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From: JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.

edu>
Senttime: 06/28/201609:11:57AM
To: martin.dewhirst@gmail.com
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.com
FW:"USambassadortoRussia[JohnTEFFT]:NATO'mosteffectivedefensivealliance'inhistory,"
Subject:
http://www.rferl.org/articleprintview/27824043.html

From:JohnBDunlop
Sent:Tuesday,June28,20169:11AM
To:howard@jamestown.org
Cc:paul.goble@gmail.com'waz2102@caa.columbia.edu'
Subject:"USambassadortoRussia[JohnTEFFT]:NATO'mosteffectivedefensivealliance'inhistory,"
http://www.rferl.org/articleprintview/27824043.html

HiscommentscomeaheadoftheJuly89summitinWarsawwhereNATOleadersareexpectedto
endorseasubstantialincreaseinforcesinPolandandtheBalticstates

And:LITHUANIA[ForeignMinisterLinkevicius]warnsabouteasingantiRussianSANCTIONSafter
Brexit,themoscowtimes.com,6/28

And:RussiasaysUSwarship[USSGRAVELY]inNEARMISSwithRussianvessel[Russiannavyfrigate
YaroslavMudry]inMediterranean,reuters.com,6/28

And:UNIAN:PoroshenkoexpectspositivesanctionsagainstRussiaatEUsummit[onJune2829],
kyivpost.com,6/28

And:LeadinginvestigativejournalistOlegKASHIN,Anew1937[Stalinstylegreatpurge]:whydid
theyarrest[Governor]NikitaBELYKH?http://slon.ru/posts/70007

And:KonstantinREMCHUKOV,PutinhassentaSIGNALtothesystemicopposition,indicatingwho
couldbeworsethanatraitordetailedinterviewontheupcomingDumaelections,thearrestof
NikitaBelykhandmuchmore:ng.ru,6/28[originalpostedonEkhoMoskvywebsite]

And:PutindentsTURKISHhopesforquickrestorationofrelations,reuters.com,6/28

And:HillaryCLINTONisinterviewedbyEkhoMoskvy:http://echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/1792040
echo/

And:Bizarre:Trumplawyer[MichaelCOHEN]accusesClintonofMURDERintweet,
http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/trumplawyerclintonmurder224876

DonaldTrumpslawyeraccusedHillaryClintonofmurderinganambassadorandsellingURANIUM
toRUSSIAthroughherfalsecharity

From: JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.edu>
Senttime: 06/30/201609:40:48AM
To: martin.dewhirst@gmail.com
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.com
FW:[6-29EVEITEMSOFINTEREST][ANT/F]Dutchwants'binding'assurancesoverUkrainedeal/NATOSummitSpecialSeries:Poland/USv
Subject:
RUontheHighSeas.[ODDDII]Ukraine:WP,AC(2)+ODNote[ED:DaveKandJohnHACDebateandODReflectionson...

From:wolodymyrzarycky[mailto:wzarcusur@gmail.com]
Sent:Wednesday,June29,20167:42PM
Subject:Fwd:[6-29EVEITEMSOFINTEREST][ANT/F]Dutchwants'binding'assurancesoverUkrainedeal/NATOSummitSpecial
Series:Poland/USvRUontheHighSeas.[ODDDII]Ukraine:WP,AC(2)+ODNote[ED:DaveKandJohnHACDebateandOD
Reflectionson...

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:wolodymyrzarycky<wzarcusur@gmail.com>
Date:Wed,Jun29,2016at8:55PM
Subject:[6-29EVEITEMSOFINTEREST][ANT/F]Dutchwants'binding'assurancesoverUkrainedeal/NATOSummit
SpecialSeries:Poland/USvRUontheHighSeas.[ODDDII]Ukraine:WP,AC(2)+ODNote[ED:DaveKandJohnH
ACDebateandODReflectionsontheDebate.all"ThoughtfulReads"]..[JDDDII]JoshR:USDIPLOMATBEATEN
UPBYFSBOUTSIDEUSEMBASSYINMOSCOW[AgreewithGH:"Unbelievable"]
To:RomaHadzewycz<staff@ukrweekly.com>,rl<romashka1@aol.com>

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:AntonivFamily<antoniv_family@msn.com>
Date:Wed,Jun29,2016at10:24AM
Subject:Dutchwants'binding'assurancesoverUkrainedeal/NATOSummitSpecialSeries:Poland/
To:

DutchPMRuttewants'binding'assurancesoverEU'sUkrainedeal
http://in.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-eu-idINKCN0ZF07P
...

"Whatweneedisalegallybindingsolution,whichwilladdressthemanyworriesandelementsofthediscussioninthe
Netherlandsleadinguptothereferendum,"RuttesaidafteranEUleaders'summitinBrusselstodiscussthe
aftermathofBritain'svotelastweektoleavethebloc.
ThedebatearoundthereferendumintheNetherlands,whichshoweddissatisfactionwithRutte'sgovernmentand
policy-makinginBrussels,zeroedinonwhethertheagreementwithKievwouldheraldEUmembershipfor
Ukraineandits45millionpeople.
"Theexactform-Idon'tknowyet,"Ruttesaid."Itcouldbethatwehavetochangethetext,itcouldbethatwecan
findasolutionwhichwillnotinvolvechangingthetextoftheassociationagreement.Idon'tknowyet.
"IfIamnotabletoachievethat...wewillnotsign,"hesaid."Wewilltrytofindasolution,itwillbedifficult,the
chancesaresmallthatwewillgettherebutIthinkweshouldtry."
ThewholedealcouldbederailedshouldTheHaguerefusetoratifyit

June28,2016
NATOSummitSpecialSeries:Poland

ByIanBrzezinski

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/nato-summit-special-series-poland
NATOsmeetingofheadsofstateonJuly8thinWarsawwillbetheAlliancesmostimportantsummitsincethefallof
theBerlinWall.
...PolandwantstheAlliancetodeepenitsrelationshipwithUkraine.Polandwasamongthefirstalliestoinsistthatthe
WarsawsummitincludeaheadsofstatemeetingwithUkrainetounderscoreNATOsolidaritywithKiev.Warsaw
supportsexpandingtheAlliancessecurityassistancetoUkraine,sothatthereinforcementofNATOseastern
frontierdoesnotinadvertentlysignalWesternacceptanceofanewgreyzoneinEuropeopentoRussianhegemony
andoccupation...

EnsuringStabilityintheOSCERegionwithRespecttoUkraine:StatementataSpecial
Session

http://osce.usmission.gov/ensuring-stability-osce-region-respect-ukraine-statement-special-session-2016-asrc/
...RussiaclaimsthattheconflictineasternUkraineisinternal.Russiacontinuestosupplypersonnelandequipment
tocombined-Russian-separatistmilitaryforcesinDonbas.TheOSCEandUkrainianmilitaryhavedocumented
RussianshipmentstocombinedRussian-separatistforcesshipmentsofsophisticatedhardwarethatdoesnotexistin
Ukrainianarsenals,includingtheso-calledelectronicwarfareChristmastrees,theMRO-Aman-portable
thermobaricrocketlaunchers,andSA-15Gauntletmissiles.
Atthesametime,Moscowhassoughttoconcealthisinvolvementbypursuingastrategyofblindingthe
OSCEsSpecialMonitoringMissionbyrestrictingmonitorsaccesstoseparatist-controlledterritory,employing
threatsandintimidation,andsystematicallydestroyingOSCEcamerasandUAVs.

JasonHealey

RUfrigatesignaled"restrictedabilitytomaneuver"butmatchedUSdestroyertointerferew/USSTrumaninEast
Med

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense-news/2016/06/28/russia-navy-destroyer-frigate-gravely-yaroslav-mudry-
neustrashimy-mediterranean-truman-carrier-collision-encounter/86481616/
TheincidenttookplaceJune17intheeasternMediterraneanSea,andinvolvedtheUSdestroyerGravelyand
theRussianfrigateYaroslavMudry.

[ED:TheRU-sskiescouldn'tusesometubnamedIvanGroznyorKaterynaBolshoyaorevenJosefStalinnothey
insistedononebearingthenameofaKyivanmonarchwhosedaughtersbecomequeensinWestern,Centraland
NorthernEurope]

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:Deychak,Orest<Orest.Deychak@mail.house.gov>
Date:Wed,Jun29,2016at4:46PM
Subject:Ukraine:WP,AC(2)+ODNote[ED:DaveKandJohnHandOD.all"ThoughtfulReads"]
To:"Deychak,Orest"<Orest.Deychak@mail.house.gov>

TheWashingtonPost
Music

OperaticbaritonekilledinUkrainefighting

ByAssociatedPress

June29at9:37AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/operatic-baritone-killed-in-ukraine-fighting/2016/06/29/d32f03ac-3dfa-
11e6-9e16-4cf01a41decb_story.html

MOSCOWAUkrainianbaritonewhoperformedinFrenchoperaproductionsfornearlytwodecadesbeforejoininga
volunteerbattalioninwarringeasternUkrainehasbeenkilledinthefighting.

UkrainiannewsreportscitedthenationalistgroupPravySektorassayingWassylSlipakwaskilledonWednesdaybyasniper.

ThereportssaidSlipakhadabandonedhissingingcareertwoyearsagotojointhefightofUkrainiansoldiersandvolunteers
againstRussia-backedrebels.Nearly9,500peoplehavebeenkilledintheconflict,accordingtoU.N.figures.

SlipakhadperformedattheParisNationalOperaandproductionsthroughoutFrance,accordingtohiswebpage.

InastatementonWednesday,IvanSimonovic,headoftheU.N.HumanRightschiefsofficeinNewYork,saidthedeathtollof
early9,500includesupto2,000civilians.

Simonovicsaidinthepastmonthhalfofallciviliancasualtieswerecausedbyshellingfrommortarsandhowitzers-weapons
whichuseintheconflictzoneareprohibitedbytheMinskAgreements.

Simonovicwarnedofapossiblere-escalationofwide-scalehostilitiesifurgentactionisnottakentoseparatesidesandremove
heavyweaponry.

AtlanticCouncil(2)

JUNE28,2016

It'sTimetoScraptheMinskAgreement

BYDAVIDJ.KRAMER

EditorsNote:OnJune22,AmbassadorJohnHerbstandDavidKramerdebatedwhetherweshouldburytheMinsk
agreement,thetroubledceasefireagreementinUkraine,atanAtlanticCouncileventinWashington,DC.Their
remarkshavebeenadaptedfromthedebate.

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/it-s-time-to-scrap-the-minsk-agreement

TheMinskceasefireagreement,signedFebruary15,2015,bytheleadersofRussia,Ukraine,Germany,andFrance,alongwith
representativesfromtheOSCEandfromRussian-occupiedareasofDonetskandLuhansk(DNRandLNR,respectively),is
simplynotworking.ItistimetoscrapitandmakecleartoRussia,throughadeclarationfromWesternnations,thatsanctionswill
remaininplaceandwillbeincreasedovertimeunlessRussiameetsseveralkeyconditions.Theseincludewithdrawalofits
forcesandweaponsfromUkraine(includingCrimea),respectofUkraine'ssovereigntyandterritorialintegrity,controlofthe
borderrestoredtoUkrainianauthorities,andthereturntoUkraineofthosecitizensitkidnappedfromUkrainianterritory.Further
negotiationswithMoscowarepointlessgiventhatRussianofficialswontevenacknowledgethepresenceoftheirforceson
Ukrainiansoil.

TherehavenotbeenanynewsanctionsimposedonRussiadespiteitsfailuretoliveuptoasingleconditionundertheMinsk
accord.Instead,anumberofEuropeanleaders,ledbyGermanForeignMinisterFrank-WalterSteinmeierandViceChancellor
SigmarGabriel,alongwiththeFrenchparliamentandothers,haveirresponsiblycalledforaneasingifnotoutrightliftingof
sanctions.WithoutGermanChancellorAngelaMerkel,renewalofEUsanctionswouldbeinjeopardy.

DefendersofMinskargueithasreducedthefighting.Infact,morethanfourthousandUkrainianshavebeenkilledsincethe
secondMinskdealwassignedlastyear,almosthalfthenumberoftotalcasualtiessinceRussiainvadedUkraineinlateFebruary
2014.AseriousuptickinfightinginthepasttwomonthsfurtherbeliestheclaimthatMinskhaspreservedthepeace.

Inaddition,defendersofthedealclaimitistheonlyactintown.ThesamecouldhavebeensaidafterthefirstMinskdealwas
signedinSeptember2014,butfivemonthslateritwasreplacedwithanevenworsedeal.Infact,suchclaimsareexcusesfornot
engaginginthenecessary,albeitdifficult,workofcomingupwithaninnovativealternativetoMinsk.Thiswouldrequire
involvementatthepresidentiallevelintheUnitedStates,andPresidentBarackObama,regrettably,hasshownlittleinterestinsuch
engagement,delegatinginsteadresponsibilityforresolvingthecrisistoMerkel.

UkrainesignedMinskandthereforemustabidebyit,thedealsdefendersfurtherclaim.Ofcourse,theUnitedStatesandUnited
Kingdom,aswellasRussia,signedthe1994BudapestMemorandumadealthatactuallyworkedinconvincingUkraineto
relinquishitsSoviet-inheritednuclearweaponsinexchangefortheothersignatoriesrespectforitssovereigntyandterritorial
integrity.ButnobodyinofficialpositionsotherthanUkrainiansraisestheBudapestMemorandumthesedays.

Moreover,MinskforcedUkrainianPresidentPetroPoroshenko,undertremendouspressureasRussianforcesweresurrounding
Debaltseve,tocommittosomethingthatonlytheUkrainianparliamentcandonamely,passaconstitutionalamendmentand
legislativereformpavingthewayforlocalelectionsintheDNRandLNR.PoroshenkosimplydoesnthavethevotesintheRada
topasstheconstitutionalamendment,whichrequiresthreehundredvotes.Fourpeoplewerekilleddemonstratingagainstthe
RadasconsiderationofsuchlegislationlastAugust,reflectingthehighlysensitiveissuethisisforUkraine.

ThemostcogentargumentformaintainingMinskisthattheonlywaytokeeptheEuropeansonboardwithsanctionsisby
demonstratingRussiannoncompliancewiththeaccordsprovisions.Theproblemwiththisargument,however,isthatMinskisalso
beingusedtopressureUkraineintopassingthelegislationandamendmentsforlocalelectionsintheDNRandLNR.ThisWestern
pressureonKyivshouldcease.

UkrainedoesnotcontroltheDNRandLNRregionshowcanitpossiblypasslegislation,evenprovisionally,callingforlocal
electionsthere?Whataboutthe1.7milliondisplacedpeoplewilltheygetanopportunitytoparticipateintheelections?
AccordingtotheMinskdeal,electionsintheseregionsaretobeconductedinaccordancewithUkrainianlegislationandin
accordancewithrelevantOSCEstandardsandmonitoredbyOSCE/ODIHR.HowcanthisbewhenRussiacontrolsthisregion
andthefightinghasntstopped?

EveniftheWestweretostoppressuringUkraineaboutthelocalelections,theMinskdealstillsuffersfromfatalflaws.For
example,it:

Callsforwithdrawalofallforeignarmedformations,butnevermentionsRussianforcesspecifically.SincetheKremlinlies
abouthavingnoforcesinUkraine,Russiacanarguethatthisclausedoesnotapplytoit

Lacksclarityonthesequencingofthemeasuresthatmustbemet,whichenablesPutintoargue,ashedidattheSt.Petersburg
EconomicForumonJune17,thattheonusforfulfillingMinskliesinKyiv,notMoscow

NeglectstomentionCrimeaatall.

FifteenmonthsislongenoughtoconcludethattheMinskdealisnotworkingtoendtheviolenceorresolvetheconflict,andnew
waysshouldbefoundtokeeptheEuropeansonboardwithsanctionsor,failingthat,tomoveaheadunilaterallywithadditional
USsanctions.ThatwouldrequirestrongerAmericanpresidentialleadership,however,andthatisunlikelyuntilnextJanuary,at
best.

DavidJ.KrameristheseniordirectorforhumanrightsanddemocracyattheMcCainInstituteforInternational
LeadershipinWashington,DC,andwasAssistantSecretaryofStateforDemocracy,HumanRightsandLaborinthe
GeorgeW.Bushadministration.

AtlanticCouncil

JUNE28,2016

NowIsNottheTimetoScraptheMinskAgreement

AReplytoDavidJ.Kramer

BYJOHNE.HERBST

EditorsNote:OnJune22,AmbassadorJohnHerbstandDavidJ.Kramerdebatedwhetherweshouldburythe
Minskagreement,thetroubledceasefireagreementinUkraine,atanAtlanticCouncileventinWashington,DC.
Theirremarkshavebeenadaptedfromthedebate.

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/now-is-not-the-time-to-scrap-the-minsk-agreement

UkrainesdiscussionofthewarwithRussiaoftenfocusesonthefailingsoftwodiplomaticinstruments:theBudapestMemorandum
andtheMinskagreements.Whilemuchcommentaryaboutthesedocumentsisintelligentandinsightful,thereisalittle-noticedbut
essentialconnectionbetweenthem.First,theinadequaciesofthesedocumentsreflectthepoliticalweaknessoftheWestern
powersthatsignedthem.Second,theMinskagreementsandthebroaderprocesstheygeneratedareanimportantpartofthe
WestsresponsetofulfillingitsBudapestcommitments.Correctlyunderstood,theMinskprocessisessentialtostoppingMoscow
intheDonbas.

Inthe1994BudapestMemorandum,UkraineagreedtogiveupitsnuclearweaponsinexchangeforassurancesfromRussia,the
UnitedKingdom,andtheUnitedStatestoconsultincaseofthreatstoitsterritorialintegrityandsovereignty.WhenRussiaannexed
CrimeainMarch2014,UkrainewassorelydisappointedtodiscoverthatBudapestMemorandumconsultationsproduceda
ratherweakWesternresponsesimplyanumberofsmallsanctions.EvenMoscowshybridwarintheDonbasproducedonly
limitedsanctions.OnlyaftertheJuly2015shoot-downoftheMalaysianairlinerbyaRussianmissiledidtheEUfollowthe
AmericanleadandimposepunishingsanctionsonMoscowsenergyandfinancialsectors.
TheMinskagreementshavealsoseverelydisappointedUkraine.ThefirstMinskceasefireinSeptember2014didpreventthe
destructionofUkrainianarmedforcesaroundthetownofIlovaisk,butitwasalsosupposedtoproduceanendtothefightingthat
nevermaterialized.BetweenthefirstandsecondMinskagreements,Ukrainedidnotenjoyadayofpeace:inthatperiod,
hundredsofUkrainiansoldiersdied,andMoscowseizedmoreUkrainianterritory.

Moscow'sJanuary2015offensivetotakethetownofDebaltsevespurredtheEUtoanewroundofdiplomacy,whichledtothe
secondceasefireinFebruary2015.However,thetermsoftheagreementwerenotablyworse.First,MinskIIgivestheauthorities
inthe"DonetskPeople'sRepublic"(DNR)andthe"LuhanskPeople'sRepublic"(LNR)therighttoretaintheirownarmedforces.
Second,itcallsforconstitutionalreforminUkrainethatwouldgrantautonomytotheDNRandLNRinambiguouslanguagethat
MoscowinterpretsasgivingthoseregionsavetooverUkrainesnationalsecuritypolicy.(UkraineandtheWestdonotsharethat
interpretation.)Third,itcallsforelectionsintheKremlin-dominatedareasbeforeUkraineregainscontrolofitsborderwithRussia.

Inshort,MoscowwasrewardedforitsdailyviolationsofMinskI.Insteadoffacingadditionalsanctionsforincreasingaggression,
itwasgrantedmorefavorableterms.AndeversinceMinskIIwassigned,fightinghasbeenongoing,andtheDNRandLNRhave
addedovertwohundredsquarekilometersofterritory.Andwhilethisishappening,theEUhaspressuredUkrainetopassan
electionslawfortheLNRandDNR.

Inaddition,MinskexcludestheUnitedStatesfromthediplomaticprocessdesignedtoendthewar.Soitisnotsurprisingthat
manyinUkrainebelievethatMinskisfatallyflawed,thatUkrainehasnoobligationtopassalocalelectionslaw,andthatUkraine
shouldwalkawayfromMinskanddemandanewframework.

Thatapproach,however,wouldbeaseriousmistake.Perhapshistoriansandcommentatorshavetheluxuryoffocusingtheir
attentionontheweaknessesofWesterndiplomacy,butUkraine'sleadershavenosuchoption.

Ukraine'sleadersneedtounderstandthelimitsontheirpartnersinEurope.GermanChancellorAngelaMerkelhasbeenthepillar
ofEUsanctionspolicy.MerkelhaskeptFrenchPresidentFrancoisHollandeandtherestoftheEUonboardwithsanctions.Her
continuedsuccess,however,cannotbetakenforgranted.TheDutchreferenduminAprilopposingtheEU'stradeagreementwith
Ukraine,andthevotesbytheFrenchNationalAssemblyinAprilandtheFrenchSenateinJuneonliftingthesanctionsonRussia,
alldemonstratethattheEUisnotinapositiontopursueastrongerpolicy.BritainsexitfromtheEUhasalsoweakenedthepro-
sanctionscampintheEU.

Fortunately,thesanctionspolicyoftheEUandtheUScoupledwiththegrowingmilitaryassistancecomingfromsomeWestern
countriesmaybesufficienttohelpUkraineultimatelywinintheeast.Betweenthedropinhydrocarbonpricesandsanctions,
MoscowsGNPdropped3.7percentin2015and1.4percentinthefirstthreemonthsof2016.AccordingtotheIMF,the
sanctionswereresponsiblefor1-1.5percentofthe2016decline.TheRussianstandardoflivingdropped9.5percentin2015and
alargedropisexpectedthisyear.AfterinsistingforwelloverayearthatWesternsanctionswerehavingnoimpact,Moscownow
acknowledgestheimpactandiscallingfortheirremoval.

TherearealsoindicationsthatMoscowunderstandsitsUkrainepolicyisfailing.SinceRussiasinterventioninSyria,Ukrainehas
ceasedtobetheprincipalstoryintheRussianmedia,andthisgivestheKremlinmoreflexibilityinmanagingthecrisis.Inaddition
totheMinsknegotiatingprocess,topKremlinaideVyacheslavSurkovhasbeenmeetingregularlywithUSAssistantSecretaryof
StateVictoriaNulandsinceJanuary.Reportedly,thosemeetingshaveavoidedmuchofthecantthatfillstheMinsknegotiationsand
haveinvolvedtheexchangeofseriousideasthatcouldcontributetoendingthewarintheDonbas.

TheObamaadministration,whichhadpreviouslydescribedtheKremlinswarinUkraineasaregionalcrisis,hasalsoshownan
increasedinterestinfindingasolution.USNationalSecurityAdvisorSusanRicesaidearlierthismonththatperhapsthisconflict
canberesolvedbeforetheendoftheObamaadministration.ThissuggeststhatseniorlevelsinWashingtonaregivingmorebacking
tothediplomaticeffortsoftheindefatigableNuland.

NoneofthismeansthatMoscowhasmadeanydecisionstostepback.ButtheypointtoaMinskprocesswhichisbetterthanthe
termsofthefirstMinskagreement:WesternsanctionsareholdingfirmWesternleadersstilldemandKremlinimplementationofits
MinskcommitmentsinexchangeforsanctionsreliefdomesticproblemsaregrowingforPutinandtheAmericanrolein
negotiationsisbecomingmoreprominent.

UkrainesleaderssurelyunderstandthattheyshouldnotupendthisfavorablemomentumbywalkingawayfromMinsk.They
understandtoothattokeepsanctionsinplacetheymustbeopentopassinganelectionslawfortheLNRandtheDNRthat
protectsUkrainesinterests.OnehopesthatthosepoliticiansnotdirectlyresponsibleforUkrainesforeignpolicyunderstandthis
aswell.

JohnE.HerbstisDirectoroftheDinuPatriciuEurasiaCenterattheAtlanticCouncil.HeservedasUSAmbassadorto
Ukrainefrom2003to2006.

[ODthoughts:AgreatdiscussionaboutMinskbytwogenuinesupportersofUkraineandanexamplewherethereare
compellingargumentstobothsidesofthedebate.Heresmytwohryvni,forwhatitsworth.Obviously,nobodyis
naveabouttheseriousshortcomingsofMinskoritslong-termprospects.AsDavidandIhavediscussedon
occasion,IleanmoretoJohnsarguments,perhapsstemmingfrommyownprofessionalexperienceswithcertainkey
Europeancountriesoverthedecadeswheremyexpectationsofthemonthesekindsofissuesareoftenratherlow.IfI
thought,asDavidrightlycallsfor,thatafterscrappingMinsk,WesternnationswouldmakecleartoRussiathat
sanctionswouldremaininplaceandevenbeincreasedovertime,IwouldbeinfavorofdoingawaywithMinsk
pronto!Alas,Isimplyhaveahardtimeseeingthathappen,atleastinthenear-term,givenpoliticalweaknessin
Europe.DumpingMinskwouldremovetheprimaryjustificationformaintainingsanctions,akeyperhapsthekey-
-sourceofleverageoverMoscowandevenotherwisereduceEUsupportforUkraine.Weakeningsanctionscould
emboldenPutininextremelydangerouswayswhilecontinuingthemmight,justmight,givesomehopefora
resolution.IagreewithDavidinnotputtingpressureonKyiv(oratleastnottoomuch),giventhatsomeofthe
decisionstheymightneedtotakearepoliticallydifficult,ifnotimpossible.Imnotsure,however,thatanelection
lawfallsintothatcategory.Afterall,MinskcallsforanyelectionsintheDonbastobeconsistentwithboth
UkrainianelectionlawandOSCEelectionstandards.ImveryskepticalastowhetherDonbaselectionscantake
placeunlessthereisaradicalchangeinstatusquo--eveninthehighlyunlikelyeventthatthesecuritysituation
weretostabilizetoallowforsuchelections.Fordemocraticelections,youneedanenvironmentwherethereisalevel
playingfieldforallpartiesandcandidates,andforthatyouneedbasicfreedomsofassociation,assembly,expression,
mediaandsemblanceofruleoflaw,whichsimplyisnotpossiblegiventhethuggish,criminalotamanyrunning
theso-calledDNRandLNR.IdoubtthattheOSCEwouldobserve,muchlessblesssuchanelection.So,giventhat,
whatstheharmdoneinpassingadecentelectionlawwhichwouldprovidefordemocraticelections,includingIDP
votingalaw,asJohnsays,thatprotectsUkrainesinterests--ifthathelpskeeptosomeofoursquishyEuropean
friendsonboardwithsanctionsandsupportforUkraine,and,dareIsay,evensomeatthehighestlevelsofourown
Administration.Inotherwords,whatstheharmdoneinUkraineshowingitselftobeasflexibleasitreasonably
canbewithoutdamagingitsinterests?Irealizethatmineisnotapopularviewamongsome(includingsomeRada
membersrepresentingseveralpartiesthatIhavemetwithoverthelastfewmonths),butIthinkitisimportantto
considertheachievable,andnotjusttheaspirational.Onelastpoint:Asregularreadersknow,Istronglybelievein
keepingtheheatontheRussiansandtheirseparatistsatrapsonalloftheirmultitudeongoingviolationsofMinsk.
Andweneedtokeepresolutelyrejectingtheabsurdfalseequivalencenarrativethatsuggeststhatbothsidesareto
blameequally.]

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.edu>
Date:Wed,Jun29,2016at3:36PM
Subject:FW:USDIPLOMATBEATENUPBYFSBOUTSIDEUSEMBASSYINMOSCOW
To:"waz2102@caa.columbia.edu"<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>

From:GlenHoward[mailto:howard@jamestown.org]
Sent:Wednesday,June29,201611:46AM
To:PaulGobleJonasBernsteimJohnBDunlopTraininblankIanBrzezinskiSENDERSWIMBUSHMatthewCzekajJonChickyTemuri
YakobashviliMamukaTsereteliMamukaKudavaVladimir,SocorAldenWahlstromClintonSmullyanJrJamesG.GidwitzWillemde
VogelMichelleVanCleaveMichaelWSRyanBrianWilliamsNickHerasMargaritaAssenovaZaurShiriyevNihatAlizcanSaban
KardasMatthewBryza
Subject:RE:USDIPLOMATBEATENUPBYFSBOUTSIDEUSEMBASSYINMOSCOW

Unbelievable.....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/russian-fsb-guard-attacks-us-diplomat-outside-moscow-
embassy/2016/06/28/2c42c98c-3d7f-11e6-a66f-aa6c1883b6b1_story.html?wpisrc=nl_most-draw7&wpmm=1

--

Glen

ByJoshRoginJune29at7:01AM

IntheearlymorningofJune6,auniformedRussianFederalSecurityService(FSB)guard
stationedoutsidetheU.S.EmbassyinMoscowattackedandbeatupaU.S.diplomatwhowas
tryingtoenterthecompound,accordingtofourU.S.officialswhowerebriefedontheincident.

ThispreviouslyunreportedattackoccurredjuststepsfromtheentrancetotheU.S.Embassy
complex,whichislocatedinthePresnenskyDistrictinMoscowscitycenter.Afterbeingtackledby
theFSBguard,thediplomatsufferedabrokenshoulder,amongotherinjuries.Hewaseventually
abletoentertheembassyandwasthenflownoutofRussiatoreceiveurgentmedicalattention,
administrationofficialsconfirmedtome.HeremainsoutsideofRussia.

Theattackcausedadiplomaticepisodebehindthescenesthathasnotsurfaceduntilnow.The
StateDepartmentinWashingtoncalledinRussianAmbassadorSergeyI.Kislyaktocomplainabout
theincident,anadministrationofficialsaid.

Themotivefortheattackremainsunclear.OneU.S.officialtoldmethatthediplomatwasseeking
refugeintheembassycomplextoavoidbeingdetainedbytheRussianintelligenceservices.A
differentU.S.officialtoldmethediplomatmayhavebeenworkingasaspyinRussiaunderwhats
knownasdiplomaticcover,whichmeanshewaspretendingtobeaStateDepartmentemployee.

SpokesmenfortheboththeStateDepartmentandtheCIAdeclinedtocommentontheincidentor
whetherornotthediplomatwasinfactanundercoverU.S.spy.

Putin:Russiadoesn'twantanewColdWar

PlayVideo0:55

DuringaquestionandanswersessionattheSt.PetersburgInternationalEconomicForum,PresidentVladimirPutinsaidRussia
didnotwantanewColdwarwiththeWestanddidnotliketothinkitwasslippingintoone.(Reuters)
In2013,RussianintelligenceservicesarrestedU.S.diplomatRyanC.Fogle,whomtheyaccusedof
secretlyworkingfortheCIA.Fogle,whowasworkingasathirdsecretaryinthepoliticalsectionof
theU.S.EmbassyinMoscow,wasarrestedcarryingvariousdisguisesandothertoolsofspycraft.
RussiaaccusedhimoftryingtorecruitRussianintelligenceofficers.
AfterinterrogatingFogle,theRussiangovernmentreleasedhimtoU.S.officials,butnot
beforehumiliatinghimintheRussianmediaandchastisingtheU.S.governmentforspyinginside
Russia.FoglewasforcedtoleaveRussia.

IftheU.S.diplomatattackedonJune6wasnotaspy,U.S.officialshavenootherexplanationfor
whytheFSBguardwastryingtostophimfromenteringtheembassy.FSBguardsarestationed
outsidetheU.S.Embassyregularly,administrationofficialssaid.

Opinionsnewsletter AsIreportedthisweek,Russian
Thought-provokingopinionsandcommentary,inyourinboxdaily.harassmentofU.S.diplomatsinRussia
andseveralotherEuropeancountrieshas
Signup
increasedsignificantlysinceU.S.sanctions
wereleviedonRussianofficialsand
PresidentVladimirPutinsassociatesin2014.
OnTuesday,theRussianforeignministrysspokeswoman,MariaZakharova,respondeddirectlyto
mycolumnatapressconferenceandonTwitterandaccusedtheU.S.governmentofdeliberately
underminingbilateralties.

Diplomacyisbasedonreciprocity.ThemoretheUSdamagesrelations,theharderitwillbeforUS
diplomatstoworkinRussia,shesaid.

Eitherway,thefactthattheFSBiswillingtoattackaU.S.diplomatandbeathimuprightinfront
oftheAmericanEmbassyreflectsthattheRussiansecurityservicesarebecomingincreasingly
brash,saidEvelynFarkas,whoservedasdeputyassistantsecretaryofdefenseforRussia,Ukraine
andEurasiafortheObamaadministration.

Ifthisistrue,itsanotherexampleoftheRussiansecurityservicesdemonstratingawillingnessto
breaktaboos,shesaid.Thefactthattheyareusingthesebrutaltacticsagainstforeignersistaking
thingstoawholeotherlevel.

Readmoreaboutthistopic:

JoshRogin:RussiaisharassingU.S.diplomatsalloverEurope

From: TheJamestownFoundation<pubs@jamestown.org>
Senttime: 07/06/201612:24:51PM
To: robertotto25@gmail.com
Subject: EurasiaDailyMonitor--Volume13,Issue121

Viewthisemailinyourbrowser

July6,2016--Volume13,Issue121

INTHISISSUE
*Moscow,WashingtonconsidernextstepsonUkraine
*whileObamaadministrationlookstocementitslegacywithaUkrainedeal
*Russiadismisses50officersandtopcommandersofBalticSeaFleet
*Karachaevo-CherkessiangovernorsfatemayhingeonUnitedRussiaselectoralfortunes

**VisittheJamestownBlogonRussiaandEurasia(http://www.jamestown.org/blog)

US,RussiaReactivateBilateralNegotiationsonUkraine

(PartOne)

USAssistantSecretaryofStateVictoriaNulandcompletedanotherroundofshuttle
diplomacyinKyivandMoscow(June2224),followinguponhervisitstothetwocapitalsin
AprilandMay,ondirectinstructionsfromtheWhiteHouse.Thiseffortwillundoubtedly
continueafterthetimeoutnecessitatedbytheNorthAtlanticTreatyOrganizations(NATO)
summitinWarsaw(July89).

ForWashington,theambitionistoworkoutwithMoscowthebasicpremisesofapolitical
compromisebetweentheUkrainiangovernmentandthedefactoauthoritiesinDonetskand
Luhansk:ineffect,freezingthiscrisisbyUS-Russiaconsensus,perhapswithsomejoint
documenttoshow.Sucharesult,ifachieved,mightcreatethesemblanceofUS-Russia
cooperationonthisandothercrisisfronts,book-endingBarackObamaspresidencywitha
secondresetacounterparttotheoriginalObamaHillaryClintonresetofrelationswith
Russia.TheUnitedStates,however,isnegotiatingundertimepressure,seekingresultsbefore
theNovemberpresidentialelection.

AtleastsomeKremlinconsultantsrecommendaninterimdealwhilethelame-duckObama
administrationisstillinoffice.Thus,accordingtoDmitrySuslov(TheValdaiPapers,no.49,
June2016),anynewUSpresidentwilllikelyadoptamoreideologicallybased,more
aggressive,strongerattitudetowardRussia,atleastrhetorically,thantheObama
administrationhas.Moreover,iftheMinskagreementsarenotimplementedbythattime,
WashingtonwillfinditdifficulttoresistcallsforsupplyingKyivwithlethalweapons.
Consequently,MoscowshouldcooperateinpartiallyimplementingtheMinskagreements
[]soastoshowsomemovementintheconflict-settlementprocess,reducingtheriskofits
derailmentwiththearrivalofanewUSadministration.But,inparallel,Moscowshouldwork
withEuropeangovernmentstogenerateseriouspressuresonKyivandWashingtontofulfill
thosepointsoftheMinskagreementthatapplytoUkraine,partiallyimplementingMinskand
partiallyliftingtheEuropeanUnionssanctionsbytheendofthisyear,Suslovargues.

Atthisstage,MoscowsminimalrequirementsarethatUkraineadoptaconstitutional
amendmentonthespecialstatusoftheRussian-controlledterritory,anamnestyofthecrimes
ofRussiasarmedproxies,andaspeciallawonelectionsinthatterritory,allinapackagewith
localelectionstobeheldthere.ThatwouldamounttothefirststageinUkrainesfulfillingits
obligationsundertheMinskagreements.Thiswouldpavethewayforthenextstageof
Moscowsagenda,withdirectnegotiationsbetweenKyivandDonetsk-Luhanskontheterms
ofthelattersquasi-sovereignty.

BeyondtheMinsktextitselfasDmitrySimes,thepresidentoftheUSCenterforthe
NationalInterestandacrediblecommunicatorofKremlinperspectivesinWashington,
suggestsMoscowclearlywantstointerprettheMinskagreementsinawaythatnotonly
providestheDonbas[Donetsk-Luhanskpeoplesrepublics]withmeaningfulautonomy,but
alsoallowsregionalgovernmentsineasternUkrainetopreventthecountryfromjoining
NATODoesAmericaevenintendtopermitUkrainetojoinNATO?Ifnot,whycreatethe
impressioninRussiathatthismaybeWashingtonslong-termobjective?(TheNational
Interest,June26).

Atthepresentstage,however,Russiasshort-termobjectives(seeabove)necessitate
acceleratingthepoliticalnegotiationsintheNormandyformatandtheMinskContactGroup.
AsPresidentVladimirPutintoldtheconferenceofRussiasambassadorsaccreditedabroad,
justheldinMoscow,good-neighborlyrelationsbetweenRussiaandUkrainenecessitate
thatKyivatlonglastcomprehendtheinevitabilityofadirectdialoguewithDonetskand
Luhansk,infulfillmentofitsMinskobligations(Interfax,June30).

TopressureUkraineintothatkindofpoliticalprocess,Russiaisresortingtoattritionwarfare
throughitsproxiesinDonetsk-Luhansk.Thistactic,however,turnsRussiaintoasystematic
violatoroftheceasefire,thusblockingthepoliticalprocessthatMoscowitselfaimsto
accelerate.Ukraineiscitingthoseceasefirebreachesasprecludinganypoliticalnegotiations
withRussiasproxies.TosomeWesterndiplomats,however,thefightinganditspossible
escalationbyRussiaareargumentsfordefusingthesituationatthecostofpiecemeal
concessionsbyUkraine.Thus,Ukraineisbeingaskedtostartimplementingthepolitical
clausesofMinsk(seeabove)ifRussiarespectstheceasefirefortwomonthscontinuously,as
atestofgoodfaith.Thatwouldsupposedlyfulfillthemainprerequisitetothestartofthe
politicalprocesstowardlegitimizingtheDonetsk-Luhanskauthorities.

Outsidethelegal-politicalframeworkwereittobenegotiatedandagreedtheDonetsk
andLuhanskproto-states,withtheirRussian-ledmilitaryforces,wouldundoubtedlycontinue
toexistdefacto.TheMinskarmisticewhosefullimplementationallsidestheoretically
seekallowsthosetwoMoscow-supportedstateletstoexistastheyare,withorwithout
Ukrainesconsent.ThearmisticeestablishescertainproceduresforKyivtoconsent,butit
alsogivesDonetskandLuhanskthelatitudetoretainanddeveloptheirexistingstructuresde
factowithoutUkrainesconsent.

TheKremlincanbeexpectedtoofferapartial,interimdealthatwouldcompromiseUkraines
positioninallfuturenegotiationse.g.,KyivlegalizingDonetsk-LuhanskasRussian
protectoratesinexchangeforalastingceasefireandapoliticalfreezeontheunresolved
conflict.MoscowmaywellconsiderthetimingofsuchaproposalinrelationtotheUS
presidentialcampaign.

--VladimirSocor

US,RussiaReactivateBilateralNegotiationsonUkraine

(PartTwo)

PresidentBarackObamasadministrationseemstopursuetwocontradictorygoals:support
Ukrainessovereigntyandsecurityingeneraltermsbut,atthesametime,seekashort-term
compromisethatmightsatisfyRussiainUkraineseast.Preoccupiedwithlegacyissuesin
foreignpolicyasObamassecondandfinaltermcomestoaclose,administrationofficials
apparentlyaimtoshowsomeresultsintheircrisis-managementeffortsUkraineseastbeing
aneasiercasethanSyria,forexamplebeforeNovemberspresidentialelection.The
administrationhasswitchedfromtherhetoricofisolatingMoscowtodirectengagementwith
theKremlinonUkraine.

USAssistantSecretaryofStateVictoriaNulandhasresumedtheshuttlediplomacyinKyiv
andMoscow(June2224).AlthoughtheUnitedStatesgovernmenthaddeclinedto
participateinnegotiatingtheMinskarmistice,andneverjoinedthefollow-upMinskprocess
directly,itnowaimsforaquickagreementbilaterallywithRussiaonthebasislaiddownin
Minsk.

AccordingtotheUSPresidentsnationalsecurityadvisor,SusanRice,asignificantstart
towardimplementingMinskissomethingthatcouldgetdonebetweennowandtheendof
theadministration,iftheRussiansinparticularexhibitsufficientpoliticalwillWearehopeful,
iftheRussianswanttoresolvethisandwehavesomereasontobelievetheymight.Rice,
whowasspeakingata WashingtonPostevent,acknowledgedatthesametimethatthe
UkrainianparliamentmightnotadoptthelegislativepackagerequiredofUkrainebythe
Minskarmistice(UNIAN,June10).Thatlegislation(seebelow)iswhattheObama
administrationseeksyetagaintogetdoneinKyiv,providedthatMoscowstopsbreaching
theceasefire.Washingtonspreviousattemptstoensurethelegislationispassed(e.g.,inMay
andAugust2015),however,backfiredpoliticallyinKyivandwentunrewardedbyMoscow.

TheUSambassador-designatetoUkraine,MarieYovanovitch,hasoutlinedthecurrentpolicy
inherSenateconfirmationhearing:TheUnitedStatesworksforfullimplementationofthe
Minskagreement,untilwhichtimesanctionsonRussiawillcontinue.Sheadded,A
sustainedimprovementinsecurity[alongthemilitarydemarcationlines]willallowUkraineto
passaDonbas[DPR-LPR]electionlaw,holdlocalelectionsinportionsofeasternUkraine,
andimplementspecialstatusandamnesty.Thesestepsshould[sic]leadtoRussias
withdrawalfromUkraineandrestorationofUkrainescontroloveritssideoftheinternational
border[withRussia](Ukraine.usembassy.gov,June21).

Thetermshould,noncommittalandhortatory,basicallyaspirational,isalsorevealinginthis
context.Indeed,theMinskarmisticedoesnotrequireRussiatowithdrawitsforcesfrom
UkrainesterritoryitdoesnotevenmentionRussiainthatcontext.NordoesMinskstipulate
therestorationofUkrainescontroloveritssideofthe400kilometersectionoftheUkraine-
Russiaborder,nowcontrolledbyRussianandproxyforces.Thearmisticeonlystipulatesthat
KyivcannegotiatewithDonetsk-Luhanskaboutsharingcontrolofthatborder,andonlyafter
KyivlegalizesRussiasproxyauthoritiesthere.ThearmisticeallowsDonetsk-Luhanskto
maintaintheirarmedforces(dubbedirregularonpaper,butRussian-ledandamply
equippedwitharmorandartillery)aspartofawould-bespecialstatusoftheseenclaves
(UNIAN,Osce,org,February12,2015).

ThisarmisticedemandsUkrainianconcessionstoDonetskandLuhanskintheconstitutional
andlegalfield,withoutRussianreciprocationinthemilitaryandsecurityfield.Nosuch
tradeoffexistsinthisarmistice.Instead,itcastsRussiaasarbiterofaninner-Ukrainian
conflict,inlinewithRussiasdefinitionsofitsroleandofthatconflict.Ukrainesconcessions,if
made,wouldbegratis.MoscowsdemandsforlegalandconstitutionalchangesinUkraineare
actuallyinfullconformitywiththetextoftheMinskarmistice(UNIAN,Osce.org,February
12,2015).

TheUnitedStateshadnohandinthatarmisticeandhasdeclinedtojoinanynegotiations
format,suchastheNormandyquartet(Germany,France,UkraineandRussia),chargedwith
implementingtheMinskarmistice.NeverthelesstheUShelpedenshrinetheMinskdocument
promptlyinaUnitedNationsSecurityCouncilresolution(see EDM,February23,2015),
whichMoscowisfondofcontinuallyreferencingashavingtheforceofinternationallaw.

Thosearmisticestipulationsanditsloopholes,allinRussiasfavor,areworthrecallingwhen
USorEuropeanofficialscallfortheimplementationofthatdocument.Forexample,State
DepartmentspokesmanJohnKirby,introducingNulandslatestmission,declared,witha
senseofurgency:Aswevesaidmanytimes,wewanttoseeMinskfullyimplemented,as
soonaspossible.ItwillbegoodforpeaceandsecurityinUkraine,goodforrelations
betweenRussiaandUkraine,goodforrelationsbetweentheUSandouralliesandRussia
(State.gov,June22).Similarly,theUSambassadorinMoscow,JohnTefft,referencing
PresidentObamasinstructions,explainedthatthesituationinUS-Russiarelationswould
significantlychangeiftheMinskdocumentsimplementationproceedsbeforetheUS
presidentialelection(Interfax,June20,27).

Suchstatementsevinceagrowingsenseofurgencytodealwiththisproblemunderthetime
constraintsoftheUSpresidentialelectioncalendar.Theyalsoshowarethinkingoftheoverall
policytowardRussia,viewingthesituationinUkraineseastincreasinglythroughtheprismof
US-Russiarelations.AsimilarshiftisproceedingevenfasterinEurope.TheWestscollective
setbacksonmultipleinternationalfrontsgeneratetheperceptionthatRussiacanhelpmitigate
thosecrises,evenasRussiainfactexploitsandexacerbatesthoseconflicts.

--VladimirSocor

TheRussianBalticSeaFleetANestofCrime?

RussianMinisterofDefenseSergeiShoigusackedthecommanderoftheBalticSeaFleet
(basedoutofBaltiysk,Kaliningradoblast),ViceAdmiralViktorKravchuk,andhischiefof
staff,ViceAdmiralSergeyPopov,onJune29(Vesti.ru,June29).Dayslater,newsemerged
thatanumberofotherBalticFleetofficersabout50accordingtoRussianmediahavealso
beendismissedandforcedtoleavetheArmedForcesorweretransferredtootherfleetsand
demoted(Flot.com,July1).Thereasonsfortheseharshmeasuressurgerywithout
anesthesiaasRussianmediasourcescharacterizeditwereseriousdeficienciesinthe
organizationoftrainingandtheday-to-dayactivitiesoftheunits,nottakingallnecessary
measurestoimprovethelivingconditionsofthepersonnel,alackofconcernforsubordinates,
aswellasdistortionsinthereportsoftheactualstateofaffairs(RIANovosti,June29).
Thesepublicsackingswereunprecedented:inthepast,instancesofhigh-rankingofficers
forcedoutoftheirpositionsweregenerallyexplainedawaybyageorbadhealth.

Followingthedismissals,ViceAdmiralAleksanderNosatovhastemporarilybeenappointed
commanderoftheBalticFleetandtaskedwithputtingthingsinorder,whileViceAdmiralIgor
Mukhametshinwill,fornow,actastheFleetschiefofstaff(Mil.ru,July1).Withinsixmonths,
anewinspectionwilltakeplacebutitremainsanopenquestionastowhether,bythen,the
BalticFleetwillhaverisenfromtheasheslikeaPhoenix.

ViceAdmiralKravchukservedassecondincommandwithintheBalticFleetsince2009and,
from2012,asitscommander.Apparently,duringhistenure,thecircumstancessurrounding
theFleetwentfrombadtoworse(Lenta.ru,June30 Fontanka.ru,June29).Kravchukis
reportedlyclosetotheformercommanderoftheRussianNavy,AdmiralViktorChirkov.His
othernotablefriendsandcloseassociatesincludetheso-calledamberbaron,Viktor
Bogdan,whohasallegedlysoldfuelstolenfromtheBalticSeaFleetandcontrolsthe
smugglingofamberfromKaliningradoblasttoPoland(Fontanka.ruJune29Radiopolsha.pl
July1).

MikhailNenashev,thechairmanoftheAll-RussianMovementforSupportoftheNavy,
believesthemassdismissalofBalticFleetofficersisanabsurdcoincidenceoramistake
(Fontanka.ruJune29).HetruststhatthenewheadoftheRussianNavy,AdmiralVladimir
Korolev,willlookintothematterandpresentanobjectiveassessmentofhowthingsstandin
theBalticFleet.Nenashevlikelydoesnothaveaccesstoallthefactsorissimplytryingto
protecthisown.Whatheseesasamistakewasapparentlyanythingbutindeed,the
dismissalofKravchukandtheothernavalofficersresulteddirectlyfromaMay11June10
inspectionoftheBalticSeaFleetbytheRussianGeneralStaff.Whatinitiatedthisinspectionis
unclear.ButmilitaryprosecutorsintheBalticFleethad,timeandagain,calledAdmiral
Kravchuksattentiontoanumberofirregularities.Andyet,noactionswereevertakenbythe
Fleetshighcommand,sosuchrequestsforaninvestigationmayhave,instead,been
redirectedathigherauthorities(Interfax,July1).Otherpossibilitiesthatcannotbeexcluded
arethatawhistleblowerwasinvolved,orperhapstheRussianministerofdefensehimself
sensedthatsomethingwaswrongduringhisvisittoKaliningradoblastlastMarch.Onesource
claimsthatapurportedcollisionbetweenaRussianmilitarysubmarineandaPolishnaval
vesselinMarchanincidenttheBalticFleetcommandhastriedtohideordownplay
triggeredtherecentmonth-longinspection(Fontanka.ruJune29).

TojudgefromtheoutstandingproblemsreportedlyplaguingtheBalticFleet,thereisreasonto
assumethattheofficiallydeclaredmotivesfortheshakeupsintheFleetshighcommand
correspondwithreality.Specifically(Fontanka.ru,June29 Lenta.ru,June30 Ruwest.ru,
June27):

Seventy-threefamiliesofofficersintheBalticFleetarelivinginbuildingsindangerof
collapsing.Andthesestructuresadditionallylackwarmwaterandtoiletfacilities.
AftertheJuly2015tragedyinOmsk,whereafour-storyarmybarrackscollapsed,
killing23servicemen,allRussianmilitarybuildingswereinspected.Nobuildings
sufferingfromsimilarstructuralproblemswerereportedlyfoundintheBalticFleet,but
infactthepersonnelweretoldtokeepquietabouttherealsituation.
Accidents,includingfires,haveperiodicallyoccurredaboardBalticFleetships.
InAugust2015,amine-clearingexerciseintheBalticSeaendedwithabominable
resultsfortheparticipatingvessels.Yet,officialreportsstatedthatalltaskswere
completedsatisfactorily.
Theillegalextractionofamberwasfoundinconnectionwiththerebuildingofthe
ChkalovsknavalairbaseinKaliningradoblast.
Thelocaleconomyhasbeenseriouslymismanaged.

Thedismissalofmorethantwodozenhigh-rankingofficersinresponsetotheBalticSea
FleetsshortcomingsshouldbeseeninlightofhowMoscowperceivesincreasedactivityin
theBalticregionbytheNorthAtlanticTreatyOrganization(NATO).Russiaisfocusingonits
westernstrategicdirectionandasDefenseMinisterShoiguhasstated,strengtheningthe
countrysmilitarycapabilitiesinthatdirectionisanappropriateanswertoNATO
(Tvzvezda.ru,June30).Inthiscontext,theBalticFleetandKaliningradoblastasawholeplay
acrucialrole.Assuch,fromamilitarypointofview,theareaisbeinggivenhighprioritybutin
comparisonwiththeArcticandCrimea,notmuchhadbeentangiblyachievedinKaliningrad
sofar.ItremainstobeseenwhethertherecentdrasticshakeupintheBalticFleetscommand
willhaveanegativeimpactintheshortterm.Butalmostcertainly,themilitaryunitsstationedin
theBalticSearegionwillnowbereceivingmuchgreaterinterestfromMoscowforalongtime
tocome.

--JrgenElfving

Karachaevo-CherkessiasGovernorFacesToughChallengeinUpcomingElection
Period

WithRussiasSeptember2016parliamentaryelectionsfastapproaching,thepoliticalelitesin
theNorthCaucasusarebecomingincreasinglynervous.Thecountrycontinuestobe
embroiledinaneconomiccrisis,whichisforcingachangeintherelationsbetweenMoscow
andregionalgovernors,whiletheoverallpoliticalsituationbecomesevermorefluid.Although
theRussiangovernmentwilllikelytrytorigthevote,asusual,nationalelectionsarestillseen
asalegitimizationritualfortherulingUnitedRussiaparty.Hence,governorswhodonot
deliverasufficientlylargenumberofvotesforUnitedRussiacouldfaceseriousrepercussions.

ThegovernorofKarachaevo-Cherkessia,RashidTemrezov,isoneoftheNorthCaucasus
governorsmostatrisk.HispositionisprecariousbecauseUnitedRussiafacesformidable
oppositioninKarachaevo-Cherkessia,andTemrezovhasmanagedtomakemanypowerful
enemiesintherepublic.PresidentVladimirPutinconfirmedTemrezovsstatusas
Karachaevo-CherkessiasactinggovernorjustdaysbeforeTemrezovsfirsttermasgovernor
wassettoexpireonMarch1.KeepingKarachaevo-Cherkessiaselitesinsuspenseindicated
thattheKremlinwasconsideringothercandidatesforgovernor.Thefactthatelectionstothe
regionalparliamentandtheRussianStateDumawillbeheldsimultaneouslyinSeptember
providedMoscowwiththepretexttoremovethoseNorthCaucasusgovernorswhofailto
electasufficientnumberofUnitedRussiadeputies,accordingtolocalobservers.Aspartof
itsstrategytoensureUnitedRussiawinsintheNorthCaucasus,Moscowappointedregional
governorsasinterimleadersofUnitedRussia,whorunforparliamentascandidatesonparty
lists.However,oncetheelectionsareover,thegovernorssimplyrefusetotaketheir
parliamentaryseatandalowerrankingUnitedRussia apparatchik(loyalbureaucratic
functionary)isdelegatedinstead.Sincegovernorsarewellknownintherepublicsandhave
de-factocontrolofthelocalelectoralcommissions,therulingpartyinvariablywinselections
therebyalargemargin(Onkavkaz.com,June28).

Thistried-and-truescheme,however,doesnotalwayswork.Itisespeciallylikelytofailin
suchamultiethnicandpoliticallydividedrepublicasKarachaevo-Cherkessia.Turkic-speaking
Karachays,forexample,compriseapluralityintherepublicandcontrolmuchofthe
governmentapparatus.However,theCherkess(Circassians)andtheAbazaalsohavestrong
andwell-organizedstructures,eventhoughtheyareintheminority.Moreover,severalgroups
inKarachaevo-Cherkessiahavetheirownautonomousstatuswithintherepublic,which
makesiteasierforthemtoorganizeforpoliticalaction.Apartfromthedisgruntledminorities,
theKarachaysthemselvesalsoappeartobequitedividedoverTemrezovsleadership.

