s lack of heft is determined by economics: Unlike the Soviet era, Moscow is no longer a top economic partner for Pyongyang.
Analysis | April 24, 2019

'Track 2' Talks Take US-Russian Relations Where Official Channels Won’t

When Russia’s Defense Ministry hosts representatives of 100 countries at its annual conference on international security this week, one group will be conspicuously absent: The U.S. and its NATO allies have reportedly decided not to delegate anyone to this year’s event. With relations between Moscow and the alliance all but frozen, “Track 2” discussions between the U.S. and Russia have become especially important. That’s where the Elbe Group comes in: The influential group of retired senior military and intelligence officers from Russia and the United States gathered in Reykjavik last month for an intimate discussion of pressing security issues affecting the U.S.-Russian relationship. They argued in a joint statement that obstacles to bilateral cooperation “should be reduced or eliminated” and that the U.S. and Russia “bear a special responsibility to negotiate and abide by agreements that ensure strategic stability.” The group also called for a “broadened dialogue on the future of U.S.-Russian relations” that takes into account new technological, military and strategic realities. The 13 delegates to the Reykjavik meeting included: from the U.S. side, former Defense Intelligence Agency director Michael Maples, former defense attache to Moscow Kevin Ryan and Belfer Center Intelligence Project director Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a CIA veteran; from the Russian side, former Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov, former head of military intelligence Valentin Korabelnikov and former acting head of the Federal Security Service Anatoly Safonov.

Below are the group’s conclusions on strategic stability, counterterrorism in the Greater Middle East and Central Asia, NATO-Russia relations, cyber and Arctic issues.
Analysis | April 23, 2019

Drivers of Russian Grand Strategy

Mos­cow’s strategic outlook has always been shaped as much by perceptions of vulnerability, threats foreign and domestic, as it has by ambition and a drive for recognition.