Karachaevo-Cherkessiahasafewpoliticallystrongcivilsocietyorganizationsthatare
normallyarrangedalongethniclines.Toshieldthemselvesfromcriticism,republicanofficials
organizedtheirownparallelcivilorganizationsthatdothegovernmentsbidding.For
example,therearetwomaincivilsocietyorganizationsofethnicKarachaysanindependent
CongressoftheKarachayPeopleandagovernment-sponsoredorganizationcalledKarachay
AlanKhalk.Thedeputyspeakeroftherepublicanparliament,RuslanKhabov,alsoleads
KarachayAlanKhalk.KarachayswereamongtheethnicgroupsoftheformerSovietUnion
thatweredeportedtoKazakhstanenmassebyJosephStalinforallegedcollaborationwith
theGermansduringtheSecondWorldWar.Now,Karachayactivistssaythatthegovernment
hasfailedtorehabilitatethemfully.Karachayvillageslackbasicfacilitiesandjoblessnessis
rampant.Karachaevo-CherkessiaistheonlyNorthCaucasianrepublicthathasnodirect
connectiontoMoscoweitherviaanairlinkorbyrailway.Peoplecryandareontheir
knees,saidAzimSalpagarov,theeditoroftheregionalnewspaperKubanskieVesti.Many
bureaucratsareinvolvedinbusinessactivitiesandworkforthemselves.Thosepeoplesimply
makemoney,andtheydonotcarethatordinarypeopleintherepublicfaceenormous
problemsduetothepricehikesandcreditdebts(Yug.svpressa.ru,June24).

TemrezovwasconnectedtoMustafaBatdyev,whowasKarachaevo-Cherkessiaspresident
from2003to2008.Afterascandalinvolvingthegruesomemurderofagroupofbusinessmen
byBatdyevsson-in-law,AliKaitov,andanensuinguprisingintherepublic,Batdyevwas
removedfromoffice.TemrezovunexpectedlycametopowerinKarachaevo-Cherkessiain
2011,aftertheprematureresignationofthepreviousgovernoroftherepublic,BorisEbzeyev.
AfterTemrezovcametopower,however,heandBatdyevreportedlyhadafallingout
(Onkavkaz.com,June18,2015).

Morerecently,TemrezovhasfacedoppositionfromAliyTotorkulov,apopularand
charismaticpoliticalfigurewhoattemptedtoparticipateinUnitedRussiasprimaryelections,
butwassidelined.TotorkulovpromisedtofighthiswaytotheRussianStateDumaas
Karachaevo-CherkessiasrepresentativedespiteTemrezovsopposition.However,
TotorkulovwasappointeddeputychairmanoftheCouncilforNationalitiesinMoscow
(Kuban.kp.ru,June27).Thegesturewasapparentlymeanttoappeasetheambitious
independentKarachaevo-Cherkessianpoliticianandhelprepublicanauthorities.

DespiteTotorkulovsretreat,thereareotherfiguresandforcesinKarachaevo-Cherkessia
thatcanstillchallengeTemrezovsrulebyvotingagainsttheUnitedRussiaparty.Finally,the
economichurdlesthattheregionisfacingcouldeasilyupendthesituationintherepublic,
whichhaspersistentlylackedeithergovernmentorprivateinvestmentinrecentdecades.

--ValeryDzutsati

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From: JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.edu>
Senttime: 06/30/201609:40:48AM
To: martin.dewhirst@gmail.com
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.com
FW:[6-29EVEITEMSOFINTEREST][ANT/F]Dutchwants'binding'assurancesoverUkrainedeal/NATOSummitSpecialSeries:Poland/USv
Subject:
RUontheHighSeas.[ODDDII]Ukraine:WP,AC(2)+ODNote[ED:DaveKandJohnHACDebateandODReflectionson...

From:wolodymyrzarycky[mailto:wzarcusur@gmail.com]
Sent:Wednesday,June29,20167:42PM
Subject:Fwd:[6-29EVEITEMSOFINTEREST][ANT/F]Dutchwants'binding'assurancesoverUkrainedeal/NATOSummitSpecial
Series:Poland/USvRUontheHighSeas.[ODDDII]Ukraine:WP,AC(2)+ODNote[ED:DaveKandJohnHACDebateandOD
Reflectionson...

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:wolodymyrzarycky<wzarcusur@gmail.com>
Date:Wed,Jun29,2016at8:55PM
Subject:[6-29EVEITEMSOFINTEREST][ANT/F]Dutchwants'binding'assurancesoverUkrainedeal/NATOSummit
SpecialSeries:Poland/USvRUontheHighSeas.[ODDDII]Ukraine:WP,AC(2)+ODNote[ED:DaveKandJohnH
ACDebateandODReflectionsontheDebate.all"ThoughtfulReads"]..[JDDDII]JoshR:USDIPLOMATBEATEN
UPBYFSBOUTSIDEUSEMBASSYINMOSCOW[AgreewithGH:"Unbelievable"]
To:RomaHadzewycz<staff@ukrweekly.com>,rl<romashka1@aol.com>

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:AntonivFamily<antoniv_family@msn.com>
Date:Wed,Jun29,2016at10:24AM
Subject:Dutchwants'binding'assurancesoverUkrainedeal/NATOSummitSpecialSeries:Poland/
To:

DutchPMRuttewants'binding'assurancesoverEU'sUkrainedeal
http://in.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-eu-idINKCN0ZF07P
...

"Whatweneedisalegallybindingsolution,whichwilladdressthemanyworriesandelementsofthediscussioninthe
Netherlandsleadinguptothereferendum,"RuttesaidafteranEUleaders'summitinBrusselstodiscussthe
aftermathofBritain'svotelastweektoleavethebloc.
ThedebatearoundthereferendumintheNetherlands,whichshoweddissatisfactionwithRutte'sgovernmentand
policy-makinginBrussels,zeroedinonwhethertheagreementwithKievwouldheraldEUmembershipfor
Ukraineandits45millionpeople.
"Theexactform-Idon'tknowyet,"Ruttesaid."Itcouldbethatwehavetochangethetext,itcouldbethatwecan
findasolutionwhichwillnotinvolvechangingthetextoftheassociationagreement.Idon'tknowyet.
"IfIamnotabletoachievethat...wewillnotsign,"hesaid."Wewilltrytofindasolution,itwillbedifficult,the
chancesaresmallthatwewillgettherebutIthinkweshouldtry."
ThewholedealcouldbederailedshouldTheHaguerefusetoratifyit

June28,2016
NATOSummitSpecialSeries:Poland

ByIanBrzezinski

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/nato-summit-special-series-poland
NATOsmeetingofheadsofstateonJuly8thinWarsawwillbetheAlliancesmostimportantsummitsincethefallof
theBerlinWall.
...PolandwantstheAlliancetodeepenitsrelationshipwithUkraine.Polandwasamongthefirstalliestoinsistthatthe
WarsawsummitincludeaheadsofstatemeetingwithUkrainetounderscoreNATOsolidaritywithKiev.Warsaw
supportsexpandingtheAlliancessecurityassistancetoUkraine,sothatthereinforcementofNATOseastern
frontierdoesnotinadvertentlysignalWesternacceptanceofanewgreyzoneinEuropeopentoRussianhegemony
andoccupation...

EnsuringStabilityintheOSCERegionwithRespecttoUkraine:StatementataSpecial
Session

http://osce.usmission.gov/ensuring-stability-osce-region-respect-ukraine-statement-special-session-2016-asrc/
...RussiaclaimsthattheconflictineasternUkraineisinternal.Russiacontinuestosupplypersonnelandequipment
tocombined-Russian-separatistmilitaryforcesinDonbas.TheOSCEandUkrainianmilitaryhavedocumented
RussianshipmentstocombinedRussian-separatistforcesshipmentsofsophisticatedhardwarethatdoesnotexistin
Ukrainianarsenals,includingtheso-calledelectronicwarfareChristmastrees,theMRO-Aman-portable
thermobaricrocketlaunchers,andSA-15Gauntletmissiles.
Atthesametime,Moscowhassoughttoconcealthisinvolvementbypursuingastrategyofblindingthe
OSCEsSpecialMonitoringMissionbyrestrictingmonitorsaccesstoseparatist-controlledterritory,employing
threatsandintimidation,andsystematicallydestroyingOSCEcamerasandUAVs.

JasonHealey

RUfrigatesignaled"restrictedabilitytomaneuver"butmatchedUSdestroyertointerferew/USSTrumaninEast
Med

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense-news/2016/06/28/russia-navy-destroyer-frigate-gravely-yaroslav-mudry-
neustrashimy-mediterranean-truman-carrier-collision-encounter/86481616/
TheincidenttookplaceJune17intheeasternMediterraneanSea,andinvolvedtheUSdestroyerGravelyand
theRussianfrigateYaroslavMudry.

[ED:TheRU-sskiescouldn'tusesometubnamedIvanGroznyorKaterynaBolshoyaorevenJosefStalinnothey
insistedononebearingthenameofaKyivanmonarchwhosedaughtersbecomequeensinWestern,Centraland
NorthernEurope]

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:Deychak,Orest<Orest.Deychak@mail.house.gov>
Date:Wed,Jun29,2016at4:46PM
Subject:Ukraine:WP,AC(2)+ODNote[ED:DaveKandJohnHandOD.all"ThoughtfulReads"]
To:"Deychak,Orest"<Orest.Deychak@mail.house.gov>

TheWashingtonPost
Music

OperaticbaritonekilledinUkrainefighting

ByAssociatedPress

June29at9:37AM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/music/operatic-baritone-killed-in-ukraine-fighting/2016/06/29/d32f03ac-3dfa-
11e6-9e16-4cf01a41decb_story.html

MOSCOWAUkrainianbaritonewhoperformedinFrenchoperaproductionsfornearlytwodecadesbeforejoininga
volunteerbattalioninwarringeasternUkrainehasbeenkilledinthefighting.

UkrainiannewsreportscitedthenationalistgroupPravySektorassayingWassylSlipakwaskilledonWednesdaybyasniper.

ThereportssaidSlipakhadabandonedhissingingcareertwoyearsagotojointhefightofUkrainiansoldiersandvolunteers
againstRussia-backedrebels.Nearly9,500peoplehavebeenkilledintheconflict,accordingtoU.N.figures.

SlipakhadperformedattheParisNationalOperaandproductionsthroughoutFrance,accordingtohiswebpage.

InastatementonWednesday,IvanSimonovic,headoftheU.N.HumanRightschiefsofficeinNewYork,saidthedeathtollof
early9,500includesupto2,000civilians.

Simonovicsaidinthepastmonthhalfofallciviliancasualtieswerecausedbyshellingfrommortarsandhowitzers-weapons
whichuseintheconflictzoneareprohibitedbytheMinskAgreements.

Simonovicwarnedofapossiblere-escalationofwide-scalehostilitiesifurgentactionisnottakentoseparatesidesandremove
heavyweaponry.

AtlanticCouncil(2)

JUNE28,2016

It'sTimetoScraptheMinskAgreement

BYDAVIDJ.KRAMER

EditorsNote:OnJune22,AmbassadorJohnHerbstandDavidKramerdebatedwhetherweshouldburytheMinsk
agreement,thetroubledceasefireagreementinUkraine,atanAtlanticCouncileventinWashington,DC.Their
remarkshavebeenadaptedfromthedebate.

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/it-s-time-to-scrap-the-minsk-agreement

TheMinskceasefireagreement,signedFebruary15,2015,bytheleadersofRussia,Ukraine,Germany,andFrance,alongwith
representativesfromtheOSCEandfromRussian-occupiedareasofDonetskandLuhansk(DNRandLNR,respectively),is
simplynotworking.ItistimetoscrapitandmakecleartoRussia,throughadeclarationfromWesternnations,thatsanctionswill
remaininplaceandwillbeincreasedovertimeunlessRussiameetsseveralkeyconditions.Theseincludewithdrawalofits
forcesandweaponsfromUkraine(includingCrimea),respectofUkraine'ssovereigntyandterritorialintegrity,controlofthe
borderrestoredtoUkrainianauthorities,andthereturntoUkraineofthosecitizensitkidnappedfromUkrainianterritory.Further
negotiationswithMoscowarepointlessgiventhatRussianofficialswontevenacknowledgethepresenceoftheirforceson
Ukrainiansoil.

TherehavenotbeenanynewsanctionsimposedonRussiadespiteitsfailuretoliveuptoasingleconditionundertheMinsk
accord.Instead,anumberofEuropeanleaders,ledbyGermanForeignMinisterFrank-WalterSteinmeierandViceChancellor
SigmarGabriel,alongwiththeFrenchparliamentandothers,haveirresponsiblycalledforaneasingifnotoutrightliftingof
sanctions.WithoutGermanChancellorAngelaMerkel,renewalofEUsanctionswouldbeinjeopardy.

DefendersofMinskargueithasreducedthefighting.Infact,morethanfourthousandUkrainianshavebeenkilledsincethe
secondMinskdealwassignedlastyear,almosthalfthenumberoftotalcasualtiessinceRussiainvadedUkraineinlateFebruary
2014.AseriousuptickinfightinginthepasttwomonthsfurtherbeliestheclaimthatMinskhaspreservedthepeace.

Inaddition,defendersofthedealclaimitistheonlyactintown.ThesamecouldhavebeensaidafterthefirstMinskdealwas
signedinSeptember2014,butfivemonthslateritwasreplacedwithanevenworsedeal.Infact,suchclaimsareexcusesfornot
engaginginthenecessary,albeitdifficult,workofcomingupwithaninnovativealternativetoMinsk.Thiswouldrequire
involvementatthepresidentiallevelintheUnitedStates,andPresidentBarackObama,regrettably,hasshownlittleinterestinsuch
engagement,delegatinginsteadresponsibilityforresolvingthecrisistoMerkel.

UkrainesignedMinskandthereforemustabidebyit,thedealsdefendersfurtherclaim.Ofcourse,theUnitedStatesandUnited
Kingdom,aswellasRussia,signedthe1994BudapestMemorandumadealthatactuallyworkedinconvincingUkraineto
relinquishitsSoviet-inheritednuclearweaponsinexchangefortheothersignatoriesrespectforitssovereigntyandterritorial
integrity.ButnobodyinofficialpositionsotherthanUkrainiansraisestheBudapestMemorandumthesedays.

Moreover,MinskforcedUkrainianPresidentPetroPoroshenko,undertremendouspressureasRussianforcesweresurrounding
Debaltseve,tocommittosomethingthatonlytheUkrainianparliamentcandonamely,passaconstitutionalamendmentand
legislativereformpavingthewayforlocalelectionsintheDNRandLNR.PoroshenkosimplydoesnthavethevotesintheRada
topasstheconstitutionalamendment,whichrequiresthreehundredvotes.Fourpeoplewerekilleddemonstratingagainstthe
RadasconsiderationofsuchlegislationlastAugust,reflectingthehighlysensitiveissuethisisforUkraine.

ThemostcogentargumentformaintainingMinskisthattheonlywaytokeeptheEuropeansonboardwithsanctionsisby
demonstratingRussiannoncompliancewiththeaccordsprovisions.Theproblemwiththisargument,however,isthatMinskisalso
beingusedtopressureUkraineintopassingthelegislationandamendmentsforlocalelectionsintheDNRandLNR.ThisWestern
pressureonKyivshouldcease.

UkrainedoesnotcontroltheDNRandLNRregionshowcanitpossiblypasslegislation,evenprovisionally,callingforlocal
electionsthere?Whataboutthe1.7milliondisplacedpeoplewilltheygetanopportunitytoparticipateintheelections?
AccordingtotheMinskdeal,electionsintheseregionsaretobeconductedinaccordancewithUkrainianlegislationandin
accordancewithrelevantOSCEstandardsandmonitoredbyOSCE/ODIHR.HowcanthisbewhenRussiacontrolsthisregion
andthefightinghasntstopped?

EveniftheWestweretostoppressuringUkraineaboutthelocalelections,theMinskdealstillsuffersfromfatalflaws.For
example,it:

Callsforwithdrawalofallforeignarmedformations,butnevermentionsRussianforcesspecifically.SincetheKremlinlies
abouthavingnoforcesinUkraine,Russiacanarguethatthisclausedoesnotapplytoit

Lacksclarityonthesequencingofthemeasuresthatmustbemet,whichenablesPutintoargue,ashedidattheSt.Petersburg
EconomicForumonJune17,thattheonusforfulfillingMinskliesinKyiv,notMoscow

NeglectstomentionCrimeaatall.

FifteenmonthsislongenoughtoconcludethattheMinskdealisnotworkingtoendtheviolenceorresolvetheconflict,andnew
waysshouldbefoundtokeeptheEuropeansonboardwithsanctionsor,failingthat,tomoveaheadunilaterallywithadditional
USsanctions.ThatwouldrequirestrongerAmericanpresidentialleadership,however,andthatisunlikelyuntilnextJanuary,at
best.

DavidJ.KrameristheseniordirectorforhumanrightsanddemocracyattheMcCainInstituteforInternational
LeadershipinWashington,DC,andwasAssistantSecretaryofStateforDemocracy,HumanRightsandLaborinthe
GeorgeW.Bushadministration.

AtlanticCouncil

JUNE28,2016

NowIsNottheTimetoScraptheMinskAgreement

AReplytoDavidJ.Kramer

BYJOHNE.HERBST

EditorsNote:OnJune22,AmbassadorJohnHerbstandDavidJ.Kramerdebatedwhetherweshouldburythe
Minskagreement,thetroubledceasefireagreementinUkraine,atanAtlanticCouncileventinWashington,DC.
Theirremarkshavebeenadaptedfromthedebate.

http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/now-is-not-the-time-to-scrap-the-minsk-agreement

UkrainesdiscussionofthewarwithRussiaoftenfocusesonthefailingsoftwodiplomaticinstruments:theBudapestMemorandum
andtheMinskagreements.Whilemuchcommentaryaboutthesedocumentsisintelligentandinsightful,thereisalittle-noticedbut
essentialconnectionbetweenthem.First,theinadequaciesofthesedocumentsreflectthepoliticalweaknessoftheWestern
powersthatsignedthem.Second,theMinskagreementsandthebroaderprocesstheygeneratedareanimportantpartofthe
WestsresponsetofulfillingitsBudapestcommitments.Correctlyunderstood,theMinskprocessisessentialtostoppingMoscow
intheDonbas.

Inthe1994BudapestMemorandum,UkraineagreedtogiveupitsnuclearweaponsinexchangeforassurancesfromRussia,the
UnitedKingdom,andtheUnitedStatestoconsultincaseofthreatstoitsterritorialintegrityandsovereignty.WhenRussiaannexed
CrimeainMarch2014,UkrainewassorelydisappointedtodiscoverthatBudapestMemorandumconsultationsproduceda
ratherweakWesternresponsesimplyanumberofsmallsanctions.EvenMoscowshybridwarintheDonbasproducedonly
limitedsanctions.OnlyaftertheJuly2015shoot-downoftheMalaysianairlinerbyaRussianmissiledidtheEUfollowthe
AmericanleadandimposepunishingsanctionsonMoscowsenergyandfinancialsectors.
TheMinskagreementshavealsoseverelydisappointedUkraine.ThefirstMinskceasefireinSeptember2014didpreventthe
destructionofUkrainianarmedforcesaroundthetownofIlovaisk,butitwasalsosupposedtoproduceanendtothefightingthat
nevermaterialized.BetweenthefirstandsecondMinskagreements,Ukrainedidnotenjoyadayofpeace:inthatperiod,
hundredsofUkrainiansoldiersdied,andMoscowseizedmoreUkrainianterritory.

Moscow'sJanuary2015offensivetotakethetownofDebaltsevespurredtheEUtoanewroundofdiplomacy,whichledtothe
secondceasefireinFebruary2015.However,thetermsoftheagreementwerenotablyworse.First,MinskIIgivestheauthorities
inthe"DonetskPeople'sRepublic"(DNR)andthe"LuhanskPeople'sRepublic"(LNR)therighttoretaintheirownarmedforces.
Second,itcallsforconstitutionalreforminUkrainethatwouldgrantautonomytotheDNRandLNRinambiguouslanguagethat
MoscowinterpretsasgivingthoseregionsavetooverUkrainesnationalsecuritypolicy.(UkraineandtheWestdonotsharethat
interpretation.)Third,itcallsforelectionsintheKremlin-dominatedareasbeforeUkraineregainscontrolofitsborderwithRussia.

Inshort,MoscowwasrewardedforitsdailyviolationsofMinskI.Insteadoffacingadditionalsanctionsforincreasingaggression,
itwasgrantedmorefavorableterms.AndeversinceMinskIIwassigned,fightinghasbeenongoing,andtheDNRandLNRhave
addedovertwohundredsquarekilometersofterritory.Andwhilethisishappening,theEUhaspressuredUkrainetopassan
electionslawfortheLNRandDNR.

Inaddition,MinskexcludestheUnitedStatesfromthediplomaticprocessdesignedtoendthewar.Soitisnotsurprisingthat
manyinUkrainebelievethatMinskisfatallyflawed,thatUkrainehasnoobligationtopassalocalelectionslaw,andthatUkraine
shouldwalkawayfromMinskanddemandanewframework.

Thatapproach,however,wouldbeaseriousmistake.Perhapshistoriansandcommentatorshavetheluxuryoffocusingtheir
attentionontheweaknessesofWesterndiplomacy,butUkraine'sleadershavenosuchoption.

Ukraine'sleadersneedtounderstandthelimitsontheirpartnersinEurope.GermanChancellorAngelaMerkelhasbeenthepillar
ofEUsanctionspolicy.MerkelhaskeptFrenchPresidentFrancoisHollandeandtherestoftheEUonboardwithsanctions.Her
continuedsuccess,however,cannotbetakenforgranted.TheDutchreferenduminAprilopposingtheEU'stradeagreementwith
Ukraine,andthevotesbytheFrenchNationalAssemblyinAprilandtheFrenchSenateinJuneonliftingthesanctionsonRussia,
alldemonstratethattheEUisnotinapositiontopursueastrongerpolicy.BritainsexitfromtheEUhasalsoweakenedthepro-
sanctionscampintheEU.

Fortunately,thesanctionspolicyoftheEUandtheUScoupledwiththegrowingmilitaryassistancecomingfromsomeWestern
countriesmaybesufficienttohelpUkraineultimatelywinintheeast.Betweenthedropinhydrocarbonpricesandsanctions,
MoscowsGNPdropped3.7percentin2015and1.4percentinthefirstthreemonthsof2016.AccordingtotheIMF,the
sanctionswereresponsiblefor1-1.5percentofthe2016decline.TheRussianstandardoflivingdropped9.5percentin2015and
alargedropisexpectedthisyear.AfterinsistingforwelloverayearthatWesternsanctionswerehavingnoimpact,Moscownow
acknowledgestheimpactandiscallingfortheirremoval.

TherearealsoindicationsthatMoscowunderstandsitsUkrainepolicyisfailing.SinceRussiasinterventioninSyria,Ukrainehas
ceasedtobetheprincipalstoryintheRussianmedia,andthisgivestheKremlinmoreflexibilityinmanagingthecrisis.Inaddition
totheMinsknegotiatingprocess,topKremlinaideVyacheslavSurkovhasbeenmeetingregularlywithUSAssistantSecretaryof
StateVictoriaNulandsinceJanuary.Reportedly,thosemeetingshaveavoidedmuchofthecantthatfillstheMinsknegotiationsand
haveinvolvedtheexchangeofseriousideasthatcouldcontributetoendingthewarintheDonbas.

TheObamaadministration,whichhadpreviouslydescribedtheKremlinswarinUkraineasaregionalcrisis,hasalsoshownan
increasedinterestinfindingasolution.USNationalSecurityAdvisorSusanRicesaidearlierthismonththatperhapsthisconflict
canberesolvedbeforetheendoftheObamaadministration.ThissuggeststhatseniorlevelsinWashingtonaregivingmorebacking
tothediplomaticeffortsoftheindefatigableNuland.

NoneofthismeansthatMoscowhasmadeanydecisionstostepback.ButtheypointtoaMinskprocesswhichisbetterthanthe
termsofthefirstMinskagreement:WesternsanctionsareholdingfirmWesternleadersstilldemandKremlinimplementationofits
MinskcommitmentsinexchangeforsanctionsreliefdomesticproblemsaregrowingforPutinandtheAmericanrolein
negotiationsisbecomingmoreprominent.

UkrainesleaderssurelyunderstandthattheyshouldnotupendthisfavorablemomentumbywalkingawayfromMinsk.They
understandtoothattokeepsanctionsinplacetheymustbeopentopassinganelectionslawfortheLNRandtheDNRthat
protectsUkrainesinterests.OnehopesthatthosepoliticiansnotdirectlyresponsibleforUkrainesforeignpolicyunderstandthis
aswell.

JohnE.HerbstisDirectoroftheDinuPatriciuEurasiaCenterattheAtlanticCouncil.HeservedasUSAmbassadorto
Ukrainefrom2003to2006.

[ODthoughts:AgreatdiscussionaboutMinskbytwogenuinesupportersofUkraineandanexamplewherethereare
compellingargumentstobothsidesofthedebate.Heresmytwohryvni,forwhatitsworth.Obviously,nobodyis
naveabouttheseriousshortcomingsofMinskoritslong-termprospects.AsDavidandIhavediscussedon
occasion,IleanmoretoJohnsarguments,perhapsstemmingfrommyownprofessionalexperienceswithcertainkey
Europeancountriesoverthedecadeswheremyexpectationsofthemonthesekindsofissuesareoftenratherlow.IfI
thought,asDavidrightlycallsfor,thatafterscrappingMinsk,WesternnationswouldmakecleartoRussiathat
sanctionswouldremaininplaceandevenbeincreasedovertime,IwouldbeinfavorofdoingawaywithMinsk
pronto!Alas,Isimplyhaveahardtimeseeingthathappen,atleastinthenear-term,givenpoliticalweaknessin
Europe.DumpingMinskwouldremovetheprimaryjustificationformaintainingsanctions,akeyperhapsthekey-
-sourceofleverageoverMoscowandevenotherwisereduceEUsupportforUkraine.Weakeningsanctionscould
emboldenPutininextremelydangerouswayswhilecontinuingthemmight,justmight,givesomehopefora
resolution.IagreewithDavidinnotputtingpressureonKyiv(oratleastnottoomuch),giventhatsomeofthe
decisionstheymightneedtotakearepoliticallydifficult,ifnotimpossible.Imnotsure,however,thatanelection
lawfallsintothatcategory.Afterall,MinskcallsforanyelectionsintheDonbastobeconsistentwithboth
UkrainianelectionlawandOSCEelectionstandards.ImveryskepticalastowhetherDonbaselectionscantake
placeunlessthereisaradicalchangeinstatusquo--eveninthehighlyunlikelyeventthatthesecuritysituation
weretostabilizetoallowforsuchelections.Fordemocraticelections,youneedanenvironmentwherethereisalevel
playingfieldforallpartiesandcandidates,andforthatyouneedbasicfreedomsofassociation,assembly,expression,
mediaandsemblanceofruleoflaw,whichsimplyisnotpossiblegiventhethuggish,criminalotamanyrunning
theso-calledDNRandLNR.IdoubtthattheOSCEwouldobserve,muchlessblesssuchanelection.So,giventhat,
whatstheharmdoneinpassingadecentelectionlawwhichwouldprovidefordemocraticelections,includingIDP
votingalaw,asJohnsays,thatprotectsUkrainesinterests--ifthathelpskeeptosomeofoursquishyEuropean
friendsonboardwithsanctionsandsupportforUkraine,and,dareIsay,evensomeatthehighestlevelsofourown
Administration.Inotherwords,whatstheharmdoneinUkraineshowingitselftobeasflexibleasitreasonably
canbewithoutdamagingitsinterests?Irealizethatmineisnotapopularviewamongsome(includingsomeRada
membersrepresentingseveralpartiesthatIhavemetwithoverthelastfewmonths),butIthinkitisimportantto
considertheachievable,andnotjusttheaspirational.Onelastpoint:Asregularreadersknow,Istronglybelievein
keepingtheheatontheRussiansandtheirseparatistsatrapsonalloftheirmultitudeongoingviolationsofMinsk.
Andweneedtokeepresolutelyrejectingtheabsurdfalseequivalencenarrativethatsuggeststhatbothsidesareto
blameequally.]

----------Forwardedmessage----------
From:JohnBDunlop<jbdunlop@stanford.edu>
Date:Wed,Jun29,2016at3:36PM
Subject:FW:USDIPLOMATBEATENUPBYFSBOUTSIDEUSEMBASSYINMOSCOW
To:"waz2102@caa.columbia.edu"<waz2102@caa.columbia.edu>

From:GlenHoward[mailto:howard@jamestown.org]
Sent:Wednesday,June29,201611:46AM
To:PaulGobleJonasBernsteimJohnBDunlopTraininblankIanBrzezinskiSENDERSWIMBUSHMatthewCzekajJonChickyTemuri
YakobashviliMamukaTsereteliMamukaKudavaVladimir,SocorAldenWahlstromClintonSmullyanJrJamesG.GidwitzWillemde
VogelMichelleVanCleaveMichaelWSRyanBrianWilliamsNickHerasMargaritaAssenovaZaurShiriyevNihatAlizcanSaban
KardasMatthewBryza
Subject:RE:USDIPLOMATBEATENUPBYFSBOUTSIDEUSEMBASSYINMOSCOW

Unbelievable.....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/russian-fsb-guard-attacks-us-diplomat-outside-moscow-
embassy/2016/06/28/2c42c98c-3d7f-11e6-a66f-aa6c1883b6b1_story.html?wpisrc=nl_most-draw7&wpmm=1

--

Glen

ByJoshRoginJune29at7:01AM

IntheearlymorningofJune6,auniformedRussianFederalSecurityService(FSB)guard
stationedoutsidetheU.S.EmbassyinMoscowattackedandbeatupaU.S.diplomatwhowas
tryingtoenterthecompound,accordingtofourU.S.officialswhowerebriefedontheincident.

ThispreviouslyunreportedattackoccurredjuststepsfromtheentrancetotheU.S.Embassy
complex,whichislocatedinthePresnenskyDistrictinMoscowscitycenter.Afterbeingtackledby
theFSBguard,thediplomatsufferedabrokenshoulder,amongotherinjuries.Hewaseventually
abletoentertheembassyandwasthenflownoutofRussiatoreceiveurgentmedicalattention,
administrationofficialsconfirmedtome.HeremainsoutsideofRussia.

Theattackcausedadiplomaticepisodebehindthescenesthathasnotsurfaceduntilnow.The
StateDepartmentinWashingtoncalledinRussianAmbassadorSergeyI.Kislyaktocomplainabout
theincident,anadministrationofficialsaid.

Themotivefortheattackremainsunclear.OneU.S.officialtoldmethatthediplomatwasseeking
refugeintheembassycomplextoavoidbeingdetainedbytheRussianintelligenceservices.A
differentU.S.officialtoldmethediplomatmayhavebeenworkingasaspyinRussiaunderwhats
knownasdiplomaticcover,whichmeanshewaspretendingtobeaStateDepartmentemployee.

SpokesmenfortheboththeStateDepartmentandtheCIAdeclinedtocommentontheincidentor
whetherornotthediplomatwasinfactanundercoverU.S.spy.

Putin:Russiadoesn'twantanewColdWar

PlayVideo0:55

DuringaquestionandanswersessionattheSt.PetersburgInternationalEconomicForum,PresidentVladimirPutinsaidRussia
didnotwantanewColdwarwiththeWestanddidnotliketothinkitwasslippingintoone.(Reuters)
In2013,RussianintelligenceservicesarrestedU.S.diplomatRyanC.Fogle,whomtheyaccusedof
secretlyworkingfortheCIA.Fogle,whowasworkingasathirdsecretaryinthepoliticalsectionof
theU.S.EmbassyinMoscow,wasarrestedcarryingvariousdisguisesandothertoolsofspycraft.
RussiaaccusedhimoftryingtorecruitRussianintelligenceofficers.
AfterinterrogatingFogle,theRussiangovernmentreleasedhimtoU.S.officials,butnot
beforehumiliatinghimintheRussianmediaandchastisingtheU.S.governmentforspyinginside
Russia.FoglewasforcedtoleaveRussia.

IftheU.S.diplomatattackedonJune6wasnotaspy,U.S.officialshavenootherexplanationfor
whytheFSBguardwastryingtostophimfromenteringtheembassy.FSBguardsarestationed
outsidetheU.S.Embassyregularly,administrationofficialssaid.

Opinionsnewsletter AsIreportedthisweek,Russian
Thought-provokingopinionsandcommentary,inyourinboxdaily.harassmentofU.S.diplomatsinRussia
andseveralotherEuropeancountrieshas
Signup
increasedsignificantlysinceU.S.sanctions
wereleviedonRussianofficialsand
PresidentVladimirPutinsassociatesin2014.
OnTuesday,theRussianforeignministrysspokeswoman,MariaZakharova,respondeddirectlyto
mycolumnatapressconferenceandonTwitterandaccusedtheU.S.governmentofdeliberately
underminingbilateralties.

Diplomacyisbasedonreciprocity.ThemoretheUSdamagesrelations,theharderitwillbeforUS
diplomatstoworkinRussia,shesaid.

Eitherway,thefactthattheFSBiswillingtoattackaU.S.diplomatandbeathimuprightinfront
oftheAmericanEmbassyreflectsthattheRussiansecurityservicesarebecomingincreasingly
brash,saidEvelynFarkas,whoservedasdeputyassistantsecretaryofdefenseforRussia,Ukraine
andEurasiafortheObamaadministration.

Ifthisistrue,itsanotherexampleoftheRussiansecurityservicesdemonstratingawillingnessto
breaktaboos,shesaid.Thefactthattheyareusingthesebrutaltacticsagainstforeignersistaking
thingstoawholeotherlevel.

Readmoreaboutthistopic:

JoshRogin:RussiaisharassingU.S.diplomatsalloverEurope

From: BoboLo<bobolo_uk@yahoo.co.uk>
Senttime: 06/30/201603:08:01AM
To: RobertOtto<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Cc: BoboLo<bobolo_uk@yahoo.co.uk>
Subject: Re:FriendsWithBenefits?Russian-ChineseRelationsAftertheUkraineCrisis-CarnegieMoscowCenter-CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace

DearBob,

Thankyouforthis.It'sallverytimely,giventhatIamfinalizingthefirstdraftofmyforthcomingmonographonSino-Russianrelations(LowyInstituteand
PenguinAustralia).

Gabuevisverygood,butisclearlylaboringunderconsiderable(andcontradictory)pressures.Sometimes,hetalksuptherelationship,butmoreoften
thannothelamentsitsinadequacies.There'sabitofbothinhislatestpiece!

Iwonderwhetherhewasunderpressuretopushtheline,sometimespromotedbyDmitriTrenin,thattheWestneedstobemoreflexibletowardRussia
inordertopreventitseastwarddrifttoChina.

Ihopeeverythingiswellwithyouandyours.

Warmregards,Bobo

OnThursday,30June2016,10:34,RobertOtto<robertotto25@gmail.com>wrote:

http://carnegie.ru/2016/06/29/friends-with-benefits-russian-chinese-relations-after-ukraine-crisis/j2m2

FriendsWithBenefits?Russian-ChineseRelations
AftertheUkraineCrisis
FacingsanctionsfromtheWestaftertheannexationofCrimea,RussiahasreorienteditseconomytowardChina.Inmakingthe
pivot,itsoughttobreakitsdiplomaticisolation,secureamarketforitsenergyresources,andgaingreateraccesstoChinese
creditandtechnology.Theresultsoftheshiftaremixed,butiftrendscontinue,MoscowislikelytodriftfurtherintoBeijings
embrace.Anasymmetricalinterdependenceisemerging,withglobalimplications.

AnIncreasinglyUnbalancedRelationship

RussiaseconomicoutreachtoChinapredatesitsannexationofCrimeaandtheimpositionofWesternsanctions,butit
hasintensifiedfollowingtheUkrainecrisis.

Intryingtoreorientitseconomyquickly,MoscowhaseasedinformalbarrierstoChineseinvestment.

TherewasasharpdeclineintradebetweenChinaandRussiain2015anddifficultiesinnegotiatingnewmegadeals.
Still,therapprochementhasacceleratedprojectsthathavebeenunderdiscussionfordecades,resultinginagreements
onanaturalgaspipelineandcross-borderinfrastructure,amongotherdeals.

ChinesefinancialinstitutionsarereluctanttoignoreWesternsanctions,butMoscowandBeijingaredevelopingparallel
financialinfrastructurethatwillbeimmunetosanctions.

Newdealsintherailwayandtelecommunicationssectorsmaysetimportantprecedentsforbilateralrelations.These
projectscouldreduceRussiastechnologicallinkswiththeWestandincreaseitsdependenceonChina.

TheRussian-Chineserelationshipisincreasinglyunequal,withRussiatheneedierpartner.Withoutviablealternatives,
Moscowmaybewillingtoaccepttheimbalance.

LessonsforWesternLeaders

RussiaandChinaarenotenteringintoananti-Westernalliance.BeijingdoesnotwanttoconfronttheWestoverissues
itseesasalowpriority,suchasUkraine.MoscowprefersnottobedraggedintogrowingU.S.-Chinarivalryorterritorial
disputesintheAsia-Pacific.

Still,MoscowsgrowingdependenceonChinaanditstendencytoseeconflictthroughananti-Americanlensisforcingit
tosupportBeijinginsomedisputesitwouldprefertoavoid.

Russiasmilitary-industrialcomplexisopeningupmoretotheChinesemarket.Thisshiftmayaffectthestrategicbalance
inTaiwan,theEastChinaSea,andtheSouthChinaSeaastheChinesemilitarygainsaccesstoadvancedequipment.

CentralAsiaisapotentialarenaforrivalrybetweenMoscowandBeijing.Attemptstocoordinatethecountriesregional
economicintegrationprojectshavebeenunsuccessful.YetMoscowhopesitcanserveasregionalsecurityprovider
whileChinapresidesovereconomicdevelopmentadeparturefromapreviouscollisioncourse.

MoscowandBeijingarelearningfromeachothersexperiencelimitingWesterninfluence,providingexamplesforother
authoritariancountries.

RussiaEmbracesChina:TurningFearsIntoHopes
WhenthecrisisinUkraineeruptedin2014,nooneintheKremlinwasexpectingaprolongedconfrontation.Butassoonas
sanctionswerementionedforthefirsttimeintheWest,theRussiangovernmentorganizedaseriesofbrainstormingsessions
toanalyzehowdifferentscenariosmighthurttheRussianeconomy.Theconclusionwasclear:RussiasAchillesheelwasits
near-totaldependenceonWesternmarketsforitshydrocarbonexports,capital,andtechnology.1Thehistoricalcasesof
sanctionsregimespresentedbyRussiananalystsatthesediscussions,rangingfromNorthKoreatoIran,suggestedthatin
ordertowithstandWesternpressureacountryneededastrongexternalpartner.2Theonlyobviouscandidatethatfitthebill
wasChinathelargesteconomythatdidnotplantoimposesanctionsonRussia.
Thiswasthecontextinwhich,inMay2014,theRussianleadershipembarkedonanewandmoreambitiouspivottoChina.The
strategicgoalwasnotonlytodeepenthepoliticalrelationshipbutalsotoreorienttheRussianeconomytowardtheEast.Itwas
hopedthatChinawouldbecomeamajorbuyerofSiberianhydrocarbons,ShanghaiandHongKongwouldbecomethenew
LondonandNewYorkforRussiancompaniesseekingcapital,andChineseinvestorswouldflocktobuyRussianassets,
providingbadlyneededcash,upgradingthecountrysaginginfrastructure,andsharingtechnology.3Putsimply,thenewpivot
wouldkeeptheRussianeconomyafloatandspurnewsourcesofgrowth.
Foritspart,ChinaneithersupportedRussiasactionsinUkrainenordirectlycriticizedthem.ButitwelcomedMoscowspolicyof
goingEast.TherupturebetweenRussiaandtheWestoverUkrainewasseenassomethingthatwouldhelpChinatosecurea
RussiamoreaccommodatingtoBeijingscommercialdemandsandmorewillingtogiveuponambitionsofdeepintegrationwith
theWestanightmarescenarioforChinesestrategists.
Withsomeexceptions,4thisnewapparentrapprochementwasgreetedwithconsiderableskepticismintheWest.5The
dominantviewinWesterncapitalswasthatrelationsbetweenMoscowandBeijingwouldalwaysremainanaxisof
convenience.6RelationswiththeWestandwiththeUnitedStatesinparticular,itwasargued,aremoreimportantforChina
thanitstiestoRussia,giventhatU.S.-ChinesetradevolumesweresixtimesgreaterthanRussian-Chinesetradeflowsin2014
andtentimesgreaterin2015.Moreimportantly,Westernanalystspredictedthatdeepmistrustbetweenthecountrieselites,
historicalterritorialdisputes,anunbalancedstructureoftrade,theChineseeconomicanddemographicthreattoSiberiaand
theFarEast,competitionforinfluenceinCentralAsia,andtheoverallgrowinginequalitybetweenthetwocountrieswould
precludeanymeaningfulpartnership.
TwoyearsafterMoscowbeganitsChinapivot,somedevelopmentsconfirmthisskepticalview.Westerncommentarieshave
oftenadoptedamockingtoneabouttheexaggeratedhopesthatMoscowhasplacedonBeijing.Mr.Putinmayhopethatsuch
arrangements[withChina]canhelpshieldRussiafromwesternsanctions.Yet,inhisheartofhearts,hemustknowthatBeijing
isnotgoingtodoMoscowanyfavours,arguedaMay2015editorialintheFinancialTimes.7ThomasS.EderandMikko
HuotarifromtheBerlin-basedMercatorInstituteforChinaStudieswroteinForeignAffairsthat
WhatonefindstimeandagainwithSinoRussiancooperationareloftyannouncementsthatfailtocorrespondwiththereality
ofalessthanrobustrelationship.Asaresult,thecurrentstateofSinoRussianrelationsdo[sic]littletoprovideMoscowwith
anygeopoliticalleverageagainstEurope.Infact,itistheotherwayaround.Europehasbeenmoresuccessfulatplayingthe
diversificationgame,aswellasattractinginvestmentsandincreasingtradewithChina.8
Yet,thenewRussian-Chineserapprochementmaybemoreseriousthanthislineofreasoningsuggests.Inthewakeofthe
Ukrainecrisis,theRussianleadershiptookafreshlookatmanyissuesthathadbeenblockingcooperationwithBeijingfor
years.Thisprocessresultedintheremovalofthreekeyinformalbarriers.First,Moscowdecidedithadbeentooreticentabout
sellingadvancedweaponrytoChina.Second,MoscowchosetoreviewadefactobanonChineseparticipationinlarge
infrastructureandnatural-resourceprojects.Third,theKremlinreassesseditsrelationshipwithChinainCentralAsia,which
hadhithertobeendefinedaslargelycompetitivewithverylimitedopportunitiesforcollaboration.
ThenewapproachthattheKremlinadoptedyieldedfewsuccessesin2014and2015.Butthedealsconcludedorunder
discussionmaypresagemoremeaningfuldevelopmentsinthefuture,puttingRussiaonapathwhereitendsupacceptingthe
roleofajuniorpartnerinanincreasinglyasymmetricalrelationship.Moscowmayendupprovidingcrucialresourcesthat
Beijingneeds(suchasmilitarytechnology,naturalresources,andaccesstonewmarkets)toboostthelattersambitiontobe
thenextglobalsuperpowerinexchangeforaneconomicandfinanciallifeline.
OneofthecentralfactorsthatispropellingthenewRussian-Chineserelationshipisthepersonalconnectionbetweenthetwo
countriesleaders,VladimirPutinandXiJinping.
BorisYeltsinsrelationshipwithhisChinesecounterpart,JiangZemin,wasgood.TheyspokeinRussian,whichfacilitateddirect
conversation,buttheRussianpresidentnevercalledhisChinesecolleaguefriend,asheaddressedformerU.S.presidentBill
ClintonandformerJapaneseprimeministerRyutaroHashimoto.PutinsexperiencewithJiangwasfruitfulbutbrief.Both
leadersmanagedtosignthe2001FriendshipTreaty,whichpavedthewayforthesettlementofRussian-Chineseborder
disputes.JiangssuccessorHuJintaowastenyearsolderthanPutinandunemotional.VariousinterlocutorsdescribeHuas
wearingthesameinscrutablefaceinallsituations.
Xihasbeenverydifferentfrombothhispredecessors.JustsixmonthsyoungerthanPutin,Xicouldbedescribedasthe
Russianpresidentssoulmateastrongleaderwithavisionofhiscountrybecomingagreatpoweragain.Xisremarksin
Mexicoin2009aboutsomeforeignerswithfullbelliesandnothingbettertodo[than]engageinfinger-pointingatusdidnot
gounnoticedinMoscow.9ExtendedprofilesofhimbearalotofsimilaritiestowhatispubliclyknownaboutPutin.10Thetwo
menhavedevelopeddeeppersonaltiesdespitethelanguagebarrier,accordingtothosewhohaveobservedtherelationship
upclose.
ThefirstpersonalmeetingbetweenthetwotookplaceinMarch2010inMoscow,whenPutinwasprimeministerandXiwasvice
presidentofthePeoplesRepublicofChina(PRC).11ButitwasonOctober7,2013,thattherelationshipbecametruly
personal.ThetwoleadersmetonthesidelinesoftheAsia-PacificEconomicCooperation(APEC)summitinBaliitwasPutins
birthdayandthelastmeetingofthedayforbothleaders.Negotiationsturnedintoaprivatebirthdaypartywithveryfewpeople
presentandmanycelebratorytoasts,whichhelpedcementthebondbetweenthem.GiventheimportancePutinattachesto
personaldiplomacy,thisnewlevelofcontactwiththeChineseleaderwasanimportantfactorbehindMoscowschanged
approach.
In2014,followinginternaldeliberations,theKremlindecidedtoreachouttoChinatofosteraneconomicpartnershipinamore
directfashionthanbefore.InformalpoliticalbarrierslimitingChineseinvestmentinRussiawereeased.AttheKrasnoyarsk
EconomicForuminFebruary2015,DeputyPrimeMinisterArkadyDvorkovichannouncedthatChinesecompanieswouldnow
bewelcometobuyassetsinthenatural-resourcesector.Theyalsowerepermittedtobidoninfrastructurecontractsin
sensitiveindustrieslikeroadsandrailways,whichforadecadehadbeencarefullyprotectedfromcompetitionbypowerful
Russianlobbies.ChinesefinancialinstitutionswereinformallyencouragedtoexpandtheirpresenceintheRussianmarkettofill
agapvacatedbyWesternfirms.High-levelRussianofficialsdeliveredthesemessagesthroughaseriesofunannouncedvisits
toAsianfinancialcapitals,whiletheywereexploringopportunitiesforRussiandebtandequitylistings.12
MoscowalsosignificantlyupgradeditsmechanismsforcommunicatingwithBeijing.WhileWashingtonhasmaintainedvarious
channelsofcorrespondencewithChineseelitesandpoliticalleadersformanyyears,Russiaslinkshadremainedprimitive.
Nowinadditiontotheexistingintergovernmentalcommissionforpreparingprimeministersmeetings(co-chairedbyRussian
DeputyPrimeMinisterDmitriRogozinandChineseVicePremierWangYang)andanalready-establishedstrategicdialogueon
energyissues(co-chairedbyDeputyPrimeMinisterDvorkovichandChinashighest-rankingvicepremier,ZhangGaoli),anew
intergovernmentalcommissionwasformed.Thenewcommissionisco-chairedbyRussianFirstDeputyPrimeMinisterIgor
Shuvalov,Putinspowerfulpointmanforeconomictroubleshooting,andZhang,whoisalsooneofsevenmembersofthe
ChineseCommunistPartys(CCP)powerfulPolitburoStandingCommittee.Shuvalovscommissionhasbecomethekey
institutionfornegotiatinglarge-scalebilateralprojects.Inadditiontothesebodies,PutinappointedhislongtimefriendGennady
TimchenkotochairtheRussian-ChineseBusinessCouncil.13TimchenkoranksfifthontheForbeslistofwealthiestRussian
citizens,14andwasaddedtotheU.S.TreasuryDepartmentsanctionslistaftertheannexationofCrimea.Byputtinginplacea
capablebureaucratandapersonalfriendwithdirectaccesstotheRussianleaderhimself,Putinhasmovedthebilateral
businessagendatoanewlevel.
Asidefromthesepragmaticbusinessmatters,anattemptbytheKremlintoforgeemotionalbondswithChineseelitesonthe
basisofacommonworldoutlookconstitutedakindofgrouppsychotherapyfortheRussianleadershipafterthetraumaofthe
Ukrainecrisis.AnuneasysenseofisolationandfeelingsofrageaboutwhatwasviewedasbetrayalbytheWestwascombined
withthesenseofbelongingtoaresurgentgreatpoweraftertheincorporationofCrimeaintoRussia,andthiscreatedastrong
needforinternationalsoulmates.15PressurefromtheWest,itwasbelieved,wouldbringRussianandChineseelitesmuch
closertogetherthanbefore.Anation-buildingnarrativecenteredonprideandtherevivalofthegloriouspasthasbeenstrong
inChinasinceapatrioticeducationcampaignwaslaunchedinthe1990s.16ThisnationalstorybecamedominantinChina
afterXiaccededtopowerandpromotedhisambiguousChinaDreamconcept.Asimilarnarrativebecameincreasingly
importantintheRussiancontext,particularlyafterthetakeoverofCrimea.17
Bothregimeshaveinvestedalotincommemoratinghistoricevents,especiallythevictoryinWorldWarII.FormodernRussia,
thevictoryinwhatitcallstheGreatPatrioticWarformsthemoralfoundationofmanyRussiansidentity.FortheCCP,memories
ofthewaragainstJapan,itsenormoushumancost,andtheroleoftheCommunistsinthenationalresistancestillformoneof
thepillarsofthepartyslegitimacy.AttemptstoquestionordownplaytheroleofeithercountryduringWorldWarIIareviewedin
MoscowandBeijingasattacksontheirprestigeandonthecoreideologicalfoundationsoftheregimes.18Butthispatriotismis
morethanjustcold-bloodedcalculation:ithasdeeprootsinthegenuinepersonalemotionsoftheleaders.Afterall,Xisfather,
XiZhongxun(19132002),tookpartinthewaragainstJapan,andPutinsfather,VladimirSpiridonovichPutin(19111999),
foughtinthewaragainstGermany.
ItthereforecameasnosurprisewhenXiJinpingwastheguestofhonoratthe2015VictoryDayparadeinMoscow,anevent
boycottedbyU.S.PresidentBarackObamaandotherWesternleaders.Putinreturnedthefavorandwastheguestofhonor
duringthecelebrationsinBeijingonSeptember3,2015,thefirstparadeinPRChistorytocommemoratethevictoryover
Japan.ThedecisionofWesternleaderstoskipboththeseimportanteventsinprotestofRussiasannexationofCrimeaand
growingChineseassertivenessintheSouthChinaSeawasperceivedinMoscowandBeijingasacoordinatedplottodeny
bothcountriestheirrightfulplaceinhistory.
Throughout2014and2015,attemptsweremadetobringbothsocietiesclosertogetherandtoovercomelingeringmistrust
throughthecarefuluseofbothgovernmentpropagandaandstate-controlledmedia.Since2006,Russianstate-runtelevision
channelshaveobservedaninformalbanonnegativecoverageofChina.ThereisgrowingevidencethatXihasauthorizedthe
samepolicyvis--visRussia.TheCCPPropagandaDepartmenttellseditorsatChinesestate-controllednewsagencieslike
XinhuaandtelevisionchannelslikeChinaCentralTelevision(CCTV)tobecarefulinhowtheycoverRussiaingeneralandto
avoidcriticizingPutinpersonally.ThisstancewasevidentduringthecoverageofthePanamaPapersscandal,whenmainland
ChinesemediaavoidedmentioningbothChineseandRussianleadersthatwereimplicated.Searchresultswerealsoerased
fromWeibo,Chinasmostpopularmicrobloggingplatform.
Theseeffortshaveyieldedresults,atleastinRussia.AccordingtopollsconductedbytheindependentLevadaCenter,19
RussianspositiveattitudestowardChinapeakedinMay2014,with77percentofrespondentsviewingChinapositivelyand
only15percentseeingitinanegativelight(seefigure1).Thisisastarkcontrastnotonlytothefiguresoftwodecadesago
(48percentpositiveand21percentnegative,respectively,inMarch1995)butalsotothefiguresfromjustayearbeforethe
Ukrainecrisis.InNovember2013,only55percentofrespondentsviewedChinapositivelyand31percentsawitnegatively.
Thespeedandintensityofthesemoodswingsdemonstratetheconsiderableinfluenceofmassmediaandtheknock-onimpact
ofaverageRussiansangertowardmajorWesternpowersasaresultoftheUkrainecrisis.SomeWesterncommentatorscite
conventionalwisdomthataverageRussiansharbornegativefeelingstowardChina,20butempiricalevidencethatsupports
suchassertionsishardtocomeby.Russianeliteslong-standingcautiousattitudestowardChinaareaseparatematter,but
thismind-sethasundergonesignificantchangesasadirectresultoftheUkrainecrisis.

ChinasRussiaGambit:AnyTakers?
Beijingspre-2014RussiapolicywasmadesignificantlymorecomplicatedbytheUkrainecrisis.PolicydebatesinBeijingabout
thecrisis,Russiaseastwarddrift,andthedramaticchangesintheglobalstrategicenvironmentcreatedbythese
developmentsunfoldedquickly,astheChineseleadershipwatchedthesuddendepartureofUkrainesthenpresidentViktor
Yanukovych,andthenPutinsboldstepofannexingCrimeaoutright.Theseevents,accordingtoChineseforeignpolicyexperts
advisingthecountrystopofficialsinZhongnanhai,caughtChinasleadersoffguardjustastheydidWesternleaders.The
majorchallengeforBeijingintheinitialstageofthecrisiswastocarefullynavigateasensitiveissue,whichinvolvedmanyof
Chinasimportantpoliticalandeconomicpartners,eventhoughitdidnotaffectChinadirectly.
ThepublicstancethatBeijingtookwaspredictableenough.TheChineseMinistryofForeignAffairsstucktoitsusualmantra
aboutrespectforinternationallawandresolvingtheconflictbypeacefulmeans.Yanukovychsabruptdepartureafter
demonstrationsontheMaidanturnedviolentalarmedBeijing,stirringupChinesesuspicionsaboutU.S.involvementinsupport
ofcolorrevolutionsaroundtheworld.RussiasaggressiveresponsetowhatwasviewedasWesternintrusiongarnered
sympathyamongsomeChineseelites.EarlycommentsbyaChineseMinistryofForeignAffairsspokesperson,HongLei,
followingthetopplingofYanukovych,reflectedthispointofview.21
AsMoscowlatermovedtoannexCrimea,thesituationbecamedecidedlymorecomplicatedforBeijing.Chinahasanegative
viewoftheveryideaofoutsideforcessupportingseparatismonethnicgroundsinlightoflingeringethnictensionsinthe
countryswesternregionsofTibetandXinjiangnottomentiontheTaiwanissue.Chinaspropagandadepartmentissueda
warningtodomesticmediathattheymaynotconnectthe...[Crimeaissue]toourowncountrysissueswithTaiwan,Tibet,or
Xinjiang.22BeijingsstanceonUkraineduringthisperiodamountedtocarefulmaneuveringandaconcertedeffortnottotake
sidesintheconflict.ChinaabstainedfromvotingonaWestern-backedUNSecurityCouncilresolutionthatcondemnedthe
Crimeareferendum,supportedUkrainesterritorialintegrity,andcalledforthenon-useofforce.23Atthesametime,Chinese
officialswerecarefultoavoiddirectcriticismofRussiawhileconsistentlycondemningtheWestssanctionspolicy.
InternaldiscussionsontheconsequencesforChinaofRussiasrupturewiththeWestweremoreintense,accordingtoopen-
sourceinformationandconversationswithChineseofficialsandexperts.ThedominantviewintheChineseleadershipwasthat
theUkrainecrisispresentedbothchallengesandopportunities.ChineseleadersweresurprisedbythedegreeoftheKremlins
unpredictability.ThedecisiontoannexCrimeaandtodirectlychallengetheU.S.-ledinternationalorderandtopayahuge
economicpricefordoingsowas,inBeijingsview,irrationalandagainstRussiaslong-terminterests.ConcernsthatRussia
wasworryinglyunpredictablewerelaterconfirmedbyMoscowsdirectinvolvementinSyriaandtherapidescalationoftensions
withTurkey,neitherofwhichChineseexpertsanticipated.AnotherriskwasthatthetensionsbetweenRussiaandtheWest
wouldescalateandputgreaterpressureonChinatotakesides.
However,itwastheopportunitiessideoftheledgerthatwasreportedlyhighlightedduringtheCCPsForeignAffairsLeading
SmallGroupmeetingsinApril2014.IsolatedfromtheWest,RussiawasexpectedtoreachouttoBeijingandbecomemore
eagertoopenupitseconomytoChinesecompanies.Also,itwashopedthatWashingtonspreoccupationwiththeRussia
challengewouldshiftU.S.attentionawayfromitsownpivottoAsiaandgiveBeijingadditionalbreathingroom.Thisviewwas
particularlystronginthemilitary,ascouldbeseenfrompubliccommentsbyPeoplesLiberationArmy(PLA)Major-General
WangHaiyun,aformerdefenseattachinMoscow.24InfluentialscholarslikeYanXuetongofTsinghuaUniversity,retired
generalslikeWang,andevenretiredseniordiplomatspubliclycalledontheChineseleadershiptousethesituationtoforgea
closerquasi-alliancewithMoscow.25Wang,oneofthemostvocaladvocatesofacloserpartnership,calledforthetwo
countriestopooltheireconomicandforeignpolicyresourcesandtakeadvantageoftheirinherentcomplementarity.Russiais
amasterinboxing,whileChinaisskilledintaichi,hewroteinaChinese-languageop-edfortheGlobalTimes.26
Thetopleadershipformulatedamorecautiousposition.AccordingtoseveralChineseinterlocutors,beforePutinsvisitto
ShanghaiinMay2014,XigavepersonalinstructionstokeymembersoftheStateCouncilandthetopmanagersofkeystate-
ownedenterprises(SOEs).HismainmessagewasthatcorporateplayersshouldactivelyseeknewopportunitiesinRussiabut
avoidovertlyexploitingRussiasdifficultsituationorseekingone-sideddealsatknockdownprices.InBeijingsview,the
oversizedappetitesandaggressivenessofChineseinvestorscouldcontributetoundesirabletensionsinthefutureand
eventuallyencourageRussiatomakeanotherU-turninordertomendrelationswiththeWest.Atthesametime,SOEswere
toldthattheyshouldnotengageinprojectsthatmadenoeconomicsense.
ThiscautionaryadvicefromZhongnanhaicamejustasthelargestChineseSOEswerebeginningtofeeltheaftermathofthree
simultaneousshocks.ChinasongoinganticorruptioncampaignwhichbeganasaninvestigationintoZhouYongkang,a
formermemberofthePolitburoStandingCommitteeandChinasenergyczareventuallywipedoutmanyofthetopmanagers
ofleadingenergycompanies.Theirreplacementsneededtimetocatchuponthedetailsofwhathadalreadybeendiscussed
withtheirRussiancounterparts.Theanticorruptioncampaignsooneliminatedanyincentivesforproactiveinitiativeonthepart
ofmanagersandbureaucratsintimesofbigpurges,passivityisobviouslythesafeststrategy.New,stricterrequirementsfor
SOEefficiency,establishedattheCCPCentralCommitteesThirdPlenummeetinginNovember2013,presentedanadditional
obstacletogreaterinvolvementinRussia.TheslowdownoftheChineseeconomyfurthercomplicatedmatters.Thescaleof
ChinaseconomicchallengeswasnotwidelyapparentduringtheinitialstageofRussiaspivottoAsiainmid-2014.Yetwithina
fewmonths,theslackeningdemandfornaturalresourcesandsharppricedeclinesinmajorglobalcommoditiesmarketspulled
therugoutfromunderpotentialprojects,includingintheenergysector,whichhistoricallyhasbeenthemostcrucialspherefor
bilateraleconomiccooperation.27

FuelingtheDragon
EnergyformsthebackboneofRussian-Chinesetrade,butattemptstoradicallyincreasethevolumeofenergytradebetween
thetwocountriesoverthepasttwoyearshavehadmixedresults.Energyexports,ofcourse,areofvitalimportancefor
sustainingPutinsregimeandRussiasoveralleconomicprospects.Directandindirectearningsfromhydrocarbonsaccountfor
upwardof70percentofRussiasbudgetrevenue,accordingtosomeestimates.28Chinabecameanetimporterofoilin1994,
andthecountryhasworkedassiduouslytosecureaccesstonewenergysourcestopoweritseconomicgrowth,preferringto
dosothroughland-basedpipelines.29Priortotheeconomicslowdown,accesstoRussiannaturalgasbecameincreasingly
importantamidprojectionsofincreasedChinesedomesticdemand,attemptstoreducedependenceoncoal,andmounting
politicalconcernsaboutpollutioninbigcitiesaswellasotherilleffectsofChinasrapidmodernization.

Gas

Inthegassector,therearetentativesignsofprogress,butthesituationisstillfarfromrosy.Thetwosidesmanagedtosigna
long-awaitedgasdealduringPutinsvisittoShanghaiinMay2014.Thegaswillbedeliveredfromtwoas-yetundeveloped
fieldsinEasternSiberia,KovyktaandChayanda,viathenewPowerofSiberia(orSilaSibiri)pipeline,whichwillpump38billion
cubicmetersofgasannuallyuntil2030.WhilethepartiesdidnotdisclosethepriceatwhichRussiawillbesellingthisgas,the
reportedtotalvalueofthecontractwas$400billion.Atthetimethedealwassigned,thepriceofoilwasover$109perbarrel.
TodaythepricefortheBrentcrudeoilbenchmarkislessthanhalfthat,whichmattersgreatlygiventheuseofoil-indexpricing
inthecontract.AlexeyMiller,thechiefexecutiveofficer(CEO)ofthemajorRussiannatural-gasfirmGazprom,expressedhis
pleasurewiththedeal,declaringattheSeptember2014SochiInternationalInvestmentForumthatinjustonedayour
esteemedChinesepartnerscamenearGermany,ourmajorgasconsumer.30
Twoyearslater,thisprojectisfacingmajorchallenges.TheChinesesidehasrefusedtoprovideaplanned$25billionloan
neededforpipelineconstruction,andRussianofficialshavecomplainedthattheconditionsonofferfromBeijingrequiringthe
participationofChinesecompaniesintheconstructionphaseareunacceptable.31SeveralGazpromtendersforthepipeline
werecanceledin2015attherequestofRussiasFederalAntimonopolyService.32Moreimportantly,thosefamiliarwith
GazpromsfinancingmodelsforthePowerofSiberiapipelinesaythattheprojectmayremainunprofitableiftheoilpricedoes
notincreasesignificantlyinthenextfifteenyears33thepipelinecouldbeusedforanothercontractafter2030,allowing
Gazpromtoactuallyturnaprofit.TheSovietUnionfollowedthesamelogicin1970whenitsignedagas-for-pipesagreement
withWestGermany.Thefirstcontractwasusedtofinancetheconstructionofexpensiveinfrastructure,whichallowedthe
SovietUniontoearnhardcurrencylateron,aftertheconstructioncostshadbeenfullypaidoff.34
Allthesame,officialsonbothsidesremainconfidentthatthepipelinewillbebuilt,thoughperhapswithdelays.Construction
hasbegunonbothRussianandChineseterritory.35ThefactthatthemaincontractorsontheRussiansideincludecompanies
ownedbyGennadyTimchenko(Stroytransgaz)andArkadyRotenberg(Stroygazmontazh),membersofPutinsinnercircle,has
furtherboostedconfidenceintheproject.36AfterGazpromabandoneditsmassiveSouthStreamandTurkishStreamprojects
inEurope,freed-upcashflowscouldbedivertedtothePowerofSiberiapipeline,whichwillreceiveactivegovernmentsupport
intheformoftaxexemptionsandotherincentives.However,whilesomeChinesesourcesarecertainthatthepipelinewill
eventuallybecommissioned,thereisstillnoclarityonthematteroftheChineseloan.IfcreditisneededandChinacontinues
todemandtheinvolvementofitsconstructioncompanies,itispossiblethatRotenbergsandTimchenkosfirmsmayultimately
beforcedtoformconsortiumswithChinesecompanies.37
Fornow,prospectsforotherGazpromprojectstargetedattheChinesemarketremainbleak.Moscowofferedtobuildapipeline
acrosstheAltaiMountainstoXinjiang(theso-calledWesternRouteorthePowerofSiberiaIIpipeline),whichwouldhavea
capacityof30billioncubicmetersofgasperyear.UnlikethefirstPowerofSiberia,thispipelinecouldbebuiltonexisting
infrastructure,requiringlessconstructionwork,andwouldallowGazpromtopumpgastoChinafromexistingfieldsinWestern
Siberia.MoscowseekstopititsWesternandEasterncustomersagainsteachotherwhilesupplyinggasfromthesamefieldsto
bothsides.Followingyearsofnegotiations,adetailedframeworkagreementwassignedduringXisMay2015visitto
Moscow,38butacommercialcontractbetweenGazpromandtheChinaNationalPetroleumCorporation(CNPC)settingaprice
fortheprojectsgasdoesnotappeartobeimminent.
Themainreasonforthedelayisadisagreementovertheprice:RussiaandChinaareusingdifferentbenchmarks.Gazpromis
basingitsdesiredpriceonitsexistingcontractswithGermanyorpossiblythePowerofSiberiapriceitsettledonwithChina.But
fortheCNPC,thepreferredbenchmarkisfarcheaperTurkmengaspumpedintoXinjiangthroughapipelinecommissionedin
2010.RussiangaswouldrequireexpensiveinfrastructuretocarryitfromanentrypointinXinjiangtomajorconsumptionhubs
inChinaseasternprovinces.Giventheabundanceofimportedliquefiednaturalgas(LNG)andthescaling-backofprojected
demandforimportedgasduetotheeconomicslowdownandmoreefficientcoalusebyanewgenerationofChinesepower
plants,thewesternroutenowappearstobeanonstarter,asdoGazpromsplanstobuildathirdpipelineforSakhalingasto
ChinaviaVladivostok.AlthoughthecompanysignedamemorandumofunderstandingwiththeCNPC,andan8-billion-cubic-
meterpipelinebetweenSakhalinandVladivostok,whichwasbuiltbeforethe2012APECsummit,isalreadyoperational,there
arelingeringproblemswiththeresourcebase.39

Oil

TheRussiansectorthatmadethemostsignificantgainsintheChinesemarketin2014and2015wasoil,despitethecollapse
inprices.Thefoundationsforapartnershipwereestablishedin2005,whenRussiasstate-ownedRosneftbegansupplyingoil
toChinaviarailwaytoservicecrucialChineseloans,whichhadenabledthefirmtobuyYuganskneftegaz,akeypartofanother
Russianoilcompany,Yukos,whichwasnationalizedfollowingthejailingoffallenoligarchMikhailKhodorkovsky.(Western
bankshadrefusedtoprovideloanstocoverthetransactionamidfearsthatYukossshareholderswouldusethecourtsto
presstheirclaimtotheirformerassets.)
The2009pipelinedealpavedthewayforamassiveincreaseinRussianoilexportstoChina,despitepricedisputesbetween
RosneftandtheCNPC,whichresultedina$3billionlossinrevenuefortheRussiancompany.Moreover,in2013,IgorSechin,
thepowerfulchairofRosneftandacloseallyofPresidentPutin,agreedtoaccept$60billioninloansfromChinesecompanies
aspartofwhatwastermedaprepaymentschemebackedbyfutureoildeliveries.ThemoneywasthenusedforRosnefts
domesticexpansion,includingitslandmarkpurchaseofRussiasthirdlargestproducer,TNK-BP,in2013.Now,withoilprices50
percentbelow2013levels,Rosneftisstrugglingfinanciallytocontendwiththesechallengingnewrealitiesevenasitfulfillsits
obligationsanddeliversthepromisedoiltotheChinese.InadditiontoincreasingthecapacityoftheSkovorodino-Mohe
pipeline,RosnefthasbegunsellingoiloutoftheKozminoportonthePacificCoastwith60percentofitnowgoingtoChina40
aswellasthroughKazakhstan,41whichhasincreasedRussiasshareofChineseoilimports(seefigures2and3).Atvarious
pointsin2015and2016,RussiaactuallysurpassedSaudiArabiaasChinasleadsupplier.42

Increaseddeliveriesnotwithstanding,theRussianoilindustrywasdealtahugeblowwhenoilpricesplummetedin2015.The
collapsewasimmediatelyreflectedintheoveralltradevolumebetweenChinaandRussiajustasthesurgeinglobaloilprices
inthe2000splayedasignificantroleinarapidtradeexpansion.Between2003and2012,tradebetweenthetwocountries
grewatanaverageof26.4percentperyear.In2011,thenpresidentsDmitryMedvedevandHuJintaoannouncedtheirgoals
ofachieving$100billioninbilateraltradeby2015and$200billionby2020.Initially,thesetargetsseemedattainable.In2014,
tradegrewby6.8percent,reachingatotalof$95.3billion,butin2015itcollapsedby28.6percent,totalingjust$68billion.
RussiadroppedfrombeingChinasninth-largesttradepartnerin2014tosixteenthplacein2015.Thedeclinewasnot
attributedsolelytothedropincommoditypricesthedropintradewithChinasothercommoditysuppliers,suchasAustralia
andBrazil,wasnotnearlyassteep.43ThekeyfactorappearstohavebeentheeconomicdeclineinRussiathatsameyear,as
GDPdecreasedby3.4percent,andthesubsequentlowpurchasingpowerofRussiancompaniesandhouseholdsseenin
thesharpdropinRussianimportsfromChina.TheonlysilverliningforRussiawastheeffectivedisappearanceofan
imbalancebetweenitsexportstoandimportsfromChina(seefigure4).

Theplungeinoilpricesin2015alsocreatednewobstaclesforcooperationoninvestmentprojects.RosneftofferedtheCNPC
a10percentstakeinitsflagshipoilfield,Vankor,themajorresourcebasefortheEasternSiberiaPacificOcean(ESPO)
pipeline.InNovember2014,theRussianMinisterofEnergyAlexanderNovaksuggestedthatRosneftmightacceptpaymentfor
thestakeinChineserenminbi.44Meanwhile,PutintoldtheTASSnewsagencythatRussiawasreadytoswitchtradeinVankor
oilfromU.S.dollarstonationalcurrencies.45However,theRussiansappearedtohaveunrealisticexpectationsaboutthe
potentialpricefortheminoritystakeinVankor,andtheChineseeventuallysuspendednegotiations.TheOilandNaturalGas
CorporationLimited,anIndiancompany,isasofmid-2016intheprocessofacquiringthestakeinVankor,provokingadditional
dissatisfactionfromBeijing.ChineseinvestorshavealsoexpressedinterestinstakesinotherRussianoilcompanies,according
toRussianFinanceMinisterAntonSiluanov.46TherehavebeenunconfirmedsuggestionsinChineseanalyticalcirclesthat
RussiamightultimatelysellalargestakeinRosnefttoaChineseoilcompanyorfinancialinstitutionforasymbolicprice,and
thatsuchapurchasemightprovideRosneftwithahelpfulwrite-downofitsdebtundertheprepaymentagreementandother
loanarrangements.TheRussiangovernmentcurrentlyisdiscussingthesaleofa19.7percentstakeinRosnefttovarious
foreigninvestors,includingthepossibilitythattheCNPCmaypurchase7percentofit.AccordingtoCNPCFirstVicePresident
WangZhongcai,thecompanyisactivelylookingintothedealandhasformedastudygrouptoexploretheopportunity.47
Thoughthepracticesarestillintheirinfancy,theuseofChinesetechnologyinoffshoredrillingandrenminbi-denominatedoil
contractsrepresenttwoimportantrecentdevelopmentsintheoilsector.ThefirstexperimentinthisareawasRosnefts
September2015contractwithChinaOilfieldServicesLimited,asubsidiaryoftheChinaNationalOffshoreOilCompany,
involvingthedrillingoftwooilwellsintheSeaofOkhotsk.48Atthedrillingsite,theseahasadepthofonly150meters(around
500feet),whichmeansitdoesnotqualifyasdeep-seadrillingundertheprovisionsofU.S.-andEU-ledsanctions.Asmany
internationaloil-servicecompanieshavebecomecautiousaboutRussianprojectsintheareascoveredbysanctions,the
introductionofadvancedChinesetechnologiescouldincreaseRussianoilcompaniesrelianceonChinaintheoil-service
sector,whichisalreadydominatedbyChineseproducersinsomesubsectorssuchasdrillingplatforms.Thedependenceon
China,however,isexpectedtoremainlimited,giventhattheRussianoil-serviceindustryisdominatedbylocalchampionslike
EurasiaDrillingandthesubsidiariesofmajorinternationalenergyfirms.Forthetimebeing,Chineseservicecompaniesclearly
cannotmatchthetechnologiesorcapabilitiesofmajorglobaloilcompaniesorleadingoil-servicefirmssuchasHalliburtonand
Schlumberger.
Thesecond,morepromising,experimentwaslaunchedbyGazprom-Neft,Gazpromsoilsubsidiary,whichannouncedthatitwill
selloilfromtheESPOpipelinetoChinesecustomersforrenminbi.49Despitethehypedclaimthatthistransactionwill
underminetheglobaldominanceofdollar-basedtransactions,thepricingofoilisstilltiedtothedollar-denominatedBrent
benchmark.AccordingtointerviewswithmanagersofRussianoilcompanies,thelogicbehindthismoveisthattheuseof
renminbitopurchaseChineseequipmentwillpreventconversionlossesandhedgeagainstcurrencyrisks,thussaving
Russiansabout5to7percentofthecontractprice,aswellasmovepaymentsoutoftheorbitoftheU.S.bankingsystem.If
thisschemebecomeswidespread,itcouldhelpimmunizetheRussian-Chineseoiltradeagainstrisksassociatedwithpossible
futureWesternsanctions.

AnyMarketforaBear?
AcentralgoalofMoscowspivottoChinawasgreateraccesstoChinesecredit.Hopesthatthisobjectivewouldbeobtained
werefueledbyBeijingscriticalstancetowardtheU.S.-andEU-ledsanctionsregime.ChineseVicePremierZhangGaolitold
PresidentPutinonSeptember1,2014,thathewant[ed]tomakeitclearthatChinacategoricallyopposesthesanctionsthe
UnitedStatesandWesterncountrieshavetakenagainstRussia.50However,Russiancompaniesquicklydiscoveredthat
ChinesefinancialinstitutionscouldbeasstrictasorevenstricterthansomeWesternbanksaboutcompliancewiththe
sanctionsregime.
PubliccomplaintsaboutChinesepartnersambiguouspositionregardingRussianbanksinthewakeofUSandEUsanctions,
asRussianbankerYuriSolovievputit,begantobevoicedinthesummerof2015,ayearafterPutinstriumphantvisitto
Shanghai.51Soloviev,thefirstdeputypresidentandchairmanofthesecond-largestbankinRussiastate-ownedJSCVTB
Bankusedthefollowingwords,inaJune16,2015,op-edinFinanceAsia:MostChinesebankswillcurrentlynotexecute
interbanktransactionswiththeirRussianpeers.Inaddition,Chinesebankshavesignificantlycurtailedtheirinvolvementin
interbankforeigntradedeals,suchasprovidingtradefinance.52Later,inSeptember2015,SolovievscolleagueVasilyTitov
complainedthatChinesebanksweretoorigorousinobservingWesternsanctionsandthatittooktwoweekstoclear
paymentsthroughChinesebankswhenithadtakenjustthreedaysbeforethesanctionswereintroduced.53
Publiclyavailabledataindicatethatsanctionshaveindeedhadanegativeeffect.In2014and2015,noRussiancompanies
managedtoissuedebtorequityonChinesestockexchangesincludingHongKong.Localregulatorsandfinancialinstitutions
appeartoharborbadmemoriesofRusalsill-starredinitialpublicoffering.Inaddition,thisnegativesentimentwasreportedly
strengthenedbyfriendlywordsofcautionfromU.S.TreasuryandStateDepartmentofficials.54Russianinvestorswerealso
waryofShanghaiaftertheequityroutthatbeganinthesummerof2015.Creditlinesamountingto9billionrenminbithat
RussiasSberbank,theJSCVTBBank,andChineselenderssignedinMayarebarelybeingusedbecausethereisnodemand
inRussiaforloansinrenminbi,accordingtoMaximPoletaev,thefirstdeputychairmanofSberbanksexecutiveboard.55Atthe
sametime,Chinesebankshavebeenreluctanttoprovideloansinmuch-neededU.S.dollarsoreuros.Inrarecaseswhen
ChinesecredithasbeenextendedtoRussiancompanies,thesetransactionshavelargelybeensyndicatedloansinvolving
Chinasfourlargestbanksworkingincoordinationwithotherinternationalplayers.Thisfundingisofferedonlytowell-regarded
corporateborrowerslikeNovolipetskSteel,56whicharenotundersanctionsandcontinuetoenjoyaccesstoWesterncredit.57
Otherraresuccessstoriesincludethe$2billioncreditlinethattheLondonsubsidiaryoftheBankofChinaprovidedto
Gazprom.58ThisdealappearstobeagoodwillgestureconnectedtothePowerofSiberiapipelineconstructionaheadof
PutinsvisittoChinainJune2016.DatafromtheCentralBankofRussiashowthatthenumberofloansoriginatingfromChina
rosethroughout2014and2015fromaverylowbaseline,butthetotalamountissmallandcaninnowayreplaceprevious
flowsofcreditfromWesternfinancialinstitutions(seefigure5).59

Broadlyspeaking,therearethreemainreasonsforChinesebankersreticenceabouttheRussianmarket.
First,thereisnooverlookingthefactthatWesternmarketsarefarmoredevelopedandattractivetoChinesebanksevenwhen
thosebanksarepresentedwithfavorabletermstotapintotheRussianmarketmoredeeply.In2015,Chinastradeingoods
withtheUnitedStateswas$598billion,60whileChinesetradewithEuropeingoodsforthesameyeartotaled520.9billion
euros(about$583.4billion).61Chinesestate-ownedbankswerealsorecentlyallowedtobuystakesinU.S.andEuropean
banksafteryearsofsuspicionandlong-standingbans.InRussia,Chinasfourlargestbankshaveneverbeenallowedtobuy
localplayers,andtheformersexpansionintotheretailsectorwassubjecttoadditionallevelsofscrutinyatatimewhen
investmentbyFrench,British,andItaliancompetitorswasencouraged.Moreover,Beijinghasrecentlyembarkedonaquestto
promotetherenminbiasaglobalcurrency,andChinasfourmajorbanksaretryingtocarveoutsignificantrolesintermsof
clearingpaymentsandmakingmarketsinEuropeandtheUnitedStates.Thechoicebetweenjeopardizingrelationswiththe
regulatorsoflarge,profitableprospectivemarketsandenteringtherelativelytiny,risky,andoverregulatedRussianmarketwas
aneasyoneformajorChinesefinancialplayers.
Second,ChinasbankingsectorlacksexpertiseonRussia.WhileChinesebankshavecapableteamsonthegroundinMoscow
andtheFarEast,thesearenomatchforthepoolofRussiaexpertsthatEuropeanandU.S.bankshaveattheirdisposal.As
riskcompliancegrowsincreasinglysynonymouswithnavigatingtheU.S.andEUsanctionsregimeandcircumventingwhat
couldbetermedtoxicgrayareas,thecostofoperatinginRussiaisprohibitiveformanyChinesebanks.Thefirstbankstocut
backonbusinesswithRussiaweresmalleronessuchasPingAnBank,theBankofCommunications,andChinaMerchants
Bank,whichwereservicingtheaccountsofcompaniesfromoffshorejurisdictionsusedtoclearpaymentswithRussia.The
bankshaveaskedsomecustomerstoclosetheiraccountsbecausetheywereengagedinsomeactivitieswithRussia,
accordingtoaRosbaltnewsreport.62RussianandChinesebankingrepresentativesindicateprivatelythatthesamesituation
hastakenholdinHongKong,wherelocalbankshavebecomeextremelyreticentaboutopeningbankaccountsforRussianas
wellasUkrainiancitizens.
Lastbutnotleast,thepoliticalenvironmentinwhichstate-ownedbanksarenowoperatinginthewakeoftheanticorruption
campaigndoesnotencouragetakingadditionalrisksinRussia.
WiththelionsshareofChinesecommercialbanksmaintainingacautiousstancetowardRussia,theonlytwoChinesefinancial
institutionsthathavebeenaggressivelysigningagreementswithRussianpartnersarethetwopoliticalbankstheChina
DevelopmentBank(CDB)andtheExport-ImportBankofChina(orChinaEximBank).63Thesebankswhichserveasthe
politicalpocketsoftheChinesegovernment,sotospeakarelessconnectedtotheinternationalfinancialsystem,andthus
cantakegreaterrisksintermsoftheirexposuretotheRussianmarket.64BothbankshavebeenactiveinRussiandealsthat
rangefrombuildingsteelplantstoprovidingcreditlinesforRussiassanctionedstate-ownedbanks.65Themostrecent
exampleoftheirinvolvementintheRussianeconomywasthelate-April2016announcementthattheCDBandtheChinaExim
Bankwillprovidemuch-neededloansfortheYamalLNGprojecttotaling$12billionoverfifteenyears,whichmeansthatthe
projecthaslockedinalltheexternalfinancingitneeds($27billionintotal).ThedealisalandmarknotonlybecauseYamal
LNGisakeypartofRussiasbroaderstrategyintheArcticandaflagshipLNGprojectbutalsobecauseNovatek(alongwith
majorshareholderGennadyTimchenko)isatargetofU.S.andEUsanctions.Total,aFrenchnatural-gasproduceranda
Yamalshareholder,hastriedtosecureEuropeanandJapanesefinancingfortheproject,accordingtoTotalCEOPatrick
PouyannsinterviewswithKommersantandAsiaNikkei,buttheseeffortsfailed.66ThesamelogicappliedtoaMarch15,
2016,dealinwhicha9.9percentstakeinYamalLNGwassoldtotheSilkRoadFund(SRF)fornearly$1.1billiontheSRFis
a$40billioninvestmentfundthatChinaestablishedin2014tosupportPresidentXisSilkRoadEconomicBeltinitiative.67
Amidsluggishdemandanddepressedglobalgasprices,manyinternationalmajorsaredelayingorshelvingbig-ticketLNG
projects,whichmakesthetimingoftheChineseinterestintheYamalprojectparticularlycurious.68AccordingtoChinese
interlocutors,bothdealswerepersonallyblessedbyXiandintendedasagestureofgoodwilltotheKremlin,givenTimchenkos
roleasamemberofPutinsinnercircleandhispointpersonforChina.Whilethepersonalinvolvementofthetwocountries
leadershelpsexplaintheimpetusbehindtheYamalLNGdeal,italsoseemslikelythattheselectiveuseoffinancialinstitutions
withlimitedexposuretointernationalmarketswillbecomethepreferredmethodforfuturebilateralventures.Therearealready
callsbyRussianexpertstoestablishaspecializedjointRussian-Chinesefinancialunitwhichshouldbeimmunetoany
pressurefromtheUnitedStatesortheEU,asVasilyKashinputit.69
AnotherimportantdirectionforRussian-Chinesecooperationisthecreationofnewmechanismsforraisingdebtinnational
currencies.InJuly2015,beforethestartoftheBRICSsummitinUfa,Chineseinvestorsbought$1billioninRussian
governmentbonds.70AccordingtoRussianDeputyFinanceMinisterAlexeyMoiseev,bothcountriesMinistriesofFinance,
alongwiththeCentralBankofRussiaandthePeoplesBankofChina,areworkingonmechanismsthatwillallowRussiato
issuerenminbi-denominatedgovernmentbondsinMoscowtargetingmainland-basedChineseinvestors.71Ifsuccessful,this
initiativewillcreateaframeworkforthepossiblefutureissuanceofso-calledpandabondsbyRussiancorporateplayers.The
firstpotentialissuancemaybeunderwrittenbytheIndustrialandCommercialBankofChina,theBankofChina,and
Gazprombank.72SucheffortsarenotdirectlyprohibitedbyU.S.andEUsanctions.Finally,BeijingisurgingRussiatojoinits
ChinaInternationalPaymentSystem,analternativetotheSocietyforWorldwideInterbankFinancialTelecommunication
(SWIFT).73Thesemoveswillhelptolaythegroundworkforbilateraltransactionsthatarecenteredaroundtherenminbiand
lesstiedtointernationalmarkets,includingtheU.S.bankingsystem.
OtherpiecesofthepuzzleincludeanagreementbetweentheChineseUnionPaycreditcardsystemandtheRussianMir
paymentsystemduetotakeeffectin2017,andapacttorecognizeeachothersauditingstandardsandcreditratings.This
collaborationbetweenUnionPayandMirandtheauditingandratingsmovesreflectMoscowsdesiretobreakthedomination
thatMasterCard,Visa,andinternationalratingsagenciesenjoyoveritspaymentssystem.ManyRussianbankshaverushedto
getChineselocalratingsissuedbyDagongGlobalCreditRating,whichrathercuriouslyratedRussiassovereigndebtasless
riskythanU.S.notes.74
Lastbutnotleast,inordertoprovideliquidity,bothcountrieswanttoboostaccesstoeachotherscurrencies.Thethree-year
currency-swapagreementfor150billionrenminbi(about$24.5billion)announcedinOctober2014duringChinesePremierLi
KeqiangsvisittoMoscowwasnotactivatedduetorubleandrenminbivolatility.Theinstabilityofthetwocurrenciescanbe
explainedbylowtradevolumesandthesmallshareofbilateraltradeclearedthroughnationalcurrencies.AccordingtoaMay
2015statementbyPresidentPutin,suchtransactionsaccountedforonly7percentofbilateraltradevolumein2014.75
Onbalance,RussianeliteshopesthatChinesefinancingwouldmakeupforthelossofWesterncapitalmarketsappear
exaggerated.ThelasttwoyearshaveshownthatevenChinesestate-ownedbanksarereluctanttorunafoulofU.S.andEU
sanctions,forfearofjeopardizingtheirrelationswiththeregulatorsoftheirmostsignificantinternationalmarkets.Still,Russia
andChinahavefoundwaystofinancehigh-prioritydealsthroughspecialchannels,andhaveembarkedonanattemptto
createtherudimentsofabilateralfinancialinfrastructurethatwillbeimmunetointernationalpressure.Chinawillbeplayingthe
dominantroleinthesearrangements,whichcouldhelpcementitsplaceasthefinancialcenterofgravityacrossEurasia.

TechnologicalLinks
TheRussian-Chineserelationshipisalsoexperiencingmajorshiftsincooperationoninfrastructureandtechnology.Previously,
ChinesecompanieswereinformallybannedfrombiddingonlargeinfrastructureprojectsinRussia,mostlikelyduetothe
KremlinsdesiretoprotectlocalcompaniesfromcompetitionincludingthosewithwhichithadstrongtiesaswellasRussian
fearsofaninfluxofChinesemigrantworkers.InMay2015,aconsortiumcomposedofaChinaRailwayGroupsubsidiarycalled
theChinaRailwayEryuanEngineeringGroup,theNationalTransportationEngineeringDesignInstituteofMoscow,andNizhny
NovgorodMetroDesignAGwastheonlybidderfora$400millioncontracttodesignahigh-speedraillinebetweenMoscow
andKazan.76OnApril29,2016,RussianrailwaysreportedthatChinawasreadytoprovideupto$6billioninloansandthata
concessionagreementwouldbesignedbytheendoftheyear.77TheChinesesidehasalsoagreednottoseekformal
Russiangovernmentloanguarantees,reportedlyatthedirectinstructionofPresidentXi,accordingtoseveralChinese
interlocutors.78Previousexperiencesuggeststhattheprojectcouldencountersignificantdelays,astheChinesepartnersare
demandingthatthelionsshareofequipmentbeproducedinChina.Yetthetoneoftheconversationmarksanimportantshift
inRussiasattitudetowardChineseparticipationinthedevelopmentofitsinfrastructure.
Oneareaofbilateraltechnologicalcooperationthatisboomingisinformationtechnology(IT)andhardware.Russian
companieshaddiscoveredtheadvantagesofworkingwithChinesetelecommunicationsgiantslikeZTEandHuaweias
opposedtotheirWesternrivalslongbeforetheUkrainecrisis.Discussionsaboutthepossibilityofshiftingtheprocurementof
RussianITnetworkassetsusedbygovernmentbodiesfromU.S.-producedtoChinese-producedequipmentintensifiedin2013
afterEdwardSnowdensdisclosuresaboutsurveillanceunderU.S.NationalSecurityAgencyprograms.InMay2014,Russias
MinistryofTelecomandMassCommunicationsestablishedataskforcetostudywhethersuchashiftwasfeasible,andbythe
endof2015theprocessoftransitioningtoChineseequipmentwaswellunderway.InOctober2014,theVoskhodResearch
InstitutewhichisadministereddirectlybyRussiasMinistryofTelecomandMassCommunicationsandprovideshardwareand
ITsolutionstostateinstitutions,includingmanycriticalsystemssuchasthevote-countingplatformusedinnationalandlocal
electionsagreedtobuyserversfromInspur,aChinesecompany.79Manyfinancialinstitutions,includingWestern-sanctioned
bankssuchasSberbankandJSCVTBBank,stateagencies,andstate-ownedcompanieshavestartedexpensive
modernizationprogramstoreplaceU.S.-madeequipment.80
Otherdealsaresmallinmonetarytermsbutlargeintheirsymbolicsignificance,suchastheJiangsuHengtongPowerCable
CompanyLimitedsagreementtosupplyhigh-voltagecablefortheanenergybridgethatisintendedtosupplyelectricityto
Crimea.81(WesternfirmsarepreventedfromparticipatingduetotheU.S.andEUsanctionsprogramagainstCrimea.)Faced
withovercapacityandfiercecompetitionathome,manyChinesefirmsaredirectingtheireffortstowardoverseasexpansion
andarewillingtoprovidesignificantdiscountsinordertosecurethefirst-moveradvantageinnewmarkets.Frompassenger
vehiclestocomplexITsystems,RussiasprocessoftransferringitstechnologicalpartnershipsfromtheWesttoChinahas
alreadybeguninearnest.

ComradesinArms
ThebiggesttectonicshiftcausedbytheUkrainecrisisishappeninginthemostsensitiveareaoftechnologicalcooperation
betweenRussiaandChinathemilitarysector.Fortenyears,Russiahadaninformalbanonsellingitsmostadvanced
technologytoChina.MoscowsconcernswerebothmilitaryitfearedthatweaponssoldmightonedaybeusedagainstRussia
andalsocommercial.TheChinesehadareputationwithintheRussianmilitary-industrialcomplexforcopyingRussian
equipment,producingtheirownversions,andthencompetingwithRussianarmsmanufacturersinwhatcouldbecalledtheir
naturalmarketslikeMyanmarandEgypt.
AftertheUkrainecrisis,theKremlintookafreshlookatitsoldpolicyandthepossibleimplicationsofexpandingbilateralarms
tradewithChinatoincludethemostsophisticatedsystems.Thereweretwolinesofreasoninginsupportofrelaxingthe
restrictions.First,RussiananalysisofChinasmilitaryindustryindicatedthatthesectorwasfarmoreadvancedthanpreviously
believed,leadingRussiandefenseofficialstoworrylessabouttheriskthattechnologytransferwouldprovideaboostto
Chinesecompetitorsintheglobalarmsmarket.Inaddition,MoscowlearnedthatmanyofthesystemsthattheChinesehad
allegedlystolenwereactuallydevelopedbyRussianengineersinthe1990sthroughcontractswithChinesemilitarySOEs.
Militarytechnologytransferwaspoorlyregulatedandlackedpropersupervisionatthattime,andBeijing,likemanyothers,was
simplytakingadvantageofthechaoticenvironment.Infact,thesecontractshelpedmanyRussianmilitaryenterprisesand
engineeringteamstosurvivetheseveredisruptionsofthe1990s.82
ThesecondargumentrevolvedaroundChinasactualdemographicandeconomicfootprintinSiberiaandtheFarEast.
Realisticofficialfigures,alongwithindependentstudies,haveshownthatChinesemigrationismarginal:atanygivenmoment,
therearenomorethan300,000ChineseinSiberiaandtheFarEast,includingtourists,exchangestudents,andlegal
temporaryworkers.Illegalmigrationwascurtailedtowardtheendofthe2000s,andundercurrenteconomicconditionspeople
inChineseborderprovincesprefertomigratetotherichcoastalregionsoftheirmotherland,nottoRussiasFarEast.This
trendhasacceleratedsincetherubledevaluation,asmanyChinesebusinesspeopleinRussia,whowerepreviouslysending
moneybackhome,reportedlyareleavingthecountryandaregoingbacktothePRC.83
ThesefactorshaveallowedMoscowtoreverseitslong-standingpolicyandresumesalesofadvancedweaponrytoChina.One
ofthemostimportantdealssofaristhesaleoftheS-400Triumphairdefensemissilecomplex,whichNATOcallstheSA-21
Growler.Thedeal,signedinSeptember2014,wasannouncedbyAnatolyIsaykintheCEOofRosoboronexport,theRussian
arms-exportmonopolyinanApril2015interviewwithKommersant.IfweworkinChinasinterests,thatmeanswealsoworkin
ourinterests,Isaykinsaid.84ChinawillstartreceivingthefirstoffourtosixconsignmentsofS-400snoearlierthan2018,85
andthepriceofthecontractcouldreach$3billion.86AsVasilyKashin,aRussianexpertonmilitarytieswithChina,wroteina
Carnegie.rucommentary,itwouldbenavetosupposethattheChinesecancopytheS-400systemswithinashortperiod
suchataskwouldrequiremanyyearsofeffort.Meanwhile,Almaz-Antey,theRussianproducerofairdefensesystems,is
alreadywellonitswaytodevelopingthenext-generationsystem(theS-500).87Thus,thedealmakesalotofcommercial
sense.
ThemilitaryandpoliticalconsequencesofthedealaremuchmoreimportantastheyincreasethePLAscapabilities.TheS-
400hasagreaterrangeforidentifyingtargetsandagreatermaximumfiringrange(upto400kilometersoraround250miles)
thanprevious-generationsystemsliketheS-300.Thiswillbringsignificantchangestothemilitarybalanceintheskiesover
TaiwanandtheDiaoyu(Senkaku)Islands.ThePLAnowwillbebetter-positionedtocontrolairspaceabovetheseregionsfrom
mainlandpositionsinFujianandShandongProvinces.ForJapan,thetaskofdefendingtheislandswillbecomemuchmore
difficult.ForTaiwan,theS-400maybeagamechanger,sincethePLAwouldbeabletoshootdownTaiwanesefighterplanes
assoonastheytakeoff.Chinacouldalsousethenewsystemtoestablishanairdefenseidentificationzoneoverthe
contestedwatersoftheSouthChinaSea.NegotiationsonthesaleoftheS-400toChinastartedseveralyearsago,butwere
significantlyacceleratedbytheUkrainecrisis.RussiasconfrontationwiththeWestanditsreassessmentofthestrategic
contextofRussian-ChineserelationspushedtheKremlintogiveitsfinalblessingtothedeal.
AnotherlandmarktransactioninfluencedbytheUkrainecrisiswasChinaspurchaseof24Su-35fighterjets,whichNATOcalls
theFlankerEthis$2billiondealwassignedinlate2015.88ItisnotablethatBeijingwasthefirstforeigncustomerforthis
advancedsystem.AccordingtoVasilyKashinscommentaryonCarnegie.ru,purchasingtheSu-35swillallowtheChineseAir
ForcetogaugeitssuccessindevelopingtheindigenousJ-11fighterjetandbecomefamiliarwithRussiansolutionstotechnical
problems.89TheSu-35s,whichareexpectedtobedeliveredbeginningattheendof2016,willalsohavemilitarysignificance,
reinforcingChinesedominanceinskiesoverTaiwanaswellasstrengtheningtheircombatpositionsinotherpotentialhotspots.
RussianofficialsandexpertsdifferastowhetherMoscowandBeijingshouldgoaheadwithmoreS-400orSu-35deals.But
RussiasreenergizedmilitarycooperationwithChinaisnotlimitedtothesetwosystems.TherearereportsthatMoscowmay
authorizesalesofitsnewlydevelopedLada-classsubmarinetoChina.90Reversesalesarealsotakingplace.Forexample,
afterGermanydeclinedtosellRussiadieselenginesforitsnewProject21631Buyan-Mcorvettesduetosanctions,Moscow
turnedtoBeijingtopurchaseChineseengines.AnotherareaofincreasedcooperationisthepurchaseofChineseelectronic
componentsforRussiasspaceprogram.91NoneofthesedealswouldhavebeenpossiblewithouttheruptureinRussias
relationswiththeWest,andallofthemwillhavefar-rangingconsequencesforthemilitarybalanceintheAsia-Pacific.

RegionalCooperation:TowardaGreaterEurasia?
MoscowsandBeijingsapproachestoregionalcooperationinCentralAsiaarealsoundergoingaprofoundchange.Inthe
decadessincethecollapseoftheSovietUnion,RussiahasviewedthefiveCentralAsianstatesasbelongingtoitsself-
proclaimedexclusivesphereofinfluence.AccordingtoofficialRussianthinking,CentralAsiaisanareawhereRussianotonly
hascenturies-longties,butalsopressingsecurityandeconomicinterests.TheKremlinhasviewedtherapidincreasein
Chinaseconomicandpoliticalpenetrationoftheresource-richregion,usuallyatRussiasexpense,withgreatunease.Beijing
hasbeenatpainstostressitsrespectforMoscowsexclusiveinterestsinCentralAsia,butclearlyperceivesaneedtosecure
firmtieswiththecountriesborderingtheunstableXinjiangregionandastrongincentivetogetaccesstotheregionsvast
energyresources.
XifirstunveiledChinasSilkRoadEconomicBeltprojectona2013triptoKazakhstan,anditwaslatercomplementedbya
maritimecomponent,leadingtoitsbeingrenamedtheOneBeltOneRoad(OBOR)initiative.OBORrepresentsBeijingsfirst
multidimensionalattempttotransformcountriesaroundChinausingacombinationoftargetedfinancialandinvestment
incentives,softpower,andmilitarytools.Inprivateconversations,Chineseofficialsacknowledgethattheyhadmajorconcerns
aboutRussiasreactiontotheunveilingofOBOR,astheKremlinwasinitiallyreluctanttonegotiategroundrulesfortheco-
existenceofXisinitiativeandPutinspetproject,theEurasianEconomicUnion(EEU).BeijingsfearwasthatMoscow,anxious
aboutitsownstatusastheleadingyetgreatlydiminishedregionalpower,wouldregardOBORasanintrusionintoRussias
sphereofinfluenceandthereforepressurethestatesofCentralAsianottotakepartintheChineseproject.Chineseleaders
werethereforebothsurprisedandrelievedwhenFirstDeputyPrimeMinisterShuvalovfirstannouncedattheBoaoForumin
March2015thattheEEUmemberswerereadytocooperatewithOBOR.Shuvalovthenpersonallyembarkedonnegotiatinga
frameworkdocumentwithBeijingonPutinsbehalf.
FortheRussianleadership,thiswastheresultofpainfulinternaldiscussions,inwhichtheeconomicteamledbyShuvalov
withsupportfromRussianexpertsandmembersofthebusinesscommunitysoughttowinPutinssupportandovercomethe
concernsofthesecurityestablishment.Intheend,theKremlinconcludedthatthebenefitsofcoordinatingtheEEUwiththe
Chineseinitiativeoutweighedtherisks.ItisnowunderstoodthatChinawillinevitablybecomethemajorinvestorinCentralAsia
andthemajormarketforitsvastnaturalresources,duetothecomplementarynatureoftheChineseandregionaleconomies.
AccordingtoRussianofficials,MoscowandBeijingwillstrivetoachieveastabledivisionoflaborinCentralAsia.China,withits
deeppocketsandhungerforresources,willbethemajordriverofeconomicdevelopmentintheregionthroughOBORand
otherprojects,whileMoscowwillremainthedominanthard-securityproviderthroughitsCollectiveSecurityTreatyOrganization
(CSTO),whilealsocementingtheEEUsroleasasourceofnormsfortheimplementationofChineseinvestmentprojects.The
KremlinhopesthisformulawillsatisfybothBeijingwhichisstilluncomfortabledeployingtroopsoutsideitsbordersandthe
CentralAsianstates,whichareanxiousaboutarisingChinaandmoreaccustomedtoRussiaslong-standingmilitarypresence
intheregion.
OnMay8,2015,PutinandXisignedajointdeclarationoncooperationincoordinatingthedevelopmentoftheEEUandthe
SilkRoadEconomicBelt.92MoscowandBeijingdeclaredtheirdesiretocoordinatethetwoprojectsinordertobuildacommon
economicspaceinEurasiafeaturingafreetradeagreementbetweenEEUmembersandChina.Althoughthelanguageisstill
somewhatambiguous,thedocumentmarkedamajordeparturefromtheKremlinspreviouscourseofcompetitionand
suspicion.BeijingformallyrecognizedtheEEUasapotentialnegotiatingpartneronthefreetradezoneandonrulesforthe
implementationoftransnationalinfrastructureprojects.TheEurasianEconomicCommission,thesupranationalbodyofthe
EEU,receivedamandatefromitsmemberstatestostartnegotiationsonatradeandinvestmentagreementwithChina.This
issue,whichisastumblingblockforbothRussiaandtheCentralAsianstatesgiventheirhighlevelsofprotectionism,was
declaredadistantgoalandeffectivelyrelegatedtoanundeterminedpointinthefuture.
Ofcourse,therealityhasproventobemorecomplicatedthantheseambitioushopes.Bysigningthedeclarationbilaterallywith
China,MoscowoffendeditsEEUpartners,mostnotablyKazakhstan.Thus,Astanaandothercapitalscontinuetohavegood
reasontoreachouttoBeijingdirectlyinordertoseekinvestment,bypassingboththeEEUbureaucracyandtheKremlin.China
alsostayedtruetoitsoldhabitofdoingbusinesswithCentralAsianleadersonapurelybilateralbasis,withoutinvolving
Moscow.DuringhisSeptember2015visittoBeijing,KazakhPresidentNursultanNazarbaevsignedadeclarationof
coordinationbetweenOBORandKazakhstansnationalinfrastructuredevelopmentprogram,NurlyZhol.Kazakhstanwasthe
firstCentralAsianstatetoactivelypitchitsinvestmentprojectstoChina,whichcausedtensionswithMoscow.InOctober2015,
EEUleadersagreedtocoordinatetheirbilateralarrangementswithChinaundertheunionsumbrella,butsofarnotmuchhas
happened.ItwasonlyinMarch2016attheBoaoForumthatRussianDeputyPrimeMinisterDvorkovichpromisedChinese
PremierLithatRussiawouldprovidealistofEEUproposalsforinvestmentprojectsthatcouldhelptolinkupthetwoinitiatives.
ThefirstanniversaryoftheostensiblyhistoricdeclarationwasthuscelebratedquietlyinBeijingandMoscowwithasilent
consensusthatthefirstyearoftheagreementhadbasicallybeenafailure.TheMay31EEUsummitinAstanaalsobroughtno
majornewsregardingEEU-OBORcoordination.
Despitemutualdissatisfactionoverthelackofprogressonthesecoordinationefforts,theoverlappinginterestsofthetwogreat
powersmayoutweightheirdifferences.BothRussiaandChinashareavisionofaregionrunbysecularauthoritarianleaders
withnomajorinterstateconflictsandnooutsideinvolvement,particularlyoftheUnitedStatesanditsallies.Giventheextentof
U.S.disengagementfromtheregionasthedrawdownfromAfghanistancontinues,andRussiasrelativedeclineasan
economiccenterofgravity,overthelongrunMoscowandBeijingmayfindwaystoaccommodatetheirmutualinterestsoutside
theframeworkofEEU-OBORcooperation,especiallyasthefutureofbothprojectslooksdim.
However,rivalrybetweenRussiaandChinainCentralAsiaisquitepossibleandcouldevenacceleratewhenthelong-expected
leadershiptransitionsinKazakhstanandUzbekistan,thetwomostimportantcountriesintheregion,finallytakeplace.Moscow
andBeijinglackcoordinationmechanismsorintensivediplomaticdialogueonCentralAsia.Anyabruptdepartureofleadersin
AstanaorTashkentcouldconceivablytriggerasuccessioncrisis.Rivalfactionsoflocalelitesmayendupreachingoutto
MoscowandBeijingforsupport.Whilesuchdynamicsareunpredictable,itisnothardtoconceiveofdestabilizingscenarios,
whichcouldspuramajorrupturebetweenthetwopowers.
Inasimilarvein,tensionsbetweenMoscowandBeijinginCentralAsiamayariseifthelattercontestsRussiasself-proclaimed
roleastheleadsecurityprovidertotheregion.SofarChinaofficiallyhasavoidedstepsthatmightundercutRussiasposition
asthepreeminentregionalmilitarysuperpower,astatusthatRussiaenjoysthankstoitsroleinCentralAsiathroughCSTOand
itsmilitarypresenceinTajikistanandKyrgyzstan.ThemainvenueforBeijingsparticipationinregionalsecurityarrangements
forthepreviousdecadehasbeentheShanghaiCooperationOrganization,whichhasprovidedaplatformforjointRussian-
Chinesemilitarydrills.However,ChinasgrowingtradeandinvestmentpresenceinCentralAsiaisstartingtotriggeran
evolutioninBeijingslong-standingposition.Theregionsmineralresourcesarelikelytoplayanincreasinglyimportantrolein
thePRCsoverallenergysecurity.Likewise,risksofinstabilityaregrowingduetothedeterioratingsecuritysituationin
neighboringAfghanistanandthepotentialriseofIslamicextremism.Asofthiswriting,thecircumstancesbehindthedeadly
June2016attacksintheKazakhcityofAktoberemainfarfromclear,butmayprovideanotherindicationthateventhemost
stablecountriesinCentralAsiafacethisthreat.Takentogether,theChineseleadershipwillprobablystarttothinkabouthowto
protectitsregionaleconomicinterests.OBOR-relatedinfrastructureprojectsandinvestmentsmayprovideyetanotherreason
forChinatothinkaboutassumingamoreactiveroleinprovidingregionalsecurityandphysicalprotectionforcritical
infrastructure.
AccordingtoChineseexpertsadvisingZhongnanhaionRussianandCentralAsianaffairs,Beijinghistoricallyhasbeenhappy
withtheestablisheddivisionoflaborwithMoscow.Chineseattemptstoforgebilateralsecuritytieswithcountriesoftheregion
wereseenascounterproductivesincetheycouldpotentiallyjeopardizetieswithMoscoworraisesuspicionsinlocalcapitals
aboutChineseintentions.Thislineofthinkingisslowlystartingtochange,asBeijingbecomesincreasinglyworriedabout
Moscowsunpredictability,andalsotheKremlinsabilitytomaintainpromisedlevelsofinvestmentinCSTOanditsmilitary
installationsinCentralAsia.
InternaldiscussionontherolethatChinacouldplayasaregionalsecurityproviderarestillintheirinfancyandrarely
mentioned,ifatall,inChineseopensources.93However,accordingtoChineseacademics,differentideasarebeingfloated,
suchasestablishingspecialChineseprivatemilitarycompaniesordevelopingclosertieswithregionalarmies.Notablerecent
developmentsincludeaMarch2016visittoTajikistanandAfghanistanbyFangFenghui,thechiefofthePLAsGeneralStaff
andamemberoftheCentralMilitaryCommission,todiscussbilateralmilitary-to-militarytieswithbothcountries,aswellasthe
establishmentofanewsecuritycoordinationmechanismforintelligencesharingandconsultationsamongBeijing,Dushanbe,
Kabul,andIslamabad.ThesedevelopmentshavestirredanxietyinMoscow,withsomeexpertslabelingthesemovesanattempt
tocreateanalternative,Beijing-centeredsecurityframeworkintheregionthatwillputRussiaatadisadvantage.94Fangstrip
wasalsoatopicfordiscussionbetweentheRussianandChineseenvoysonissuespertainingtoAfghanistan,ZamirKabulov
andDengXijun,duringtheirMarch2016talksinMoscow.
TheKremlinsofficialreactiontoBeijingsmovesremainscalm,asisseeninKabulovsremarkstotheRussiangovernment
newspaperIzvestia.95NeverthelessfurtherChineseattemptstoboostitssecurityroleinCentralAsiaattheexpenseofRussia
mayerodefragiletrustthathasbeenfosteredbetweenthetwocountriesnationalsecurityestablishments.Overtime,such
movescouldunderminetheoverallrelationshipand,conceivably,triggermisunderstandings,miscalculations,andrenewed
feelingsofgeopoliticalrivalry.

TowardAsymmetricInterdependence
TwoyearsafterPutinsMay2014visittoShanghai,RussianhopesofaquickandstableChinesealternativetoEuropean
energyandcapitalmarketsaregoingthroughapainfulrealitycheck.BilateraltradewithChinaplungedby28percentin2015
duetothefalloutfromlowercommoditypricesandtheknock-oneffectsofthecontinueddeclineoftheRussianeconomyand
thedevaluationoftheruble.ManyoftheRussian-Chinesedealsinauguratedwithmuchfanfareoverthelasttwenty-four
monthshaveremainedonpaper.LeadingChinesebankshavesurprisedtheKremlinwiththeirrigorousadherencetoWestern
sanctions.CapitalmarketsinShanghaiandHongKonghaveremainedlargelyclosedtoRussianissuersaswell.Thefew
existingchannelsofaccesstoChinesemoneythroughpoliticalbanksremainopenonlyforahandfulofstrategicstate-owned
companiesandmembersofPutinsinnercircle.
GrowingdisillusionmentwithMoscowspivottoChinaisstartingtocometothesurface,airedinpublicforumsbythemostwell-
connectedandwealthyRussiancitizens.96SimilardisillusionmentiswidespreadinBeijing,whereofficialsandbusinesspeople
complainaboutRussiansbeingstubborn,arrogant,andshort-sightedmissingagoldenopportunitytoopenuptoChinaasa
result.
Still,temporarysetbacksnotwithstanding,MoscowandBeijingaredriftingclosertogether.Thefundamentalconditionsfor
Russian-ChineserapprochementwerepresentlongbeforetheUkrainecrisis.Theseincludethecomplementaryand
increasinglyinterdependentnatureofthetwocountrieseconomiesasharedcommitmenttomaintainingauthoritarianpolitical
systemsandlimitingforeigninfluenceathome,aswellastoupholdingprinciplesofsovereigntyandnoninterventionineach
othersaffairstraditionalistsocialnormsandvaluesfueledbythegreat-powerambitionsoflargeswathesoftheirpopulations
andacommoneliteandpopularresentmentoftheWestsglobaldominance.Themutualdistrustbetweentheelitesofboth
countries,particularlyontheRussianside,andtheveryambivalentpersonalstanceofmanypowerfulofficialsandtycoonsin
bothcountriestowardtheWest,meantformanyyearsthatthetwocountriesonlysawmarginalimprovementsinrelations
despitetheirmanysharedinterests.NowthepersonalchemistrybetweenPutinandXiandtheWesternsanctionscampaign
againstRussiahavegalvanizedthepartnershipandmaybringittoanewandhigherlevelthanbefore.
ThisnewRussian-Chineserelationshipmayturnouttobemoremeaningfulthanpreviouslywasthecase,butitishardto
overlookthedegreeofinequalitybetweenthetwopartners.ThebasictrendisoneofRussiaandChinamovingtowarda
deeperasymmetricalinterdependence,withBeijingenjoyingafarstrongerposition.Thebiggestnewdevelopmentisthatthis
economicinequalitymaynolongerbeabarriertogreatercooperation.RussiafacescontinuedestrangementfromtheWestin
theformofthesanctionsregime,whichwillimpactMoscowsabilitytobuildclosertiestoU.S.alliessuchasJapanandSouth
Korea.Russialacksthepoliticalwilltomodernizeitseconomyandinstitutions,whichwouldrequirechallengingvariouspillarsof
thecurrentregimeandvestedinterests.Inthatcontext,MoscowmaybemostcomfortablewithChinaasitskeypartner,
especiallyasChinaiswillingtoacceptRussiaasitis.Beijingis,ofcourse,unlikelytocriticizeRussiaslackofprogresson
economicreformsorthepoorstateofitsdemocracy.Inreturn,Russiamaybecomemoreaccommodatingonitstermsfor
commercialcooperationwithChina.
IffuturegasandoilpipelinesoriginatinginSiberiaendupleadingtoChinaonly,Russiawilldenyitselfoptionstobranchoutto
otherpotentialmarketsinotherAsianeconomiesviathePacificOcean.Gazpromssuggestionthatitmayscrapthe
VladivostokLNGprojectinfavorofyetanotherpipelinetoChinasuggestsMoscowmayalreadybemovinginthisdirection.
BeforetheUkrainecrisis,RussiawastryingtocreatepipelineinfrastructureleadingtothePacificCoast,whilebranchpipelines
toChinawereseenasnecessarypreconditionsforreceivingChinesefunding(thiswasthecasewiththeESPOoilpipeline).
Now,directpipelinestoChinamaybecomeendsinthemselves,particularlyifcommoditypricesremainlowandRussia
continuestolackthetechnologyitneedstobuildLNGplants.
AsecondmajoroutcomecouldbeMoscowsacceptanceofChinesecompaniesownershipofsubstantialstakes(includingjoint
controlwithRussianminoritystakeholders)instrategicdepositsofnaturalresources.AsremarksmadebyRussianDeputy
PrimeMinisterDvorkovichinKrasnoyarskin2015show,thisideaisalreadycirculatingwithintheRussianelitecommunity.So
farmarketconditionsandhopesforaspeedyremovalfromWesternsanctionshaveallowedRussianstodriveahardbargain
whendiscussingpotentialsalesoftheseassets.However,ifcurrentconditionspersist,Russiasappetiteforhardcashmay
growinthemediumterm,andtheChinesemaybeabletobuyassetsatmuchcheaperprices.Athirdformofsymbiosiscould
taketheshapeofjointventuresbetweenChinesecompaniesandRussianbusinesspeopleclosetotheKremlin,inwhichthe
ChinesewouldprovidetechnologyandfinancingwhiletheRussianswouldensureMoscowsapprovalofprojectsandbids.
Ofcourse,ifWesternsanctionsareeventuallyliftedorrelaxed,commoditypricesrecover,orRussiaembarksonmeaningful
structuralreformsthatdramaticallyimproveitsattractivenesstoforeigninvestors,thingscouldgobacktotheirpre-Ukraine
state.Butallthreeofthesescenariosseemratherfar-fetchedatthemoment.Russiaappearsmorelikelytocontinuetoslip
furtherintoChinasembrace,atleastintheeconomicsphere.Inthisnewscheme,themutualbenefitsthatbothsidesderive
willcompensateforthegrowinginequalitybetweenthem.ChinawillofferMoscowaneconomiclifeline,whileRussiawillprovide
vitalresources(militaryandciviliantechnology,naturalresources,anddiplomaticsupport,includingintheUNSecurityCouncil)
topropelChinasriseasaglobalpowerhousethatcancompetewiththeUnitedStates.ThebitterpillofRussiascontinued
declinewillbelesspainfulamidBeijingseffortstoshowsymbolicdeferencetoRussiasstatusasagreatpower.Thetoneof
theirofficialdialoguewilldiffersharplyfromwhatMoscowhearsfromWesterninterlocutors,asthevaluesofthetworegimes
convergemuchmoreclosely.
Westernexpectationsthatdifferencesbetweenthetwocountrieswillinevitablyleadtorivalry,aswiththesplitbetweenChina
andtheSovietUnioninthe1960s,couldprovehollow.RussiahasindeedbeenfrustratedinitshopesthatChinawouldquickly
fillthevoidleftbytheWest,buthasneverthelessembarkedonatrajectoryofgrowingdependenceonBeijing.The
consequencesfortheWestwillbefar-rangingandlong-lasting,giventhewealthofresourcesthatRussiacanofferChinato
supportitsgloballeadershipaspirations.ThemostimmediaterepercussionswilllikelyconcerngrowingChinesemilitary
capabilitiesinthecomingyears:sophisticatedRussianweaponrycouldbeagamechangerinconflictsoverTaiwan,theSouth
ChinaSea,andtheEastChinaSea.RussiasdiplomaticsupportforChinaalsowillbeimportant.Inthelongrun,itwillbecome
moreandmoredifficultforMoscowtoremainneutralonissueslikedisputesintheSouthChinaSea,anditwillnotbeeasyfor
RussiatokeepupmilitarytieswithcountriessuchasVietnam.Othercountriesshouldtakenoteandrethinktheirassumptions
abouttheRussian-Chineserelationship.ThefalloutfromtheUkrainecrisisistriggeringfundamentalchangesinrelations
betweenthelargestpowersinEurasia,whichwillleavefewunaffected.

Notes
1Foramoredetaileddiscussion,seeAlexanderGabuev,ASoftAlliance?:Russia-ChinaRelationsAftertheUkraineCrisis,
EuropeanCouncilonForeignRelations,February10,2015,http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR126_-_A_Soft_Alliance_Russia-
China_Relations_After_the_Ukraine_Crisis.pdf.
2ThisobservationisbasedonprivatemeetingswithseveralindependentRussianexpertsfamiliarwiththematter.
3ThisstudyisbasedonaseriesofinterviewswithRussianandChineseofficials,businesspeople,andexperts.Interviewswere
conductedfromFebruary2014toApril2016inMoscow,Vladivostok,Beijing,andHongKong.Theauthorwouldliketothankall
whowerereadytosharetheirinsights.Mostoftheinterlocutors,forunderstandablereasons,haverequestedanonymitydue
tothesensitivenatureoftheirwork.TheauthorwouldalsoliketothankVitaSpivakandNataliaDobrynina,hisresearch
assistantsattheCarnegieMoscowCenter.
4See,forexample,GilbertRozman,AsiafortheAsians:WhyChinese-RussianFriendshipIsHeretoStay,ForeignAffairs,
October29,2014,http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/east-asia/2014-10-29/asia-asians.
5DmitriTreninusestheFrenchwordententetodescribethenewstateofRussian-Chineserelations,inwhichBeijingand
MoscowsupporteachotherintheirstruggleagainstU.S.dominancebutarentengagedinaformalalliance.SeeDmitriTrenin,
FromGreaterEuropetoGreaterAsia?TheSino-RussianEntente,CarnegieMoscowCenter,April9,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/04/09/from-greater-europe-to-greater-asia-sino-russian-entente/i64a.
6ThistermwascoinedbyformerAustraliandiplomatBoboLoinhisbookofthesametitle.SeeBoboLo,AxisofConvenience:
Moscow,Beijing,andtheNewGeopolitics(Washington,DC:BrookingsInstitution,2008).
7PutinandXi:NotQuitetheAlliesTheySeem,FinancialTimes,May7,2015,http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cd637c7e-f4a8-
11e4-8a42-00144feab7de.html#axzz4AxH2WeWF.
8ThomasS.EderandMikkoHuotari,MoscowsFailedPivottoChina,ForeignAffairs,April17,2016,
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2016-04-17/moscow-s-failed-pivot-china.
9BenBlanchard,XiJinpingsJourneyFromChinaPartyElitetoPartyLeader,Reuters,November15,2012,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-congress-xi-idUSBRE8AE0BZ20121115.
10EvanOsnos,BornRed,NewYorker,April6,2015,http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/06/born-red.
11AreadoutofthemeetingbetweenPrimeMinisterVladimirPutinandChineseVicePresidentXiJinpingisavailableat:Prime
MinsiterPutinMeetsWithChineseVicePresidentXiJinping,ArchiveoftheOfficialSiteofthe20082012PrimeMinisterofthe
RussianFederationVladimirPutin,March23,2012,http://archive.premier.gov.ru/eng/events/news/9884/.
12EvidenceofthischangeofcoursecanbefoundinpubliclyavailabledocumentssuchasaMay2014speechbyPrime
MinisterDmitryMedvedev:SoveschaniyeorazvitiisotrudnichestvasostranamiAziatsko-Tihookeanskogoregiona
[ConsultationonthedevelopmentofcooperationwithAsiaPacificcountries],RussianGovernment,May12,2014,
http://government.ru/news/12293/.
13Reuters,PutinMakesSanctionedBillionaireTimchenkoHeadofRussia-ChinaBusinessCouncil,MoscowTimes,May22,
2014,http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/putin-makes-sanctioned-billionaire-timchenko-head-of-russia-china-
business-council/500731.html.
14AprofileofGennadyTimchenkocanbefoundat:GennadiyTimchenko[GennadyTimchenko],Forbes,May3,2016,
http://www.forbes.ru/profile/gennadii-timchenko.
15DenisVolkov,RussianEliteOpinionAfterCrimea,CarnegieMoscowCenter,March23,2016,
http://carnegie.ru/2016/03/23/russian-elite-opinion-after-crimea/iwdo.
16SeethedetaileddiscussioninPeterHaysGries,ChinasNewNationalism:Pride,Politics,andDiplomacy(Berkeley,CA:
UniversityofCaliforniaPress,2004).
17AndreyKolesnikov,RussianIdeologyAferCrimea,CarnegieMoscowCenter,September22,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/09/22/russian-ideology-after-crimea/ihzq.
18MariaRepnikova,WhenXiWenttoMoscowandPutinWenttoBeijing,JournalofAsianStudies74,no.4(November
2015):1318.
19Levada-Center,MonitoringPublicAttitudesTowardsOtherCountries,September2015
http://www.levada.ru/2015/09/22/monitoring-otnosheniya-rossiyan-k-drugim-stranam-sentyabr/.
20Forexample,anarticlethatJosephNyewroteforProjectSyndicateinJanuary2015statesthatwithitseconomic,military,
anddemographicheftChinageneratesconsiderableuneaseinRussia.Considerthedemographicsituationineastern
Siberia,wheresixmillionRussiansliveacrosstheborderfromupto120millionChinese.See:JosephS.Nye,ANewSino-
RussianAlliance?,ProjectSyndicate,January12,2015,http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/russia-china-alliance-by-
joseph-s--nye-2015-01?barrier=true.
21AsummarycanbefoundinShannonTiezzi,ChinaBacksRussiaonUkraine,Diplomat,March4,2014,
http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/china-backs-russia-on-ukraine/.
22ThemessagewasrepublishedbytheChinaDigitalTimesprojectswebsite:Minitrue:CrimeaVotestoJoinRussia,China
DigitalTimes,March17,2014,http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2014/03/minitrue-crimea-votes-join-russia/.
23DetailedanalysisofChinesebehaviorcanbefoundinShannonTiezzi,ChinaReactstotheCrimeaReferendum,Diplomat,
March18,2014,http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/china-reacts-to-the-crimea-referendum/.
24WangHaiyun,WuweijhuogeiZhongguodailaishiniankuansongqi[UkrainecrisiscanbringChina10yearsofrelaxation],
HuanqiuShibao,April23,2014,http://opinion.huanqiu.com/opinion_world/2014-04/4978486.html.
25PrivatemeetinginBeijinginMarch2016.
26WangHaiyun,ChangshuaiEzhongguanxishizhanlueshangfanhutu[ItsstrategicallyblindtotreatSino-Russianrelations
likemud],HuanqiuShibao,April2,2015,http://opinion.huanqiu.com/opinion_world/2015-02/5587490.html.
27See,forexample,ElenaMazneva,ChinaGasDemandForecastCutbyCNPCResearcherAmidSlowdown,Bloomberg,
September30,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-30/china-gas-demand-forecast-cut-by-cnpc-researcher-
amid-slowdown.
28AndreyMovchan,JustanOilCompany?TheTrueExtentofRussiasDependencyonOilandGas,CarnegieMoscow
Center,September14,2015,http://carnegie.ru/2015/09/14/just-oil-company-true-extent-of-russia-s-dependency-on-oil-and-
gas/ijra.
29EricaStreckerDowns,ChinasQuestforEnergySecurity(SantaMonica,CA:RANDCorporation,2000),2429.
30MessageontheGazpromswebsitepostedonSeptember19,2014:AddressbyGazpromManagementCommittee
ChairmanAlexeyMillerat13thInternationalInvestmentForumSochi-2014,Gazprom,September19,2014,
http://www.gazprom.com/press/miller-journal/335371/.
31MikhailSerov,Rossiyazhdetavansa[Russiawaitsforaprepayment],Vedomosti,May22,2014,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/newspaper/articles/2014/05/22/rossiya-zhdet-avansa.
32GazpromCancels$2.15BlnTenderforConstructionofPowerofSiberiaGasPipelineStretch,TASS,December29,2015,
http://tass.ru/en/economy/847697.
33MikhailKrutikhin,KakGazpromustalonekudadevatgaz[HowGazpromendedupwithnoonetosellitsgasto],Carnegie
MoscowCenter,June24,2015,http://carnegie.ru/2015/06/24/ru-60480/iaz0.
34JonathanStern,GasPipelineCooperationBetweenPoliticalAdversaries:ExamplesFromEurope,ChathamHouse,
January2005,
http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/public/Research/Energy,%20Environment%20and%20Development/jsjan05.pdf.
35AlexandraGalaktionovaandElenaMyazina,RotenbergbezkonkursapoluchilkontraktiGazpromapochtina200mlrdrub
[Rotenbergreceivesa200billionrubleGazpromcontractswithoutformalbid],RBC,December23,2015,
http://www.rbc.ru/business/23/12/2015/567adfee9a79471210b50252KitajnachalstroitprodolzhenieSiliSibiri[Chinabegins
constructconstructionofPowerofSiberiaextension],Vedomosti,June2,2015,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/news/2015/06/02/594774-kitai-nachal-stroit-prodolzhenie-sili-sibiri.
36NataliaDerbyzheva,KompaniyaTimchenkobezkonkursapoluchilavtoroypodryadpoSileSibiri[Timchenkoscompany
hasgainedsecondcontractforPowerofSiberiawithoutatender],RBC,May20,2016,
http://www.rbc.ru/business/20/05/2016/573f1d949a794729a502994c.
37PrivatemeetingswithRussianofficials.
38MessageonGazpromwebsitepostedonMay8,2015:GazpromandCNPCSignHeadsofAgreementforGasSupplyVia
WesternRoute,pressrelease,Gazprom,May8,2015,http://www.gazprom.com/press/news/2015/may/article226167/.
39RosneftResumesTalksWithGazpromonSalesofGasFromSakhalin-1ProjectReport,TASS,May18,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/economy/876415.
40Kitaystalkrupneyshimimporteromrossiyskoynefti[ChinabecamethelargerimporterofRussianoil],Vedomosti,March11,
2016,http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/news/2016/03/11/633217-kitai-nefti.
41OlgaMordyushenko,RosneftneidetvKitaiposuhu[RosneftdoesntgotoChinatroughland-basedroutes],
Kommersant,January14,2016,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2890833.
42MengMengandChenAizhu,RussiaPipsSaudiArabiaAgainasTopChinaCrudeSupplierinMarch,Reuters,April21,
2016,http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-crude-imports-idUSKCN0XI0VD.
43SeethisanalyticalreportonRussian-Chinesetradecooperationin2015:Analiticheskayaspravkaorossiisko-kitaiskom
torgovomsotrudnichestvev2015godu[AnalyticalreportonRussian-Chinesetradecooperationin2015],IntegratedForeign
EconomicInformationPortal,February2,2016,http://www.ved.gov.ru/exportcountries/cn/cn_ru_relations/cn_ru_trade/.
44SellingStakeinVankorOilandGasFieldtoChinaforYuanPossibleEnergyMinister,TASS,November18,2014,
http://tass.ru/en/economy/760398.
45TheKremlinstrancriptofthisinterviewwaspostedonlineonNovember14,2014:InterviewtoTASSAgency,Official
InternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,November14,2014,http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/47009.
46AlinaFadeeva,MinfingotopprodatRosneft[MinistryofFinancereadytosellRosneft],Vedomosti,December16,2015,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2015/12/16/621264-minfin-rosneft.
47YuliaKotovaandMaximTovkailo,KitayskuyuCNPCzainteresovalaprivatizatsiyaRosnefti[ChineseCNPCisinterestedin
Rosneftprivatization],RBC,April21,2016,http://www.rbc.ru/business/21/04/2016/5718bd919a7947743d4115f6.
48AlinaFadeeva,RosneftvperviyeprivlekaetkitaiskuyukompaniyudlyabureniyanashelfeOhotskogomoray[Forthefirst
time,RosneftinvitesaChinesecompanytodrillontheOkhotskSeashelf],Vedomosti,September2,2015,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2015/09/03/607298-rosneft-vpervie-privlekaet-kitaiskuyu-kompaniyu-dlya-bureniya-
shelfe-ohotskogo-morya.
49JackFarchy,GazpromNeftSellsOiltoChinainRenminbiRatherThanDollars,FinancialTimes,June1,2015,
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8e88d464-0870-11e5-85de-00144feabdc0.html#axzz4AjYW0EYt.
50TranscriptoftheSeptember1,2014,meetingbetweenPutinandZhangGaolicanbeaccessedat:MeetingWithVice
PremierofChinaZhangGaoli,OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,September1,2014,
http://en.kremlin.ru/catalog/countries/CN/events/46530.
51YuriSoloviev,UnlockingthePotentialofRussia-AsiaCooperation,FinanceAsia,June16,2015,
http://www.financeasia.com/News/398460,unlocking-the-potential-of-russia-asia-cooperation.aspx.
52Ibid.
53AlexandraTerentyeva,Kitaiskiyebankislishkomtshatelnopodhodiatksankciyam-VTB[VTB:Chinesebankstoostricton
sanctions],Vedomosti,September5,2015,http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2015/09/05/607669-kitaiskie-baki-
slishkom-tschatelno-podhodyat-sanktsiyam.
54AccordingtoasetofinterviewswithHongKongbankersconductedinSeptember2015.
55YuliyaFedorinova,ElenaMazneva,andAnnaBaraulina,PutinsGotaNewProblemWithChina,Bloomberg,September2,
2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-01/putin-s-china-turn-hits-potholes-as-trade-drops-markets-slide.
56NLMKsNovember2,2015,corporateannouncementcanbeaccessedat:NLMKGroupClosesUSD400MillionPre-Export
Facility,pressrelease,LondonStockExchange,November2,2015,
http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/NLMK/12564244.html.
57SandrineBradley,Update1-LPC-RussiasNLMKSigns250MlnEuroLoanWithInternationalBanks,Reuters,April30,
2015,http://www.reuters.com/article/nlmk-loans-idUSL4N0XR6QL20150430.
58JackFarchy,GazpromSecures2bnLoanFromBankofChina,FinancialTimes,March3,2016,
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ac5b1ee4-e159-11e5-9217-6ae3733a2cd1.html#axzz47mLAFUVa.
59PleaseseeExternalSectorStatistics,CentralBankoftheRussianFederation,http://www.cbr.ru/eng/statistics/?PrtId=svs.
60DatacanbeaccessedattheOfficeoftheUnitedStatesTradeRepresentativesofficialwebpage:ThePeoplesRepublicof
China:U.S.-ChinaTradeFacts,OfficeoftheUnitedStatesTradeRepresenative,http://ustr.gov/countries-regions/china-
mongolia-taiwan/peoples-republic-china.
61DatacanbeaccesedattheEuropeanCommisionsofficialwebsite:China,EuropeanCommissionTrade,April29,2016,
http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/china/.
62BankiKitayaotkazivayutsyaobsluzhivatoffshornieschetarossiyskihklientov[ChinesebanksrefusetoworkwithRussians
offshoreaccounts],Rosbalt,September24,2014,http://www.rosbalt.ru/business/2014/09/24/1318906.html.
63EricaDowns,InsideChina,Inc:ChinaDevelopmentBanksCross-BorderEnergyDeals,JohnL.ThorntonChinaCenter
MonographSeriesNo.3,BrookingsInstitution,March2011,http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2011/3/21-
china-energy-downs/0321_china_energy_downs.pdf.
64Ibid.
65DvakitayskihbankaotkrilikreditoSberbanku,VTBIVEBu[TwoChinesebankshaveprovidedcreditlinestoSberbank,
VTBandVEB],TASS,May8,2015,http://tass.ru/ekonomika/1956850VEBsofficialstatementcanbeaccessedat:VEBand
theChinaDevelopmentBankSignCreditAgreement,VEBBankforDevelopment,December17,2015,
http://www.veb.ru/en/press/news/arch_news/index.php?id_19=101631RussiasVTB,VEBRosselkhazbankAgreeOnLoans
withChinaEximBank,Reuters,October13,2014,http://www.reuters.com/article/russia-china-banks-
idUSL6N0S81HT20141013.
66YuriBarsukov,Ugazasvetloebudushee[Gashasabrightfuture],Kommersant,July17,2015,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2769183TotalCEOEyesCuttingCosts,ContinuingYamalLNGProject,NikkeiAsianReview,
October7,2015,http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Total-CEO-eyes-cutting-costs-continuing-Yamal-LNG-project.
67RussiasNovatekCompletesDealtoSellYamalLNGStaketoChinasSilkRoad,Reuters,March15,2016,
http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFR4N0ZC01H.
68OlgaMordushenkoandJuriBarsukov,Soporoinasobstvenniesily[Relyingononesownstrength],Kommersant,April30,
2016,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2978177.
69VasilyKashin,IndustrialCooperation:PathtoConfluenceofRussianandChineseEconomies,ValdaiPapers#4(44),
ValdaiDiscussionClub,March2016,http://valdaiclub.com/files/10377/.
70VladimirKuznetsov,RussianBondsClimbasChinaPurchases$1BillionofRubleDebt,Bloomberg,July9,2015,
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-09/china-buys-1-billion-of-ruble-debt-as-russia-touts-local-market.
71CharlesClover,WesternSanctionsPushingRussiaTowardsCloserTiesWithChina,FinancialTimes,April17,2016,
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/470d6052-02d7-11e6-99cb-83242733f755.html#axzz46BcotTk9.
72LizMak,ICBCandBankofChinatoHelpUnderwriteRussiasIssuanceofLargestYuan-DenominatedForeignSovereign
Bond,SouthChinaMorningPost,April27,2016,http://www.scmp.com/business/markets/article/1939043/icbc-and-bank-china-
help-underwrite-russias-issuance-largest-yuan.
73SofiaOkunandSapozhkovOleg.Kitaiskayafinansovayagramota[Chinesefinancialgrammar],Kommersant,October23,
2015,http://www.kommersant.ru/Doc/2838059.
74RussianDebtSaferThanU.S.?SoSaysChinaRatingHouseDagong,Bloomberg,January8,2015,
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-08/russian-debt-safer-than-u-s-so-says-china-rating-house-dagong.
75PutinsMay8,2015statementonthisissuecanbeaccessedat:PressStatementsFollowingRussian-ChineseTalks,
OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,May8,2015,http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/49433.
76UPDATE1ChinaRailwayGroupWins$390MlnRussianHigh-SpeedRailContract,Reuters,May13,2015,
http://www.reuters.com/article/china-russia-idUSL3N0Y44E620150513.
77ChinatoLendOver$6BlnforRussiasMoscowKazanHighSpeedRail,SputnikNews,April29,2016,
http://sputniknews.com/business/20160429/1038854457/railway-money-china-russia.html.
78NataliaSkorlyginaandAnastasiaVedeneeva,YuanidoKazani[RMBtoKazan],Kommersant,May24,2016,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2995577.
79PavelKantishev,NIIVoskhodzakluchilsoglashenieskitaiskimInspurna$225mln[Voskhodresearchinstitutesignedsigns
dealwithChineseInspurfor$225mln],Vedomosti,October15,2014,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/technology/articles/2014/10/15/voshod-kitajskogo-servera.
80SberbankscorporateannouncementofOctober13,2014,canbeaccessedat:SberbankofRussiaandHuaweiSigna
CollaborationAgreement,pressrelease,Sberbank,October13,2014,http://sberbank.ru/en/press_center/all/article?
newsID=200004787-1-2&blockID=1539&regionID=77&lang=enVTBscorporateannouncementofNovember10,2014,canbe
accessedat:VTBBeginsCollaborationWithHuawei,VTBGroup,November10,2014,
http://www.vtb.com/group/press/news/releases/412003/.
81NataliyaSkorligina,Kabelorangakh[Cableofranks],Kommersant,April28,2015,http://kommersant.ru/doc/2718391.
82VassilyKashin,SellingS-400stoChina:ANewFrontintheColdWar?,CarnegieMoscowCenter,April27,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/04/27/selling-s-400s-to-china-new-front-in-cold-war/ik1m.
83Thesametrendscanbeobservedincross-bordertradein2014and2015,withChinesebordercitieslosingupto90
percentoftheirRussiantourists.InsteadChinesecitizensarecrossingthebordertobuyseeminglycheapRussiangoods,
mostlyagriculturalproducts.In2015,RussianfoodexportstoChinagrewby200percent.
84IvanSafronov,EslimirabotaemvinteresakhKNR,torabotaemvsvoikhinteresakh[IfweworkintheinterestsofthePRC,
weworkinourowninterests],Kommersant,April13,2015,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2707945.
85RussianArmsExportersTradePortfolioStandsat$48BillionOfficial,TASS,June3,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/defense/879864.
86ChinaMakesAdvancePaymentforS-400AirDefenseSystemDelivery,TASS,March11,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/defense/861706.
87Kashin,SellingS-400s.
88RussiaInksContractWithChinaonSu-35Deliveries,TASS,November19,2015,http://tass.ru/en/defense/837662.
89VassilyKashin,WhyIsChinaBuyingRussianFighterJets?,CarnegieMoscowCenter,February9,2016,
http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/02/09/why-is-china-buying-russian-fighter-jets-su-35/itoe.
90ZacharyKeck,RussiaMaySellChinaNewAdvancedSubmarines,Diplomat,March28,2014,
http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/russia-may-sell-china-new-advanced-submarines/.
91Kashin,IndustrialCooperation.
92Thetextofthejointstatementcanbeaccessedat:SovmestnoyezayavleniyeRossiisoiFederaziiiKitaiskoiNarodnoi
RespublikiosotrudnichestveposopryazheniyustroitrlstvaEvraziiskogoEkonomicheskogosoyuzaiEkonomicheskogopoyasa
Shelkovogoputi[JointstatementoftheRussianFederationandPeoplesRepublicofChinaoncopperationonthe
constructionofJointEurasianEconomicUnionandtheSilkRoadProjects],OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentof
Russia,March8,2015,http://kremlin.ru/supplement/4971.
93FengYujun,GeoeconomicsinEurasia:AViewFromChina,November2015.
94AndreyKnyazev,Kart-blansh:KitaypristupaetksozdaniyuvoennogoalyansavZentralnoyAzii[Carte-blanche:Chinato
createamilitaryallianceinCentralAsia],NezavisimayaGazeta,March15,2016,http://www.ng.ru/world/2016-03-
15/3_kartblansh.html.
95TatyanaBaykoba,KitaytesnitRossiyuvZentralnoyAzii[ChinaisjostlingRussiainCentralAsia],Izvestia,March16,2016,
http://izvestia.ru/news/606469.
96RemarksbyVictorVekselberg,oneoftherichestmeninRussia,areillustrative.Therewasacertainlevelofoptimism
regardingChinesecompanies.ItwasthoughttheywerecomingtotheRussianmarkettospendbigmoney.ButtheChinese
turnedouttobeveryrationalandverygoodbusinesspeople,sotheywouldntgivemoneyawayfornothing,hesaidata
March2016businessconferenceinMoscow.Seemorein:AlexanderGabuev,APivottoNowhere:TheRealitiesofRussias
AsiaPolicy,CarnegieMoscowCenter,April22,2016,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/04/22/pivot-to-nowhere-realities-of-
russia-s-asia-policy/ixfw.
From: rumereugene@gmail.com
Senttime: 07/06/201610:30:27PM
To: ChrisBort<chris.bort@gmail.com>
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.comChrisBort<chrisjb1@ucia.gov>
Subject: Re:RussiaandtheSecurityofEurope-CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace

Thanks.Hollerifsomethingoutrageous.Bobwillprobablyfindsomething.

SentfrommyiPad

OnJul7,2016,at3:10AM,ChrisBort<chris.bort@gmail.com>wrote:

Apologiesifyouvealreadyseenthis...

http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/06/30/russia-and-security-of-europe-pub-63990

RussiaandtheSecurityofEurope
RussiasannexationofCrimeainMarch2014wasthelateststepinMoscowslongprocessofrejectionofthe
postColdWarEuro-Atlanticsecurityorder,reflectingadeeplyheldviewthatisunlikelytochangeanytime
soon.WesternstrategywillneedtoadjusttoRussiasconceptionofitsinterestsandprioritiesinandaround
Europe.

TheReturnofGeopolitics

Russianelitesareguidedbyadeep-seatedsenseofvulnerabilityvis--vistheWestandfearWestern
encroachmentonthecountryssecurity,economic,andgeopoliticalinterests,aswellasontheirholdon
powerinRussia.
Theperceptionofvulnerabilityvis--vistheWestincludeseveryaspectofRussiaseconomy,politics,and
defense.ItisreinforcedbyRussianelitesconcernsabouttheinternalweaknessofthecountryandits
direction.Italsoservesasatoolfortheelitestomobilizethepopulationinthefaceofexternalthreats.The
elitesrecognizethatthecountryisinasystemiccrisisbutfearthatsolutionscouldprovedestabilizing.
ThelackofconfidenceintheirdefensecapabilitieshasledRussianmilitaryexpertstoconsiderstrategies
forearlynuclearescalationasadeterrentandcountermeasuretotheWestsperceivedconventional
superiority.TheWestsplansforimprovingconventionalcapabilitiesandmissiledefensesareeroding
Russianmilitaryplannersconfidenceintheirnucleardeterrent.
AsseenbyRussiasnationalsecurityestablishmentandpoliticalelites,thesecurityenvironmentalongthe
peripheryofRussiaisprecariousandaddstotheinternalchallengesfacingthecountry.Russianplanners
arebeingconfrontedwitharegionrifewithinstability,localconflicts,andforeignpowerstheyviewas
competingwithoropenlyhostiletoRussiaineverystrategicdirection.
Inthisenvironment,Russiaisresortingtoanarrayoftoolsfromnuclearsaberrattlingtointimidationof
smaller,weakerneighborstoinformationwarfare,cyberoperations,subversion,bribery,andotherpolitical
andeconomicmeasuresasmeansofhybridwarfareorcontinuationofpoliticsbyallavailablemeans.

ImplicationsforWesternPolicy

TheexperiencesofUkraineandGeorgiahaveprofoundimplicationsfornotonlythosecountriesbutalso
Armenia,Azerbaijan,Belarus,andMoldova.LackingtheNorthAtlanticTreatyOrganizations(NATOs)
securityguarantee,thesesixbattlegroundstatesremaininwhatMoscowperceivesasitssphereof
privilegedinterests.Itispreparedtousemilitaryforcetokeeptheminit.AstheWestisnotpreparedto
consignthesestatestotheRussiansphere,theybecomethearenaforEast-Westcompetition.
Russianactionsbefore,during,andsincetheaggressionagainstUkrainesuggestthatMoscowstilltakes
NATOsArticle5securityguaranteeofitsmembersseriously,andthatitisnotpreparedtotestthat
guaranteedirectly.RussianleaderswenttowartwicetopreventGeorgiaandUkrainefromeventually
astheysawitjoiningNATO.RatherthanchallengeNATOdirectly,Moscowwillcontinuetorelyonits
widearrayofhybridwarfaremethodstounderminememberstatesconfidenceinthealliance.
Westernpolicymakersshouldhavenoillusionsthatthebuildupofdefenseanddeterrentcapabilitiesinthe
frontlinestateswillhaveastabilizingeffectonthestandoffbetweenNATOandRussia.NATOsactionsin
theaftermathoftheUkrainecrisis,intendedtoshoreupthefrontlinestates,havetriggered
disproportionateRussianresponses,includingdeploymentofanti-accessandarea-denial(A2/AD)
capabilitiestoCrimeaandKaliningradaswellasthreatstodeploynuclearweaponsthere.
AbsentmajorchangesinRussias(orNATOs)outlook,thisadversarialrelationshipwillremainakey
featureoftheEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderfortheforeseeablefuture.Eventually,itwilltakeapolitical,not
amilitary,solutiontoresolvethisstandoff.

Introduction

TheannexationofCrimeabyRussiainMarch2014andtheundeclaredwaragainstUkrainethatfollowed
markedtheendofthepostColdWarperiodinEuropeanhistory.Russianactionshavedestroyedkeyelements
ofboththepostColdWarsecuritysystemandthepostWorldWarIIsecuritysysteminEuropethathad
survivedfornearlythree-quartersofacentury.ThedamagedonebyRussianactionsisdeepandlasting,with
pre-andpost-UkraineembodyingacleardividinglineinEuropeansecurityaffairs.Anewgeopoliticaldivisionof
Europehasemergedaswell.PuttingthepiecesbacktogetherinUkraineandshoringupaunitedEuropewill
stretchU.S.capabilities.ThesetwinchallengeswillremainastrategicimperativeforU.S.policymakersabsenta
majorshiftinRussianpositionswithrespecttoEuropeansecurityahighlyunlikelyoccurrencewithoutachange
inthecountrysleadershipandgoverningideology.

RussianactionsinUkraineandelsewhereinEuropehaveshockedbothEuropeanandU.S.nationalsecurityand
foreignpolicyestablishments.Few,ifany,analystsoneithersideoftheAtlantichadpredictedthatMoscow
wouldmovetodestroywhatwasenvisionedattheendoftheColdWarasEuropewhole,free,andatpeace
withitselfanditsneighbors.1RussianactionsagainstUkrainecameasasurpriseevenformanyseasoned
Russianforeignpolicyobservers.2ThedecisiontoseizeandsubsequentlyannexCrimeaandtolaunchthewarin
easternUkraineinsupportofRussian-inspiredseparatistswasmostlikelypartofaspontaneous,panicky
responsebyMoscowtotherapidlychangingpoliticalenvironmentinUkraineratherthananelementofalong-
term,well-thought-out,deliberatestrategy.3

However,acarefulexaminationofRussiasownnarrativeaboutEuropeanandEurasiansecurity,andits
evolutionsincetheendoftheColdWar,suggeststhatRussianactionsinUkrainewereentirelylogical,perhaps
eveninevitable,asanextensionofRussianthreatperceptions.AsseenfromMoscow,therapidchangesin
UkrainianpoliticsthecollapseofthepresidencyofViktorYanukovychandthecomingtopowerofapolitical
coalitionadvocatingUkrainespro-EuropeanandEuro-Atlanticorientation,includingeventualmembershipinthe
EuropeanUnion(EU)andtheNorthAtlanticTreatyOrganization(NATO)carriedwiththemprofound
geopoliticalconsequencesforRussia:theysignaledtheemergenceofnewthreatstoRussiassecurityrightatits
doorstep,threatsthatnoRussianleaderislikelytotoleratewithoutawholesalechangeinthecountrysideology
andunderstandingofitsnationalsecurity.

FromMoscowsperspective,itsactionsinUkrainerepresentedquintessentiallyaseriesofnecessarydefensive,
ratherthanoffensiveandexpansionist,measuresthatwereintendedtopreventanevenmoreseveregeopolitical
imbalanceonthecontinentresultingfromNATOandEUexpansionintoCentralandEasternEurope.Attheroot
oftheseactionswasasenseofvulnerabilityratherthanconfidenceinMoscowsrelationswiththeWest.
Ironically,thesecurityenvironmentaroundtheperipheryofRussiathathasemergedasaresultoftheannexation
ofCrimeaandthesubsequentaggressionagainstUkraineundoubtedlyleavesRussianmilitaryplannerswitha
greatersenseofvulnerability.

EuropeWhole,Free,andatPeaceWithItselfandItsNeighbors?

ThepeacefulendoftheColdWaranddissolutionoftheSovietUnionin1991signaledthedawnofanewerain
Europeansecurity.Aftertheideologicalandmilitarystandoffthathaddividedthecontinentformorethanfour
decades,EuropeincludingRussiawascomingtogetheronthebasisofanewvision,embracedbyallasthe
foundationforanewsecurityorder.

Thatsecurityorder,describedbyWesternleadersasEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfandits
neighbors,wouldnotrelyonsuchfamiliarconceptsasbalanceofpowerorbalanceofintereststomaintain
peaceonthecontinent.ItwouldinsteadrelyonallEuropeannationsincludingRussiamaintaininga
commitmenttosharedvaluesandadherencetoasetofkeyprinciplestoguidetheirforeignandsecuritypolicies.
Theseprincipleswererespectingtheindependence,sovereignty,andterritorialintegrityofallnationsrefraining
fromusingforcetosettleinternationaldisputesallowingfreedomofchoicebyallstatestopursuetheirforeign
policiesandenterintoalliancesanddemonstratingrespectforfundamentalhumanrightsandpersonalfreedoms
instatesdomesticpoliticalarrangements.

NoneofthesecommitmentsundertakenbyallEuropeannationsincludingRussiawerenew.Theyhadtheir
antecedentsintheUnitedNations(UN)charterattheendofWorldWarII,aswellasmorerecentlyinthe1975
HelsinkiFinalAct.4Asiftounderscoretheircommitmentsandrenewthemforthenewera,theheadsofstateor
governmentofallEuropeannations,Canada,andtheUnitedStatescametogetherin1990tosigntheCharterof
ParisforaNewEurope.5Inthatdocument,theywelcomedtheneweraofdemocracy,peaceandunityin
Europeand,amongotherthings,pledgedtosettledisputesbypeacefulmeansanddefenddemocratic
institutionsagainstactivitieswhichviolatetheindependence,sovereignequalityorterritorialintegrityofthe
participatingStates.

TheCharterofPariswasjoinedbytheSovietUnion,whosecommitmentswereassumedbyRussiauponits
dissolutionin1991.UkraineandotherformerSovietstatesalsojoinedtheOrganizationforSecurityand
CooperationinEurope,whichwasestablishedtoimplementthevisionoftheCharterofParis.

AnothermajorstepintheevolutionofEuropewasthesigningin1992oftheMaastrichtTreaty.6Itwasa
milestoneintheprocessofEuropeanintegrationalsoonthebasisofsharedvaluesthattransformedthe
EuropeanCommunityintotheEuropeanUnion.TheEUwouldpursuethegoalsofpromotingandstrengthening
democraticinstitutions,establishingamonetaryunion,anddevelopingacommonforeignandsecuritypolicy.

TheSovietUnionandsubsequentlyRussiaplayedessentialrolesinthistransformationoftheEuropeansecurity
landscape,havingconsentedtoshedtheouterandinnerempirespeacefullyinthelate1980sandearly1990s.
Atthetime,boththeSovietgovernmentandthegovernmentofthenewRussianstatedeclaredand
demonstratedindeedtheircommitmenttoupholdtheunderlyingprinciplesofEuropeansecurityandstability.

EarlySignsofTrouble

However,whiletherestofthecontinentcelebratedthedawnofanewpeacefulandharmoniouserainEuropean
historyandembracedthevisionofEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfanditsneighbors,Russiawas
havingsecondthoughts.TheideaofaEuropeansecuritysystembasedonavagueconceptofsharedvaluesdid
notsitwellwiththeRussianforeignpolicyandsecurityestablishment.Thus,speakingataforeignministry
conferencedevotedtoadiscussionofanewforeignpolicyconceptoftheRussianFederation,thenforeign
ministerAndreyKozyrevdeclaredthatRussiamustbecomeanormalgreatpower.7Thechairmanofthe
ForeignAffairsCommitteeoftheRussianDuma,YevgeniyAmbartsumov,welcomedtheforeignministers
proposalandwentfurther,declaringthatthetimehadcometoabandonidealisticdeclarationsinfavorof
realpolitik.8

AlthoughtheRussiangovernmentwaspreoccupiedatthetimewithaseeminglyendlesssuccessionofdomestic
crisesthatfollowedthedissolutionoftheSovietUnion,includingacollapsingeconomyandfiercepolitical
struggleintheRussianparliament,wherethereformagendaranintostrongopposition,theRussianforeignpolicy
establishmentarticulatedamoreambitiousvisionofthestatesintereststhanthedirestateofRussiasdomestic
politicsandeconomymighthavesuggested.Insharpcontrasttohisearlierconciliatorystatements,
AmbartsumovexplicitlylaidclaimtoRussiasspecialrights,evenresponsibilities,throughouttheterritoriesofthe
formerSovietstatesandsuggestedthatRussianintereststranscendedthebordersofthesenewlyindependent
states.9SergeyKaraganov,aleadingforeignpolicyscholarandfounderoftheCouncilonForeignandDefense
Policy,wroteinasimilarveinthatRussiahadnotjustasetofinterests,butaspecialmissionaheavycrossto
bearintheterritoriesoftheformerSovietUnion.10

RussiahadinheriteditsnationalsecurityestablishmentfromtheSovietUnion.Ambartsumov,Kozyrev,and
Karaganovrepresentedanewgenerationofforeignpolicythinkersandpractitionerswithrelativelyprogressive
attitudeswhocouldhavebeenexpectedtoholdmoreenlightenedviewsonrelationswithneighboringstatesand
thepostColdWarsecurityarrangementsinEurope.ButtheRussianmilitary,securityservices,anddiplomatic
establishmentwereallproductsoftheColdWarinwhichmistrustoftheWestwasdeepandnoteasilyovercome
bydeclarationsofpeacefulintentionsbyEuropeanandU.S.leaders.11

TheseearlysignalsthatsharedvaluesmaynotbesufficientforRussiaasthebasisforEuropeansecurityand
stabilitycouldhaveremainedalargelyinconsequentialdiscourseintherelativelynarrowandself-contained
communityofRussianforeignpolicyexperts.Foreignpolicyinthe1990stookabackseattodomesticaffairs,
especiallytheeconomy,whichwasthedominantconcernofthecountryselitesandthegeneralpublic.However,
thedebatewasbroughttotheforeofRussiandomesticpoliticsandEuropeandiscussionsaboutthecontinents
securityarchitecturebytwocriticallyimportantprocesses:enlargementoftheEUandNATO.

Thefirstmajorencountersignalingfuturetroublestookplacein1993.DuringanAugustmeetingwiththenPolish
presidentLechWasainWarsaw,thenRussianpresidentBorisYeltsininawrittenstatementexpressedhis
understandingofPolandsdesiretojoinNATO.12Kozyrevreportedlyechoedthatsentimentdespitehaving
beenopposedtotheideapreviously.However,justafewweekslater,inOctober1993,theRussianpresident
sentalettertothenU.S.presidentBillClintonstatinghisstrongoppositiontomembershipinthealliancefor
PolandoranyotherCentralorEasternEuropeancountry.13Yeltsinsapparentchangeofpositionwasreportedly
duetopressurefromtheRussianmilitaryestablishment,whichstillconsideredNATOathreat.14

ThelaunchofanactivediscussioninEuropeandtheUnitedStatesaboutNATOenlargementtransformedthe
initialcracksintheEuropeansecuritylandscapeintoamajordividebetweenRussiaandmostoftherestof
Europe.NATOalliesandaspirantsmaintainedthatexpandingthealliancewasintendednotasahostilestep
againstRussia,butthatbringingthezoneofstabilityandsecurityclosertoRussiasborderwouldonlybenefit
Moscow.Russiancounterargumentswerepreciselytheopposite,stressingthemilitarycapabilitiesthatNATO
expansionwouldinevitablybringclosertoRussianborders.(SeeRussiangovernmentthinktankmapsshowing
NATOenlargementinfigures1and2.)

<Figure_1_NATO_19902.jpg>

<Figure_2_NATO_Post20141.jpg>

RussianoppositiontoNATOenlargementwassharedbypoliticiansacrossthepoliticalspectrum.The
conservativewingofRussianpoliticsrepresentedbythenationalistsandtheCommunistsopposedthealliances
expansionforgeopoliticalandideologicalreasons.Theliberalsandreformersopposeditbecausetheysawitas
damagingtotheiralreadytenuouspositioninRussiandomesticpolitics,vulnerabletocriticismfromopponents
whoaccusedthemofbetrayingRussiannationalinterestandbeingagentsoftheWest.15

Thevalues-basedapproachtoEuropeansecuritywasfailingtogetrecognitioninRussiaforseveralreasons:
afternearlythree-quartersofacenturyunderanideologicallydrivenandfailedregime,thepopulationhadlittle
confidenceinideasingeneralthismistrustwasreinforcedbythenewRussiangovernmentsfailuretodeliverand
demonstratetothepublicthetangiblebenefitsofthenewrulingideologyofthemarketanddemocracy,asthe
countrylimpedfromonecrisistothenext.

AfterbeingcutofffromWesternpoliticalsciencefordecades,Russianinternationalrelationsscholarswere
avidlyabsorbingideasputforthbyleadingWesternpoliticalscientists.Themostprominentamongthemwere
SamuelHuntingtonandZbigniewBrzezinski,whosebooksTheClashofCivilizationsandtheRemakingof
WorldOrderandTheGrandChessboardrespectivelyapproachedcontemporaryinternationalrelationsfrom
pointsofviewthatrejectedtheveryideaofavalues-basedsecuritysysteminEuropeandEurasia.16
Huntingtonsvolume,asthetitlesuggests,predictedaconflictpittingWesterncivilizationanditsliberalideology
againstothercivilizationsguidedbyotherideas.BrzezinskiarguedthatitwasimportantfortheUnitedStatesto
preventanothermajorpowerreadRussiafromdominatingtheEurasianlandmass.

TheRussiangovernmentvehementlyopposedNATOs
interventioninYugoslaviaas,amongotherreasons,apotential
precedentforsimilaractionbyNATOinRussiaoraroundits
periphery.18

InlightofthesetwobooksbyleadingAmericanforeignpolicythinkerswidelyregardedinRussiaasspeakingfor
Washingtonsforeignpolicyestablishment,itwaseasyforRussianforeignandnationalsecuritypolicymakers,
manyofthemproductsoftheColdWar,tobeskepticalofU.S.andalliesreassurancesaboutvalues-based
securityarrangementsforEuropeandEurasia.WhiletheideaofNATOextendingitsmembershipbeyond
Europewasnotbroughtupeveninthemostambitiousdiscussionsofthealliancesfutureatthetime,NATOdid
extenditsreachintoCentralAsiathroughitsPartnershipforPeaceprogram.17Thatcouldhavebeeninterpreted
byRussianmilitaryplannersasamaneuvertoencircleRussia,notwithstandingthefactthatRussiaitselfhad
joinedthePartnershipforPeace.

AnotherfactorshapingRussianthreatperceptionswithrespecttoNATOandEuropeansecuritywastheconflict
intheformerYugoslavia.ForRussia,stillreelingfromthedissolutionoftheSovietUnionandstrugglingto
overcomemultiplepoliticalandeconomicchallenges,theviolentbreakupofYugoslaviawasacontinuing
reminderofthedangersithadbarelyescaped.TheRussiangovernmentvehementlyopposedNATOs
interventioninYugoslaviaas,amongotherreasons,apotentialprecedentforsimilaractionbyNATOinRussia
orarounditsperiphery.18TheRussianmilitarysbrutaltacticsduringthe19941996warinChechnyadrew
widespreadcondemnationfromtheWest.ThepossibilityofaNATOinterventioninthebreakawayrepublic,no
matterhowimprobabletomostseasonedobservers,wasnonethelesswidelydiscussedinRussia.19

TheargumentputforthbytheWestthatNATOsinterventioninYugoslaviawasmotivatedbyhumanitarian
considerationsonlyreinforcedRussianoppositiontothecampaignandresistancetoNATOsenlargement.From
thestandpointofRussiannationalsecurityplanners,theextraditionandtrialoftheformerYugoslavstrongman
SlobodanMiloeviundoubtedlyservedasareminderthatatsomefuturetimeaweakenedRussiangovernment
couldbeforcedtosurrendertheleadersofthemilitarycampaigninChechnyaandthattheywouldfind
themselvesontrialforwarcrimesbeforeaninternationaltribunal.20

FromthestandpointofRussiannationalsecurityplanners,theonlyguaranteeagainstsucheventswasthevast
nucleararsenalRussiahadinheritedfromtheSovietUnion.Russiannationalsecuritydocumentsfromthe1990s
onwardhavestressedtheuniqueroleofnuclearweaponsastheultimateperhapseventheonlyguaranteeof
Russiansovereigntyandstrategicindependence.21

ButalthoughnuclearweaponswereindispensableasaguaranteeagainstWesterninterventioninRussia,they
werefarlessusefulwhenitcametointerveningincrisesbeyondRussiasbordersandprojectingMoscows
interestsbeyondtheborders.ThenucleararsenalwasoflittleusewhenitcametodeterringNATOenlargement
everclosertoRussianbordersandsecuringasphereofinfluenceforRussiaarounditsperipheryalong-
standingRussianobjectivearticulatedasearlyas1992byleadingRussianforeignpolicythinkersand
practitioners.Forthat,Russiawouldhavetorebuilditsconventionalcapabilities,whichinturnwouldrequirea
commitmentofsignificanteconomicresources.

AStrongWarning

Duringthefirstdecadeofthetwenty-firstcentury,Russiaenjoyedamajoreconomicrebound.Inthedecade
fromthefinancialcollapseof1998totheendofVladimirPutinssecondpresidentialtermin2008,Russiangross
domesticproduct(GDP)grewfromjustunder$300billiontonearly$1.7trillionincurrentprices.22Asthe
economyreboundedanddomesticpoliticsstabilized,theRussiangovernmentassumedafarmoreprominent
positionintheinternationalarenathanduringthe1990s.Russiabecameafull-fledgedmemberoftheG8
industrializedeconomiesandasserteditselfasastrongandindependentvoiceonmajorissues,fromEuropean
securitytothewarinIraq.

ThemostnotableandforcefulstatementonforeignandsecuritypolicyfromthatperiodcamefromPutin
personally,deliveredattheMunichSecurityConferencein2007.Thespeech,describedbysomeinthe
audienceasColdWarlike,clearlylaidoutRussianrejectionofthepostColdWarsecurityorderinEurope.23
TheRussianpresidentcharacterizedNATOenlargementasaprovocativeunilaterallandgrabbytheU.S.-led
allianceseekingtoexpanditssphereofinfluence.InputtingitsmilitaryforcesrightuptoRussiasborder,Putin
said,NATOwasinviolationofassurancesgiventoRussiaattheendoftheColdWar.Thisunilateral,unipolar,
U.S.-centricsecuritymodel,heconcluded,wasunacceptable.

Moreover,accordingtothenarrativewidelyheldinRussiasnationalsecurityestablishment,NATOenlargement
wasnotonlyalandgrabthatupsetthegeopoliticalbalanceinEurope,butitalsoconstitutedaviolationof
assurancesgivenbyWesternleaderstothenSovietpresidentMikhailGorbachevthatinexchangeforGermanys
reunificationandNATOmembership,thealliancewouldnotexpandeastward.24Thenatureofthisclaimhas
beenrepeatedlydisputed.25Anddocumentaryevidencetosupportithasbeenambiguousatbesttosay
nothingofitspracticalirrelevance,fornobody,notevenRussianofficials,proposestoundoNATOenlargement.
Still,theideathattheWestbrokeitspromisehasbecomeanintegralpartofRussiandiscussionsaboutpost
ColdWarsecurityinEurope.

TheRussianpresidentcharacterizedNATOenlargementasa
provocativeunilaterallandgrabbytheU.S.-ledalliance
seekingtoexpanditssphereofinfluence.

RussianleadersopposedEuropespostColdWarsecurityorderalsoonideologicalgrounds.Theycriticized
U.S.andEuropeaneffortstopromotedemocracyaroundtheperipheryofRussiaasathinlydisguisedpursuitof
theWestsexpandedsphereofinfluence.26Theyalsoviewedtheeffortsasadeeplydestabilizingundertaking
thatthreatenedthestabilityandsecurityofneighboringstatesandevenheldoutthepossibilityofundermining
Russiasownhard-wondomesticstability.Beyondthat,thepushbytheWesttopromotedemocracyinside
RussiawasdeclaredbyRussianleadersasaviolationofRussiansovereigntyandpotentiallydestabilizingand
deeplythreateningtothePutinadministrationitself.

AsRussiasowndomesticpoliticstookonamoreauthoritarianturnandPutinconsolidatedmorepower,he
cameundercriticismfromWesternleaders.27CombinedwithenthusiasticWesternexpressionsofsupportforthe
RoseRevolutioninGeorgiain2003andtheOrangeRevolutioninUkrainein20042005bothcrisesinwhich
RussiaandtheWestwerepittedagainsteachotherthroughproxyfactionstheWestssupportfordemocracy
throughtheever-expandingreachoftheEUandNATOemergedasthemostcontentiousissueinrelationswith
Russia.BuildingonthemajorthemeofhisMunichaddress,PutindeliveredafurtherwarningtoNATOatthe
alliances2008Bucharestsummit.NATOspromiseoffuturemembershiptoGeorgiaandUkraine,hesaid,
constitutedadirectthreattoRussiansecurity.Inanominouspreviewoffutureevents,hespokeofthehistoric
tiesbetweenRussiaandtheethnicRussianpopulationsofeasternUkraineandCrimeaandthepopulations
desireforclosetieswiththemotherland.28

AsiftheRussianpresidentstwowarningswerenotenough,thewarwithGeorgiain2008sentafurther
messagetotheWest,aswellastoRussiasneighbors,thatPutinmeantwhathesaid.InastatementonRussian
televisionintheimmediateaftermathofthewarinGeorgia,thenpresidentDmitryMedvedevdeclaredcountries
aroundRussiasperipheryasasphereofRussiasprivilegedinterests.29NostatementdeliveredbyaRussian
leaderpriortothewarof2008hadsignaledwithgreaterclarityMoscowsrejectionofavalues-basedsecurity
systeminEurope.Medvedevwoulddividethecontinentintospheresofinterestsandinfluence,andhewasfully
committedtodefendRussiasspherefromencroachmentbyotherpowers.

ThewarinGeorgiadeliveredtwoverydistinctmessagestotwodifferentaudiences.TotheWest,themessage
wastostayoutofthesphereofRussiasprivilegedinterests.ToRussia,themessagewasthatdespitethe
successfulcampaignagainstitstinyneighbor,theRussianmilitarywasinneedoffar-reachingreform.30Russia
neededthecapabilitybeyonditsnucleararsenaltodefenditsinterestsanddeterthosewhomightconsider
infringingonthem.ThemilitaryreformlaunchedintheaftermathofthewarinGeorgiaandaprogramofmilitary
modernizationwereintendedtogiveRussiathecapabilitytodojustthat.31

TheBreak

The20082012interregnumbetweenPutinssecondandthirdtermsaspresidentwasaperiodofrelativecalm
inRussiasrelationswiththeWest.CombinedwiththeresetwithRussiabeginningin2009bytheadministration
ofU.S.PresidentBarackObama,otherimperativesthewarinAfghanistan,Iransnuclearprogram,thecrisis
inLibyatookprecedenceoverNATOenlargement.Atthesametime,newlylauncheddebatesinsideRussia
aboutdomesticpoliticalandeconomicmodernizationheldouttheprospectofRussiareturningtothepathof
democratizationandamorecooperativerelationshipwiththeWest.32Inaddition,NATOlackedthenecessary
consensustopushforGeorgiasmembershipintheallianceintheaftermathofthewarof2008.Andin2010,
UkraineremovedNATOmembershipfromitslistofnationalsecurityprioritiesaltogether.33

ThecalmwasbrokenbydevelopmentsinsideRussia.PutinsdecisiontoreclaimthepresidencyfromMedvedev
wasmetwithlarge-scaleprotestsunprecedentedinthehistoryofmodernRussiabyproponentsoffurther
politicalandeconomicreformsthathadbeendebatedduringMedvedevspresidency.34Theprotestswere
greetedintheWestasamanifestationofRussiasdemocraticspiritandpoliticalreawakening.35

TheresponsefromthePutinadministrationwasharsh.Itincludedaseriesofnewlegislativestepstolimitthe
Russianpublicsspaceforpoliticalprotestscourtactionsagainstprotestersandamediacampaignaccusingthe
WestofinstigatingprotestsinRussiatoundermineandweakenit.36TheWestwaspromotinginRussiavalues
thatwerealientoRussiansociety,theKremlincharged,embracingthesloganRussiaisnotEurope.37Putins
thirdtermbeganwithaclearjuxtapositionofRussiavs.theWestasaconflictdrivenbydifferentvaluessystems.
TwodecadesaftersigningontothevisionofEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfanditsneighbors,
Russiafinallyabandonedit.

PutinsthirdtermbeganwithaclearjuxtapositionofRussia
vs.theWestasaconflictdrivenbydifferentvaluessystems.
ThisbreakalsomanifesteditselfinRussianforeignpolicy,particularlyinrelationswiththeformerSovietstates.
BuildingonearlierRussianpronouncementsaboutasphereofinfluenceandinterests,andthedangerposedby
theWestsgeopoliticalexpansion,PutinelevatedEurasianintegrationthegatheringoftheformerSovietstates
aroundRussiatothetopofhisforeignpolicyagendaforhisthirdterm.38BuildingontheRussia-Kazakhstan-
Belaruscustomsunionestablishedin2000,PutinproposedtomovetowardaCommonEconomicSpace,
eventuallyproceedingtoapoliticalEurasianunion,allvaguelypatternedontheEUandrathertransparently
intendedtocreatearegionalcounterweighttoit.InPutinswords,theEurasianunionwouldbecomeapowerful
supranationalassociationcapableofbecomingoneofthepolesinthemodernworldareferencetothelong-
standingRussianpreferenceforamultipolarinternationalsystemandrejectionoftheU.S.-dominatedunipolar
world.39

PutinspolicyofEurasianintegrationstoodindirectconflictwiththeEUsEuropeanNeighborhoodPolicy,which
isintendedtobringcountriesontheEUseasternbordersclosertoitbyofferingthemAssociation
Agreements.40Theseagreementsaredesignedtopromotepolitical,economic,andrule-of-lawreformsin
countriesofEasternEuropeandencouragetheircloserpoliticalandcommercialtiestotheEU.SeveralEastern
EuropeancountriesArmenia,Georgia,Moldova,andUkrainewereintheprocessofnegotiatingAssociation
AgreementswiththeEUwhenPutinannouncedhisvisionofEurasianintegration.Ukrainewasthelargestamong
themandstrategicallythemostimportantforRussia.

ThegovernmentofUkrainethesecondmostpopulousformerSovietrepublicandthecriticalbridgebetween
RussiaandEuropewasengagedintwosimultaneousnegotiations.OnewaswithRussiaaboutjoiningits
economicintegrationprojecttheotherwaswiththeEUaboutanAssociationAgreement.Withthetwodeemed
incompatible,Kyivwouldeventuallyhavetochooseoneortheother.41

ForRussia,forPutinpersonally,thelossofUkrainetotheEUwouldnotbeatolerableoutcome.Thiswasdue
toseveralreasons.In2004,PutinscandidateforthepresidencyofUkraine,ViktorYanukovych,wasdefeated
bytheOrangeRevolutionencouragedbytheWest.AnotherdefeatofsimilarmagnitudeatthehandsoftheEU
wasnotanoptionfortheRussianpresidentafterhehadelevatedEurasianintegrationtothetopofhispolicy
agendaasacounterweighttotheUnitedStatesandtheEU.

Moreover,allformerSovietsatellitesthathadjoinedtheEUalsojoinedNATO.UkrainesAssociation
AgreementwiththeEUwasundoubtedlyseenbytheKremlinasasteptowardmembershipintheEUand,
eventually,inNATO.ThiswouldallowNATOspresencewithin300milesofMoscow.AsseenfromMoscow,
thiswouldalsomeanthatkeyUkrainiandefenseenterprisesthatsuppliedtheRussianmilitarywithcritical
componentswouldbelocatedonNATOterritory.42

AnothersignificantdependenceofRussiaonUkrainehastodowithenergysuppliestoEurope.Ukraineisthe
criticaltransitcountry,withasmuchashalfofRussiangasexportedtoEuropedeliveredthroughtheDruzhba
pipelinethatcrossesUkraine.43U.S.andEuropeanleadershavelongcomplainedaboutEuropesdependence
onRussiangasandtheinfluenceitgivesMoscowoverthecontinent.SomehavearguedforNATOtotakeon
themissionofsecuringEuropesenergysupply.44ForRussia,theprospectofUkrainejoiningNATOor
becomingasatelliteoftheEUwouldtranslateintoanunacceptablelossofpowerandinfluence.

Notwithstandingallthesestrategicconsiderations,thecrisisinUkraineapparentlycameasasurpriseforthe
Kremlin.45TheseverityofitsresponsetothecrisistheannexationofCrimea,thewarineasternUkraine,the
virulentpoliticalpropagandacampaignagainstthenewgovernmentofUkraineandtheWestforsupportingit,
andthedestructionoftheentirepostColdWarEuropeansecuritysystemreflecttheperceptionsofthreat
associatedbyRussiannationalsecurityelitewiththepotentiallossofUkrainetoNATOandtheEU.

TheNewOldThreat

TheshockwavesinEurope,intheUnitedStates,andaroundtheperipheryofRussiafromRussianactionsin
Ukraine(andsubsequentlyinSyria)haveamountedtoafundamentalreassessmentofRussia,itsmilitary
capabilities,anditsresolvetousethem.46TheperceptionofRussiaasasecond-ratepower,whosemilitary
capabilitieswerebadlydamagedbytheimplosionoftheSovietstateandneverrecovered,hasbeenreplaced
withnewlyalarmedassessmentsoftheRussianmilitarythreatnotseenbyWesternpublicsinageneration.47
EventheRussianNavy,longwrittenofffordeadasapresenceinthehighseas,isthesubjectofanew,widely
publicizedreportbytheU.S.OfficeofNavalIntelligence.48
Indeed,theswiftandapparentlyefficienttakeoverofCrimea,themilitaryinterventionandcovertoperationin
easternUkraine,andmostrecentlythemissioninSyriahavehadatransformationaleffectontheimageofthe
Russianmilitaryabroadandathome.However,withtheseaccomplishmentsonandoffthebattlefieldcamea
seriesofsoberingRussianreassessmentsofthenewsecurityenvironmentsurroundingRussiainpost-postCold
WarEuropeandEurasia.

Paradoxically,Russianmilitarysuccesseshaveresultedinnewthreatsandnewchallenges,andtheyhave
generatedaprofoundfeelingofuneaseamongRussianmilitaryexperts.Threatassessmentsfoundinofficial
Russiandocuments,statementsoftopofficials,andprivate-sectorcommentatorsdescribeauniformlybleak
picture.Inthewordsofoneauthoritativeobserver,Europesfailuretosecureitselfbehindabufferzone
establishedwiththehelpoftheEUsEasternPartnership,whichincludesArmenia,Azerbaijan,Belarus,Georgia,
Moldova,andUkraine,hasmeantthatRussiacannothidebehindabufferzoneeither.49Russiacannolonger
countonthesecountriesasfriendlyandcapableofshieldingRussiaswesternandsouthernborders.

ThebreakinrelationswiththeWestNATOscontinuingplansforexpansion,itssupportforUkraine,itsmilitary
deploymentsalongitsEasternflankandplansformoresuchdeployments,anditslong-standingnuclearthreatto
RussiaandcentersforcybersecurityandinformationwarfareintheBalticstatesmakeupthenewthreat
environmentRussiandefenseplannersarehavingtoconfront.Andthatisnoteventhecompletelist,whichomits
awiderangeofrealandpotentialthreatsfromtheself-proclaimedIslamicStatespresenceinIraqandSyriato
JapansnewlegislationgoverningtheuseofitsSelf-DefenseForcesabroad.Thisisthenewthreatenvironment
inwhichthearmedforcesoftheRussianstatehavetocarryouttheirmissionofdefendingandprotectingthe
sovereigntyoftheRussianstate,notedDefenseMinisterSergeiShoigu,appearingbeforetheyear-endmeeting
ofseniorMinistryofDefenseofficialsattendedbyPutin.50

ThenewNationalSecurityStrategythatPutinsignedintolawonDecember31,2015,echoedmanyofthesame
themes.51ThedocumentidentifiedtheUnitedStatesanditsalliesastheprincipalthreattoRussia,astheWest
seekstohangontoitsdominantpositionintheworld.NATOenlargementcontinuesapace,withthealliance
aspiringtoaglobalmission.NATO,accordingtothenewdocument,underminesinternationalsecurity,
internationallaw,andarms-controltreatiesacquiresnewmilitarycapabilitiesanddeploysitsmilitary
infrastructureeverclosertotheterritoryoftheRussianFederation,threateningitssecurity.InUkraine,the
documentcontinues,NATOandtheEUhavesupportedanunconstitutionalcoupthattriggeredaprofoundsplit
inUkrainiansocietyandresultedinanewsourceofinstabilityinEurope.

ThisisallpartandparcelofU.S.strategyinEurasia,accordingtothenowdeceasedheadofRussianmilitary
intelligence,GeneralIgorSergun.52Writingin2015,heassertedthatthelong-termU.S.goalwastoencircle
RussiaandChinawitharingofregimesloyaltotheUnitedStatesandflashpointsthatwouldreliablyprevent
RussiafromcarryingoutitsEurasianintegrationproject.

FromthepointofviewofMoscow,NATOsreinforcementsoftheBalticstatesandPolandtodateandinthe
futurehavebrokenyetanotherkeypromisegiventoRussiabythealliesnottostationpermanentlysubstantial
combatforcesontheterritoriesofnewmembers.Regardlessofthecaveatthatthepromisewasconditioned
onthecurrentandforeseeablesecurityenvironment,whichwasupendedbytheannexationofCrimeaand
aggressionineasternUkrainetherecanbelittledoubtthatthereinforcementsareperceivedbyRussias
nationalsecurityestablishmentasitsworstexpectationscomingtrue.53Whetherthesereinforcementswill
constituteapermanentorpersistentpresenceislikelytobeoflittleconsequenceforRussiananalysts,foreither
onewouldconstituteacontinuousandineffectpermanentmilitarypresenceofNATOtroopsintheseforward
areas.

ItstheEconomy...

ThechallengeRussiaisfacinginthenewinternationalthreatenvironment,intheviewofofficialandunofficial
spokesmen,iscompoundedbytheunenviablestateofitseconomy.54Gonearethehighratesofgrowthtypical
ofthefirsttwotermsofthePutinpresidencythatmadepossibletherecoveryofthecountryseconomichealthas
wellasitsinternationalstandingandmilitarycapabilities.TheinabilityoftheRussianeconomytocompeteinthe
globalmarketplaceanditsrelianceontheoldmodelofdevelopmentbasedonexportsofrawmaterialshave
beenelevatedinthenewnationalsecuritystrategytotherankofthemainstrategicthreatsto[Russias]national
securityinthesphereoftheeconomy.55ThetasknowbeforeRussianpolicymakersistodevelopanewmodel
ofeconomicgrowth,fortheoldonehasoutliveditsusefulness.Thisthemehasbeenstressedbytopofficialsin
Russia,includingKremlinChiefofStaffSergeiIvanov,who,withcandorrareforaseniorKremlinofficial,
admittedthatthecountryseconomicwoeswereduelargelytofailuretoreformduringthefatyears.56Security
CouncilSecretaryNikolaiPatrushev,too,hasstressedtheneedtojump-starttheRussianeconomyasamatter
ofnationalsecurity.57

FromthepointofviewofMoscow,NATOsreinforcements
oftheBalticstatesandPolandhavebrokenyetanotherkey
promisegiventoRussiabytheallies.

Russianforeignpolicyandnationalsecurityexpertsfromresearchinstitutesandacademiahaveechoedthesame
senseofalarmaboutnewchallengesfacingRussiaasfoundinofficialgovernmentstatementsanddocuments.
Theyhavestressedtheincreasinglychaotic,seeminglyall-against-allnatureoftheinternationalsystemandthe
weakeningofthemaincentersofglobalpower,includingtheUnitedStatesandEurope.58However,thatis
hardlyacauseforcelebration,forRussiaisfindingitselfwithoutreliablepartnersinthissituation(therelationship
withChinaistreatedwithcautioninthiscontexttimewilltellhowitturnsout).59AsaresultoftheUkraine
crisisandthebreakwiththeWest,Russiahasbeenleft,asCarnegiesDmitriTreninputit,aloneagainstall.60

Furthermore,Russiananalystshavearguedthatbytheendof2015,Russiawasinanall-encompassing,systemic
crisis.61Thebiggestblowwasdealtbythecollapseinoilpricesandtheendoftheglobalcommoditiesboom.
MakingmattersworsewasacombinationofshrinkingGDP,chroniclackofinvestment,currencydevaluation,
lossofaccesstoWesterncapitalmarkets,andhighinflation.Thepoliticalenvironmentwasnobetter,duetothe
escalationofmilitaryactivitiesabroad,theintensifyingcrackdownontheopposition,andthemurderof
oppositionpoliticianBorisNemtsov.

Takentogether,thesewereallsignsoffundamentalproblemsforapoliticalleadershipthatwassteadfastly
resistingcomprehensivereforms.Stagnationandthefailuretocarryoutfar-reachingeconomic,political,and
technologicalmodernizationcouldhavemajorsecurityimplications.Withoutreforms,Karaganovwarnedatthe
gatheringoftheestablishmentCouncilonForeignandDefensePolicy,defeatawaits[Russia]inthefuture
political,economic,andmilitary-strategiccompetitionofthetwenty-firstcentury.62HermanGref,theheadof
themajoritystate-ownedbiggestRussianbankSberbank,echoedthesewordsinearly2016,when,speakingat
apublicgatheringofeconomistsandseniorgovernmentofficials,hedescribedRussiaasalosercountry.63

NoLightattheEnd

TheseandothersimilarlygloomyassessmentsthathavepermeatedtheentirespectrumofRussianpolitical
opinion,fromofficialgovernmentdocumentsandestablishmentfigurestoscholarsatresearchinstitutionsto
oppositionfigures,pointtoaprofoundsenseofinsecurityinRussiasestablishmentcircles.64Goneisthe
confidenceofthefirsttwopresidentialtermsofVladimirPutin.TheearlybravuraresponsetoWesternsanctions
anddeclarationsthatRussianindustrycanmorethanmakeupforthelossofimportedgoodsandgrowthanksto
importsubstitutionandthecheaperRussianrublehavebeenderidedasdelusional.65Someofthemostalarmist
commentatorsgosofarastoclaimthattheRussianeconomyisbackslidingintothecategoryofindustrialand
evenpreindustrialeconomies,rapidlyfallingbehindtothepointwhereonedayitcouldceasetobean
independentactorintheinternationalarena.66AsasignoftheprevailinggloomamongRussianeconomic
analysts,includingseniorgovernmentofficials,theendofthecurrenteconomiccrisis,whichsomebelieveRussia
isalreadyapproaching,maynotleadtogrowthinstead,inthewordsofthefirstdeputychairoftheCentral
BankofRussia,XeniaYudayeva,itwillmarkthebeginningofeternalorlong-termstagnation.67

ThisbriefoverviewofthenarrativeinofficialRussianoutletsandsocietaldiscoursepointstoalackofconfidence
onthepartofRussianelitesintheirleadership,intheirownabilities,andinthecountrysfuture.Thetimesof
trouble,whichmanyifnotmostRussiansoncethoughtwereleftbehindinthe1990s,appeartobeanythingbut
safelybehindthem.RussianassessmentsofthepresentsituationinandaroundRussiacanbesummarizedina
fewshortsentences:

TheRussianeconomyhasoutliveditsmodelofdevelopmentandcanatbeststagnateandstayfirmly
lodgedinthemiddle-incometrapthepoliticalsystemisnotabletoaddressthetensionsthatarebuilding
withinsociety.
Theleadershiphasyettoofferacrediblestrategyforleadingthecountryoutofitscrisis.
Theinternationalenvironmentischaoticandhostile.
Russiahasnoreliablepartnersandisfacingavastlysuperioradversarywhoseeconomyismuchbigger
andbetterperformingthanRussiasandwhosemilitaryandtechnologicalcapabilitiesaretheenvyandthe
targetofRussiasownmilitaryreformanddefensemodernizationplans.

MilitaryInferiorityVis--VistheWest

NotwithstandingtheimpressiverevivalofRussianmilitarycapabilitiesandthebattlefieldvictoriesinUkraine,
RussianassessmentsoftheRussianmilitaryhavebeenpermeatedbyadeepsenseofinferiorityvis--visNATO.
AnauthoritativeassessmentofferedbyaleadingRussianmilitaryanalystintheaftermathoftheactivephaseof
theconflictineasternUkrainedescribedthemilitaryconfrontationbetweenRussiaandUkraineasabattle
betweentwoobsoletemilitaries,oneofwhich(Russias)wasbettertrained,equipped,andled.68

Ahypotheticalsimilarconflict,theanalysiscontinued,withparticipationbyvolunteersfromNATOcountries
wouldfollowaverydifferentscenario.TheRussianmilitarywouldfaceafarsuperiorenemy,onethatisbetter
equipped,bettertrained,betterled,andbettersustained.FromthesizeofNATOsgroundforcetosmart
weaponsinitsarsenaltoitselectronicwarfarecapabilities,theRussianmilitarywouldbeoutnumbered,
outgunned,outdone.Russiasonlyrecourseinsuchcircumstances,theanalysisconcludes,istothreatenthe
adversarywithtacticalnuclearweapons.Thecountry,thearmy,andthenavyarenotyetreadyforalarge-scale
conventional-onlywar.69

ThissenseofvulnerabilitypermeatesRussianmilitarythinkingaboutfutureconflictsandthreatassessmentsas
theypertaintoeverysphereofmilitaryactivityconventional,nuclear,cyberwar,andinformationwarfare.None
ofthisisnewandreflectslong-standingRussianandearlierSovietconcernsaboutthecountrysinferiormilitary
capabilitieswhenstackedagainstNATOs.

NuclearWeaponsLastResort.AndFirst?

Inrecentyears,noRussianstatementaboutsecuritypolicyhasgeneratedmorealarmintheWestthanhigh-level
pronouncementsaboutRussiannuclearmodernizationandthereadinesstousenuclearweaponsintheeventofa
conflictinEurope.70WidelyinterpretedinpubliccommentaryintheWestasevidenceofRussianaggressiveness
andmilitaristicambitions,thesestatementshavebeenechoedindomesticRussiandiscussionsabouttheroleof
nuclearweaponsinafuturewar.71

ThatwarwouldbefoughtagainsttheWest.Russia,writesSergeyBrezkun,professoroftheAcademyof
MilitarySciences,needstodevelopitsownde-escalationladderinordertolimitafutureregionalconflict
atanearlystageandpreventitfromblowingupintoalarge-scalewar.72Russianleaders,helaments,havenot
adequatelyaddressedtheproblemofregionaldeterrence,whichisbecomingallthemoreurgentbecauseof
whathecharacterizedastheweakeningofthepolitical-militarypositionsoftheRussianFederation,
proliferationontheperipheryofRussiaofhostileregimesmanipulatedbytheWest,andthedeclineofRussias
conventionalcapabilities.Inthesecircumstances,theideaofmassivenuclearretaliationinresponsetoaregional
crisisisirrationalandimpractical.Russianeedsoptionsforde-escalatingthecrisisinitsbeginningphasewiththe
helpoflimitednuclearstrikesagainstkeyassetsoftheenemy,butwithoutcatastrophicconsequences,aswell
asnuclearweaponsspecificallydesignedforthispurpose.Suchlimitednuclearstrikes,Brezkunargues,willhave
asoberingeffectontheenemy,whichwillthenceaseanddesist.

Intheworstpossiblecase,whichtoRussianplannersisnot
unimaginable,acombinationofNATOsconventional,
nuclear,andmissiledefensecapabilitiescouldprove
devastatingtoRussiasnucleararsenalanddenyittheability
todeliveraretaliatorystrike.

Russianmilitarystrategistslackofconfidenceintheirconventionalcapabilitiesisalong-standingphenomenon
thatpredateseventhebreakupoftheSovietUnionandtheimplosionoftheRussianeconomyanditsdefense-
industrialsector.OneoftheearliestvoicestosoundalarmabouttheWestsemergingsuperiorconventional
capabilitiesinthe1970sand1980swasMarshalNikolayOgarkov,thechiefoftheGeneralStaff.73Thislackof
confidencemayappearsurprisingintheaftermathofRussianmilitaryreform,inthemidstofaten-yeardefense
modernizationprogram,increaseddefensespending,andtheRussianarmysstringofsuccessfuloperations.Still,
U.S.andotherNATOcountriesconventionalcapabilitiescontinuetoimpressRussianmilitaryobserversand
feedtheirinsecuritywithrespecttotheirown.

Butthisdeep-seatedfeelingofinsecuritycomparedwithNATOapparentlygoesbeyondtheconventionalsphere
andappliestoRussiasstrategicandtacticalnuclearcapabilitiesaswell.Intheworstpossiblecase,whichto
Russianplannersisnotunimaginable,acombinationofNATOsconventional,nuclear,andmissiledefense
capabilitiescouldprovedevastatingtoRussiasnucleararsenalanddenyittheabilitytodeliveraretaliatory
strike.Facedwiththishighlyimprobableprospect,Russianmilitaryplannershavetoconsiderfirst-useoptionsas
ade-escalatorymeasurethatwillpersuadetheenemyofthefutilityofitsactions.Otherwise,ifnuclearweapons
arenotusedearlyinaconflictforthepurposeofendingit,Russiamaynotbeabletousethematallandbe
defeated.

ThesamelackofconfidenceinRussianretaliatorycapabilitiesisapparentinRussiandiscussionsabouttheneed
foradoomsdaymachinelikeschemetoensureamassiveretaliatorystrikeintheeventofadevastatingattack
onRussiadiscussionsreminiscentofStanleyKubricksDr.Strangelovecharacter.74Inanapparently
deliberateleak,Russianmediarevealedtheexistenceofahigh-yieldunmannednucleartorpedothatcouldbe
launchedasaretaliatoryweaponagainstamajorU.S.coastalurbancenterandwouldresultinmassivehuman
lossandeconomicdevastation.75AnotherproposalcalledforRussiatousemassivenuclearchargestotrigger
catastrophictsunamis,volcaniceruptions,orearthquakesthatwouldcausedevastationoflargeareasofthe
UnitedStatesalongtheWestcoast.76

RussianmilitaryplannersconcernsaboutthethreatofU.S.missiledefensestotheirretaliatorycapabilitieslong
predatethedecisionsbytheadministrationsofObamaandhispredecessorasU.S.president,GeorgeW.Bush,
todeploymissiledefensesintheUnitedStatesandEurope.Someanalystshavegonesofarastosaythatformer
presidentRonaldReagansStrategicDefenseInitiative(commonlycalledStarWars)inthe1980swas
responsibleforconvincingtheSovietPolitburothattheUnitedStatesenjoyedvastmilitary-technological
superiority.NotonlycouldtheUnitedStateslaunchasurpriseattackontheSovietUnion,theseanalysts
concluded,butitcouldalsoacquirethemeansofdenyingtheSovietUnionthecapabilityofdeliveringa
retaliatorystrike.77Thearmsrace,inotherwords,couldnotbewon,andthatinturnledtotheendoftheCold
War.78

RussianconcernsaboutU.S.missiledefensecapabilitiesthusappeartohavedeeproots.Theyhavebeen
restatedwithsurprisingcandorbyRussianofficials.RussianMinistryofForeignAffairsSpecialEnvoyGrigory
Berdennikov,replyingtoaquestioninFebruary2015aboutfuturearmscontrol,said,

Onehastounderstandthatnuclearweaponsarenotsomethingthatstandsalone,theyarepartofthe
strategicbalance.Tomoveaheadwithnuclearweaponsreductions,itisnecessarytotakeintoaccount
otherfactorsfirstofall,thefactoroftheglobalmissiledefensesystem,whichtheAmericans,despite
all[our]arguments,stubbornlydonotwanttodiscusswithus....

Theentiresystemofmutualrelationsinthenuclearsphereisbasedondeterrence.Inotherwords,you
havetohavethecapability,havingsurvivedthefirststrike,toretaliate,andinsuchawaythatthe
retaliatorystrikeissoterriblethatnobodywoulddaretolaunchthefirstone.Ifaneffectivemissile
defensesystemappears,thensomeonemayhavetheillusionthatmostoftheweaponsoftheenemycan
bedestroyedinthefirststrikeandtherestcanbemoreorlessintercepted.Thesmalleryourarsenal,the
easieritistointerceptwhatsleftafterthefirststrike.Andwearebeingtold[bytheAmericans],Well
continuetodevelopthesedefensivesystems,butletusreducefurthertheoffensivesystems.Forwhat?
Tohaveafirmguaranteethatthesecondstrikewillbeintercepted,tohavethefreedomtolaunchthe
firststrike?Isthatwhywearedoingallthis?79

Russianconcernsandcandorarenotlimitedtothenuclearsphere.Continuinghispointaboutthefallacyof
treatingnuclearweaponsasastand-alonecapability,Berdennikovsaid,

Wearepreparedforadialogueaboutfurthernucleardisarmamentsteps.Atthesametime,weare
convincedthattheyareimpossiblewithoutsolvingsuchproblemsastheunlimitedgrowthofglobalU.S.
missiledefenses,theprojectofusingstrategicweaponswithconventionalwarheadswithintheconcept
ofglobalstrike,...therefusaloftheUnitedStatestopledgenottodeployweaponsinspace,[and]
thegrowthofqualitativeandquantitativeconventionalimbalances.80

ThisstatementandothersbyseniorRussianofficialsandprominentanalystsunderscorethevitalfunctionnuclear
weaponscontinuetoperforminthedefenseoftheRussianstate.81Athreattothoseweaponsisathreattothe
survivalofanindependentandsovereignRussianstate.

NewThreats
TheexpandingrangeofU.S.strategiccapabilitiesnuclear,high-precisionandlong-rangeconventional,and
missiledefensehasbeenamajorpreoccupationofRussianmilitaryanalysts.82Russianconcernaboutthese
capabilitiesisreflectedincandidstatementsaboutthethreattheypose,aswellasreassurancesthatRussian
strategicsystemsarerobust,reliable,andimpervioustoU.S.offensiveordefensivearsenals.83

Theconversationaboutthechangingnatureofwarfare,therolesofnuclearandnon-nuclearweapons,and
deterrencehasbeenunderwayamongRussianexpertsandmilitaryofficialsfordecades,beginningwiththe
writingsofOgarkov.ThisconversationreflectsthedeepconvictionamongRussiananalystsandplannersthat
RussiahasfallenfarbehindtheUnitedStatesinthedevelopmentofhigh-precisionconventionalweaponryand
non-nucleardeterrentcapabilities.84Italsoreflectstheirviewthatgradually,theperformancecharacteristicsof
non-nuclear,high-precisionweaponsareimprovingsomuchthattheycouldbegintotakeonthefunctionsthat
untilnowhavebeenassignedexclusivelytonuclearweapons.85Asaresult,thetaskfacingtheRussianmilitaryof
deterringsuperioradversariesequippedwithsuchsystemsisincreasinglychallenging.86

Despitebravuraassurancesthatthenationsnuclearshieldis
invincibleandcapableofreliablydefendingagainstand
deterringanyenemy,Russiandefenseexpertsappearto
harbordoubts.

TheranksofRussianmilitaryanalystsincludeanumberofskepticswhodoubtnotsomuchtherelativestateof
affairsinthedevelopmentofU.S.andRussianarsenalsasthepropositionthatconventionalhigh-precision
systemswillbeabletotakeovermissionsassignedtonuclearsystems.87Theseskepticsbelievethatthe
principalthreattoRussiasnucleardeterrentandretaliatorycapabilitiesisposedbyU.S.nuclearsystemsand
thatpriorityshouldbegiventoprogramsintendedtocounterthosesystems.However,eventheseskeptics
concludethatalthoughnon-nuclear,precision-guidedweaponscannotsupplantnuclearweapons,theycanaffect
thestrategicbalanceinsignificantways.88

Tomeetthischallenge,Russiandefenseexpertscontinuetoemphasizenuclearweapons.Althoughmuchhas
beenmadeoftheseriesofRussianconventionalshipbornecruisemissilestrikesfromtheCaspianSeaagainst
targetsinSyria,thesemuch-toutedcapabilitiesintheeyesofRussianexpertsareapparentlynotyetsufficientto
deterNATOthreatstoRussiainEurope.89

InSeptember2014,DmitryRogozin,thedeputyprimeministerinchargeofdefenseindustries,pledgedto
modernizetheentireRussianstrategicnuclearforcesby2020,notmerely70percentaspreviouslyplanned.90
AccordingtoShoigu,56percentofRussiannuclearweaponsarenew.91ThechiefoftheGeneralStaff,General
ValeryGerasimov,echoedRogozinsvowandreferredtoprioritydevelopmentofstrategicnuclearforcesasthe
MinistryofDefensesmostimportanttask.92

However,despitetheseacceleratedprogramsandbravuraassurancesthatthenationsnuclearshieldisinvincible
andcapableofreliablydefendingagainstanddeterringanyenemy,Russiandefenseexpertsappeartoharbor
doubtsthatthesemeasuresaresufficient.93Thus,somehavesuggestedthatevendeployingIskandershort-range
ballisticmissiles,capableofcarryingnuclearwarheads,toCrimeaandKaliningradmayproveinsufficientto
deterpotentialenemies.94Instead,toaccomplishthatgoal,RussiamayhavetowithdrawfromtheIntermediate-
RangeNuclearForcesTreatyandreintroducethatclassofweaponsintoitsarsenal.95Russiancommentators
maintainthatsuchastepisbeingcontemplatedbecauseofthecombinedthreatofNATOmissiledefensein
Europeandtheacquisitionofintermediate-rangemissilesbyPakistan,India,andIran.96

NuclearweaponscertainlyarethecriticalelementofRussian
defensepolicyandwillremainsoforalongtime.

OfficialstatementsofferassurancesthatRussiawillusenuclearweaponsonlyintwocircumstances:inretaliation
forastrikeagainstitoritsalliesusingnuclearweaponsorsomeotherformofweaponsofmassdestructionorif
RussiaisavictimofanaggressionthatusesconventionalweaponsbutthreatenstheverysurvivaloftheRussian
state.97However,RussiandefensepolicydiscussionsrevealthatseniorRussiandefenseplannersalso
contemplateanothercontingency:launchingpreventivenuclearstrikes,whetherofalimitednatureintendedto
de-escalateaconflictoronalargerscale.98ThiscouldamounttoyetanothertacitadmissionofRussiandefense
plannerslackofconfidenceintheirsecond-strikecapability.Iftheydontusetheirnuclearweapons,inother
words,theylosethem.
NuclearweaponscertainlyarethecriticalelementofRussiandefensepolicyandwillremainsoforalongtime.
Russiandefenseexpertsandofficialsreadilyadmitthattheirindustrialandtechnologicalinferioritywillprevent
themfrommatchingU.S.advancedmilitarytechnologiesintheforeseeablefuture.99Thisundoubtedlyfeedstheir
alreadydeeplyheldfeelingofinsecurityandinferiorityvis--vistheWest,whichisonlyreinforcedbythe
proliferationofnewtechnologiesandcapabilitiesfordifferentformsofwarfare.

CyberwartheNewUltimateWeapon

AsifU.S.nuclear,high-precisionconventional,andmissiledefensetechnologieshavenotbeenenoughtofuel
anxietiesofRussiandefenseplanners,theadventofcyberwarfarehasaddedtotheirsenseofinsecurity.Thisis
nottosaythatRussiahasnotsustaineditsownvastcyberwarfareeffortorinvestedpriortotheadventof
cybertechnologyinwhatRussiandefenseexpertscallradio-electronicwarfareorinformationwarfare.Ithas.
However,theinformationrevolutionanduniversalcomputerizationofeverysphereofstateandsocietalactivity
hascreatedamultitudeofnewthreats.

Theworldisenteringanewphaseofwarfare,accordingtoRussiandefenseexperts,whoassertthat
cyberwarfareisnolongerawarofthefuture.100Itistakingplacenowanew,fifthdomain,alongwithland,air,
sea,andspace,inwhichwarcanandwillbewaged.Cyberwarfaretakesprecedenceoverkineticwarfareandis
beingundertakenbystatescontinuously.Theboundarybetweenwarandpeaceisbeinggraduallyerased.
CyberwarfarecanthreatenRussiainawidevarietyofways,fromparalyzinganddestroyingitsinfrastructureto
disablingitscomputernetworksorinsertingdeliberatelyfalseinformationanddisseminatingittothepopulation.
AccordingtoRussianexperts,thedestructivepotentialofcyberweaponsiscomparabletothatofnuclear
weapons.101Cyberweaponscancreatepanic,plungesocietiesintochaos,underminelegitimategovernments,
suppressanationswilltoresistaggression,andparalyzeitsarmedforces.Theycanwinwarsbeforeeventhe
firstshotisfired.102Understandingtheconsequencesofthisformofwarfareisofutmostimportanceforthe
Russianmilitary,whichhasalreadybegunthiseffort.103

InformationwarfarehaslongbeenamajorareaofinterestandconcernforRussiannationalsecurityofficials.
TheRussianSecurityCounciladoptedtheDoctrineofInformationSecurityofRussianFederationasearlyas
2000andsincethenhasdevelopedawholelibraryofsupportingdocumentstoguideRussianpolicyinthis
sphere.104Sincethen,Russianconcernsaboutthreatsposedbyoffensiveoperationsofcyberwarand
informationwarhaveincreasedmanifold,andtheissuehasbeenactivelydiscussedamongdefenseandsecurity
experts.105The2016NationalSecurityStrategystatesthatintheinterestofprotectingstateandpublicsecurity,
thegovernmentwillundertakethenecessarystepstoimprovetheprotectionofcitizensandsocietyfromthe
effectsofdestructiveinformationpropagatedbyextremistsandterroristorganizations,foreignintelligence
services,andpropagandaoutlets.106

ThesensitivityandurgencyofthepotentialthreattoRussiafromthecyberdomainwasunderscoredin2014
whenPutindeclaredGoogleaspecialprojectoftheU.S.CentralIntelligenceAgencyandurgedRussiansto
avoidusingit.TheRussianleaderscommentsaboutU.S.controloftheInternet,combinedwiththeRussian
governmentslong-termpursuittoestablishsovereigncontroloverRussiasportionoftheInternet,reflectthe
insecuritynotonlyoftheelitesbutalsoofthegeneralpublicaboutthecountrysvulnerabilitytocyberattacksand
informationattacksfromadversaries,bothrealandimagined.107Thisinsecuritygoessofarastomotivatethe
RussiangovernmenttoseekwaystocontroltheRussianInternetandevenconsiderwaystoineffectunplug
RussiafromtheInternetinanemergency.108SovereigncontroloverRussiasportionoftheInternethasbeena
long-standinggoaloftheRussiangovernmentspositionininternationalforumsdealingwithInternetgovernance
agoalthathasservedasanelementofRussian-ChinesepartnershipinoppositiontoU.S.andotherWestern
nationspursuitofthefreeflowofinformationwithoutborders.109Inthefuture,theRussiangovernmentspursuit
ofcapabilitiestoregulateand,ifnecessary,switchofftheInternetisexpectedtointensifyasitconsidersafree
andunimpededInternetasoneofitsbiggestthreats.110

IntheviewofRussiannationalsecurityexperts,thefuturehasarrived.TheeffectonRussiahasbeento
aggravateitssenseofencirclement,compounditsvulnerabilities,andmultiplythreatstoit.

WarbyOtherMeans

ThedeteriorationofthisperceivedthreatenvironmentintheaftermathoftheUkrainecrisishasspawneda
discussionamongRussiannationalsecurityexpertsaboutvariousformsofnonkinetic,nonstopwarfarewagedby
theWestagainstRussiaeveninpeacetime.Inadditiontoinformationwarandcyberwarfare,theyhavefocused
onWesterneconomicsanctionsagainstRussiaasaformofcontinuous,undeclaredwarfare.

TheKremlinsresponsetosanctionscanbesummedupasamovetowardeconomicnationalismand
isolationism.WhenVisaandMasterCardcutoffservicestotwoRussianbanksthatweresanctionedbythe
UnitedStates,themovehighlightedfortheRussiangovernmenttheeconomysheavyrelianceonWestern
paymentsystemsanditsresultingvulnerabilitytofurtherWesternsanctions.Inresponse,theCentralBankof
RussiahasannouncedaplantocreateanationalpaymentsystemtoinsulateRussiafromWesternpressureinthe
eventofanewroundofsanctions.111ThemorerecentthreattocutoffRussianaccesstoSWIFT(Societyfor
WorldwideInterbankFinancialTelecommunication)hasledtheRussiangovernmenttoconsideroptionsfor
settingupanalternativeinpartnershipwithChina.112

Thedefense-industrialsectorhasbeendirectedtodiminishandeventuallyeliminateitsrelianceonforeign
suppliers.113Thedesiretoenddependenceonforeignsuppliersisnotlimitedtothedefensesector,forinMay
2016,Putintaskedthecabinetwithstimulatingdomesticmanufacturinganddevelopingsubstitutesforforeign
importsthroughouttheeconomy.Inafurthermovetoinsulatetheeconomyfromforeigninfluence,Putinordered
thegovernmenttodevelopandimplementstepsfordeoffshorizationofmajorindustrialenterprisesbydeveloping
tax,accounting,andcriminallegislationaimedatdiscouragingcompaniesfromlocatingfacilitiesoffshore.114

Theideathatsanctionsrepresentaformofwarfareoraninstrumentofcoercionishardlyneworuniqueto
Russia.Ithasalonghistory,andrecordeddiplomacyandwarfarearerepletewithexamplesofitdatingallthe
waytoancientGreece.115Nonetheless,Westernsanctionsandtheeconomicslumpthathasfollowedtheir
impositionalthoughcausednotonlybythemundoubtedlyhaveunderscoredRussiasvulnerabilitytooutside
forcesandthehostileenvironmentaroundit.

HybridWarfareOldWine,OldSkins

ThetakeoverofCrimeabytheRussianmilitaryand,subsequently,theoperationsineasternUkrainehave
focusedtheattentionofforeignandRussianobserversonso-calledhybridwarfare.Thisterm,whichreferstoa
widerangeofkineticandnonkineticactivitiesbymilitarypersonnelandcivilians,hasbeenthesubjectof
extensivediscussionsinRussiaasbothathreattoRussiansecurityandRussiasresponsetothreatstoitposed
byhostilepowers.

WesternofficialsandanalystshavefocusedonhybridwarfareprimarilyasaresultofRussiasundeclaredwarin
Ukraine,whichentailsamixofspecialforces,civilians,informationoperations,cyberattacks,and,onsome
occasions,uniformedmilitarypersonnel.116Presumably,acombinationofthesecapabilitiesinacrisis
environmentcanbeusedtoachievesurpriseandconfusetheadversaryandtoaccomplishpoliticalandmilitary
objectiveswithoutresortingtolarge-scalekineticwarfareandanoutrightwardeclaration,whichinturncan
presentanadversarywithafaitaccompliandavoidunnecessarycasualtiesandescalationofhostilitiesfor
Russia.CountriesthatshareborderswithRussia,especiallytheBalticstates,someofwhichhavelargeRussian
populations,areespeciallyvulnerabletothistypeofwarfare,Westernofficialshavewarned.117

Russianrelianceonsuchformsofwarfarehastheadditionalimportantbenefitofambiguity.Intheabsenceofan
outrightmilitaryinterventionbyRussiainoneormoreBalticstates,NATOwouldlackclearevidenceofRussian
aggression,thusrunningtheriskofconfusionandcontroversyamongtheallieswithrespecttomilitaryactionin
defenseoftheBalticstatesinaccordancewiththealliancesArticle5guarantees.

RussiandefenseexpertsalsochargethattheWestisconductinghybridwarfareagainstRussiathrougha
combinationofmilitaryandothermeans,includingsanctionsandinformationwarfare.118Theirinterpretationof
hybridwarfareunderscoresthedestabilizingfunctionoftheWestsdemocracypromotionactivitiesspecifically
thecolorrevolutionsinthecountriessurroundingRussia.InRussiasview,thoseactivities,throughmeasureswell
shortofwar,createazoneofinstabilityaroundRussia,encircleitwithWesternagentsofinfluence,andcreate
opportunitiesforWesternintervention.119Moreover,instabilitythreatensnotonlyRussiasneighborsbutalso
Russiaitself,becausesupportforgroupsinsideRussiaopposedtotheRussiangovernmentcanalsobe
interpretedasanelementofhybridwarfare.120Large-scalewarfarehasbecomedangerous,evensuicidal,for
thepartiesinvolved,duetothedestructionassociatedwithitwithorwithoutnuclearweapons.Andthatinturn
necessitatesresortingtootherformsofwarfarethatcarrysmallerrisksofcatastrophicconsequences.

SomeRussiandefenseanalystshavearguedthatdespitethepublicitysurroundingthetermhybridwarfare
sincethestartoftheconflictinUkraine,theconceptisneithernewnorparticularlytransformative.121For
example,theynote,informationoperationshavelongbeenacriticalelementofstatesactivitiesintendedto
misleadanadversaryanddemoralizeitspopulationandcombatants.Deploymentofmilitarypersonnelwithout
nationalinsigniaisalong-standingpracticeinwarfare,asistheuseofproxiesandregularforcesundertheguise
ofvolunteers.Theargumentaboutthenoveltyofhybridwarfarethusdoesnotstanduptoscrutinyandis
contradictedbyalongandrichhistoricalrecordofvariousconflicts.122

TheRussiangovernmentsapproachtodealingwithUkraine-relatedsanctionsimposedbytheUnitedStatesand
theEuropeanUnionisindicativeofwhatRussianbehaviorcanbeexpectedtobelikeinfuturecrises.By
focusingonsomeoftheweakerandpoorerEUandNATOmembersGreeceorBulgaria,forinstance
Russianofficialshaveapparentlysoughttounderminebothorganizationsconsensusonsanctionsagainst
Russia.123Similarly,thereportedfinancialtiesbetweenFrancesfar-rightNationalFrontandaMoscow-based
bankarelikelyintendedtosecureaRussianfootholdinFrenchdomesticpoliticsandtoseektoinfluenceFrench
policy.124PoliticalpartiesandindividualpoliticiansandofficialsintheCzechRepublic,Germany,andLatviahave
allbeentargetedbytheRussiangovernment.125

Inacrisissituation,theuseofdisinformation,awiderangeofinformationoperations,diplomaticmaneuvering,
diversionarytroopmovements,activationofsleeperagentsandfriendlylocals,infiltrationofspecialforces,
reconnaissance,andvariousothermilitary,paramilitary,andcivilianpersonnelareallfairgame.Corruption,
blackmail,relianceoncriminalnetworks,andoverteconomicassistanceareallfairgameasmeansofpreparing
thebattlefieldorachievingpoliticalobjectivesbeforethefirstshotisfired.

ABleakOutlook

TheprofoundsenseofinsecuritythatpermeatesRussiandiscussionsaboutthecountryspositioninEuropeand
Eurasiaiswelljustified.TherearemanyuncertaintiesinRussiasfuture,aswellasinthoseofitsneighbors,
potentialpartners,allies,andadversaries.However,thoseuncertaintiesdisappearwhenitcomestothis
prediction:theabilitiesofRussianleaders,militaryplanners,anddiplomatswillbethoroughlytestedintheyears
anddecadestocomeasafunctionofthedifficultgeopoliticalenvironmentandmultiplechallengesthecountryis
facingathome.

PredictingthetrajectoryofRussiaisaninherentlydifficulttask.FewpredictedthebreakupoftheSovietUnion
beforeitunraveledrapidly.Fewpredictedthatthecountrywoulddissolverelativelypeacefully.Fewpredicted
theeconomiccalamitythatfollowed,therecoveryofRussiaadecadelater,theeconomicboomthatfollowed,
theprotestsof2012,thewarwithUkraine,andthevirulentlyanti-WesternturninRussiandomesticandforeign
policies.Allofthesemajorshiftsoccurredintheshorthistoricallyspeakingspanoftwenty-fiveyears.

Acomparableseriesofeventsinthenextdecadeordecadeandahalfcouldtheoreticallyresultinthebreakupof
Russiaintoaseriesofsmallerstates,someofthemwithnuclearweaponsontheirterritoriesanotherwarinthe
SouthCaucasusanewrapprochementwiththeWestnecessitatedbytheneedformodernization,economicaid,
andhelpconsolidatingnuclearweaponsinwhatsleftofRussiaproper.Andallofthesecouldbefollowedbythe
riseofanationalistRussianregimebentongatheringthelostempireandreconstitutingthegreatRussianstate,
triggeringyetanotherconflictwithbothimmediateneighborsandtheWest.

Insum,noforecastofRussiasfuturecanbereducedtoastraightline.Russiahastoexploremultiple
possibilities.Ithastoconsiderpossibilitiesthatareliterallystrangerthanfiction.Andthenithastocautionthe
readertotakeallwithabiggrainofsalt.

AnEstablishedPoliticalSystem

ConsideringthemanychangesinRussiainthepastquartercentury,itiseasytooverlookthefactthateven
thoughthecountryunderwentamajorpoliticalshockwhentheSovietUnionbrokeup,itspoliticalsystemis
quitewellestablished.DespitesignificantdifferencesbetweentheYeltsinera,thePutinpresidency,andthe
Medvedevinterregnum,thepoliticalsystemchangedlittle.DescribedearlyinitsdevelopmentbylongtimeRussia
expertThomasGraham,ithasremainedessentiallyanoligarchywithallthetrappingsofamoderndemocracy,
butwithoutinternalideologicaldifferencesandmotivatedonlybycompetitionforpropertyamongoligarchic
groupsorclans.126Atthecenterofthisarrangementstandsapowerfulpresidentwhosemissionistomanage
competitionamongclansandthusmaintaindomesticstability.

EstablishedearlyduringtheYeltsinpresidency,thissystemhassurvivedlargelyintact.Someclansandoligarchs
havedeparted,andothershavereplacedthem.Thepowerofthepresidencyhasincreasedordecreased
dependingonthepersonalityoftheincumbent.Butthroughitall,thesysteminitsessencehasremainedintact.
Keyfeaturesofthissystemapowerfulexecutive,thecloserelationshipbetweenpowerandproperty,their
concentrationinthehandsofarelativelysmallelite,thelackofarepresentativegovernment,andtheprevalence
oftherulingideologypredatethecurrentRussianregimeandhavetheirrootsintheSovietandimperial
Russianperiods.Littleonthecountryspoliticallandscapesuggeststhatthesystemislikelytoundergosignificant
changesintheforeseeablefuture.Itmayundergosomechangesonthemargins,butthereisnothinginRussian
domesticpoliticstoindicatethatamorerepresentativeformofgovernmentislikelytoemergeinthenexttento
fifteenyears.Yet,changemayberequiredforthecountrytoovercomethemanyobstaclesfacingit.

StagnationLooms

In2016,wellintoPutinsthirdpresidentialterm,Russiafindsitselfconfrontedbyincreasinglybleakprospects.
AsnotedbymanyRussianobserversquotedinthispaper,theproblemisnotjustthatthepriceofoilislowor
thatthesanctionsimposedbytheEUandtheUnitedStateshavehurttheRussianeconomy.Theentiremodelof
economicdevelopmentpursuedbyRussiainthepastdecadeandahalf,theobserversconclude,hasoutlived
itself.

SomeRussiananalystshavenotedthesimilaritybetweenPutinsRussia,nowintheseventeenthyearofthe
Russianpresidentstenureatthehelm,andtheSovietUnionduringtheeraofLeonidBrezhnev,wholedthe
countryforeighteenyearsfrom1964to1982.127Then,too,theSovietUnionhadreachedadeadendandhad
toradicallychangecourseindomesticandforeignaffairs.

Russiasnextpresidentialelectionisscheduledin2018.Putin,whowillthenbesixty-fiveyearsold,willendhis
thirdpresidentialtermandwilleitherrunforyetanothersix-yeartermorstepasideeitherasatacticalmeasure
orasamovetowardretirement.ThelikelihoodofPutinsteppingasideretiring,ratherthanasatacticalmove
appearslowatthetimeofthiswriting.128

Moreover,Putinsdeparturefromthepoliticalstageshouldnotbeequatedwithimprovedprospectsforpolitical
oreconomicmodernizationinRussia.Theupperechelonofthecountryspoliticaleliteiscomposedofpeople
whoseoutlooksandbackgroundsaresimilartoPutins.Theirprospectsforimplementingmajorchangesinthe
countryspoliticalsystemoreconomyappearequallymodestatbest

IfPutinLeaves

Nonetheless,theconsequencesofPutinsdeparturefromthepoliticalsceneareworthconsideringifonlyasan
intellectualenterprise.TheRussianpresidentsretirementattheendofhiscurrenttermwouldbefollowedbyan
electioninwhichanewleaderwouldbechosen.Thatishowtheprocessissupposedtoworkformally,and
thereislittlechancethatitwillnot.

Inreality,PutinsdeparturewouldholdthepossibilityofasignificantdestabilizationofRussianpolitics.He
occupiesauniquelypowerfulplaceinthecountryspoliticalsystem,actingasthecentralfigureamongvarious
interestsgroupsandclans,balancingtheircompetingdemandsandadjudicatingtheirdisputes.129Noother
politiciancomesclosetoPutinsstandinginthatsystem.Hehasnopoliticalheirorsecond-in-command.The
primeministercurrentlyDmitryMedvedevstepsintemporarilyifthepresidentisincapacitatedordiesin
office,untilanewpresidentiselectedwithinninetydays.Few,ifany,politicalanalystswouldarguethat
MedvedevisacrediblecandidateforthepresidencytosucceedPutinorapowerfulfigureinRussiandomestic
politics.

Intheabsenceofadesignatedpoliticalsuccessor,theprocessofnominatingacandidatefromthepoliticalelite
so-calledthepartyofpowerwouldbehighlycontested,almostcertainlymoresothantheelectionitself.Such
intra-elitestrugglestookplaceduringthe20072008period,whenPutinssecondtermwasduetoexpirebuthe
hadnotyetdesignatedhissuccessorormadeclearhisownplans.Similarly,in2011,Russianeliteswere
unsettledbythelackofclarityaboutthefutureoftheMedvedev-Putintandem.

ShouldPutindepartthepoliticalscenewithoutdesignatingasuccessor,therulingelitewouldhaveapowerful
incentiveinpreservingtheexistingsystemandavoidinganinternalsplit,thusincreasingthelikelihoodof
coalescingaroundasinglecandidate.Buttheprocessofselectingthatsinglecandidateislikelytobecontentious,
resultinginafiercecompetitionamongclansandinterestgroups.
Thenomineewouldbevirtuallycertaintowintheelection.Russiasbeleagueredpoliticaloppositionhasbeen
decimatedasaresultofaseriesofsystematicmeasuresbythePutinadministrationtolimittheabilityof
oppositionpartiesandcivilsocietyatlargetoorganize,recruitmembers,raisefunds,orinanyotherway
participateinthepoliticallifeofthecountry.Noseriouscontenderforthepresidencyabletocompetewiththe
onenominatedbythepartyofpowerislikelytoemergefromtheranksoftheopposition.

However,theelectionwouldnotmarktheendofpoliticalinstabilityinRussia.Thenewleaderwouldhaveto
workhardtoconsolidatehis(mostlikelynother)powerandrestoretheequilibriumamongclansdisruptedby
Putinsdeparture.Thiswouldalmostcertainlybeaprocessthatwouldtakeyears,giventhesizeofthecountry,
themultitudeofitsclansandinterestgroups,regionalinterests,andthesorrystateoftheeconomythatwould
almostcertainlyleadtofiercecompetitionamongclansforalargershareoftheshrinkingpie.

Howlikelyisthecountrysnewpresidenttointroducemajorreformsindomesticorforeignaffairsinthat
environment?SuchreformsnotunliketheGorbachev-eradtentewiththeWestinforeignpolicyand
movementtowardderegulationandmarketcapitalismwouldundoubtedlyprovecontroversialandpolitically
difficult,fortheywouldaffectinterestsofvariousclansvestedinthestatusquo.Anynewleaderwouldhaveto
takethatintoaccount.AnewleaderwouldalsohavetotakeintoaccountthefragilityoftheRussianeconomy
andprobablybemindfulthatGorbachevsreformsendedincatastrophethebreakupofthecountry.Withthis
baggage,anynewleaderwouldlikelyproceedwithextremecaution,ifatall.Thelikelyoutcomeofthisscenario
wouldbeacontinuationofPutinism,butwithoutPutin,fortheremainderofthisdecade,ifnotlonger.Change
wouldhavetowaituntillater,perhapsuntilthesuccessorssecondpresidentialterm.

Oncechangecomes,itcouldprovedestabilizing.AfutureRussianleaderlaunchingmajorreformsinthemiddle
ofthethirddecadeofthetwenty-firstcenturywouldhavetocontendwithamultitudeofchallenges,including

anadversedemographicsituationinRussia
astagnanteconomy
technologicalbackwardnessofRussianindustry
highbarrierstodomesticandforeigninvestmentexcessivegovernmentregulation,weakruleoflaw,
corruption,andpoorinfrastructureand
ahighlycompetitiveinternationalenvironment.

Thegeographicexpanseofthecountryandproximityofitsvariousregionstoothereconomicandgeopolitical
gravitationalpolesChina,Turkey,Europewillcreatepowerfulcentrifugalforcesandgreatlycomplicatethe
taskofthefederalgovernmentofmanagingtheeconomyandpoliticalsystem.Russia,whichisorganizedasa
federation,couldfacesomeofthesameseparatisttendenciesthattheSovietUnionencounteredamongits
constituentrepublicsinitsfinalyears.Alternatively,thiscouldresultinasignificantdelegationofpowerand
authoritytotheregions.ThepossibilityoffurtherfragmentationoftheRussianstatehastobeconsideredasone
ofrealcontingenciestofaceRussiaattheendofthe2020s.

Putinsdeparturefromthepoliticalsceneattheendofthecurrenttermdoesnotguaranteethathissuccessor
wouldundertakesignificantreformsindomesticorforeignpolicy.However,shouldsuchreformsbeattempted,
theycouldresultinasignificantdestabilizationofRussia.

IfPutinStays

TheprospectofPutinsreelectiontoafourthpresidentialtermin2018raisesthecriticalquestionofwhetherhe
iscapableofchange.Putinsreturntothepresidencyin2012provedasetbackforRussiasreformersand
advocatesofmodernizationafteraperiodwhenprospectsforeconomicandpoliticalmodernizationlooked
relativelybright.Since2012,theyhavedimmedconsiderably,andintheaftermathoftheUkrainecrisisthey
appeartobenearlyextinguished.

Theneedforchangeinthecountryseconomicandpoliticallifecloselyrelatedtoeachotheriswidely
understoodandacknowledgedinRussiansociety.Itisequallywidelyunderstoodthatsignificantchangecould
provedestabilizingfortheestablishedpoliticalsystem.Asmentioned,theexperienceoftheGorbachev-era
reformscontinuestoserveasapotentcautionaryreminderofthedangersassociatedwithradicalchange.

Russiaisfacingadifficultdecadeoradecadeandahalf,
regardlessofPutinscourse.

Putinhasfirmlyandrepeatedlyrejectedtheideaofpoliticalmodernizationasathreattothecountrysstability.
Hisentirethirdtermcanbedescribedasantimodernization,includingsuppressionofcivilsociety,isolationof
RussiafromEuropeandtheUnitedStates,propagandaofso-calledtraditionalRussianvaluesasdifferentfrom
Europeanvaluesandnorms,prouddeclarationsthatRussiaisnotEurope,andapushtoautarkyineconomic
developmenttoinoculatethecountryfromthethreatofWesternsanctions.MovesbytheKremlintoassertthe
supremacyofRussianlawsoverinternationaltreatiessignedbyRussiaanddisconnectthecountryfromthe
InternetaresymbolicoftheantimodernizationspiritthathaspermeatedRussianpoliticsandpolicymakingsince
Putinsreturntothepresidency.

Putinhasraisedtheissueofeconomicmodernizationinhisspeechesrepeatedly.However,hisrecordinoffice
sincehisaccessiontothepresidencyin2000ofconsistent,step-by-step,deliberateconsolidationofpolitical
powerandeconomicleversinthehandsofthestateorasmallgroupofassociatescloselytiedtothestate
speaksmuchlouderthanhiswords.Ifheweretobecomeamodernizerlateinhispoliticalcareer,itwouldbea
radicaldeparturefromeverythinghehasdoneuntilnow.

Increasingly,economicmodernizationinRussiarequirespoliticalmodernizationaswell,andashiftfromthe
small,Kremlin-centeredoligarchytoamoreopeneconomicsystemwithstrongerruleoflaw,transparency,and
adegreeofcompetitiveness.Thatwillrequirereformsthatwouldchallengetheverypoliticalorderthatforthe
pastdecadeandahalfhasservedasthefoundationofRussiandomesticstabilityandPutinspersonalpowerand
hasitsrootsinthesystemthatemergedsoonafterthebreakupoftheSovietUnion.Theoutlookforachangeof
suchmagnitudeisnotencouragingfortheforeseeablefuture.

Underthepresentconstitutionalarrangement,andassumingPutinisreelectedin2018,hewillremaininoffice
until2024.Hewillbeseventy-onethenstillrelativelyyoungandquiteplausiblynotreadytodepartthepolitical
stage.TheprospectofPutinremainingatthehelmasfaras2030isquitereal,justastheprospectofhis
changingcourseisquiteremote.

ThisisnottosaythatRussiawillcontinueindefinitelyalongitspresentglidepath.Theabsenceofreformsand
lackofprogresstowardmodernizingthecountryspoliticalsystemandeconomyareboundtotaketheirtollon
itseconomy,itspolitics,anditsinternationalstanding.Thisisalmostcertaintotriggerdiscontinuitiespolitical,
security,andeconomic.Thatsaid,anyattemptbyPutinorhissuccessortotacklethischallengeisfraughtwith
significantrisksofdiscontinuity.Inshort,Russiaisfacingadifficultdecadeoradecadeandahalf,regardlessof
Putinscourse.

Theweaknessofandsevererestrictionsonoppositionpoliticalpartiesandcivicorganizationsvirtuallypreclude
thepossibilityofapowerfulstructuredchallengetothePutinregime.However,therestrictionsonorganized
politicalactivitiescandolittletolimitspontaneousmanifestationsofdiscontentandgrassrootsactionsinresponse
toadecliningstandardofliving,actionsoflocalauthorities,orintercommunal,interracial,orinterconfessional
tensions.130Thegrowthofsuchprotestactivitiescould,overtime,developintoapersistentpattern,creating
opportunitiesforpoliticalchallengestotheregime.Theregimesinabilityorunwillingnesstotackletheunderlying
economicpoliticalandeconomicproblemscouldexacerbatethechallengeandthethreattothecountrys
domesticstability.

Inadditiontothechallengetothecountryspoliticalstability,thelonglistofproblemsfacingtheRussian
governmentintheconditionsofastagnanteconomyandshrinkingresourcesincludesthethreatofyetanother
destabilizationintheNorthCaucasus,whererelativepeaceandstabilityhavebeenmaintainedthroughmassive
federaltransfersandcutsindefensespending,socialprograms,science,education,andotherprograms.131
Combinedwithlackofinvestmenteveninthecriticalenergysector,thesecutsthreatencascadinglong-term
effectsontheeconomy,furtherunderminingitsabilitytoinnovate,diversify,andgrow,allofwhichpointtothe
systemiccrisis.132

ChallengesAbroad

TomakemattersworseforRussianpolicymakers,theexternalenvironmenttheyarelikelytofacealongthe
immediateperipheryofRussiaandbeyondpromisestobeequallychallenging.TheUkrainecrisishas
compoundedthechallengesRussiannationalsecurityexpertshavelongfearedintheEuro-Atlantictheater.At
thesametime,thebreakinrelationswithEuropeandtheUnitedStateshasnotresultedinnewpartnershipsor
alliancesforRussiaelsewhere.Thishasoccurredatatimeofmajornewinstabilityintheinternationalarenain
generalandinregionsnearRussiainparticular.

ASelf-FulfillingProphecyinEurope
InEurope,RussianthreatperceptionsandconcernsaboutNATOslowlymovingitsmilitarycapabilitiestoward
itsbordersarebecomingaself-fulfillingprophecyintheaftermathoftheUkrainecrisis.If,priortotheannexation
ofCrimeaandthewarineasternUkraine,Russiawasconsideredbytheallianceasapossible,albeitincreasingly
unlikely,partner,thenRussianactionsinUkrainehaveputanendtosuchhopesforpartnershipandtransformed
therelationshipintoonethatisopenlyadversarial.133Thealliancescommitmentnottopermanentlystation
substantialcombatforcesontheterritoriesofnewmembersinthecurrentandforeseeablesecurityenvironment
disappearedwiththeannexationofCrimea,theaggressionineasternUkraine,andRussianthreatsagainstthe
BalticstatesandotherNATOmembers.

TheUkrainecrisishasspurredNATOtoproceedwithactionspreviouslyconsideredonlyremoteandunlikely
possibilities.InresponsetowhatseniorNATOofficialsdescribeasthemostdangerousthreattoEurope,
NATOisundertakingaseriesofstepsthatincludethestationingofU.S.andotherNATOtroopsandpre-
positioningofequipment,includingheavyU.S.equipment,inthefrontlinestatesfromtheBaltictotheBlackSea
planningforandtrainingtodefendagainstRussianaggressionandestablishmentofrapidresponseandbroader
responseforces.134AndnowSweden,neutralfornearlytwocenturies,andFinland,neutralsince1948,are
havingactivedebatesaboutjoiningthealliance.135

Further,theUkrainecrisishaspromptedcallsfromWesternmilitaryanalyststocounterRussianthreatsto
EuropewiththeverysystemsthatRussianassessmentshavelonghighlightedasdestabilizingandmost
threateningintheeventofacrisis.136Acombinationoflong-range,stealth,andprecisiontechnologies,if
deployedbyNATOalliesinacrisis,wouldbethefulfillmentofRussiandefenseplannersworstexpectations.

However,asidefromthepurelymilitarythreats,moreuncertaintyandpossiblyturmoilarelikelytoconfront
RussiainitsWesternstrategicdirection.ThebiggestchallengefacingRussiaalongitswesternfrontieristhe
unsettledconflictwithUkraine.RussianactionsinvolvingUkrainehaveservedasasourceoflong-term,deep
enmitybetweentwocountriesthatpreviouslyhadexperiencednone.Furthermore,theyhavecreatedalong-term
sourceofinstabilityinlieuofthepredictable,ifstagnant,relationshipthathadexistedbetweenRussiaand
UkraineforthequartercenturyfromthebreakupoftheSovietUniontotheannexationofCrimea.

UkraineaProblemNeighbor

Ukrainesoutlookfortheforeseeablefuturecanbestbedescribedalongtwouneasytrajectoriesmuddling
throughorreturningtoRussiasorbit.Thisbleakprospectisaproductofseveralcircumstances:thelegacyof
SovietrulecombinedwiththemisruleofthefirstquartercenturyofindependencethatleftUkraineacorrupt
oligarchythedepletedeconomybadlydamagedbytheconflictineasternUkraineandreformsthatwerenever
implementedandthelackofinterestintheWesttosupportUkrainewiththesamecommitmentEuropeandthe
UnitedStatesmadetointegratetheformerWarsawPactcountriesandBalticstatesintotheWesternpolitical,
economic,andsecuritystructures.Inaddition,theconflictineasternUkraineislikelytobesettledonlyasfrozen
ratherthanresolved,thusleavingapermanentwoundinUkrainesdomesticpolitics,economy,andsecurity.

Themuddling-throughscenariohasUkrainestayingonitspresentcourseofdifficult,haltingpoliticaland
economicreformsforthedurationofPresidentPetroPoroshenkostermuntil2019.ThisscenariohasUkraine
makingintermittentprogressinthefollowingareas:someimprovementinitsinvestmentclimategradualstructural
reformsoftheeconomy,especiallytheenergysectorandheavyindustrydecentralizationandsomecurbingof
thepowerofoligarchs.Allofthesechangespromisetobedifficultandpoliticallychallenging,threateningto
underminethegovernmentsprecariousstandinginthepollsandpossiblyleadingtoearlyparliamentaryelections,
furthercomplicatingthegovernmentstask.Thisscenarioalsoentailsimplementingadifficultsecurity-sector
reform,reequippingthearmedforces,andadaptingtoahostofEU-mandatedrequirementsthatmakeup
UkrainesAssociationAgreementandfree-tradeagreementwiththeEU.Thisisahighlyambitiousagendathat
atbestcanbeonlypartlyfulfilled,evenbythemostambitiousreformersandwiththehelpofgenerousaid,which
isunlikelytomaterialize.Allthewhile,UkrainewouldbeunderseverepressurefromRussia.

Thealternativescenarioentailsastalledreformeffort,growingpopulardiscontent,andgridlockintheparliament.
Together,thesewouldhaveaparalyzingeffectontheabilityofthegovernmenttofunction.TheInternational
MonetaryFund(IMF)agreementwouldthenbejeopardized,leadingtoahaltinIMFassistancetoUkraine.
OtherdonorassistanceconditionedoncompliancewithIMFrequirementswouldalsobeimperiled.Thisturnof
eventswouldprecipitateanothercrisis,afailureoftherulingcoalitionandearlyparliamentaryandpossibly
presidentialelectionsrestoringtopoweralessreform-mindedleadershipandreturningUkrainetothe
dysfunctionaloligarch-dominatedstateithadbeeninpriortotheEuromaidanantigovernmentuprisingin2013
2014.ThisscenarioalsoentailsthenewgovernmentsgradualaccommodationwithRussiainexchangefor
financialsubsidiesintheformoffavorabletermsforgastradeorloans.TheaccommodationwithRussiawould
provecontroversialwithmanyinUkraine,leadingtoadividedpolityandpermanentpoliticaltensions,
polarization,andgovernmentdysfunction.

Ineitherscenario,fortheforeseeablefuture,Ukraineislikelytoremainafragilestatestrugglingwithdomestic
reformsandcaughtinatug-of-warbetweenRussiaandtheWest.NeitherRussianorEuropeandtheUnited
StatesislikelytocountonUkraineasareliablepartner.ForbothRussiaandtheWest,Ukrainepromisestobea
sourceofeconomicandsecuritychallengesaswellasamajorsubjectoflong-termtensionsanddiscordintheir
bilateralrelations.

BelarusanUnreliableAlly

Similarlycaughtinatug-of-warbetweenRussiaandtheWestisUkrainesnorthernneighborBelarus.Ruledbya
wilyauthoritarianleader,AleksandrLukashenko,formorethantwodecades,thecountryhassurvivedinlarge
measurethankstoitsspecialrelationshipwithRussiaandhugesubsidiesfromMoscow,coupledwitha
repressiveregimethathassucceededineliminatingormarginalizingallopposition.

SincethecrisisinUkraine,LukashenkohassoughttodistancehimselfsomewhatfromMoscowandrebuild
bridgestotheWest.HiseffortshavemetwithreciprocalstepsonthepartoftheEU.137Someofthisoutreachto
theWestisnodoubtduetothediminishingeconomicprospectsinrelationswithRussiaandtheneedfor
economicassistancetokeeptheregimeafloat.138

Lukashenko,whoissixty-one,couldremaininofficeforanotherdecadeorlonger.Withhisskillatnavigating
betweenRussiaandtheWestprovedoverthecourseoftwodecadesandhisholdonpowerunchallenged,he
couldcontinuetomaneuverbetweenthetwoopposingsidesforanequallylongtime.

ThegreatestriskforLukashenkoorhissuccessorisinarapprochementwiththeWestthatRussiawouldfind
threateningtoitsinterests.TheBelarusianborderisbarely300milesfromMoscow.Apro-Westerngovernment
inMinskwouldundoubtedlybeseenbytheKremlininequallythreateningtermsasUkrainespursuitofan
AssociationAgreementwiththeEU,ifnotmoreso.BelarusiscloselyintegratedinRussiandefenseplansto
counterNATORussiahasambitionsforfurtherintegrationandexpansionofitsmilitarypresencethere.139
LukashenkosstatedoppositiontoaRussianairbaseinBelarusislikelytobeseeninMoscowasasignthatthe
Belarusianleaderisnotareliableallyandcannotbetrusted.140

AchangeinBelarussstrategicorientation,eitherasaresultofadeliberatedecisionbyLukashenkoorhis
successor,orasaconsequenceofadomesticupheaval,couldforcetheKremlinshandtolaunchyetanother
militaryintervention.ThistimeitwouldbedirectlyonRussiasborderwiththreeNATOmemberstatesLatvia,
Lithuania,andPoland.

MoldovaMoreoftheSame?

Impoverished,smallMoldovahasneverrecoveredfromthelegacyofitsconflictfrozensince1992withthe
RussianminorityinbreakawayTransnistria.Thecountryhasbeenshakenbyrepeatedscandalsandpolitical
proteststhathaveincapacitateditsgovernment.Moldovaremainsdividedbetweenthosewhoadvocatecloser
tieswithRomania,fromwhichitslargepartwassplitoffin1940asaresultoftheMolotov-RibbentropPact,
andthosewhowantclosertieswithRussia.141

Moldovaspoliticshasbeendysfunctionalformostofitshistoryasanindependentstate.Thereislittleinthe
countryscurrentpoliticaloreconomiclandscapeandoutlooktosuggestthatthenear-permanentgridlockis
likelytochangeandbereplacedbyabetter-functioninggovernmentthatwouldmovethecountryclosereitherto
RomaniaandtheEUortoRussia.Thepoliticalparalysisandeconomicstagnationarethereforelikelytocontinue
indefinitely,astheyhaveformuchofthepastquartercentury.

AnotherpossiblescenarioforMoldovaoverthenextdecadeoradecadeandahalfentailsagradualmigration
ofMoldovancitizenstoRomania,takingadvantageofRomaniasofferofpassports.Thiswouldeffectively
continuethetrendofworking-ageMoldovansleavingtheirhomelandasguestworkerselsewhereinEuropeorin
Russia.AccordingtoWorldBankdata,between2011and2015,personalremittancesamountedtomorethan
25percentofMoldovasGDP.142RussiaseconomicslowdownislikelytoaffectMoldovanguestworkers
there,increasingpressurestomigratetoEurope.RussiansanctionsagainstMoldovainretributionforitssigning
anAssociationAgreementwiththeEUarelikelytofurtherrestrictMoldovanguestworkersaccesstoRussia,
thusincreasingpressuresformigrationtoRomania.143Thiswouldineffectstimulateagradualhollowingoutof
MoldovaanditsdefactointegrationwithRomania.Aslongasthisprocessdoesnottriggeractionsleadingtoa
moreformalintegrationandanadversereactionfromRussia,thestatusquoinMoldovawouldremain.

FromaBuddingPartnershiptoHostilityWithTurkey

OneofRussiasmajorbreakthroughrelationshipsaftertheColdWarwaswithTurkey.Thetwohistoricalrivals
builtanewrelationshipbasedonrecognitionofmutualbenefits.144Turkeyquicklyemergedasamajor
destinationforRussiantraders,tourists,andenergycompanies.Turkishcompaniesestablishedthemselvesinthe
Russianrealestatedevelopmentindustry,andTurkishagriculturalproducersfoundareadymarketfortheir
exportsinRussia.145

DefyingthelegacyoftheColdWarandcenturiesofgeopoliticalrivalrypriortothat,RussiaandTurkey
developedapartnershipthatseemeddestinedtogetstronger.Theirpartnershipwasbuoyedbytwoimportant
factors.First,bothcountriesstruggledtofindtheirplaceinEurope,which,despitepromisesofpartnership,kept
thematarmslength.Theotherfactorwastheblossomingpersonalrelationshipbetweenthetwocountries
presidents,PutinandRecepTayyipErdoan.Bothproudoftheirreputationsasstrongleaderstransformingtheir
countries,bothincreasinglyaccusedofauthoritarianbehaviorathomeandcriticizedforitabroad,thetwo
presidentsweredescribedinaWashingtonPostarticlesheadlineasmadeforeachother.146Thecivilwarin
Syria,inwhichRussiahassupportedthegovernmentofSyrianPresidentBasharal-AssadandTurkeyhas
soughttooverthrowit,hasintroducedfrictionsintherelationshipbetweenAnkaraandMoscowbutdidnot
changewhatPutindescribedasitsfriendlyandcooperativenature.147

TheRussian-Turkishrelationship,whichhadbeenfullof
promiseanddeliveredmuchtobothcountries,almost
instantlyrevertedtoitsoldadversarialrootswithnoprospect
ofimprovementintheforeseeablefuture.

ThemajorshiftinrelationsbetweenTurkeyandRussia,rekindlingtalkabouttheircenturies-oldgeopolitical
rivalry,occurredinlateNovember2015,whenaTurkishF-16fightershotdownaRussianSu-24groundattack
aircraft.148TheTurkishgovernmentsaidatthetimethattheRussianaircrafthadviolatedTurkishairspacea
claimdisputedbytheRussiangovernment.PutindescribedTurkishactionsasastabinthebackandreferred
totheTurkishgovernmentasaccomplicesofterrorism.149PutinreportedlyrefusedtheTurkishpresidents
outreachattempts,andtheRussiangovernmentproceededtoimposeeconomicsanctionsonTurkey.150A
relationshipthathadbeenfullofpromiseforbothcountriesanddeliveredsomuchtobothalmostinstantly
revertedtoitsoldadversarialrootswithnoprospectofimprovementintheforeseeablefuture.151

InstabilityintheSouthCaucasus

HavingregainedCrimea,andwithitsecureditsholdontheBlackSeaFleetbaseinSevastopol,Russiahas
sealedthetransformationoftheBlackSeaintoalong-termhostileenvironment.NoneoftheBlackSealittoral
statescanbecountedonasapartnerbyRussianmilitaryplanners.AllexceptforUkraineandGeorgiaare
NATOmembers.KyivandTbilisiviewRussiaasanaggressorandthebiggestthreattotheirsurvivalas
independentandsovereignstates,andbothhavemademembershipinthealliancethekeygoaloftheirnational
securitypolicies.ThesituationintheBlackSearegionisfurtheraggravatedfromMoscowsstandpointbythe
breakdowninRussian-TurkishrelationsfollowingRussiasmilitarydeploymenttoSyriaandtheshootingdownof
theRussianaircraftbyTurkey.

ThesituationintheSouthCaucasusishardlymorereassuringforRussiandefenseplanners,albeitfordifferent
reasons,largelyunconnectedtoNATO.Theregion,hometothreefrozenconflictsinNagorno-Karabakh,
Abkhazia,andSouthOssetia,ishighlylikelytoundergomajorchangesasafunctionofitsinternaldynamicsand
developmentsarounditinthenextfivetotenyears.

AmajordriverofchangeintheSouthCaucasuspromisestobeAzerbaijan.Hailedinthe1990sasasecular
Islamiccountrywithamoderateauthoritarianregimepresidedoverbyarelativelytolerantpro-Westernleader,
Azerbaijanalsohadvasteconomicpotentialthankstoitsoilwealthandopennesstoforeignoilcompanies
investment.Little,ifany,ofthatpromisehasmaterialized.Therelativelybenignandconfidentdictatorshipof
HeydarAliyevwasreplacedin2003bythekleptocratic,increasinglyinsecure,andhighlyintolerantregimeofhis
sonIlham.Theregimesappealtothepublicbasedonitsclaimofdeliveringameasureofwell-beinghasbeen
erodedbythedeclineinthepriceofoilthathasdealtasevereblowtoAzerbaijanseconomy.152Moreover,the
prospectofdepletingitsmajoroildepositsthreatensthecountrywiththelossofitscriticalsourceofrevenueata
timewhenitsalternativestrategyofpositioningitselfasakeysupplierandtransithubofnaturalgashasto
contendwiththesamefalloutfromthelowoilpriceenvironment.153

Theproteststhathaverockedthecountryastheeconomysputtersraisequestionsabouttheregimeslongevity
andabilitytosustaindomesticstability.Intheeventofaprolongedeconomicslumpcausedbylowoilprices,
IlhamAliyevsregimewouldhaveseveraloptions,noneofthemmutuallyexclusive:tocontinuetotightenthe
restrictionsontheoppositionandcivilsocietytotrytouseitsdecliningfinancialresourcestoaddressthemost
pressingneedsandtoappealtonationalunityandpatriotismbyexploitingthethemeofNagorno-Karabakhand
launchingamilitarycampaigntoregaintheoccupiedterritories.154

TheoutlookforAzerbaijancontainsbleakalternatives.Oneofthemisaninternaldestabilizationandlossof
controlbytheregime.AnotherwouldberenewedconflictwithArmeniaoverNagorno-Karabakh.Athird
possibilityentailsboth.

IlhamAliyevssuppressionofnotjustalloppositionbutnearlyallcivicorganizationsandmanifestationsof
independentopinionhasunderminedAzerbaijanstieswithEuropeandtheUnitedStates.Asaresult,theWest
wouldnothavethenecessaryleveragetomoderatetheregimesbehaviordomesticallyorinternationally.155

ThefightingthatbrokeoutbetweenArmeniaandAzerbaijaninApril2016servedasagrimreminderofhow
fragilethesituationisalongtheirlineofcontact.Tomakemattersworse,acrisisinvolvingAzerbaijanand
Armeniacoulddrawintoitthreecriticalexternalactors:Russia,Turkey,andIran.Allthreehavemajorstakesin
theregion.RussiaandTurkeywouldverylikelybepittedagainsteachotherinthenewconflictsupportingtheir
respectiveclientstates.InternalturmoilinAzerbaijanevenwithoutaconflictwithArmeniawouldalmostcertainly
involvemeddlingbyallthreeneighboringpowers,eachforitsownreasonsseekingtoexpanditsinfluenceinthe
country,whichtheyconsidertobeofcriticalgeopoliticalimportance.

AcrisisinvolvingAzerbaijanandArmeniacoulddrawintoit
threecriticalexternalactors:Russia,Turkey,andIran.

WithRussia,Turkey,andIrancompetingforinfluenceinAzerbaijan,thecountryandthesurroundingregion
couldexperiencespilloversfromtheconflictandtheneighborsreactionstoit.Thesewouldalmostcertainly
affectArmeniaandGeorgia,consideringtheboundarylinesdrawnwithoutregardtoethnicdivisions,and
infrastructureandsupplyroutesthattraversetheentireregion.

Predictingtheoutcomeofthisturmoilisaninherentlydifficulttask.Russia,Iran,andTurkeyallhaveadvantages
anddisadvantagesintheirpursuitofinfluenceoverAzerbaijan.RussiaandIranhavetheadvantageofshared
borderswithAzerbaijan,whileTurkeyhastheadvantageofethnickinshipandlong-terminvestmentinthe
relationshipwithAzerbaijan.However,RussiahashadtodealwithitsowntroubledNorthCaucasusIranhasto
bemindfulofitsownAzerbaijaniTurkishpopulationandTurkeywouldhavetocrossGeorgianorArmenian
territorytogettoAzerbaijan.Allofthesearelikelytobecomplicatingfactorsfortheirinvolvementthere,though
eachofthesecomplicatingfactorscouldserveasarationaleforinterveninginAzerbaijaniturmoil.

TheturmoilcouldlastforyearsandbecomepartofthelargerturmoilintheMiddleEast,withIranandTurkey
pittedagainsteachotherinSyria,Russian-TurkishrelationsattheirworstsincetheColdWar,andweapons,
refugees,militants,andillicitgoodscrossinginalldirections.TheCaucasusregionmaynotseestabilityreturnfor
adecadeorlonger.

Onceameasureofstabilityisrestored,theregion,boththeNorthandtheSouthCaucasus,maynotbe
recognizable,withnewbordersandpossiblyevensomestatesdisappearingfromthemap.Theshapeofthe
regionislikelytobedeterminedbydevelopmentsaroundtheregionRussiasowntrajectoryandabilityto
securetheNorthCaucasusTurkeysabilitytohandleitsKurdishproblemthefutureofIraqandtheconflictin
Syria.AllofthesewillhaveabearingontheCaucasusregion,whichisnolongerseparated,asitoncewas,from
theGreaterMiddleEast.Whatisclear,however,isthattheregionisheadingintoanuncertainfuturefullof
dangersallofthatonRussiasdoorstep.

ATransitioninCentralAsia

CentralAsiaisinthemidstofabiggeopoliticalchangewhoseconsequencesforRussiaandEurasiaarelikelyto
befeltinthenextdecadeandbeyond.Thefirstquartercenturyofindependenceforthefivestatesofformerly
SovietCentralAsiawasatimeofestablishingtheirownstatehood,securingtheirsovereignty,andbuildinglinks
totheoutsideworld.Formuchofthatperiod,theWest,andespeciallytheUnitedStates,playedakeyroleasa
supporterofthefivestatesindependence,sovereignty,andintegrationintotheinternationalarena.156

WiththeUnitedStatesandEuropelargelyout,Russian
influencedown,andChinaascendantinCentralAsia,the
regionisallbutcertaintoshiftitsgeopoliticalorientationfrom
theWesttotheEast.

DuringthepostColdWarperiodoftheWestsdominance,thenewstatesintegrationintotheinternational
arenawastoaverylargeextentequatedwithbuildingtiestoWesternstructurestheOrganizationforSecurity
andCooperationinEurope,theWorldBank,andtheIMF,aswellasNATOandtheEU.Moreover,thanksto
theU.S.-ledcampaigninAfghanistan,theWestservedasamajorsecurityprovidertoCentralAsiafornearlya
decadeandahalfaftertheSeptember11,2001,terroristattacks.Insum,forthefirstquartercenturyofCentral
Asiasindependence,theWestplayedakeyroleinensuringtheregionssecurity.EvenRussia,asaEuropean
power,albeitnotcontenttoseetheUnitedStatesanditsNATOalliesinvolvedinitsjealouslyguarded
backyard,ineffectservedasaconnectiontoEuropeforCentralAsia.

Thatisnowchanging.TheUnitedStatesisactivelylookingtodisengagefromAfghanistan,orattheveryleastto
minimizeitsrolethere,whilemanyU.S.allieshavepulledtheirforcesoutofAfghanistanaltogether.TheWests
roleasasecurityproviderforCentralAsiaisending.

Tradeandinvestmentflows,too,aredrivingCentralAsiatowardadifferentgravitationalpolefromtheWest
China.ChinastradewithCentralAsiahasincreasedmorethanahundredfoldinthepastquartercenturyand
passedthe$50billionmarkin2013.Chineseinvestmentinpipelines,roads,andenergyexplorationismeasured
inthetensofbillionsofdollarsandisprojectedtogrowfurther,asChinaplansambitiousnewprojectsforthe
regioninthenextdecade.RussiahasbeenlosingtheeconomiccompetitionwithChinainCentralAsia,whilethe
UnitedStatesandEuropebarelyregisterastradepartners.157

WiththeUnitedStatesandEuropelargelyout,Russianinfluencedown,andChinaascendantinCentralAsia,the
regionisallbutcertainfortheforeseeablefuturetoshiftitsgeopoliticalorientationfromtheWest,towhichitwas
leaningduringthefirstquartercenturyofitsindependence,totheEast.Thisisboundtohavefar-reaching
consequencesforallinvolved.

FortheCentralAsianstates,aswellasforRussiaandChina,thismeansthattheUnitedStateswillnolongerbe
providingsecurityfortheregion.AgreaterburdeninthisrespectwillfallontheCentralAsiastatesthemselves,
aswellasontheirimmediateneighbors,especiallyRussiaandChina.ThisraisesthequestionofRussiasability
toactastheregionssecuritymanagerforCentralAsiainlightofMoscowslimitedcapabilitiesandchallenges
elsewhere,andofChinaswilltoengageintheregioninaroleithasbeenreluctanttoassume.Theresultofthis
changewillbegreateruncertaintyandpotentiallygreaterinstabilityfacingRussianplannersastheycontemplate
thefutureoftheregionthattheyhavelongviewedasamajorvulnerabilityontheirperiphery.Itseemsnothingis
stableandsecureonRussiasthresholdanywhere,initsfrontyardoritsbackyard.

Conclusion

AttheendofthefirstquartercenturyafterthebreakupoftheSovietUnion,Russiaisathreattoitsneighbors
andfeelsdeeplythreatenedbythem.Itssenseofvulnerabilityandinferiorityvis--vistheWestislong-standing
anddeep,anditissurroundedbyavast,diverse,andturbulentregionwithamultitudeofpotentialcrisesthat
holdoutthepossibilityofescalatingintolargerconflicts.ThisunstablesituationinEuropesEastandEurasiaisa
productoftheinterplayoverthepasttwenty-fiveyearsofmultiplefactors,bothindigenoustotheirhomeregions
andresultingfromactionsofoutsidepowersandexternaldevelopments.

ChiefamongthesefactorsisRussiasownevolutionfromaquietlydissenting,grumbling,butnonethelesslargely
passivebystanderindevelopmentofthepostColdWarEuro-Atlanticsecurityarchitectureintoitsactive
opponentandastatecapableofprojectingpowerarounditsperipheryandassertingitselfbeyonditsimmediate
neighborhoodindefenseofitsinterests.Aseriesofeventsthe2008Russian-GeorgianWar,the2014
annexationofCrimeaandthewarineasternUkraine,theemergenceofsecuritythreatstotheBaltics,the
economicstormsbuffetingRussiasneighborsfromMoldovatoTajikistanillustrateshowmuchswayRussia
continuestoholdoverthesecurityandwell-beingofthepost-Sovietstates,nomatterhowmuchtheyhavetried
toleavethatlabelbehindandbreakoutoftheRussiansphereofinfluence.
Russia,inotherwords,remainstheessentialsecuritypillarinEasternEuropeandEurasia.Astable,prosperous,
secure,andfriendlyRussiaisfarmorelikelytobeasourceofthesametoitsneighborsthanthealternativean
insecure,unstable,andstrugglingRussia,whichhascastalonganddarkshadowoverthem.

UnfortunatelyforRussiasneighborsandfortheirfriends,allies,andpartners,theprospectofastable,
prosperous,secure,andfriendlyRussiaisremote.Theoutlookforthecountryfortheforeseeablefutureisbleak
absentmajorreforms,whereassuchreformsappearunlikely.

NowhereisthesenseofpessimismaboutRussiasprospectsmoreacutethaninsideRussiaitself.Itpermeates
Russianassessmentsofthecountryseconomicconditionandprospects,itspoliticalstability,anditsmilitaryin
relationtothethreatsandchallengestoitssecurity.Foremostamongthesesecuritythreats,intheviewofRussian
defenseexperts,isNATO,followedcloselybyfragilestatesaroundRussiasperiphery.

Thetransatlanticsecurityorderintendedasaframeworkforbringingunity,security,andstabilitytoallofEurope,
includingRussia,isseenbyitssecurityestablishmentastheprincipalchallengetoitssecurityandstability,
intendedtoexploititsmanyvulnerabilities.ThisassessmentofWesternmotivesandactionsresultingfromthem
hasenduredwithremarkableconsistencyintheRussiannationalsecuritynarrativesincetheearliestdaysofthe
post-SovietRussianstatetothepresent.ItisthedominantviewinMoscowsnationalsecurityestablishmentwith
nodissentingvoicesofanyconsequence.

EquallyenduringandwidespreadamongRussianelitesandexpertsistheperceptionofRussiasdeepinferiority
economically,militarilyvis--vistheWest.ThecombinationofRussiasinsecurityanditsperceptionofthe
WestshostilitytoithasbeentheprincipaldriverofRussiansecuritypolicy.TherejectionofexpansionbyNATO
andtheEUintocountriesapparentlygenuinelyviewedbyRussianpolicymakersaswithintheirsphereof
privilegedinterests,coupledwiththefearoftheWesternsecurityandpoliticalorderapproachingRussias
borders,wasthekeymotivatorbehindthewarwithGeorgiaandtheundeclaredwaragainstUkraine.This
underlyingRussianworldviewisunlikelytochangeintheforeseeablefuture.

TheemergingnewsecurityorderwithNATOrethinkingitspostColdWarpostureforthefirsttimeina
quartercenturyandrebuildingitsdeterrentcapabilitiesandwithRussiabuildingupitsmilitarycapabilitiesalong
itswesternborderisunstableandunpredictable.BothRussiaandtheWestfeelinsecureandcompelledtodo
more,raisingtherisksofanescalatorydynamicinthenameofdefenseanddeterrence.

NothingjustifiesRussiasundeclaredwaragainstUkraine,whichviolatedmultipleRussianinternational
commitmentsandhastriggeredtheworstpoliticalandsecuritycrisisinEuropeinageneration.However,in
devisingtheirresponsetoRussianactions,Westernpolicymakersshouldbeclearaboutthedriversand
motivationsofRussianactionstheinsecurityandperceptionofvulnerabilityasregardstheWest,ingrainedin
Russiasnationalsecurityestablishmentforageneration.Westernpolicymakersshouldalsobeclearthat
MoscowhasneveracceptedtheargumentthattheexpansionofWesterninstitutionswasmeantasamove
towarditratherthanagainstit.

WesterndiscussionsaboutthenewlydiscoveredvulnerabilityofNATOalliesthatborderRussia,especiallythe
Balticstates,mustnotoverlookthefactthattheBalticstatesmembershipinNATOhasmeanttoRussian
militaryplannersthatNATO,stillseenasahostilealliance,isnowonly100milesfromSaintPetersburg,andthat
thecurrentbuildupofNATOcapabilitiesintheBalticstatesisoccurringlessthanatwo-hourdrivefromRussias
secondmostimportantcity.Westernpolicymakersshouldhavenoillusionsthatthebuildupofdefenseand
deterrentcapabilitiesinthefrontlinestateswillhaveastabilizingeffectonthestandoffbetweenNATOand
Russia.ThebuildupofRussiananti-accessandarea-denial(A2/AD)capabilitiesinCrimeaandKaliningradand
threatstodeploynuclearweaponstherearestrongindicatorsthattensionswillincreaseratherthansubsidein
theseregions.158

Inthiscontext,themostdisturbingaspectofthisrenewedadversarialrelationshipisthereturnofthespecterof
nuclearwartotheEuropeancontinent.Russiaslong-standingperceivedinferiorityvis--visNATOs
conventionalcapabilitiesandtheirproximitytotheRussianheartlandhavegivenrisetoamilitarystrategythat
assignsacriticalroletolimitednuclearstrikesearlyinaconflictasameansofthwartingNATOsconventional
dominanceandendingtheconflictbeforeitresultsindevastatinglossestotheheartland.Defenseofthe
homelandhastakenonenhancedprioritybecauseafterthelossoftheouterandinnerempiresandtheexpansion
ofNATO,ithasbecometheforwardareainanyfutureconflictbetweenRussiaandNATO.

Needlesstosay,anyuseofnuclearweaponswillbeadecisionmadebyRussiaspoliticalleadership,andexpert
writingsaboutearlynuclearuseshouldnotbetreatedasareliableindicatoroffutureRussianactions.
Nonetheless,theprominenceofnuclearweaponsinRussianstrategicthoughtisindicativeofthecountrys
perceivedvulnerabilitiesandintensityoftheadversarialrelationshipwiththeWest.

FortheUnitedStatesanditsallies,thisposesadauntingchallengehowtorespondtoRussianactionsina
mannerthatensuresacredible,robustdeterrentposturethatisstabilizinganddoesnotfeedRussiasworst
perceptionsofitsownvulnerabilities.Relianceonnucleardeterrenceinthiscontextcouldproveescalatoryand
reinforceRussianmilitaryplannersnuclearleanings,whilerelianceonconventionalmeanswouldunderscore
Russiasperceivedvulnerabilities.

NowherewilltheadversarialrelationshipbetweenRussiaand
theWestplayoutwithgreaterintensitythaninEastern
Europe.

NowherewilltheadversarialrelationshipbetweenRussiaandtheWestplayoutwithgreaterintensitythanin
EasternEuropethestatesoftheformerSovietUnionthathavenotjoinedtheEuro-Atlanticpolitical,
economic,andsecurityinstitutionsandareunwillingtojointheRussian-dominatedcounterpartEurasian
structures.Armenia,Azerbaijan,Belarus,Georgia,Moldova,andUkrainehavebecomethebattlegroundstates,
toonedegreeoranotherpulledindifferentdirectionsinthegeopoliticaltug-of-warbetweenRussiaandthe
West.

Much,ifnotmost,oftheattentionfollowingRussiasaggressionagainstUkrainehasbeenfocusedontheBaltic
statesastheNATOalliesmostexposedandvulnerabletoRussianattack.Balticdefenseisundoubtedlyamajor
challengeforthealliance.However,Russianactionsbefore,during,andsincetheaggressionagainstUkraine
suggestthatMoscowstilltakesNATOsArticle5securityguaranteeofitsmembersseriouslyandthatitisnot
preparedtotestthatguaranteedirectly.Rather,itsactionsinformationandcyberoperations,airspace
violations,nuclearsaberrattling,andthelikeappearaimedatcreatinganairofuncertaintyaboutthat
guaranteeandunderminingmemberstatesconfidenceinit.Russianleadershavedemonstratedtwicebytheir
actionsinGeorgiain2008andinUkrainesince2014thattheytakethatguaranteeseriously.Russianleaders
wenttowartwicetopreventthetwocountriesfrommovingclosertotheWestandeventuallyastheysawit
joiningNATO.

TheexperiencesofUkraineandGeorgiahaveprofoundimplicationsforthesixbattlegroundstates.Lacking
NATOssecurityguarantee,theyremaininwhatMoscowperceivesasitssphereofprivilegedinterests.Itis
preparedtouseallavailablemeans,includingmilitaryforce,tokeeptheminthatsphere.AslongastheWestis
notpreparedtoconsignthesestatestotheRussiansphere,theybecomethearenaforEast-Westcompetition.

Despitethisadversarialrelationship,inmanyinstances,theUnitedStatesanditsallieswillhavenochoicebutto
cooperatewithRussia,oratleastseekitsconsenttopursuetheirinterestsinEurasia.Besidestheobvious
examplesofSyria,Afghanistan,ornucleartalkswithIran,inallofwhichRussiahasplayedanimportantpart,
futureexamplesofsuchsituationsmayinvolvecontingenciesinEasternEurope,theSouthCaucasus,orCentral
Asia.Inallofthoselocations,whetherforreasonsofgeography,politics,oreconomics,theUnitedStatesandits
allieswillneedtogetRussiaonboardtobeabletorespondtonaturaldisasters,humanitariancrises,regional
conflicts,orotherunforeseenevents.

AbsentmajorchangesinoutlookonthepartofeitherRussia
orNATO,thisadversarialrelationshipwillremainthekey
featureoftheEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderfortheforeseeable
future.

Moreover,evenintimeswhencircumstancesforceRussiaandtheWesttocooperate,Russiaislikelytosustain
itsotherdestabilizingbehaviors.Theuseofmeasuresshortofwareconomicleversinstatesthatarevulnerable,
suchasBulgaria,Cyprus,orGreeceandbribery,blackmail,infiltrationofintelligenceoperatives,andan
assortmentofothertacticswillbepartofthetoolkitdeployedbyRussianpolicymakersintimesofcrisis,aswell
asinpeacetimeaspartofthenormalcontinuationofwarfarebyothermeans.

Russiasrelianceontheseformsofcompetitionshortofoutrightwarfareisfullyjustifiedintheeyesofthe
countryssecurityestablishmentasasymmetricmeanswarrantedbytheperceivedRussia-NATOimbalance.
RussianrelianceonthemandtheintensityofitsoppositiontotheEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderareunlikelyto
diminishifitseconomicprospectsordomesticstabilityerode.Onthecontrary,suchreliancemaybecomeeven
greaterasotherinstrumentsinitstoolkitbecomescarcer.

AsseenfromRussia,theenvironmentinEuropeandEurasiahasleftMoscowwithoutreliablepartners,letalone
allies.NATOsexpansionhaspositionedthealliance,viewedbyRussianelitesasadversarial,onthecountrys
doorstep,farcloserthanithaseverbeen.TheothersideofthiscoinisthatRussiaisonNATOsdoorstepasit
hasneverbeenbefore.Theresultisastateofprofoundmutualinsecurity.Absentmajorchangesinoutlookon
thepartofeitherRussiaorNATO,thisadversarialrelationshipwillremainthekeyfeatureoftheEuro-Atlantic
securityorderfortheforeseeablefuture.Eventually,itwilltakeapolitical,notamilitary,solutiontoaddressthese
tensions.

Notes
1AEuropeWholeandFree,transcriptofremarksbyPresidentGeorgeH.W.BushtothecitizensinMainz,
FederalRepublicofGermany,U.S.DiplomaticMissiontoGermany,May31,1989,
http://usa.usembassy.de/etexts/ga6-890531.htm.

2DmitriTrenin,TheCrisisinCrimeaCouldLeadtheWorldIntoaSecondColdWar,Guardian,March2,
2014,http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/02/crimea-crisis-russia-ukraine-cold-war.

3ThisissueisdiscussedindetailinRajanMenonandEugeneRumer,ConflictinUkraine:TheUnwinding
ofthePostColdWarOrder(Cambridge,MA:MITPress,2015).

4OrganizationforSecurityandCooperationinEurope(OSCE),HelsinkiFinalAct,August1,1975,
http://www.osce.org/mc/39501.

5OSCE,CharterofParisforaNewEurope,November21,1990,http://www.osce.org/node/39516.

6EuropeanUnion,TreatyofMaastrichtonEuropeanUnion,February7,1992,http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-
content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:xy0026.

7,:,

,281992,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/31532.

8Ibid.

9YevgeniyAmbartsumov,InteresyRossiiNeZnayutGranits[Russianinterestsknownoborders],
Megapolis-Express,May6,1992.

10AleksandrVladislavlevandSergeyKaraganov,TyazhkiyKrestRossii[Russiasheavycross],
NezavisimayaGazeta,November11,1992.

11TimothyHeritage,Grachev:NATOGrowthaThreat,MoscowTimes,March28,1996,
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/grachev-nato-growth-a-threat/326450.html.

12JanePerlez,YeltsinUnderstandsPolishBidforaRoleinNATO,NewYorkTimes,August26,1993,
http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/26/world/yeltsin-understands-polish-bid-for-a-role-in-nato.html.

13RogerCohen,YeltsinOpposesExpansionofNATOinEasternEurope,NewYorkTimes,October2,
1993,http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/02/world/yeltsin-opposes-expansion-of-nato-in-eastern-europe.html.

14Ibid.

15JamestownFoundation,ChubaisDemandsCompensationforNATOEnlargement,Monitor3,no.84
(April1997).

16SamuelHuntington,TheClashofCivilizationsandtheRemakingofWorldOrder(NewYork:Simon&
Schuster,1996)ZbigniewBrzezinski,TheGrandChessboard:AmericanPrimacyandItsGeostrategic
Imperatives(NewYork:BasicBooks,1997).

17DouglasJ.Gillert,AfterJumping,BattalionLearnstoCrawl,DoDNews,U.S.DepartmentofDefense,
October1,1997.

18ModestKolerov,BezSSSR[WithouttheUSSR](Moscow:Regnum,2008).
19Http://www.pressarchive.ru/nijegorodskie-novosti/1999/08/21/135100.html(pagediscontinued).

20:,
,,172015,http://glavred.info/mir/zhurnalist-rf-o-motivacii-putina-pomnit-sudby-
miloshevicha-kaddafi-i-dedushki-pinocheta-323242.html.

21CelesteA.Wallander,RussianNationalSecurityPolicyin2000(PONARS[ProgramonNewApproaches
toRussianSecurity]PolicyMemo102,DavisCenterforRussianStudies,HarvardUniversity,2000)Nikolai
Sokov,TheViewsoftheMilitaryLeadership,inModernizationofStrategicNuclearWeaponsinRussia:The
EmergingNewPosture(PONARSWorkingPaperNo.6,DavisCenterforRussianStudies,Harvard
University,May1998).

22GrossDomesticProduct:Russia19902014,WorldMacroeconomicResearch,19702014,
http://www.kushnirs.org/macroeconomics_/en/russia__gdp.html.

23PutinsPreparedRemarksat43rdMunichConferenceonSecurityPolicy,WashingtonPost,February12,
2007,http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/12/AR2007021200555.html.

24UweKlumann,MatthiasSchepp,andKlausWiegrefe,NATOsEastwardExpansion:DidtheWestBreak
ItsPromisetoMoscow?,SpiegelOnline,November26,2009,
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nato-s-eastward-expansion-did-the-west-break-its-promise-to-
moscow-a-663315.html.

25MaryEliseSarotte,ABrokenPromise?WhattheWestReallyToldMoscowAboutNATOExpansion,
ForeignAffairs,September/October2014,http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2014-08-
11/broken-promise.

26SergeyLavrov,Democracy,InternationalGovernance,andtheFutureWorldOrder,RussiainGlobal
Affairs,no.1(February9,2005):http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/number/n_4422.

27CheneyChidesRussiaonDemocracy,BBC,May4,2006,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4972464.stm.

28StevenErlanger,Putin,atNATOMeeting,CurbsCombativeRhetoric,NewYorkTimes,April5,2008,
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/05/world/europe/05nato.htmlTextofPutinsSpeechatNATOSummit
(Bucharest,April2,2008),UnianInformationAgency,April18,2008,http://www.unian.info/world/111033-
text-of-putins-speech-at-nato-summit-bucharest-april-2-2008.html.

29MedvedevonRussiasInterests,Economist,September1,2008,
http://www.economist.com/blogs/certainideasofeurope/2008/09/medvedev_on_russias_interests.

30ChristianLowe,GeorgiaWarShowsRussianArmyStrongbutFlawed,Reuters,August20,2008,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-georgia-ossetia-military-idUSLK23804020080820.

31RussianMilitaryCapability,FOI(SwedishDefenceResearchAgency),http://www.foi.se/en/Our-
Knowledge/Security-policy-studies/Russia/Russian-Military-Capability/.

32DmitryMedvedevsBuildingProject,Economist,November26,2009,
http://www.economist.com/node/14973198.

33UkrainesParliamentVotestoAbandonNatoAmbitions,BBC,June3,2010,
http://www.bbc.com/news/10229626.

34DavidM.HerszenhornandEllenBarry,LargeAnti-PutinProtestSignalsGrowingResolve,NewYork
Times,June12,2012,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/world/europe/anti-putin-demonstrators-gather-in-
moscow.htmlHundredsDetainedAfterMoscowAnti-PutinProtest,Guardian,March5,2012,
http://www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2012/mar/05/russian-election-reaction-putin-liveRussianPresident
DmitryMedvedevAdmitsPoliticalReformNecessary,Telegraph,December22,2011,
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8972807/Russian-President-Dmitry-Medvedev-
admits-political-reform-necessary.html.
35Russia,SovietStyle,NewYorkTimes,June12,2012,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/opinion/russia-soviet-style.html.

36KarounDemirjian,MeanwhileinRussia,PutinPassesLawAgainstProtests,WashingtonPost,July22,
2014,http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/07/22/meanwhile-in-russia-putin-passes-
law-against-protests/MiriamElder,RussiansFearCrackdownasHundredsAreArrestedAfterAnti-Putin
Protest,Guardian,March6,2012,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/06/russians-crackdown-anti-
putin-protestKathyLallyandKarenDeYoung,PutinAccusesClinton,U.S.ofFomentingElectionProtests,
WashingtonPost,December8,2011,http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/putin-accuses-clinton-us-
of-stirring-election-protests/2011/12/08/gIQA0MUDfO_story.html.

37D.GarrisonGolubock,CultureMinistryAffirmsRussiaIsNotEurope,MoscowTimes,April7,2014,
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/culture-ministry-affirms-russia-is-not-europe/497658.html.

38VladimirPutin,ANewIntegrationProjectforEurasia:TheFutureintheMaking,Izvestia,October3,

2011,asreprintedbythePermanentMissionoftheRussianFederationtotheEuropeanUnion,
http://www.russianmission.eu/en/news/article-prime-minister-vladimir-putin-new-integration-project-eurasia-
future-making-izvestia-3-.

39Ibid.

40EuropeanNeighbourhoodPolicy(ENP),EuropeanUnionexternalaction,http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/.

41OleksandrSushko,AForkintheRoad?UkraineBetweenEUAssociationandtheEurasianCustoms
Union(PONARSEurasiaPolicyMemoNo.293,September2013)tefanFle,StatementonthePressure
ExercisedbyRussiaonCountriesoftheEasternPartnership,pressrelease,EuropeanCommission,September
11,2013.

42AlexandraMcLeesandEugeneRumer,SavingUkrainesDefenseIndustry,CarnegieEndowmentfor

InternationalPeace,July30,2014,http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/07/30/saving-ukraine-s-defense-
industry.

4316%ofNaturalGasConsumedinEuropeFlowsThroughUkraine,U.S.EnergyInformation
Administration,March14,2014,http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=15411.

44JudyDempsey,U.S.SenatorUrgesUseofNATODefenseClauseforEnergy,InternationalHerald
Tribune,November28,2006,http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/28/world/europe/28iht-nato.3702073.html.

45Formoreonthis,seeMenonandRumer,ConflictinUkraine.

46DanLamothe,RussiaIsGreatestThreattotheU.S.,SaysJointChiefsChairmanNomineeGen.Joseph
Dunford,WashingtonPost,July9,2015,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/07/09/russia-is-greatest-threat-to-the-u-s-says-
joint-chiefs-chairman-nominee-gen-joseph-dunford/.

47JulianE.Barnes,NATOsBreedloveCallsforSharperFocusonRussiaAheadofDeparture,WallStreet
Journal,May1,2016,http://www.wsj.com/articles/natos-breedlove-calls-for-sharper-focus-on-russia-ahead-
of-departure-1462115561TheodoreSchleiferandJimSciutto,TopArmyLeader:RussiaIsMost
DangerousThreatFacingU.S.,CNN,August12,2015,http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/12/politics/russia-
army-leader-dangerous-odierno/.

48TheRussianNavy:AHistoricTransition,OfficeofNavalIntelligence,December18,2015,
http://news.usni.org/2015/12/18/document-office-of-naval-intelligence-report-on-russian-navy.

49,,,,,15
2016,http://www.ng.ru/courier/2016-02-15/9_friends.html.

50,,11
2015,http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50913.
51,,31
2015,http://kremlin.ru/acts/news/51129.

52,:
,,102015,http://www.ng.ru/news/519934.html?
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53NATO-RussiaRelations:TheFacts,NorthAtlanticTreatyOrganization,lastupdatedDecember17,2015,

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_111767.htm.

54,,,23
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55RussianNationalSecurityStrategy,December2015Full-TextTranslation,InstitutoEspaoldeEstudios

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56Transcript:InterviewWithSergeiIvanov,FinancialTimes,June21,2015,
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57,,,222015,

http://m.rg.ru/2015/12/22/patrushev-site.html.

58,:,
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59,,.,29,2015,

http://lenta.ru/articles/2015/12/29/alone/,:
.

60,.

61,.
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62,:.

63,:,,15
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64,2023-:,
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653.,,302015,
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66,:,

,,252015,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/28148.

67:,,
222016,http://tass.ru/ekonomika/3303885,,,
292016,http://kommersant.ru/doc/2975531.

68,,,182015,http://vpk-

news.ru/articles/24284.

69Ibid.
70NATOCondemnsPutinsNuclearSabre-Rattling,BBC,June16,2015,

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33153703AdamWithnall,RussiaThreatensDenmarkWithNuclear
WeaponsifItTriestoJoinNATODefenceShield,Independent,March22,2015.

71DavidLermanandTerryAtlas,RussiasSaber-RattlingThreatensStability,U.S.Says,Bloomberg,June
25,2015,http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-threatens-denmark-with-nuclear-weapons-
if-it-tries-to-join-nato-defence-shield-10125529.html.

72,,,

,272015,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2015-11-27/1_stairway.html.

73MaryC.Fitzgerald,MarshalOgarkovonModernWar:19771985,ProfessionalPaper443.10,Center
forNavalAnalyses,revisedNovember1986.

74DoctorStrangeloveDoomsdayMachine,YouTubevideo,postedbyliberalartist6,July31,2010,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yfXgu37iyI.

75RussiaRevealsGiantNuclearTorpedoinStateTVLeak,BBC,November12,2015,
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34797252.

76,,-,252015,
http://vpk-news.ru/articles/24405.

77DavidE.Hoffman,In1983WarScare,SovietLeadershipFearedNuclearSurpriseAttackbyU.S.,

WashingtonPost,October24,2015,http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-1983-war-
scare-soviet-leadership-feared-nuclear-surprise-attack-by-us/2015/10/24/15a289b4-7904-11e5-a958-
d889faf561dc_story.html.

78Forathoroughdiscussionofthis,seePavelPodvig,DidStarWarsHelpEndtheColdWar?Soviet
ResponsetotheSDIProgram(workingpaper,RussianNuclearForcesProject,March17,2013).

79:,

,182015,http://ria.ru/interview/20150218/1048334517.html.

80Ibid.

81,,-,13

2014,http://www.vko.ru/strategiya/v-poiskah-strategicheskoy-stabilnosti.

82,,
,282012,http://nvo.ng.ru/armament/2012-09-
28/11_satan.html.

83,-,282013,http://vpk-

news.ru/news/16557.

84Ibid,,.,18

2004,http://polit.ru/article/2004/11/18/slipch/,
,,2013,http://www.intertrends.ru/thirty-
second/Volodin.pdf...
,Viperson.ru,302012,http://viperson.ru/wind.php?ID=652675.

85,
,:
,-,,,20
2020.,http://www.armscontrol.ru/pubs/em092012.htm.

86,,,-
,132014,http://www.vko.ru/geopolitika/ugrozy-bezopasnosti-rossii.
87,,,-,-
,212015,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/27617.

88Ibid.

89RussiaHasDeliveredOver1,000AirstrikesinSyriaSinceStartofYearGeneral,TASS,January11,

2016,http://tass.ru/en/defense/848749.

90,,,23

2014,http://www.ng.ru/armies/2014-09-23/1_rogozin.html.

91StepanKravchenko,PutinTellsDefenseChiefstoStrengthenRussianNuclearForces,Bloomberg,

December11,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-11/putin-tells-defense-chiefs-to-
strengthen-russian-nuclear-forces.

92,

,,122014,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2014-09-
12/1_oborona.html.

93,:4202,

,,222015,
http://www.mk.ru/politics/2015/07/22/istochnik-rossiya-ispytyvaet-giperzvukovoy-obekt-4202-kotoryy-
obescenit-amerikanskuyu-pro.html.

94,-.,

,162014,http://www.ng.ru/armies/2014-12-16/3_kartblansh.html.

95,:4202,

,,222015,
http://www.mk.ru/politics/2015/07/22/istochnik-rossiya-ispytyvaet-giperzvukovoy-obekt-4202-kotoryy-
obescenit-amerikanskuyu-pro.html.

96PetrTopychkanov,IsRussiaAfraidofChineseandIndianMissiles?CarnegieMoscowCenter,November

3,2014,http://carnegie.ru/2014/11/03/is-russia-afraid-of-chinese-and-indian-missiles.

97,Newsru.com,4

2015,http://www.newsru.com/russia/04jul2015/midnukes.html.

98,,,3

2014,http://nvo.ng.ru/nvo/2014-10-03/1_strike.html.

99,,,-
,272016,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/30420.

100:,
-,282013,http://file-rf.ru/context/2324.

101Ibid.

102,,

,152016,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2016-01-15/10_infowar.html.

103:,

-,282013,http://file-rf.ru/context/2324.

104ThedoctrineoftheRussianFederationInformationSecurity(inRussian),

http://www.scrf.gov.ru/documents/6/5.html.

105:,,13

2013,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2001-12-26/1_war.html.
106,,31

2015,http://kremlin.ru/acts/news/51129.

107AgenceFrance-Presse,VladimirPutinWarnsRussianstoAvoidGoogle:TheInternetIsaCIASpecial

Project,RawStory,April24,2014,http://www.rawstory.com/2014/04/vladimir-putin-warns-russians-to-
avoid-google-the-internet-is-a-cia-special-project/RussiaandChinaWantMoreControlOvertheInternet,
Stratfor,August14,2015,http://www.stratfor.com/sample/analysis/russia-and-china-want-more-control-over-
internet.

108,:,

,212016,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/04/21/ru-63383/ixdw,
,,32015,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2781186.

109,,122016,

http://www.ng.ru/editorial/2016-02-12/2_red.htmlRussiasChiefInternetCensorEnlistsChinasKnow-How,
FinancialTimes,April27,2016.

110,.,,1

2016,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/02/01/ru-62632/itei.

111MasterCard,VisaNowProcessRussianPaymentsThroughSanction-ProofSystem,MoscowTimes,May

28,2015,http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/mastercard-visa-now-process-russian-payments-
through-sanction-proof-system/522576.html.

112TASS,RussiaMayUseChinasPaymentInfrastructureInsteadofSWIFTVTBBankHead,Russia

BeyondtheHeadlines,March11,2015,
http://in.rbth.com/news/2015/03/11/russia_may_use_chinas_payment_infrastructure_instead_of_swift_vtb_bank_h_41911.

113RussiaBrainstormsStrategytoReplaceBannedWesternDefenseImports,MoscowTimes,August14,

2014,http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/russia-brainstorms-strategy-to-replace-banned-
western-defense-imports/505133.html.

114PutinsDeoffshorizationBringsMajorFirmsBacktoTaxman,MoscowTimes,December20,2013,

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/putins-deoffshorization-brings-major-firms-back-to-
taxman/491910.html.

115UriFriedman,SmartSanctions:AShortHistory,ForeignPolicy,April23,2012,

http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/04/23/smart-sanctions-a-short-history/.

116RobinNiblett,NATOMustFocusontheHybridWarsBeingWagedontheWest,FinancialTimes,July

17,2014,http://next.ft.com/content/3192c7a0-0cd2-11e4-bf1e-00144feabdc0JohnVandiver,SACEUR:
AlliesMustPrepareforRussiaHybridWar,StarsandStripes,September4,2014,
http://www.stripes.com/news/saceur-allies-must-prepare-for-russia-hybrid-war-1.301464.

117Vandiver,HybridWar.

118,(:,2015),
http://lib100.com/book/other/hybrid_war/_%D0%9C%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B2
%D0%A1.%D0%90.,
%D0%93%D0%B8%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B4%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%8F
%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%B9%D0%BD%D0%B0
%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%B2
%D0%A0%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D0%B8.pdf,
,-,182016,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2961578:
,.,242015,http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=2529147.

119,,,142014,http://topwar.ru/56079-
gibridnaya-voyna.html,:
(II),,132015,
http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2015-03-13/1_gybrid2.html,:
,,222016,
http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2014-10-10/1_nato.html.

120,:,
,222016,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2014-10-10/1_nato.html.

121,,,302015,
http://topwar.ru/75928-mif-o-gibridnoy-voyne.html.

122Ibid.

123ShaunWalker,AlexisTsiprasinMoscowAsksEuropetoEndSanctionsAgainstRussia,Guardian,April
8,2015,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/08/alexis-tsipras-in-moscow-asks-europe-to-end-
sanctions-against-russiaGeorgiGotev,BulgarianParliamentAlmostRejectedtheEUSanctionsAgainst
Russia,EurActiv,October8,2015,http://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/bulgarian-
parliament-almost-rejected-the-eu-sanctions-against-russia/.

124IvoOliveira,NationalFrontSeeksRussianCashforElectionFight,PoliticoEurope,February19,2016,
http://www.politico.eu/article/le-pen-russia-crimea-putin-money-bank-national-front-seeks-russian-cash-for-
election-fight/.

125MelanieAmannetal.,TheHybridWar:RussiasPropagandaCampaignAgainstGermany,Spiegel
Online,January30,2016,http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/putin-wages-hybrid-war-on-germany-
and-west-a-1075483.htmlTheCzechsandRussia:SpyVersusPolitician,Economist,October29,2014,
http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2014/10/czechs-and-russiaGregoryFeiferandBrian
Whitmore,CzechPowerGames:HowRussiaIsRebuildingInfluenceintheFormerSovietBloc,RadioFree
Europe/RadioLiberty,September25,2010,
http://www.rferl.org/content/Czech_Mate_How_Russia_Is_Rebuilding_Influence_In_The_Former_Soviet_Bloc/2168090.html
AleksTapinsh,LatviaSeesGoodandBadasRussianMoneyHaven,Reuters,October23,2012,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-latvia-russia-banks-idUSBRE89M0S120121023.

126,,,231995,
http://medium.com/@OpenUni/--1995-23------
-9785d26186b2#.byb71wmzt.

127DmitryZhdannikovandGuyFaulconbridge,KhodorkovskySaysPutinIsLeadingRussiaToward
Stagnation,Collapse,Reuters,November27,2015,http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-khodorkovsky-
west-idUSKBN0TF23920151126.

128Forthepurposesofthisanalysis,atacticalmovebyPutintotheprimeministersofficewouldnotconstitutea
meaningfulbreakwithPutinism.ThisanalysisalsoassumesthatPutinremainshealthyandthattherewillbeno
coupagainsthimfortheremainderofhiscurrentterm.

129Politburo2.0andPost-CrimeanRussia,MinchenkoConsulting,October22,2014,
http://www.minchenko.ru/netcat_files/File/Politburo_2014_ENG1_pre_final1.pdfRussia:TheStrugglesWithin
PartI,Stratfor,January9,2008,http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/russia-struggles-within-part-i.

130NeilMacFarquhar,RussiansAnxietySwellsasOilPricesCollapse,NewYorkTimes,January22,2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/23/world/europe/russians-anxiety-swells-as-oil-prices-collapse.htmlTom
Balmforth,SacredGround:MuscovitesProtestChurchConstructioninPark,RadioFreeEurope/Free
Liberty,June26,2015,http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-moscow-church-protest-torfyanka-
park/27095836.htmlAlexeyMalashenko,DivisionsandDefianceAmongRussiasMuslims,Carnegie
MoscowCenter,November20,2015,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2015/11/20/divisions-and-defiance-
among-russia-s-muslims/im56MiriamElder,MoscowRiotsExposeRacismattheHeartofRussianFootball,
Guardian,December18,2010,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/19/spartak-moscow-race-riots-
ultranationalistAlexeyMalashenkoandAlexeyStarostin,TheRiseofNontraditionalIslamintheUrals,
CarnegieMoscowCenter,September30,2015,http://carnegie.ru/2015/09/30/rise-of-nontraditional-islam-in-
urals/iie6.
131BenJudah,PutinsMedievalPeacePactinChechnya,Bloomberg,April25,2013,
http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2013-04-25/putin-s-medieval-peace-pact-in-chechnyaMichael
Schwirtz,RussianAngerGrowsOverChechnyaSubsidies,NewYorkTimes,October8,2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/world/europe/chechnyas-costs-stir-anger-as-russia-approaches-
elections.htmlEx-MinisterSaysRussiaWillCutDefenseBudgetin23Years,TASS,January13,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/defense/849380RussiatoCutSocialSpendingin2016,RT,January14,2016,
http://www.rt.com/business/328915-russia-social-spending-2016/MoscowProtestersRallyAgainstBudget
CutsinScience,Education,RT,June6,2015,http://www.rt.com/news/265495-moscow-protest-science-
education/EugeneVorotnikov,GovernmentPlanstoCut10%OffUniversityFunding,UniversityWorld
News,February20,2015,http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20150220085025625.

132MikhailKrutikhin,GrabandShare:NewTaxProposalsforRussiasOilIndustry,CarnegieMoscow
Center,October15,2015,http://carnegie.ru/publications/?fa=61623,
,,242015,
http://www.rbc.ru/society/24/03/2015/551134c29a7947727d49866d,
,,30
2015,http://www.ng.ru/editorial/2015-12-30/1_otredaktora.html.

133RobertBurns(AssociatedPress),NATOOfficial:RussiaNowanAdversary,YahooNews,May1,2014,
http://www.yahoo.com/news/nato-official-russia-now-adversary-150211090--politics.html?ref=gs.

134NATOLeaderSaysRussiaBuildingArcofSteelinEurope,U.S.DepartmentofDefense,October6,
2015,http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/622080/nato-leader-says-russia-building-arc-of-
steel-in-europeNaftaliBendavid,NATORampsUpResponsetoRussia,WallStreetJournal,June24,
2015,http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-ramps-up-response-to-russia-1435174136.

135NeutralEuropeanCountries:Austria,Switzerland,Sweden,Finland,Ireland,SloveniaandNATO,
http://nato.gov.si/eng/topic/national-security/neutral-status/neutral-countries/TheEffectsofFinlandsPossible
NATOMembership,MinistryofForeignAffairsofFinland,April29,2016,
http://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?contentid=345685TomasBertelman,JohanMolander,andSven-Olof
Peterson,APowerfulCaseforSwedishMembershipinNATO,NATOSource(blog),AtlanticCouncil,
August21,2015,http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/a-powerful-case-for-swedish-membership-in-
nato.

136RichardFontaineandJulianneSmith,Anti-Access/AreaDenialIsntJustforAsiaAnymore,DefenseOne,
April2,2015,http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2015/04/anti-accessarea-denial-isnt-just-asia-
anymore/109108/.

137AgenceFrance-Presse,BelarusPoll:EULiftsSanctionsonLukashenkoEuropesLastDictator,
Guardian,October12,2015,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/13/belarus-poll-eu-lifts-sanctions-
on-lukashenko-europes-last-dictator.

138SabraAyres,AsBelarusEconomyFalters,LukashenkoLooksWest,AlJazeeraAmerica,January3,
2016,http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2016/1/as-belarus-economy-falters-lukashenko-looks-west.html.

139AnasMarin,TradingOffSovereignty.TheOutcomeofBelarussIntegrationWithRussiaintheSecurity
andDefenceField,OrodekStudiwWschodnich,April29,2013,
http://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/osw-commentary/2013-04-29/trading-sovereignty-outcome-belaruss-
integration-russiaChrisBiggers,RussianAirbaseinBelarusRemainsinLimbo,Bellingcat,December27,
2015,http://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/12/27/russian-airbase-belarus-remains-limbo/.

140YurasKarmanau(AssociatedPress),BelarusPresidentSaysHeDoesntWantRussianAirBase,Voice

ofAmerica,October6,2015,http://www.voanews.com/content/belarus-president-says-he-does-not-want-
russian-air-base/2993864.htmlChristopherHarress,ScaredbyUkraineWar,BelarusStrongmanLukashenko
MullsDitchingRussia,InternationalBusinessTimes,January31,2015,http://www.ibtimes.com/scared-
ukraine-war-belarus-strongman-lukashenko-mulls-ditching-russia-1801070MikalaiAnishchanka,IsBelarus
andRussiasBrotherlyLoveComingtoanEnd?Guardian,May29,2015,
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/28/belarus-russia-brotherly-love-ukraine-crisis.

141KitGillet,OppositionGroupsinMoldovaUnitetoProtestNewGovernment,NewYorkTimes,January
25,2016,http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/world/europe/oppositions-groups-in-moldova-unite-to-protest-
new-government.html.

142PersonalRemittances,Received(%ofGDP),database,WorldBank,
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.TRF.PWKR.DT.GD.ZS.

143MoldovanMigrantsDeniedRe-EntrytoRussia,DeutscheWelle,December21,2014,
http://www.dw.com/en/moldovan-migrants-denied-re-entry-to-russia/a-18144394.

144JeffreyMankoff,WhyRussiaandTurkeyFight:AHistoryofAntagonism,ForeignAffairs,February24,
2016,http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2016-02-24/why-russia-and-turkey-fight.

145SelinGirit,TurkeyFacesBigLossesasRussiaSanctionsBite,BBC,January2,2016,
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35209987.

146IshaanTharoor,HowRussiasPutinandTurkeysErdoganWereMadeforEachOther,WashingtonPost,
December2,2014,http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/12/02/how-russias-putin-and-
turkeys-erdogan-were-made-for-each-other/.

147Cengizandar,PutinSupportsErdoganinTurkey,butNotinSyria,Al-Monitor,September24,2015,
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/09/turkey-russia-putin-not-supports-erdogan-in-syria.html
NewsConferenceFollowingStateVisittoTurkey,OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,
December1,2014,http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/47126.

148Mankoff,WhyRussiaandTurkeyFightTurkeysDowningofRussianWarplaneWhatWeKnow,
BBC,December1,2015,http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34912581.

149AndreyBiryukov,PutinSaysTurkishStabinBackCausedRussianWarplaneCrash,Bloomberg,
November24,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-24/putin-says-turkish-stab-in-back-
caused-russian-warplane-crash.

150RaziyeAkkocandRolandOliphant,VladimirPutinRefusestoSpeaktoTurkishPresidentOverAnkaras
LackofApology,Telegraph,November27,2015,
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/12020980/Vladimir-Putin-refuses-to-speak-to-
Turkish-president-over-Ankaras-lack-of-apology.html.

151WorstinDecades,NoWaytoImproveforNowKremlinonRussia-TurkeyRelations,RT,February9,

2016,http://www.rt.com/news/331878-russia-turkey-relations-worst/.

152AzerbaijansEconomyinDireStraitsasOilPricesKeepTanking,Oilprice.com,January14,2016,
http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Azerbaijans-Economy-In-Dire-Straits-As-Oil-Prices-
Keep-Tanking.html.

153JackFarchy,BakuSeeksAlternativesasAzerbaijanOilProductionDeclines,FinancialTimes,March
12,2015,http://next.ft.com/content/b86cb5b4-be99-11e4-8036-00144feab7deAzerbaijancountryreport,
U.S.EnergyInformationAdministration,http://www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis.cfm?iso=AZE.

154RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty,AzerbaijanForcedtoCutBreadTaxesAfterWidespreadProtests,
Guardian,January15,2016,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/15/azerbaijan-forced-to-cut-bread-
taxes-after-widespread-protests.

155AzerbaijanCancelsEUDelegationVisitAfterCriticismofRightsRecord,Reuters,September11,2015,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-azerbaijan-europe-idUSKCN0RB1U920150911U.S.CriticizesAzerbaijan
Crackdown,RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty,December2,2014,http://www.rferl.org/content/journalists-in-
trouble-us-criticizes-azerbaijan-crackdown/26720682.html.

156Formoreonthis,seeEugeneRumer,RichardSokolsky,andPaulStronski,U.S.PolicyTowardCentral
Asia3.0,CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace,January25,2016.
http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/01/25/u.s.-policy-toward-central-asia-3.0/it2s.
157Ibid.

158SydneyJ.FreedbergJr.,RussiansinSyriaBuildingA2/ADBubbleOverRegion:Breedlove,Breaking

Defense,September28,2015,http://breakingdefense.com/2015/09/russians-in-syria-building-a2ad-bubble-
over-region-breedlove/StevenPifer,RussianNukesinCrimea?ABetterWaytoRespond,Brookings
Institution,February2,2015,http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2015/02/02-russia-nuclear-
weapons-crimea-better-us-response-piferStevenErlanger,NATORatchetsUpMissileDefenseDespite
RussianCriticism,NewYorkTimes,May5,2016,http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/world/europe/nato-
russia-poland.html.
From: rumereugene@gmail.com
Senttime: 07/06/201610:30:27PM
To: ChrisBort<chris.bort@gmail.com>
Cc: robertotto25@gmail.comChrisBort<chrisjb1@ucia.gov>
Subject: Re:RussiaandtheSecurityofEurope-CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace

Thanks.Hollerifsomethingoutrageous.Bobwillprobablyfindsomething.

SentfrommyiPad

OnJul7,2016,at3:10AM,ChrisBort<chris.bort@gmail.com>wrote:

Apologiesifyouvealreadyseenthis...

http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/06/30/russia-and-security-of-europe-pub-63990

RussiaandtheSecurityofEurope
RussiasannexationofCrimeainMarch2014wasthelateststepinMoscowslongprocessofrejectionofthe
postColdWarEuro-Atlanticsecurityorder,reflectingadeeplyheldviewthatisunlikelytochangeanytime
soon.WesternstrategywillneedtoadjusttoRussiasconceptionofitsinterestsandprioritiesinandaround
Europe.

TheReturnofGeopolitics

Russianelitesareguidedbyadeep-seatedsenseofvulnerabilityvis--vistheWestandfearWestern
encroachmentonthecountryssecurity,economic,andgeopoliticalinterests,aswellasontheirholdon
powerinRussia.
Theperceptionofvulnerabilityvis--vistheWestincludeseveryaspectofRussiaseconomy,politics,and
defense.ItisreinforcedbyRussianelitesconcernsabouttheinternalweaknessofthecountryandits
direction.Italsoservesasatoolfortheelitestomobilizethepopulationinthefaceofexternalthreats.The
elitesrecognizethatthecountryisinasystemiccrisisbutfearthatsolutionscouldprovedestabilizing.
ThelackofconfidenceintheirdefensecapabilitieshasledRussianmilitaryexpertstoconsiderstrategies
forearlynuclearescalationasadeterrentandcountermeasuretotheWestsperceivedconventional
superiority.TheWestsplansforimprovingconventionalcapabilitiesandmissiledefensesareeroding
Russianmilitaryplannersconfidenceintheirnucleardeterrent.
AsseenbyRussiasnationalsecurityestablishmentandpoliticalelites,thesecurityenvironmentalongthe
peripheryofRussiaisprecariousandaddstotheinternalchallengesfacingthecountry.Russianplanners
arebeingconfrontedwitharegionrifewithinstability,localconflicts,andforeignpowerstheyviewas
competingwithoropenlyhostiletoRussiaineverystrategicdirection.
Inthisenvironment,Russiaisresortingtoanarrayoftoolsfromnuclearsaberrattlingtointimidationof
smaller,weakerneighborstoinformationwarfare,cyberoperations,subversion,bribery,andotherpolitical
andeconomicmeasuresasmeansofhybridwarfareorcontinuationofpoliticsbyallavailablemeans.

ImplicationsforWesternPolicy

TheexperiencesofUkraineandGeorgiahaveprofoundimplicationsfornotonlythosecountriesbutalso
Armenia,Azerbaijan,Belarus,andMoldova.LackingtheNorthAtlanticTreatyOrganizations(NATOs)
securityguarantee,thesesixbattlegroundstatesremaininwhatMoscowperceivesasitssphereof
privilegedinterests.Itispreparedtousemilitaryforcetokeeptheminit.AstheWestisnotpreparedto
consignthesestatestotheRussiansphere,theybecomethearenaforEast-Westcompetition.
Russianactionsbefore,during,andsincetheaggressionagainstUkrainesuggestthatMoscowstilltakes
NATOsArticle5securityguaranteeofitsmembersseriously,andthatitisnotpreparedtotestthat
guaranteedirectly.RussianleaderswenttowartwicetopreventGeorgiaandUkrainefromeventually
astheysawitjoiningNATO.RatherthanchallengeNATOdirectly,Moscowwillcontinuetorelyonits
widearrayofhybridwarfaremethodstounderminememberstatesconfidenceinthealliance.
Westernpolicymakersshouldhavenoillusionsthatthebuildupofdefenseanddeterrentcapabilitiesinthe
frontlinestateswillhaveastabilizingeffectonthestandoffbetweenNATOandRussia.NATOsactionsin
theaftermathoftheUkrainecrisis,intendedtoshoreupthefrontlinestates,havetriggered
disproportionateRussianresponses,includingdeploymentofanti-accessandarea-denial(A2/AD)
capabilitiestoCrimeaandKaliningradaswellasthreatstodeploynuclearweaponsthere.
AbsentmajorchangesinRussias(orNATOs)outlook,thisadversarialrelationshipwillremainakey
featureoftheEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderfortheforeseeablefuture.Eventually,itwilltakeapolitical,not
amilitary,solutiontoresolvethisstandoff.

Introduction

TheannexationofCrimeabyRussiainMarch2014andtheundeclaredwaragainstUkrainethatfollowed
markedtheendofthepostColdWarperiodinEuropeanhistory.Russianactionshavedestroyedkeyelements
ofboththepostColdWarsecuritysystemandthepostWorldWarIIsecuritysysteminEuropethathad
survivedfornearlythree-quartersofacentury.ThedamagedonebyRussianactionsisdeepandlasting,with
pre-andpost-UkraineembodyingacleardividinglineinEuropeansecurityaffairs.Anewgeopoliticaldivisionof
Europehasemergedaswell.PuttingthepiecesbacktogetherinUkraineandshoringupaunitedEuropewill
stretchU.S.capabilities.ThesetwinchallengeswillremainastrategicimperativeforU.S.policymakersabsenta
majorshiftinRussianpositionswithrespecttoEuropeansecurityahighlyunlikelyoccurrencewithoutachange
inthecountrysleadershipandgoverningideology.

RussianactionsinUkraineandelsewhereinEuropehaveshockedbothEuropeanandU.S.nationalsecurityand
foreignpolicyestablishments.Few,ifany,analystsoneithersideoftheAtlantichadpredictedthatMoscow
wouldmovetodestroywhatwasenvisionedattheendoftheColdWarasEuropewhole,free,andatpeace
withitselfanditsneighbors.1RussianactionsagainstUkrainecameasasurpriseevenformanyseasoned
Russianforeignpolicyobservers.2ThedecisiontoseizeandsubsequentlyannexCrimeaandtolaunchthewarin
easternUkraineinsupportofRussian-inspiredseparatistswasmostlikelypartofaspontaneous,panicky
responsebyMoscowtotherapidlychangingpoliticalenvironmentinUkraineratherthananelementofalong-
term,well-thought-out,deliberatestrategy.3

However,acarefulexaminationofRussiasownnarrativeaboutEuropeanandEurasiansecurity,andits
evolutionsincetheendoftheColdWar,suggeststhatRussianactionsinUkrainewereentirelylogical,perhaps
eveninevitable,asanextensionofRussianthreatperceptions.AsseenfromMoscow,therapidchangesin
UkrainianpoliticsthecollapseofthepresidencyofViktorYanukovychandthecomingtopowerofapolitical
coalitionadvocatingUkrainespro-EuropeanandEuro-Atlanticorientation,includingeventualmembershipinthe
EuropeanUnion(EU)andtheNorthAtlanticTreatyOrganization(NATO)carriedwiththemprofound
geopoliticalconsequencesforRussia:theysignaledtheemergenceofnewthreatstoRussiassecurityrightatits
doorstep,threatsthatnoRussianleaderislikelytotoleratewithoutawholesalechangeinthecountrysideology
andunderstandingofitsnationalsecurity.

FromMoscowsperspective,itsactionsinUkrainerepresentedquintessentiallyaseriesofnecessarydefensive,
ratherthanoffensiveandexpansionist,measuresthatwereintendedtopreventanevenmoreseveregeopolitical
imbalanceonthecontinentresultingfromNATOandEUexpansionintoCentralandEasternEurope.Attheroot
oftheseactionswasasenseofvulnerabilityratherthanconfidenceinMoscowsrelationswiththeWest.
Ironically,thesecurityenvironmentaroundtheperipheryofRussiathathasemergedasaresultoftheannexation
ofCrimeaandthesubsequentaggressionagainstUkraineundoubtedlyleavesRussianmilitaryplannerswitha
greatersenseofvulnerability.

EuropeWhole,Free,andatPeaceWithItselfandItsNeighbors?

ThepeacefulendoftheColdWaranddissolutionoftheSovietUnionin1991signaledthedawnofanewerain
Europeansecurity.Aftertheideologicalandmilitarystandoffthathaddividedthecontinentformorethanfour
decades,EuropeincludingRussiawascomingtogetheronthebasisofanewvision,embracedbyallasthe
foundationforanewsecurityorder.

Thatsecurityorder,describedbyWesternleadersasEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfandits
neighbors,wouldnotrelyonsuchfamiliarconceptsasbalanceofpowerorbalanceofintereststomaintain
peaceonthecontinent.ItwouldinsteadrelyonallEuropeannationsincludingRussiamaintaininga
commitmenttosharedvaluesandadherencetoasetofkeyprinciplestoguidetheirforeignandsecuritypolicies.
Theseprincipleswererespectingtheindependence,sovereignty,andterritorialintegrityofallnationsrefraining
fromusingforcetosettleinternationaldisputesallowingfreedomofchoicebyallstatestopursuetheirforeign
policiesandenterintoalliancesanddemonstratingrespectforfundamentalhumanrightsandpersonalfreedoms
instatesdomesticpoliticalarrangements.

NoneofthesecommitmentsundertakenbyallEuropeannationsincludingRussiawerenew.Theyhadtheir
antecedentsintheUnitedNations(UN)charterattheendofWorldWarII,aswellasmorerecentlyinthe1975
HelsinkiFinalAct.4Asiftounderscoretheircommitmentsandrenewthemforthenewera,theheadsofstateor
governmentofallEuropeannations,Canada,andtheUnitedStatescametogetherin1990tosigntheCharterof
ParisforaNewEurope.5Inthatdocument,theywelcomedtheneweraofdemocracy,peaceandunityin
Europeand,amongotherthings,pledgedtosettledisputesbypeacefulmeansanddefenddemocratic
institutionsagainstactivitieswhichviolatetheindependence,sovereignequalityorterritorialintegrityofthe
participatingStates.

TheCharterofPariswasjoinedbytheSovietUnion,whosecommitmentswereassumedbyRussiauponits
dissolutionin1991.UkraineandotherformerSovietstatesalsojoinedtheOrganizationforSecurityand
CooperationinEurope,whichwasestablishedtoimplementthevisionoftheCharterofParis.

AnothermajorstepintheevolutionofEuropewasthesigningin1992oftheMaastrichtTreaty.6Itwasa
milestoneintheprocessofEuropeanintegrationalsoonthebasisofsharedvaluesthattransformedthe
EuropeanCommunityintotheEuropeanUnion.TheEUwouldpursuethegoalsofpromotingandstrengthening
democraticinstitutions,establishingamonetaryunion,anddevelopingacommonforeignandsecuritypolicy.

TheSovietUnionandsubsequentlyRussiaplayedessentialrolesinthistransformationoftheEuropeansecurity
landscape,havingconsentedtoshedtheouterandinnerempirespeacefullyinthelate1980sandearly1990s.
Atthetime,boththeSovietgovernmentandthegovernmentofthenewRussianstatedeclaredand
demonstratedindeedtheircommitmenttoupholdtheunderlyingprinciplesofEuropeansecurityandstability.

EarlySignsofTrouble

However,whiletherestofthecontinentcelebratedthedawnofanewpeacefulandharmoniouserainEuropean
historyandembracedthevisionofEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfanditsneighbors,Russiawas
havingsecondthoughts.TheideaofaEuropeansecuritysystembasedonavagueconceptofsharedvaluesdid
notsitwellwiththeRussianforeignpolicyandsecurityestablishment.Thus,speakingataforeignministry
conferencedevotedtoadiscussionofanewforeignpolicyconceptoftheRussianFederation,thenforeign
ministerAndreyKozyrevdeclaredthatRussiamustbecomeanormalgreatpower.7Thechairmanofthe
ForeignAffairsCommitteeoftheRussianDuma,YevgeniyAmbartsumov,welcomedtheforeignministers
proposalandwentfurther,declaringthatthetimehadcometoabandonidealisticdeclarationsinfavorof
realpolitik.8

AlthoughtheRussiangovernmentwaspreoccupiedatthetimewithaseeminglyendlesssuccessionofdomestic
crisesthatfollowedthedissolutionoftheSovietUnion,includingacollapsingeconomyandfiercepolitical
struggleintheRussianparliament,wherethereformagendaranintostrongopposition,theRussianforeignpolicy
establishmentarticulatedamoreambitiousvisionofthestatesintereststhanthedirestateofRussiasdomestic
politicsandeconomymighthavesuggested.Insharpcontrasttohisearlierconciliatorystatements,
AmbartsumovexplicitlylaidclaimtoRussiasspecialrights,evenresponsibilities,throughouttheterritoriesofthe
formerSovietstatesandsuggestedthatRussianintereststranscendedthebordersofthesenewlyindependent
states.9SergeyKaraganov,aleadingforeignpolicyscholarandfounderoftheCouncilonForeignandDefense
Policy,wroteinasimilarveinthatRussiahadnotjustasetofinterests,butaspecialmissionaheavycrossto
bearintheterritoriesoftheformerSovietUnion.10

RussiahadinheriteditsnationalsecurityestablishmentfromtheSovietUnion.Ambartsumov,Kozyrev,and
Karaganovrepresentedanewgenerationofforeignpolicythinkersandpractitionerswithrelativelyprogressive
attitudeswhocouldhavebeenexpectedtoholdmoreenlightenedviewsonrelationswithneighboringstatesand
thepostColdWarsecurityarrangementsinEurope.ButtheRussianmilitary,securityservices,anddiplomatic
establishmentwereallproductsoftheColdWarinwhichmistrustoftheWestwasdeepandnoteasilyovercome
bydeclarationsofpeacefulintentionsbyEuropeanandU.S.leaders.11

TheseearlysignalsthatsharedvaluesmaynotbesufficientforRussiaasthebasisforEuropeansecurityand
stabilitycouldhaveremainedalargelyinconsequentialdiscourseintherelativelynarrowandself-contained
communityofRussianforeignpolicyexperts.Foreignpolicyinthe1990stookabackseattodomesticaffairs,
especiallytheeconomy,whichwasthedominantconcernofthecountryselitesandthegeneralpublic.However,
thedebatewasbroughttotheforeofRussiandomesticpoliticsandEuropeandiscussionsaboutthecontinents
securityarchitecturebytwocriticallyimportantprocesses:enlargementoftheEUandNATO.

Thefirstmajorencountersignalingfuturetroublestookplacein1993.DuringanAugustmeetingwiththenPolish
presidentLechWasainWarsaw,thenRussianpresidentBorisYeltsininawrittenstatementexpressedhis
understandingofPolandsdesiretojoinNATO.12Kozyrevreportedlyechoedthatsentimentdespitehaving
beenopposedtotheideapreviously.However,justafewweekslater,inOctober1993,theRussianpresident
sentalettertothenU.S.presidentBillClintonstatinghisstrongoppositiontomembershipinthealliancefor
PolandoranyotherCentralorEasternEuropeancountry.13Yeltsinsapparentchangeofpositionwasreportedly
duetopressurefromtheRussianmilitaryestablishment,whichstillconsideredNATOathreat.14

ThelaunchofanactivediscussioninEuropeandtheUnitedStatesaboutNATOenlargementtransformedthe
initialcracksintheEuropeansecuritylandscapeintoamajordividebetweenRussiaandmostoftherestof
Europe.NATOalliesandaspirantsmaintainedthatexpandingthealliancewasintendednotasahostilestep
againstRussia,butthatbringingthezoneofstabilityandsecurityclosertoRussiasborderwouldonlybenefit
Moscow.Russiancounterargumentswerepreciselytheopposite,stressingthemilitarycapabilitiesthatNATO
expansionwouldinevitablybringclosertoRussianborders.(SeeRussiangovernmentthinktankmapsshowing
NATOenlargementinfigures1and2.)

<Figure_1_NATO_19902.jpg>

<Figure_2_NATO_Post20141.jpg>

RussianoppositiontoNATOenlargementwassharedbypoliticiansacrossthepoliticalspectrum.The
conservativewingofRussianpoliticsrepresentedbythenationalistsandtheCommunistsopposedthealliances
expansionforgeopoliticalandideologicalreasons.Theliberalsandreformersopposeditbecausetheysawitas
damagingtotheiralreadytenuouspositioninRussiandomesticpolitics,vulnerabletocriticismfromopponents
whoaccusedthemofbetrayingRussiannationalinterestandbeingagentsoftheWest.15

Thevalues-basedapproachtoEuropeansecuritywasfailingtogetrecognitioninRussiaforseveralreasons:
afternearlythree-quartersofacenturyunderanideologicallydrivenandfailedregime,thepopulationhadlittle
confidenceinideasingeneralthismistrustwasreinforcedbythenewRussiangovernmentsfailuretodeliverand
demonstratetothepublicthetangiblebenefitsofthenewrulingideologyofthemarketanddemocracy,asthe
countrylimpedfromonecrisistothenext.

AfterbeingcutofffromWesternpoliticalsciencefordecades,Russianinternationalrelationsscholarswere
avidlyabsorbingideasputforthbyleadingWesternpoliticalscientists.Themostprominentamongthemwere
SamuelHuntingtonandZbigniewBrzezinski,whosebooksTheClashofCivilizationsandtheRemakingof
WorldOrderandTheGrandChessboardrespectivelyapproachedcontemporaryinternationalrelationsfrom
pointsofviewthatrejectedtheveryideaofavalues-basedsecuritysysteminEuropeandEurasia.16
Huntingtonsvolume,asthetitlesuggests,predictedaconflictpittingWesterncivilizationanditsliberalideology
againstothercivilizationsguidedbyotherideas.BrzezinskiarguedthatitwasimportantfortheUnitedStatesto
preventanothermajorpowerreadRussiafromdominatingtheEurasianlandmass.

TheRussiangovernmentvehementlyopposedNATOs
interventioninYugoslaviaas,amongotherreasons,apotential
precedentforsimilaractionbyNATOinRussiaoraroundits
periphery.18

InlightofthesetwobooksbyleadingAmericanforeignpolicythinkerswidelyregardedinRussiaasspeakingfor
Washingtonsforeignpolicyestablishment,itwaseasyforRussianforeignandnationalsecuritypolicymakers,
manyofthemproductsoftheColdWar,tobeskepticalofU.S.andalliesreassurancesaboutvalues-based
securityarrangementsforEuropeandEurasia.WhiletheideaofNATOextendingitsmembershipbeyond
Europewasnotbroughtupeveninthemostambitiousdiscussionsofthealliancesfutureatthetime,NATOdid
extenditsreachintoCentralAsiathroughitsPartnershipforPeaceprogram.17Thatcouldhavebeeninterpreted
byRussianmilitaryplannersasamaneuvertoencircleRussia,notwithstandingthefactthatRussiaitselfhad
joinedthePartnershipforPeace.

AnotherfactorshapingRussianthreatperceptionswithrespecttoNATOandEuropeansecuritywastheconflict
intheformerYugoslavia.ForRussia,stillreelingfromthedissolutionoftheSovietUnionandstrugglingto
overcomemultiplepoliticalandeconomicchallenges,theviolentbreakupofYugoslaviawasacontinuing
reminderofthedangersithadbarelyescaped.TheRussiangovernmentvehementlyopposedNATOs
interventioninYugoslaviaas,amongotherreasons,apotentialprecedentforsimilaractionbyNATOinRussia
orarounditsperiphery.18TheRussianmilitarysbrutaltacticsduringthe19941996warinChechnyadrew
widespreadcondemnationfromtheWest.ThepossibilityofaNATOinterventioninthebreakawayrepublic,no
matterhowimprobabletomostseasonedobservers,wasnonethelesswidelydiscussedinRussia.19

TheargumentputforthbytheWestthatNATOsinterventioninYugoslaviawasmotivatedbyhumanitarian
considerationsonlyreinforcedRussianoppositiontothecampaignandresistancetoNATOsenlargement.From
thestandpointofRussiannationalsecurityplanners,theextraditionandtrialoftheformerYugoslavstrongman
SlobodanMiloeviundoubtedlyservedasareminderthatatsomefuturetimeaweakenedRussiangovernment
couldbeforcedtosurrendertheleadersofthemilitarycampaigninChechnyaandthattheywouldfind
themselvesontrialforwarcrimesbeforeaninternationaltribunal.20

FromthestandpointofRussiannationalsecurityplanners,theonlyguaranteeagainstsucheventswasthevast
nucleararsenalRussiahadinheritedfromtheSovietUnion.Russiannationalsecuritydocumentsfromthe1990s
onwardhavestressedtheuniqueroleofnuclearweaponsastheultimateperhapseventheonlyguaranteeof
Russiansovereigntyandstrategicindependence.21

ButalthoughnuclearweaponswereindispensableasaguaranteeagainstWesterninterventioninRussia,they
werefarlessusefulwhenitcametointerveningincrisesbeyondRussiasbordersandprojectingMoscows
interestsbeyondtheborders.ThenucleararsenalwasoflittleusewhenitcametodeterringNATOenlargement
everclosertoRussianbordersandsecuringasphereofinfluenceforRussiaarounditsperipheryalong-
standingRussianobjectivearticulatedasearlyas1992byleadingRussianforeignpolicythinkersand
practitioners.Forthat,Russiawouldhavetorebuilditsconventionalcapabilities,whichinturnwouldrequirea
commitmentofsignificanteconomicresources.

AStrongWarning

Duringthefirstdecadeofthetwenty-firstcentury,Russiaenjoyedamajoreconomicrebound.Inthedecade
fromthefinancialcollapseof1998totheendofVladimirPutinssecondpresidentialtermin2008,Russiangross
domesticproduct(GDP)grewfromjustunder$300billiontonearly$1.7trillionincurrentprices.22Asthe
economyreboundedanddomesticpoliticsstabilized,theRussiangovernmentassumedafarmoreprominent
positionintheinternationalarenathanduringthe1990s.Russiabecameafull-fledgedmemberoftheG8
industrializedeconomiesandasserteditselfasastrongandindependentvoiceonmajorissues,fromEuropean
securitytothewarinIraq.

ThemostnotableandforcefulstatementonforeignandsecuritypolicyfromthatperiodcamefromPutin
personally,deliveredattheMunichSecurityConferencein2007.Thespeech,describedbysomeinthe
audienceasColdWarlike,clearlylaidoutRussianrejectionofthepostColdWarsecurityorderinEurope.23
TheRussianpresidentcharacterizedNATOenlargementasaprovocativeunilaterallandgrabbytheU.S.-led
allianceseekingtoexpanditssphereofinfluence.InputtingitsmilitaryforcesrightuptoRussiasborder,Putin
said,NATOwasinviolationofassurancesgiventoRussiaattheendoftheColdWar.Thisunilateral,unipolar,
U.S.-centricsecuritymodel,heconcluded,wasunacceptable.

Moreover,accordingtothenarrativewidelyheldinRussiasnationalsecurityestablishment,NATOenlargement
wasnotonlyalandgrabthatupsetthegeopoliticalbalanceinEurope,butitalsoconstitutedaviolationof
assurancesgivenbyWesternleaderstothenSovietpresidentMikhailGorbachevthatinexchangeforGermanys
reunificationandNATOmembership,thealliancewouldnotexpandeastward.24Thenatureofthisclaimhas
beenrepeatedlydisputed.25Anddocumentaryevidencetosupportithasbeenambiguousatbesttosay
nothingofitspracticalirrelevance,fornobody,notevenRussianofficials,proposestoundoNATOenlargement.
Still,theideathattheWestbrokeitspromisehasbecomeanintegralpartofRussiandiscussionsaboutpost
ColdWarsecurityinEurope.

TheRussianpresidentcharacterizedNATOenlargementasa
provocativeunilaterallandgrabbytheU.S.-ledalliance
seekingtoexpanditssphereofinfluence.

RussianleadersopposedEuropespostColdWarsecurityorderalsoonideologicalgrounds.Theycriticized
U.S.andEuropeaneffortstopromotedemocracyaroundtheperipheryofRussiaasathinlydisguisedpursuitof
theWestsexpandedsphereofinfluence.26Theyalsoviewedtheeffortsasadeeplydestabilizingundertaking
thatthreatenedthestabilityandsecurityofneighboringstatesandevenheldoutthepossibilityofundermining
Russiasownhard-wondomesticstability.Beyondthat,thepushbytheWesttopromotedemocracyinside
RussiawasdeclaredbyRussianleadersasaviolationofRussiansovereigntyandpotentiallydestabilizingand
deeplythreateningtothePutinadministrationitself.

AsRussiasowndomesticpoliticstookonamoreauthoritarianturnandPutinconsolidatedmorepower,he
cameundercriticismfromWesternleaders.27CombinedwithenthusiasticWesternexpressionsofsupportforthe
RoseRevolutioninGeorgiain2003andtheOrangeRevolutioninUkrainein20042005bothcrisesinwhich
RussiaandtheWestwerepittedagainsteachotherthroughproxyfactionstheWestssupportfordemocracy
throughtheever-expandingreachoftheEUandNATOemergedasthemostcontentiousissueinrelationswith
Russia.BuildingonthemajorthemeofhisMunichaddress,PutindeliveredafurtherwarningtoNATOatthe
alliances2008Bucharestsummit.NATOspromiseoffuturemembershiptoGeorgiaandUkraine,hesaid,
constitutedadirectthreattoRussiansecurity.Inanominouspreviewoffutureevents,hespokeofthehistoric
tiesbetweenRussiaandtheethnicRussianpopulationsofeasternUkraineandCrimeaandthepopulations
desireforclosetieswiththemotherland.28

AsiftheRussianpresidentstwowarningswerenotenough,thewarwithGeorgiain2008sentafurther
messagetotheWest,aswellastoRussiasneighbors,thatPutinmeantwhathesaid.InastatementonRussian
televisionintheimmediateaftermathofthewarinGeorgia,thenpresidentDmitryMedvedevdeclaredcountries
aroundRussiasperipheryasasphereofRussiasprivilegedinterests.29NostatementdeliveredbyaRussian
leaderpriortothewarof2008hadsignaledwithgreaterclarityMoscowsrejectionofavalues-basedsecurity
systeminEurope.Medvedevwoulddividethecontinentintospheresofinterestsandinfluence,andhewasfully
committedtodefendRussiasspherefromencroachmentbyotherpowers.

ThewarinGeorgiadeliveredtwoverydistinctmessagestotwodifferentaudiences.TotheWest,themessage
wastostayoutofthesphereofRussiasprivilegedinterests.ToRussia,themessagewasthatdespitethe
successfulcampaignagainstitstinyneighbor,theRussianmilitarywasinneedoffar-reachingreform.30Russia
neededthecapabilitybeyonditsnucleararsenaltodefenditsinterestsanddeterthosewhomightconsider
infringingonthem.ThemilitaryreformlaunchedintheaftermathofthewarinGeorgiaandaprogramofmilitary
modernizationwereintendedtogiveRussiathecapabilitytodojustthat.31

TheBreak

The20082012interregnumbetweenPutinssecondandthirdtermsaspresidentwasaperiodofrelativecalm
inRussiasrelationswiththeWest.CombinedwiththeresetwithRussiabeginningin2009bytheadministration
ofU.S.PresidentBarackObama,otherimperativesthewarinAfghanistan,Iransnuclearprogram,thecrisis
inLibyatookprecedenceoverNATOenlargement.Atthesametime,newlylauncheddebatesinsideRussia
aboutdomesticpoliticalandeconomicmodernizationheldouttheprospectofRussiareturningtothepathof
democratizationandamorecooperativerelationshipwiththeWest.32Inaddition,NATOlackedthenecessary
consensustopushforGeorgiasmembershipintheallianceintheaftermathofthewarof2008.Andin2010,
UkraineremovedNATOmembershipfromitslistofnationalsecurityprioritiesaltogether.33

ThecalmwasbrokenbydevelopmentsinsideRussia.PutinsdecisiontoreclaimthepresidencyfromMedvedev
wasmetwithlarge-scaleprotestsunprecedentedinthehistoryofmodernRussiabyproponentsoffurther
politicalandeconomicreformsthathadbeendebatedduringMedvedevspresidency.34Theprotestswere
greetedintheWestasamanifestationofRussiasdemocraticspiritandpoliticalreawakening.35

TheresponsefromthePutinadministrationwasharsh.Itincludedaseriesofnewlegislativestepstolimitthe
Russianpublicsspaceforpoliticalprotestscourtactionsagainstprotestersandamediacampaignaccusingthe
WestofinstigatingprotestsinRussiatoundermineandweakenit.36TheWestwaspromotinginRussiavalues
thatwerealientoRussiansociety,theKremlincharged,embracingthesloganRussiaisnotEurope.37Putins
thirdtermbeganwithaclearjuxtapositionofRussiavs.theWestasaconflictdrivenbydifferentvaluessystems.
TwodecadesaftersigningontothevisionofEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfanditsneighbors,
Russiafinallyabandonedit.

PutinsthirdtermbeganwithaclearjuxtapositionofRussia
vs.theWestasaconflictdrivenbydifferentvaluessystems.
ThisbreakalsomanifesteditselfinRussianforeignpolicy,particularlyinrelationswiththeformerSovietstates.
BuildingonearlierRussianpronouncementsaboutasphereofinfluenceandinterests,andthedangerposedby
theWestsgeopoliticalexpansion,PutinelevatedEurasianintegrationthegatheringoftheformerSovietstates
aroundRussiatothetopofhisforeignpolicyagendaforhisthirdterm.38BuildingontheRussia-Kazakhstan-
Belaruscustomsunionestablishedin2000,PutinproposedtomovetowardaCommonEconomicSpace,
eventuallyproceedingtoapoliticalEurasianunion,allvaguelypatternedontheEUandrathertransparently
intendedtocreatearegionalcounterweighttoit.InPutinswords,theEurasianunionwouldbecomeapowerful
supranationalassociationcapableofbecomingoneofthepolesinthemodernworldareferencetothelong-
standingRussianpreferenceforamultipolarinternationalsystemandrejectionoftheU.S.-dominatedunipolar
world.39

PutinspolicyofEurasianintegrationstoodindirectconflictwiththeEUsEuropeanNeighborhoodPolicy,which
isintendedtobringcountriesontheEUseasternbordersclosertoitbyofferingthemAssociation
Agreements.40Theseagreementsaredesignedtopromotepolitical,economic,andrule-of-lawreformsin
countriesofEasternEuropeandencouragetheircloserpoliticalandcommercialtiestotheEU.SeveralEastern
EuropeancountriesArmenia,Georgia,Moldova,andUkrainewereintheprocessofnegotiatingAssociation
AgreementswiththeEUwhenPutinannouncedhisvisionofEurasianintegration.Ukrainewasthelargestamong
themandstrategicallythemostimportantforRussia.

ThegovernmentofUkrainethesecondmostpopulousformerSovietrepublicandthecriticalbridgebetween
RussiaandEuropewasengagedintwosimultaneousnegotiations.OnewaswithRussiaaboutjoiningits
economicintegrationprojecttheotherwaswiththeEUaboutanAssociationAgreement.Withthetwodeemed
incompatible,Kyivwouldeventuallyhavetochooseoneortheother.41

ForRussia,forPutinpersonally,thelossofUkrainetotheEUwouldnotbeatolerableoutcome.Thiswasdue
toseveralreasons.In2004,PutinscandidateforthepresidencyofUkraine,ViktorYanukovych,wasdefeated
bytheOrangeRevolutionencouragedbytheWest.AnotherdefeatofsimilarmagnitudeatthehandsoftheEU
wasnotanoptionfortheRussianpresidentafterhehadelevatedEurasianintegrationtothetopofhispolicy
agendaasacounterweighttotheUnitedStatesandtheEU.

Moreover,allformerSovietsatellitesthathadjoinedtheEUalsojoinedNATO.UkrainesAssociation
AgreementwiththeEUwasundoubtedlyseenbytheKremlinasasteptowardmembershipintheEUand,
eventually,inNATO.ThiswouldallowNATOspresencewithin300milesofMoscow.AsseenfromMoscow,
thiswouldalsomeanthatkeyUkrainiandefenseenterprisesthatsuppliedtheRussianmilitarywithcritical
componentswouldbelocatedonNATOterritory.42

AnothersignificantdependenceofRussiaonUkrainehastodowithenergysuppliestoEurope.Ukraineisthe
criticaltransitcountry,withasmuchashalfofRussiangasexportedtoEuropedeliveredthroughtheDruzhba
pipelinethatcrossesUkraine.43U.S.andEuropeanleadershavelongcomplainedaboutEuropesdependence
onRussiangasandtheinfluenceitgivesMoscowoverthecontinent.SomehavearguedforNATOtotakeon
themissionofsecuringEuropesenergysupply.44ForRussia,theprospectofUkrainejoiningNATOor
becomingasatelliteoftheEUwouldtranslateintoanunacceptablelossofpowerandinfluence.

Notwithstandingallthesestrategicconsiderations,thecrisisinUkraineapparentlycameasasurpriseforthe
Kremlin.45TheseverityofitsresponsetothecrisistheannexationofCrimea,thewarineasternUkraine,the
virulentpoliticalpropagandacampaignagainstthenewgovernmentofUkraineandtheWestforsupportingit,
andthedestructionoftheentirepostColdWarEuropeansecuritysystemreflecttheperceptionsofthreat
associatedbyRussiannationalsecurityelitewiththepotentiallossofUkrainetoNATOandtheEU.

TheNewOldThreat

TheshockwavesinEurope,intheUnitedStates,andaroundtheperipheryofRussiafromRussianactionsin
Ukraine(andsubsequentlyinSyria)haveamountedtoafundamentalreassessmentofRussia,itsmilitary
capabilities,anditsresolvetousethem.46TheperceptionofRussiaasasecond-ratepower,whosemilitary
capabilitieswerebadlydamagedbytheimplosionoftheSovietstateandneverrecovered,hasbeenreplaced
withnewlyalarmedassessmentsoftheRussianmilitarythreatnotseenbyWesternpublicsinageneration.47
EventheRussianNavy,longwrittenofffordeadasapresenceinthehighseas,isthesubjectofanew,widely
publicizedreportbytheU.S.OfficeofNavalIntelligence.48
Indeed,theswiftandapparentlyefficienttakeoverofCrimea,themilitaryinterventionandcovertoperationin
easternUkraine,andmostrecentlythemissioninSyriahavehadatransformationaleffectontheimageofthe
Russianmilitaryabroadandathome.However,withtheseaccomplishmentsonandoffthebattlefieldcamea
seriesofsoberingRussianreassessmentsofthenewsecurityenvironmentsurroundingRussiainpost-postCold
WarEuropeandEurasia.

Paradoxically,Russianmilitarysuccesseshaveresultedinnewthreatsandnewchallenges,andtheyhave
generatedaprofoundfeelingofuneaseamongRussianmilitaryexperts.Threatassessmentsfoundinofficial
Russiandocuments,statementsoftopofficials,andprivate-sectorcommentatorsdescribeauniformlybleak
picture.Inthewordsofoneauthoritativeobserver,Europesfailuretosecureitselfbehindabufferzone
establishedwiththehelpoftheEUsEasternPartnership,whichincludesArmenia,Azerbaijan,Belarus,Georgia,
Moldova,andUkraine,hasmeantthatRussiacannothidebehindabufferzoneeither.49Russiacannolonger
countonthesecountriesasfriendlyandcapableofshieldingRussiaswesternandsouthernborders.

ThebreakinrelationswiththeWestNATOscontinuingplansforexpansion,itssupportforUkraine,itsmilitary
deploymentsalongitsEasternflankandplansformoresuchdeployments,anditslong-standingnuclearthreatto
RussiaandcentersforcybersecurityandinformationwarfareintheBalticstatesmakeupthenewthreat
environmentRussiandefenseplannersarehavingtoconfront.Andthatisnoteventhecompletelist,whichomits
awiderangeofrealandpotentialthreatsfromtheself-proclaimedIslamicStatespresenceinIraqandSyriato
JapansnewlegislationgoverningtheuseofitsSelf-DefenseForcesabroad.Thisisthenewthreatenvironment
inwhichthearmedforcesoftheRussianstatehavetocarryouttheirmissionofdefendingandprotectingthe
sovereigntyoftheRussianstate,notedDefenseMinisterSergeiShoigu,appearingbeforetheyear-endmeeting
ofseniorMinistryofDefenseofficialsattendedbyPutin.50

ThenewNationalSecurityStrategythatPutinsignedintolawonDecember31,2015,echoedmanyofthesame
themes.51ThedocumentidentifiedtheUnitedStatesanditsalliesastheprincipalthreattoRussia,astheWest
seekstohangontoitsdominantpositionintheworld.NATOenlargementcontinuesapace,withthealliance
aspiringtoaglobalmission.NATO,accordingtothenewdocument,underminesinternationalsecurity,
internationallaw,andarms-controltreatiesacquiresnewmilitarycapabilitiesanddeploysitsmilitary
infrastructureeverclosertotheterritoryoftheRussianFederation,threateningitssecurity.InUkraine,the
documentcontinues,NATOandtheEUhavesupportedanunconstitutionalcoupthattriggeredaprofoundsplit
inUkrainiansocietyandresultedinanewsourceofinstabilityinEurope.

ThisisallpartandparcelofU.S.strategyinEurasia,accordingtothenowdeceasedheadofRussianmilitary
intelligence,GeneralIgorSergun.52Writingin2015,heassertedthatthelong-termU.S.goalwastoencircle
RussiaandChinawitharingofregimesloyaltotheUnitedStatesandflashpointsthatwouldreliablyprevent
RussiafromcarryingoutitsEurasianintegrationproject.

FromthepointofviewofMoscow,NATOsreinforcementsoftheBalticstatesandPolandtodateandinthe
futurehavebrokenyetanotherkeypromisegiventoRussiabythealliesnottostationpermanentlysubstantial
combatforcesontheterritoriesofnewmembers.Regardlessofthecaveatthatthepromisewasconditioned
onthecurrentandforeseeablesecurityenvironment,whichwasupendedbytheannexationofCrimeaand
aggressionineasternUkrainetherecanbelittledoubtthatthereinforcementsareperceivedbyRussias
nationalsecurityestablishmentasitsworstexpectationscomingtrue.53Whetherthesereinforcementswill
constituteapermanentorpersistentpresenceislikelytobeoflittleconsequenceforRussiananalysts,foreither
onewouldconstituteacontinuousandineffectpermanentmilitarypresenceofNATOtroopsintheseforward
areas.

ItstheEconomy...

ThechallengeRussiaisfacinginthenewinternationalthreatenvironment,intheviewofofficialandunofficial
spokesmen,iscompoundedbytheunenviablestateofitseconomy.54Gonearethehighratesofgrowthtypical
ofthefirsttwotermsofthePutinpresidencythatmadepossibletherecoveryofthecountryseconomichealthas
wellasitsinternationalstandingandmilitarycapabilities.TheinabilityoftheRussianeconomytocompeteinthe
globalmarketplaceanditsrelianceontheoldmodelofdevelopmentbasedonexportsofrawmaterialshave
beenelevatedinthenewnationalsecuritystrategytotherankofthemainstrategicthreatsto[Russias]national
securityinthesphereoftheeconomy.55ThetasknowbeforeRussianpolicymakersistodevelopanewmodel
ofeconomicgrowth,fortheoldonehasoutliveditsusefulness.Thisthemehasbeenstressedbytopofficialsin
Russia,includingKremlinChiefofStaffSergeiIvanov,who,withcandorrareforaseniorKremlinofficial,
admittedthatthecountryseconomicwoeswereduelargelytofailuretoreformduringthefatyears.56Security
CouncilSecretaryNikolaiPatrushev,too,hasstressedtheneedtojump-starttheRussianeconomyasamatter
ofnationalsecurity.57

FromthepointofviewofMoscow,NATOsreinforcements
oftheBalticstatesandPolandhavebrokenyetanotherkey
promisegiventoRussiabytheallies.

Russianforeignpolicyandnationalsecurityexpertsfromresearchinstitutesandacademiahaveechoedthesame
senseofalarmaboutnewchallengesfacingRussiaasfoundinofficialgovernmentstatementsanddocuments.
Theyhavestressedtheincreasinglychaotic,seeminglyall-against-allnatureoftheinternationalsystemandthe
weakeningofthemaincentersofglobalpower,includingtheUnitedStatesandEurope.58However,thatis
hardlyacauseforcelebration,forRussiaisfindingitselfwithoutreliablepartnersinthissituation(therelationship
withChinaistreatedwithcautioninthiscontexttimewilltellhowitturnsout).59AsaresultoftheUkraine
crisisandthebreakwiththeWest,Russiahasbeenleft,asCarnegiesDmitriTreninputit,aloneagainstall.60

Furthermore,Russiananalystshavearguedthatbytheendof2015,Russiawasinanall-encompassing,systemic
crisis.61Thebiggestblowwasdealtbythecollapseinoilpricesandtheendoftheglobalcommoditiesboom.
MakingmattersworsewasacombinationofshrinkingGDP,chroniclackofinvestment,currencydevaluation,
lossofaccesstoWesterncapitalmarkets,andhighinflation.Thepoliticalenvironmentwasnobetter,duetothe
escalationofmilitaryactivitiesabroad,theintensifyingcrackdownontheopposition,andthemurderof
oppositionpoliticianBorisNemtsov.

Takentogether,thesewereallsignsoffundamentalproblemsforapoliticalleadershipthatwassteadfastly
resistingcomprehensivereforms.Stagnationandthefailuretocarryoutfar-reachingeconomic,political,and
technologicalmodernizationcouldhavemajorsecurityimplications.Withoutreforms,Karaganovwarnedatthe
gatheringoftheestablishmentCouncilonForeignandDefensePolicy,defeatawaits[Russia]inthefuture
political,economic,andmilitary-strategiccompetitionofthetwenty-firstcentury.62HermanGref,theheadof
themajoritystate-ownedbiggestRussianbankSberbank,echoedthesewordsinearly2016,when,speakingat
apublicgatheringofeconomistsandseniorgovernmentofficials,hedescribedRussiaasalosercountry.63

NoLightattheEnd

TheseandothersimilarlygloomyassessmentsthathavepermeatedtheentirespectrumofRussianpolitical
opinion,fromofficialgovernmentdocumentsandestablishmentfigurestoscholarsatresearchinstitutionsto
oppositionfigures,pointtoaprofoundsenseofinsecurityinRussiasestablishmentcircles.64Goneisthe
confidenceofthefirsttwopresidentialtermsofVladimirPutin.TheearlybravuraresponsetoWesternsanctions
anddeclarationsthatRussianindustrycanmorethanmakeupforthelossofimportedgoodsandgrowthanksto
importsubstitutionandthecheaperRussianrublehavebeenderidedasdelusional.65Someofthemostalarmist
commentatorsgosofarastoclaimthattheRussianeconomyisbackslidingintothecategoryofindustrialand
evenpreindustrialeconomies,rapidlyfallingbehindtothepointwhereonedayitcouldceasetobean
independentactorintheinternationalarena.66AsasignoftheprevailinggloomamongRussianeconomic
analysts,includingseniorgovernmentofficials,theendofthecurrenteconomiccrisis,whichsomebelieveRussia
isalreadyapproaching,maynotleadtogrowthinstead,inthewordsofthefirstdeputychairoftheCentral
BankofRussia,XeniaYudayeva,itwillmarkthebeginningofeternalorlong-termstagnation.67

ThisbriefoverviewofthenarrativeinofficialRussianoutletsandsocietaldiscoursepointstoalackofconfidence
onthepartofRussianelitesintheirleadership,intheirownabilities,andinthecountrysfuture.Thetimesof
trouble,whichmanyifnotmostRussiansoncethoughtwereleftbehindinthe1990s,appeartobeanythingbut
safelybehindthem.RussianassessmentsofthepresentsituationinandaroundRussiacanbesummarizedina
fewshortsentences:

TheRussianeconomyhasoutliveditsmodelofdevelopmentandcanatbeststagnateandstayfirmly
lodgedinthemiddle-incometrapthepoliticalsystemisnotabletoaddressthetensionsthatarebuilding
withinsociety.
Theleadershiphasyettoofferacrediblestrategyforleadingthecountryoutofitscrisis.
Theinternationalenvironmentischaoticandhostile.
Russiahasnoreliablepartnersandisfacingavastlysuperioradversarywhoseeconomyismuchbigger
andbetterperformingthanRussiasandwhosemilitaryandtechnologicalcapabilitiesaretheenvyandthe
targetofRussiasownmilitaryreformanddefensemodernizationplans.

MilitaryInferiorityVis--VistheWest

NotwithstandingtheimpressiverevivalofRussianmilitarycapabilitiesandthebattlefieldvictoriesinUkraine,
RussianassessmentsoftheRussianmilitaryhavebeenpermeatedbyadeepsenseofinferiorityvis--visNATO.
AnauthoritativeassessmentofferedbyaleadingRussianmilitaryanalystintheaftermathoftheactivephaseof
theconflictineasternUkrainedescribedthemilitaryconfrontationbetweenRussiaandUkraineasabattle
betweentwoobsoletemilitaries,oneofwhich(Russias)wasbettertrained,equipped,andled.68

Ahypotheticalsimilarconflict,theanalysiscontinued,withparticipationbyvolunteersfromNATOcountries
wouldfollowaverydifferentscenario.TheRussianmilitarywouldfaceafarsuperiorenemy,onethatisbetter
equipped,bettertrained,betterled,andbettersustained.FromthesizeofNATOsgroundforcetosmart
weaponsinitsarsenaltoitselectronicwarfarecapabilities,theRussianmilitarywouldbeoutnumbered,
outgunned,outdone.Russiasonlyrecourseinsuchcircumstances,theanalysisconcludes,istothreatenthe
adversarywithtacticalnuclearweapons.Thecountry,thearmy,andthenavyarenotyetreadyforalarge-scale
conventional-onlywar.69

ThissenseofvulnerabilitypermeatesRussianmilitarythinkingaboutfutureconflictsandthreatassessmentsas
theypertaintoeverysphereofmilitaryactivityconventional,nuclear,cyberwar,andinformationwarfare.None
ofthisisnewandreflectslong-standingRussianandearlierSovietconcernsaboutthecountrysinferiormilitary
capabilitieswhenstackedagainstNATOs.

NuclearWeaponsLastResort.AndFirst?

Inrecentyears,noRussianstatementaboutsecuritypolicyhasgeneratedmorealarmintheWestthanhigh-level
pronouncementsaboutRussiannuclearmodernizationandthereadinesstousenuclearweaponsintheeventofa
conflictinEurope.70WidelyinterpretedinpubliccommentaryintheWestasevidenceofRussianaggressiveness
andmilitaristicambitions,thesestatementshavebeenechoedindomesticRussiandiscussionsabouttheroleof
nuclearweaponsinafuturewar.71

ThatwarwouldbefoughtagainsttheWest.Russia,writesSergeyBrezkun,professoroftheAcademyof
MilitarySciences,needstodevelopitsownde-escalationladderinordertolimitafutureregionalconflict
atanearlystageandpreventitfromblowingupintoalarge-scalewar.72Russianleaders,helaments,havenot
adequatelyaddressedtheproblemofregionaldeterrence,whichisbecomingallthemoreurgentbecauseof
whathecharacterizedastheweakeningofthepolitical-militarypositionsoftheRussianFederation,
proliferationontheperipheryofRussiaofhostileregimesmanipulatedbytheWest,andthedeclineofRussias
conventionalcapabilities.Inthesecircumstances,theideaofmassivenuclearretaliationinresponsetoaregional
crisisisirrationalandimpractical.Russianeedsoptionsforde-escalatingthecrisisinitsbeginningphasewiththe
helpoflimitednuclearstrikesagainstkeyassetsoftheenemy,butwithoutcatastrophicconsequences,aswell
asnuclearweaponsspecificallydesignedforthispurpose.Suchlimitednuclearstrikes,Brezkunargues,willhave
asoberingeffectontheenemy,whichwillthenceaseanddesist.

Intheworstpossiblecase,whichtoRussianplannersisnot
unimaginable,acombinationofNATOsconventional,
nuclear,andmissiledefensecapabilitiescouldprove
devastatingtoRussiasnucleararsenalanddenyittheability
todeliveraretaliatorystrike.

Russianmilitarystrategistslackofconfidenceintheirconventionalcapabilitiesisalong-standingphenomenon
thatpredateseventhebreakupoftheSovietUnionandtheimplosionoftheRussianeconomyanditsdefense-
industrialsector.OneoftheearliestvoicestosoundalarmabouttheWestsemergingsuperiorconventional
capabilitiesinthe1970sand1980swasMarshalNikolayOgarkov,thechiefoftheGeneralStaff.73Thislackof
confidencemayappearsurprisingintheaftermathofRussianmilitaryreform,inthemidstofaten-yeardefense
modernizationprogram,increaseddefensespending,andtheRussianarmysstringofsuccessfuloperations.Still,
U.S.andotherNATOcountriesconventionalcapabilitiescontinuetoimpressRussianmilitaryobserversand
feedtheirinsecuritywithrespecttotheirown.

Butthisdeep-seatedfeelingofinsecuritycomparedwithNATOapparentlygoesbeyondtheconventionalsphere
andappliestoRussiasstrategicandtacticalnuclearcapabilitiesaswell.Intheworstpossiblecase,whichto
Russianplannersisnotunimaginable,acombinationofNATOsconventional,nuclear,andmissiledefense
capabilitiescouldprovedevastatingtoRussiasnucleararsenalanddenyittheabilitytodeliveraretaliatory
strike.Facedwiththishighlyimprobableprospect,Russianmilitaryplannershavetoconsiderfirst-useoptionsas
ade-escalatorymeasurethatwillpersuadetheenemyofthefutilityofitsactions.Otherwise,ifnuclearweapons
arenotusedearlyinaconflictforthepurposeofendingit,Russiamaynotbeabletousethematallandbe
defeated.

ThesamelackofconfidenceinRussianretaliatorycapabilitiesisapparentinRussiandiscussionsabouttheneed
foradoomsdaymachinelikeschemetoensureamassiveretaliatorystrikeintheeventofadevastatingattack
onRussiadiscussionsreminiscentofStanleyKubricksDr.Strangelovecharacter.74Inanapparently
deliberateleak,Russianmediarevealedtheexistenceofahigh-yieldunmannednucleartorpedothatcouldbe
launchedasaretaliatoryweaponagainstamajorU.S.coastalurbancenterandwouldresultinmassivehuman
lossandeconomicdevastation.75AnotherproposalcalledforRussiatousemassivenuclearchargestotrigger
catastrophictsunamis,volcaniceruptions,orearthquakesthatwouldcausedevastationoflargeareasofthe
UnitedStatesalongtheWestcoast.76

RussianmilitaryplannersconcernsaboutthethreatofU.S.missiledefensestotheirretaliatorycapabilitieslong
predatethedecisionsbytheadministrationsofObamaandhispredecessorasU.S.president,GeorgeW.Bush,
todeploymissiledefensesintheUnitedStatesandEurope.Someanalystshavegonesofarastosaythatformer
presidentRonaldReagansStrategicDefenseInitiative(commonlycalledStarWars)inthe1980swas
responsibleforconvincingtheSovietPolitburothattheUnitedStatesenjoyedvastmilitary-technological
superiority.NotonlycouldtheUnitedStateslaunchasurpriseattackontheSovietUnion,theseanalysts
concluded,butitcouldalsoacquirethemeansofdenyingtheSovietUnionthecapabilityofdeliveringa
retaliatorystrike.77Thearmsrace,inotherwords,couldnotbewon,andthatinturnledtotheendoftheCold
War.78

RussianconcernsaboutU.S.missiledefensecapabilitiesthusappeartohavedeeproots.Theyhavebeen
restatedwithsurprisingcandorbyRussianofficials.RussianMinistryofForeignAffairsSpecialEnvoyGrigory
Berdennikov,replyingtoaquestioninFebruary2015aboutfuturearmscontrol,said,

Onehastounderstandthatnuclearweaponsarenotsomethingthatstandsalone,theyarepartofthe
strategicbalance.Tomoveaheadwithnuclearweaponsreductions,itisnecessarytotakeintoaccount
otherfactorsfirstofall,thefactoroftheglobalmissiledefensesystem,whichtheAmericans,despite
all[our]arguments,stubbornlydonotwanttodiscusswithus....

Theentiresystemofmutualrelationsinthenuclearsphereisbasedondeterrence.Inotherwords,you
havetohavethecapability,havingsurvivedthefirststrike,toretaliate,andinsuchawaythatthe
retaliatorystrikeissoterriblethatnobodywoulddaretolaunchthefirstone.Ifaneffectivemissile
defensesystemappears,thensomeonemayhavetheillusionthatmostoftheweaponsoftheenemycan
bedestroyedinthefirststrikeandtherestcanbemoreorlessintercepted.Thesmalleryourarsenal,the
easieritistointerceptwhatsleftafterthefirststrike.Andwearebeingtold[bytheAmericans],Well
continuetodevelopthesedefensivesystems,butletusreducefurthertheoffensivesystems.Forwhat?
Tohaveafirmguaranteethatthesecondstrikewillbeintercepted,tohavethefreedomtolaunchthe
firststrike?Isthatwhywearedoingallthis?79

Russianconcernsandcandorarenotlimitedtothenuclearsphere.Continuinghispointaboutthefallacyof
treatingnuclearweaponsasastand-alonecapability,Berdennikovsaid,

Wearepreparedforadialogueaboutfurthernucleardisarmamentsteps.Atthesametime,weare
convincedthattheyareimpossiblewithoutsolvingsuchproblemsastheunlimitedgrowthofglobalU.S.
missiledefenses,theprojectofusingstrategicweaponswithconventionalwarheadswithintheconcept
ofglobalstrike,...therefusaloftheUnitedStatestopledgenottodeployweaponsinspace,[and]
thegrowthofqualitativeandquantitativeconventionalimbalances.80

ThisstatementandothersbyseniorRussianofficialsandprominentanalystsunderscorethevitalfunctionnuclear
weaponscontinuetoperforminthedefenseoftheRussianstate.81Athreattothoseweaponsisathreattothe
survivalofanindependentandsovereignRussianstate.

NewThreats
TheexpandingrangeofU.S.strategiccapabilitiesnuclear,high-precisionandlong-rangeconventional,and
missiledefensehasbeenamajorpreoccupationofRussianmilitaryanalysts.82Russianconcernaboutthese
capabilitiesisreflectedincandidstatementsaboutthethreattheypose,aswellasreassurancesthatRussian
strategicsystemsarerobust,reliable,andimpervioustoU.S.offensiveordefensivearsenals.83

Theconversationaboutthechangingnatureofwarfare,therolesofnuclearandnon-nuclearweapons,and
deterrencehasbeenunderwayamongRussianexpertsandmilitaryofficialsfordecades,beginningwiththe
writingsofOgarkov.ThisconversationreflectsthedeepconvictionamongRussiananalystsandplannersthat
RussiahasfallenfarbehindtheUnitedStatesinthedevelopmentofhigh-precisionconventionalweaponryand
non-nucleardeterrentcapabilities.84Italsoreflectstheirviewthatgradually,theperformancecharacteristicsof
non-nuclear,high-precisionweaponsareimprovingsomuchthattheycouldbegintotakeonthefunctionsthat
untilnowhavebeenassignedexclusivelytonuclearweapons.85Asaresult,thetaskfacingtheRussianmilitaryof
deterringsuperioradversariesequippedwithsuchsystemsisincreasinglychallenging.86

Despitebravuraassurancesthatthenationsnuclearshieldis
invincibleandcapableofreliablydefendingagainstand
deterringanyenemy,Russiandefenseexpertsappearto
harbordoubts.

TheranksofRussianmilitaryanalystsincludeanumberofskepticswhodoubtnotsomuchtherelativestateof
affairsinthedevelopmentofU.S.andRussianarsenalsasthepropositionthatconventionalhigh-precision
systemswillbeabletotakeovermissionsassignedtonuclearsystems.87Theseskepticsbelievethatthe
principalthreattoRussiasnucleardeterrentandretaliatorycapabilitiesisposedbyU.S.nuclearsystemsand
thatpriorityshouldbegiventoprogramsintendedtocounterthosesystems.However,eventheseskeptics
concludethatalthoughnon-nuclear,precision-guidedweaponscannotsupplantnuclearweapons,theycanaffect
thestrategicbalanceinsignificantways.88

Tomeetthischallenge,Russiandefenseexpertscontinuetoemphasizenuclearweapons.Althoughmuchhas
beenmadeoftheseriesofRussianconventionalshipbornecruisemissilestrikesfromtheCaspianSeaagainst
targetsinSyria,thesemuch-toutedcapabilitiesintheeyesofRussianexpertsareapparentlynotyetsufficientto
deterNATOthreatstoRussiainEurope.89

InSeptember2014,DmitryRogozin,thedeputyprimeministerinchargeofdefenseindustries,pledgedto
modernizetheentireRussianstrategicnuclearforcesby2020,notmerely70percentaspreviouslyplanned.90
AccordingtoShoigu,56percentofRussiannuclearweaponsarenew.91ThechiefoftheGeneralStaff,General
ValeryGerasimov,echoedRogozinsvowandreferredtoprioritydevelopmentofstrategicnuclearforcesasthe
MinistryofDefensesmostimportanttask.92

However,despitetheseacceleratedprogramsandbravuraassurancesthatthenationsnuclearshieldisinvincible
andcapableofreliablydefendingagainstanddeterringanyenemy,Russiandefenseexpertsappeartoharbor
doubtsthatthesemeasuresaresufficient.93Thus,somehavesuggestedthatevendeployingIskandershort-range
ballisticmissiles,capableofcarryingnuclearwarheads,toCrimeaandKaliningradmayproveinsufficientto
deterpotentialenemies.94Instead,toaccomplishthatgoal,RussiamayhavetowithdrawfromtheIntermediate-
RangeNuclearForcesTreatyandreintroducethatclassofweaponsintoitsarsenal.95Russiancommentators
maintainthatsuchastepisbeingcontemplatedbecauseofthecombinedthreatofNATOmissiledefensein
Europeandtheacquisitionofintermediate-rangemissilesbyPakistan,India,andIran.96

NuclearweaponscertainlyarethecriticalelementofRussian
defensepolicyandwillremainsoforalongtime.

OfficialstatementsofferassurancesthatRussiawillusenuclearweaponsonlyintwocircumstances:inretaliation
forastrikeagainstitoritsalliesusingnuclearweaponsorsomeotherformofweaponsofmassdestructionorif
RussiaisavictimofanaggressionthatusesconventionalweaponsbutthreatenstheverysurvivaloftheRussian
state.97However,RussiandefensepolicydiscussionsrevealthatseniorRussiandefenseplannersalso
contemplateanothercontingency:launchingpreventivenuclearstrikes,whetherofalimitednatureintendedto
de-escalateaconflictoronalargerscale.98ThiscouldamounttoyetanothertacitadmissionofRussiandefense
plannerslackofconfidenceintheirsecond-strikecapability.Iftheydontusetheirnuclearweapons,inother
words,theylosethem.
NuclearweaponscertainlyarethecriticalelementofRussiandefensepolicyandwillremainsoforalongtime.
Russiandefenseexpertsandofficialsreadilyadmitthattheirindustrialandtechnologicalinferioritywillprevent
themfrommatchingU.S.advancedmilitarytechnologiesintheforeseeablefuture.99Thisundoubtedlyfeedstheir
alreadydeeplyheldfeelingofinsecurityandinferiorityvis--vistheWest,whichisonlyreinforcedbythe
proliferationofnewtechnologiesandcapabilitiesfordifferentformsofwarfare.

CyberwartheNewUltimateWeapon

AsifU.S.nuclear,high-precisionconventional,andmissiledefensetechnologieshavenotbeenenoughtofuel
anxietiesofRussiandefenseplanners,theadventofcyberwarfarehasaddedtotheirsenseofinsecurity.Thisis
nottosaythatRussiahasnotsustaineditsownvastcyberwarfareeffortorinvestedpriortotheadventof
cybertechnologyinwhatRussiandefenseexpertscallradio-electronicwarfareorinformationwarfare.Ithas.
However,theinformationrevolutionanduniversalcomputerizationofeverysphereofstateandsocietalactivity
hascreatedamultitudeofnewthreats.

Theworldisenteringanewphaseofwarfare,accordingtoRussiandefenseexperts,whoassertthat
cyberwarfareisnolongerawarofthefuture.100Itistakingplacenowanew,fifthdomain,alongwithland,air,
sea,andspace,inwhichwarcanandwillbewaged.Cyberwarfaretakesprecedenceoverkineticwarfareandis
beingundertakenbystatescontinuously.Theboundarybetweenwarandpeaceisbeinggraduallyerased.
CyberwarfarecanthreatenRussiainawidevarietyofways,fromparalyzinganddestroyingitsinfrastructureto
disablingitscomputernetworksorinsertingdeliberatelyfalseinformationanddisseminatingittothepopulation.
AccordingtoRussianexperts,thedestructivepotentialofcyberweaponsiscomparabletothatofnuclear
weapons.101Cyberweaponscancreatepanic,plungesocietiesintochaos,underminelegitimategovernments,
suppressanationswilltoresistaggression,andparalyzeitsarmedforces.Theycanwinwarsbeforeeventhe
firstshotisfired.102Understandingtheconsequencesofthisformofwarfareisofutmostimportanceforthe
Russianmilitary,whichhasalreadybegunthiseffort.103

InformationwarfarehaslongbeenamajorareaofinterestandconcernforRussiannationalsecurityofficials.
TheRussianSecurityCounciladoptedtheDoctrineofInformationSecurityofRussianFederationasearlyas
2000andsincethenhasdevelopedawholelibraryofsupportingdocumentstoguideRussianpolicyinthis
sphere.104Sincethen,Russianconcernsaboutthreatsposedbyoffensiveoperationsofcyberwarand
informationwarhaveincreasedmanifold,andtheissuehasbeenactivelydiscussedamongdefenseandsecurity
experts.105The2016NationalSecurityStrategystatesthatintheinterestofprotectingstateandpublicsecurity,
thegovernmentwillundertakethenecessarystepstoimprovetheprotectionofcitizensandsocietyfromthe
effectsofdestructiveinformationpropagatedbyextremistsandterroristorganizations,foreignintelligence
services,andpropagandaoutlets.106

ThesensitivityandurgencyofthepotentialthreattoRussiafromthecyberdomainwasunderscoredin2014
whenPutindeclaredGoogleaspecialprojectoftheU.S.CentralIntelligenceAgencyandurgedRussiansto
avoidusingit.TheRussianleaderscommentsaboutU.S.controloftheInternet,combinedwiththeRussian
governmentslong-termpursuittoestablishsovereigncontroloverRussiasportionoftheInternet,reflectthe
insecuritynotonlyoftheelitesbutalsoofthegeneralpublicaboutthecountrysvulnerabilitytocyberattacksand
informationattacksfromadversaries,bothrealandimagined.107Thisinsecuritygoessofarastomotivatethe
RussiangovernmenttoseekwaystocontroltheRussianInternetandevenconsiderwaystoineffectunplug
RussiafromtheInternetinanemergency.108SovereigncontroloverRussiasportionoftheInternethasbeena
long-standinggoaloftheRussiangovernmentspositionininternationalforumsdealingwithInternetgovernance
agoalthathasservedasanelementofRussian-ChinesepartnershipinoppositiontoU.S.andotherWestern
nationspursuitofthefreeflowofinformationwithoutborders.109Inthefuture,theRussiangovernmentspursuit
ofcapabilitiestoregulateand,ifnecessary,switchofftheInternetisexpectedtointensifyasitconsidersafree
andunimpededInternetasoneofitsbiggestthreats.110

IntheviewofRussiannationalsecurityexperts,thefuturehasarrived.TheeffectonRussiahasbeento
aggravateitssenseofencirclement,compounditsvulnerabilities,andmultiplythreatstoit.

WarbyOtherMeans

ThedeteriorationofthisperceivedthreatenvironmentintheaftermathoftheUkrainecrisishasspawneda
discussionamongRussiannationalsecurityexpertsaboutvariousformsofnonkinetic,nonstopwarfarewagedby
theWestagainstRussiaeveninpeacetime.Inadditiontoinformationwarandcyberwarfare,theyhavefocused
onWesterneconomicsanctionsagainstRussiaasaformofcontinuous,undeclaredwarfare.

TheKremlinsresponsetosanctionscanbesummedupasamovetowardeconomicnationalismand
isolationism.WhenVisaandMasterCardcutoffservicestotwoRussianbanksthatweresanctionedbythe
UnitedStates,themovehighlightedfortheRussiangovernmenttheeconomysheavyrelianceonWestern
paymentsystemsanditsresultingvulnerabilitytofurtherWesternsanctions.Inresponse,theCentralBankof
RussiahasannouncedaplantocreateanationalpaymentsystemtoinsulateRussiafromWesternpressureinthe
eventofanewroundofsanctions.111ThemorerecentthreattocutoffRussianaccesstoSWIFT(Societyfor
WorldwideInterbankFinancialTelecommunication)hasledtheRussiangovernmenttoconsideroptionsfor
settingupanalternativeinpartnershipwithChina.112

Thedefense-industrialsectorhasbeendirectedtodiminishandeventuallyeliminateitsrelianceonforeign
suppliers.113Thedesiretoenddependenceonforeignsuppliersisnotlimitedtothedefensesector,forinMay
2016,Putintaskedthecabinetwithstimulatingdomesticmanufacturinganddevelopingsubstitutesforforeign
importsthroughouttheeconomy.Inafurthermovetoinsulatetheeconomyfromforeigninfluence,Putinordered
thegovernmenttodevelopandimplementstepsfordeoffshorizationofmajorindustrialenterprisesbydeveloping
tax,accounting,andcriminallegislationaimedatdiscouragingcompaniesfromlocatingfacilitiesoffshore.114

Theideathatsanctionsrepresentaformofwarfareoraninstrumentofcoercionishardlyneworuniqueto
Russia.Ithasalonghistory,andrecordeddiplomacyandwarfarearerepletewithexamplesofitdatingallthe
waytoancientGreece.115Nonetheless,Westernsanctionsandtheeconomicslumpthathasfollowedtheir
impositionalthoughcausednotonlybythemundoubtedlyhaveunderscoredRussiasvulnerabilitytooutside
forcesandthehostileenvironmentaroundit.

HybridWarfareOldWine,OldSkins

ThetakeoverofCrimeabytheRussianmilitaryand,subsequently,theoperationsineasternUkrainehave
focusedtheattentionofforeignandRussianobserversonso-calledhybridwarfare.Thisterm,whichreferstoa
widerangeofkineticandnonkineticactivitiesbymilitarypersonnelandcivilians,hasbeenthesubjectof
extensivediscussionsinRussiaasbothathreattoRussiansecurityandRussiasresponsetothreatstoitposed
byhostilepowers.

WesternofficialsandanalystshavefocusedonhybridwarfareprimarilyasaresultofRussiasundeclaredwarin
Ukraine,whichentailsamixofspecialforces,civilians,informationoperations,cyberattacks,and,onsome
occasions,uniformedmilitarypersonnel.116Presumably,acombinationofthesecapabilitiesinacrisis
environmentcanbeusedtoachievesurpriseandconfusetheadversaryandtoaccomplishpoliticalandmilitary
objectiveswithoutresortingtolarge-scalekineticwarfareandanoutrightwardeclaration,whichinturncan
presentanadversarywithafaitaccompliandavoidunnecessarycasualtiesandescalationofhostilitiesfor
Russia.CountriesthatshareborderswithRussia,especiallytheBalticstates,someofwhichhavelargeRussian
populations,areespeciallyvulnerabletothistypeofwarfare,Westernofficialshavewarned.117

Russianrelianceonsuchformsofwarfarehastheadditionalimportantbenefitofambiguity.Intheabsenceofan
outrightmilitaryinterventionbyRussiainoneormoreBalticstates,NATOwouldlackclearevidenceofRussian
aggression,thusrunningtheriskofconfusionandcontroversyamongtheallieswithrespecttomilitaryactionin
defenseoftheBalticstatesinaccordancewiththealliancesArticle5guarantees.

RussiandefenseexpertsalsochargethattheWestisconductinghybridwarfareagainstRussiathrougha
combinationofmilitaryandothermeans,includingsanctionsandinformationwarfare.118Theirinterpretationof
hybridwarfareunderscoresthedestabilizingfunctionoftheWestsdemocracypromotionactivitiesspecifically
thecolorrevolutionsinthecountriessurroundingRussia.InRussiasview,thoseactivities,throughmeasureswell
shortofwar,createazoneofinstabilityaroundRussia,encircleitwithWesternagentsofinfluence,andcreate
opportunitiesforWesternintervention.119Moreover,instabilitythreatensnotonlyRussiasneighborsbutalso
Russiaitself,becausesupportforgroupsinsideRussiaopposedtotheRussiangovernmentcanalsobe
interpretedasanelementofhybridwarfare.120Large-scalewarfarehasbecomedangerous,evensuicidal,for
thepartiesinvolved,duetothedestructionassociatedwithitwithorwithoutnuclearweapons.Andthatinturn
necessitatesresortingtootherformsofwarfarethatcarrysmallerrisksofcatastrophicconsequences.

SomeRussiandefenseanalystshavearguedthatdespitethepublicitysurroundingthetermhybridwarfare
sincethestartoftheconflictinUkraine,theconceptisneithernewnorparticularlytransformative.121For
example,theynote,informationoperationshavelongbeenacriticalelementofstatesactivitiesintendedto
misleadanadversaryanddemoralizeitspopulationandcombatants.Deploymentofmilitarypersonnelwithout
nationalinsigniaisalong-standingpracticeinwarfare,asistheuseofproxiesandregularforcesundertheguise
ofvolunteers.Theargumentaboutthenoveltyofhybridwarfarethusdoesnotstanduptoscrutinyandis
contradictedbyalongandrichhistoricalrecordofvariousconflicts.122

TheRussiangovernmentsapproachtodealingwithUkraine-relatedsanctionsimposedbytheUnitedStatesand
theEuropeanUnionisindicativeofwhatRussianbehaviorcanbeexpectedtobelikeinfuturecrises.By
focusingonsomeoftheweakerandpoorerEUandNATOmembersGreeceorBulgaria,forinstance
Russianofficialshaveapparentlysoughttounderminebothorganizationsconsensusonsanctionsagainst
Russia.123Similarly,thereportedfinancialtiesbetweenFrancesfar-rightNationalFrontandaMoscow-based
bankarelikelyintendedtosecureaRussianfootholdinFrenchdomesticpoliticsandtoseektoinfluenceFrench
policy.124PoliticalpartiesandindividualpoliticiansandofficialsintheCzechRepublic,Germany,andLatviahave
allbeentargetedbytheRussiangovernment.125

Inacrisissituation,theuseofdisinformation,awiderangeofinformationoperations,diplomaticmaneuvering,
diversionarytroopmovements,activationofsleeperagentsandfriendlylocals,infiltrationofspecialforces,
reconnaissance,andvariousothermilitary,paramilitary,andcivilianpersonnelareallfairgame.Corruption,
blackmail,relianceoncriminalnetworks,andoverteconomicassistanceareallfairgameasmeansofpreparing
thebattlefieldorachievingpoliticalobjectivesbeforethefirstshotisfired.

ABleakOutlook

TheprofoundsenseofinsecuritythatpermeatesRussiandiscussionsaboutthecountryspositioninEuropeand
Eurasiaiswelljustified.TherearemanyuncertaintiesinRussiasfuture,aswellasinthoseofitsneighbors,
potentialpartners,allies,andadversaries.However,thoseuncertaintiesdisappearwhenitcomestothis
prediction:theabilitiesofRussianleaders,militaryplanners,anddiplomatswillbethoroughlytestedintheyears
anddecadestocomeasafunctionofthedifficultgeopoliticalenvironmentandmultiplechallengesthecountryis
facingathome.

PredictingthetrajectoryofRussiaisaninherentlydifficulttask.FewpredictedthebreakupoftheSovietUnion
beforeitunraveledrapidly.Fewpredictedthatthecountrywoulddissolverelativelypeacefully.Fewpredicted
theeconomiccalamitythatfollowed,therecoveryofRussiaadecadelater,theeconomicboomthatfollowed,
theprotestsof2012,thewarwithUkraine,andthevirulentlyanti-WesternturninRussiandomesticandforeign
policies.Allofthesemajorshiftsoccurredintheshorthistoricallyspeakingspanoftwenty-fiveyears.

Acomparableseriesofeventsinthenextdecadeordecadeandahalfcouldtheoreticallyresultinthebreakupof
Russiaintoaseriesofsmallerstates,someofthemwithnuclearweaponsontheirterritoriesanotherwarinthe
SouthCaucasusanewrapprochementwiththeWestnecessitatedbytheneedformodernization,economicaid,
andhelpconsolidatingnuclearweaponsinwhatsleftofRussiaproper.Andallofthesecouldbefollowedbythe
riseofanationalistRussianregimebentongatheringthelostempireandreconstitutingthegreatRussianstate,
triggeringyetanotherconflictwithbothimmediateneighborsandtheWest.

Insum,noforecastofRussiasfuturecanbereducedtoastraightline.Russiahastoexploremultiple
possibilities.Ithastoconsiderpossibilitiesthatareliterallystrangerthanfiction.Andthenithastocautionthe
readertotakeallwithabiggrainofsalt.

AnEstablishedPoliticalSystem

ConsideringthemanychangesinRussiainthepastquartercentury,itiseasytooverlookthefactthateven
thoughthecountryunderwentamajorpoliticalshockwhentheSovietUnionbrokeup,itspoliticalsystemis
quitewellestablished.DespitesignificantdifferencesbetweentheYeltsinera,thePutinpresidency,andthe
Medvedevinterregnum,thepoliticalsystemchangedlittle.DescribedearlyinitsdevelopmentbylongtimeRussia
expertThomasGraham,ithasremainedessentiallyanoligarchywithallthetrappingsofamoderndemocracy,
butwithoutinternalideologicaldifferencesandmotivatedonlybycompetitionforpropertyamongoligarchic
groupsorclans.126Atthecenterofthisarrangementstandsapowerfulpresidentwhosemissionistomanage
competitionamongclansandthusmaintaindomesticstability.

EstablishedearlyduringtheYeltsinpresidency,thissystemhassurvivedlargelyintact.Someclansandoligarchs
havedeparted,andothershavereplacedthem.Thepowerofthepresidencyhasincreasedordecreased
dependingonthepersonalityoftheincumbent.Butthroughitall,thesysteminitsessencehasremainedintact.
Keyfeaturesofthissystemapowerfulexecutive,thecloserelationshipbetweenpowerandproperty,their
concentrationinthehandsofarelativelysmallelite,thelackofarepresentativegovernment,andtheprevalence
oftherulingideologypredatethecurrentRussianregimeandhavetheirrootsintheSovietandimperial
Russianperiods.Littleonthecountryspoliticallandscapesuggeststhatthesystemislikelytoundergosignificant
changesintheforeseeablefuture.Itmayundergosomechangesonthemargins,butthereisnothinginRussian
domesticpoliticstoindicatethatamorerepresentativeformofgovernmentislikelytoemergeinthenexttento
fifteenyears.Yet,changemayberequiredforthecountrytoovercomethemanyobstaclesfacingit.

StagnationLooms

In2016,wellintoPutinsthirdpresidentialterm,Russiafindsitselfconfrontedbyincreasinglybleakprospects.
AsnotedbymanyRussianobserversquotedinthispaper,theproblemisnotjustthatthepriceofoilislowor
thatthesanctionsimposedbytheEUandtheUnitedStateshavehurttheRussianeconomy.Theentiremodelof
economicdevelopmentpursuedbyRussiainthepastdecadeandahalf,theobserversconclude,hasoutlived
itself.

SomeRussiananalystshavenotedthesimilaritybetweenPutinsRussia,nowintheseventeenthyearofthe
Russianpresidentstenureatthehelm,andtheSovietUnionduringtheeraofLeonidBrezhnev,wholedthe
countryforeighteenyearsfrom1964to1982.127Then,too,theSovietUnionhadreachedadeadendandhad
toradicallychangecourseindomesticandforeignaffairs.

Russiasnextpresidentialelectionisscheduledin2018.Putin,whowillthenbesixty-fiveyearsold,willendhis
thirdpresidentialtermandwilleitherrunforyetanothersix-yeartermorstepasideeitherasatacticalmeasure
orasamovetowardretirement.ThelikelihoodofPutinsteppingasideretiring,ratherthanasatacticalmove
appearslowatthetimeofthiswriting.128

Moreover,Putinsdeparturefromthepoliticalstageshouldnotbeequatedwithimprovedprospectsforpolitical
oreconomicmodernizationinRussia.Theupperechelonofthecountryspoliticaleliteiscomposedofpeople
whoseoutlooksandbackgroundsaresimilartoPutins.Theirprospectsforimplementingmajorchangesinthe
countryspoliticalsystemoreconomyappearequallymodestatbest

IfPutinLeaves

Nonetheless,theconsequencesofPutinsdeparturefromthepoliticalsceneareworthconsideringifonlyasan
intellectualenterprise.TheRussianpresidentsretirementattheendofhiscurrenttermwouldbefollowedbyan
electioninwhichanewleaderwouldbechosen.Thatishowtheprocessissupposedtoworkformally,and
thereislittlechancethatitwillnot.

Inreality,PutinsdeparturewouldholdthepossibilityofasignificantdestabilizationofRussianpolitics.He
occupiesauniquelypowerfulplaceinthecountryspoliticalsystem,actingasthecentralfigureamongvarious
interestsgroupsandclans,balancingtheircompetingdemandsandadjudicatingtheirdisputes.129Noother
politiciancomesclosetoPutinsstandinginthatsystem.Hehasnopoliticalheirorsecond-in-command.The
primeministercurrentlyDmitryMedvedevstepsintemporarilyifthepresidentisincapacitatedordiesin
office,untilanewpresidentiselectedwithinninetydays.Few,ifany,politicalanalystswouldarguethat
MedvedevisacrediblecandidateforthepresidencytosucceedPutinorapowerfulfigureinRussiandomestic
politics.

Intheabsenceofadesignatedpoliticalsuccessor,theprocessofnominatingacandidatefromthepoliticalelite
so-calledthepartyofpowerwouldbehighlycontested,almostcertainlymoresothantheelectionitself.Such
intra-elitestrugglestookplaceduringthe20072008period,whenPutinssecondtermwasduetoexpirebuthe
hadnotyetdesignatedhissuccessorormadeclearhisownplans.Similarly,in2011,Russianeliteswere
unsettledbythelackofclarityaboutthefutureoftheMedvedev-Putintandem.

ShouldPutindepartthepoliticalscenewithoutdesignatingasuccessor,therulingelitewouldhaveapowerful
incentiveinpreservingtheexistingsystemandavoidinganinternalsplit,thusincreasingthelikelihoodof
coalescingaroundasinglecandidate.Buttheprocessofselectingthatsinglecandidateislikelytobecontentious,
resultinginafiercecompetitionamongclansandinterestgroups.
Thenomineewouldbevirtuallycertaintowintheelection.Russiasbeleagueredpoliticaloppositionhasbeen
decimatedasaresultofaseriesofsystematicmeasuresbythePutinadministrationtolimittheabilityof
oppositionpartiesandcivilsocietyatlargetoorganize,recruitmembers,raisefunds,orinanyotherway
participateinthepoliticallifeofthecountry.Noseriouscontenderforthepresidencyabletocompetewiththe
onenominatedbythepartyofpowerislikelytoemergefromtheranksoftheopposition.

However,theelectionwouldnotmarktheendofpoliticalinstabilityinRussia.Thenewleaderwouldhaveto
workhardtoconsolidatehis(mostlikelynother)powerandrestoretheequilibriumamongclansdisruptedby
Putinsdeparture.Thiswouldalmostcertainlybeaprocessthatwouldtakeyears,giventhesizeofthecountry,
themultitudeofitsclansandinterestgroups,regionalinterests,andthesorrystateoftheeconomythatwould
almostcertainlyleadtofiercecompetitionamongclansforalargershareoftheshrinkingpie.

Howlikelyisthecountrysnewpresidenttointroducemajorreformsindomesticorforeignaffairsinthat
environment?SuchreformsnotunliketheGorbachev-eradtentewiththeWestinforeignpolicyand
movementtowardderegulationandmarketcapitalismwouldundoubtedlyprovecontroversialandpolitically
difficult,fortheywouldaffectinterestsofvariousclansvestedinthestatusquo.Anynewleaderwouldhaveto
takethatintoaccount.AnewleaderwouldalsohavetotakeintoaccountthefragilityoftheRussianeconomy
andprobablybemindfulthatGorbachevsreformsendedincatastrophethebreakupofthecountry.Withthis
baggage,anynewleaderwouldlikelyproceedwithextremecaution,ifatall.Thelikelyoutcomeofthisscenario
wouldbeacontinuationofPutinism,butwithoutPutin,fortheremainderofthisdecade,ifnotlonger.Change
wouldhavetowaituntillater,perhapsuntilthesuccessorssecondpresidentialterm.

Oncechangecomes,itcouldprovedestabilizing.AfutureRussianleaderlaunchingmajorreformsinthemiddle
ofthethirddecadeofthetwenty-firstcenturywouldhavetocontendwithamultitudeofchallenges,including

anadversedemographicsituationinRussia
astagnanteconomy
technologicalbackwardnessofRussianindustry
highbarrierstodomesticandforeigninvestmentexcessivegovernmentregulation,weakruleoflaw,
corruption,andpoorinfrastructureand
ahighlycompetitiveinternationalenvironment.

Thegeographicexpanseofthecountryandproximityofitsvariousregionstoothereconomicandgeopolitical
gravitationalpolesChina,Turkey,Europewillcreatepowerfulcentrifugalforcesandgreatlycomplicatethe
taskofthefederalgovernmentofmanagingtheeconomyandpoliticalsystem.Russia,whichisorganizedasa
federation,couldfacesomeofthesameseparatisttendenciesthattheSovietUnionencounteredamongits
constituentrepublicsinitsfinalyears.Alternatively,thiscouldresultinasignificantdelegationofpowerand
authoritytotheregions.ThepossibilityoffurtherfragmentationoftheRussianstatehastobeconsideredasone
ofrealcontingenciestofaceRussiaattheendofthe2020s.

Putinsdeparturefromthepoliticalsceneattheendofthecurrenttermdoesnotguaranteethathissuccessor
wouldundertakesignificantreformsindomesticorforeignpolicy.However,shouldsuchreformsbeattempted,
theycouldresultinasignificantdestabilizationofRussia.

IfPutinStays

TheprospectofPutinsreelectiontoafourthpresidentialtermin2018raisesthecriticalquestionofwhetherhe
iscapableofchange.Putinsreturntothepresidencyin2012provedasetbackforRussiasreformersand
advocatesofmodernizationafteraperiodwhenprospectsforeconomicandpoliticalmodernizationlooked
relativelybright.Since2012,theyhavedimmedconsiderably,andintheaftermathoftheUkrainecrisisthey
appeartobenearlyextinguished.

Theneedforchangeinthecountryseconomicandpoliticallifecloselyrelatedtoeachotheriswidely
understoodandacknowledgedinRussiansociety.Itisequallywidelyunderstoodthatsignificantchangecould
provedestabilizingfortheestablishedpoliticalsystem.Asmentioned,theexperienceoftheGorbachev-era
reformscontinuestoserveasapotentcautionaryreminderofthedangersassociatedwithradicalchange.

Russiaisfacingadifficultdecadeoradecadeandahalf,
regardlessofPutinscourse.

Putinhasfirmlyandrepeatedlyrejectedtheideaofpoliticalmodernizationasathreattothecountrysstability.
Hisentirethirdtermcanbedescribedasantimodernization,includingsuppressionofcivilsociety,isolationof
RussiafromEuropeandtheUnitedStates,propagandaofso-calledtraditionalRussianvaluesasdifferentfrom
Europeanvaluesandnorms,prouddeclarationsthatRussiaisnotEurope,andapushtoautarkyineconomic
developmenttoinoculatethecountryfromthethreatofWesternsanctions.MovesbytheKremlintoassertthe
supremacyofRussianlawsoverinternationaltreatiessignedbyRussiaanddisconnectthecountryfromthe
InternetaresymbolicoftheantimodernizationspiritthathaspermeatedRussianpoliticsandpolicymakingsince
Putinsreturntothepresidency.

Putinhasraisedtheissueofeconomicmodernizationinhisspeechesrepeatedly.However,hisrecordinoffice
sincehisaccessiontothepresidencyin2000ofconsistent,step-by-step,deliberateconsolidationofpolitical
powerandeconomicleversinthehandsofthestateorasmallgroupofassociatescloselytiedtothestate
speaksmuchlouderthanhiswords.Ifheweretobecomeamodernizerlateinhispoliticalcareer,itwouldbea
radicaldeparturefromeverythinghehasdoneuntilnow.

Increasingly,economicmodernizationinRussiarequirespoliticalmodernizationaswell,andashiftfromthe
small,Kremlin-centeredoligarchytoamoreopeneconomicsystemwithstrongerruleoflaw,transparency,and
adegreeofcompetitiveness.Thatwillrequirereformsthatwouldchallengetheverypoliticalorderthatforthe
pastdecadeandahalfhasservedasthefoundationofRussiandomesticstabilityandPutinspersonalpowerand
hasitsrootsinthesystemthatemergedsoonafterthebreakupoftheSovietUnion.Theoutlookforachangeof
suchmagnitudeisnotencouragingfortheforeseeablefuture.

Underthepresentconstitutionalarrangement,andassumingPutinisreelectedin2018,hewillremaininoffice
until2024.Hewillbeseventy-onethenstillrelativelyyoungandquiteplausiblynotreadytodepartthepolitical
stage.TheprospectofPutinremainingatthehelmasfaras2030isquitereal,justastheprospectofhis
changingcourseisquiteremote.

ThisisnottosaythatRussiawillcontinueindefinitelyalongitspresentglidepath.Theabsenceofreformsand
lackofprogresstowardmodernizingthecountryspoliticalsystemandeconomyareboundtotaketheirtollon
itseconomy,itspolitics,anditsinternationalstanding.Thisisalmostcertaintotriggerdiscontinuitiespolitical,
security,andeconomic.Thatsaid,anyattemptbyPutinorhissuccessortotacklethischallengeisfraughtwith
significantrisksofdiscontinuity.Inshort,Russiaisfacingadifficultdecadeoradecadeandahalf,regardlessof
Putinscourse.

Theweaknessofandsevererestrictionsonoppositionpoliticalpartiesandcivicorganizationsvirtuallypreclude
thepossibilityofapowerfulstructuredchallengetothePutinregime.However,therestrictionsonorganized
politicalactivitiescandolittletolimitspontaneousmanifestationsofdiscontentandgrassrootsactionsinresponse
toadecliningstandardofliving,actionsoflocalauthorities,orintercommunal,interracial,orinterconfessional
tensions.130Thegrowthofsuchprotestactivitiescould,overtime,developintoapersistentpattern,creating
opportunitiesforpoliticalchallengestotheregime.Theregimesinabilityorunwillingnesstotackletheunderlying
economicpoliticalandeconomicproblemscouldexacerbatethechallengeandthethreattothecountrys
domesticstability.

Inadditiontothechallengetothecountryspoliticalstability,thelonglistofproblemsfacingtheRussian
governmentintheconditionsofastagnanteconomyandshrinkingresourcesincludesthethreatofyetanother
destabilizationintheNorthCaucasus,whererelativepeaceandstabilityhavebeenmaintainedthroughmassive
federaltransfersandcutsindefensespending,socialprograms,science,education,andotherprograms.131
Combinedwithlackofinvestmenteveninthecriticalenergysector,thesecutsthreatencascadinglong-term
effectsontheeconomy,furtherunderminingitsabilitytoinnovate,diversify,andgrow,allofwhichpointtothe
systemiccrisis.132

ChallengesAbroad

TomakemattersworseforRussianpolicymakers,theexternalenvironmenttheyarelikelytofacealongthe
immediateperipheryofRussiaandbeyondpromisestobeequallychallenging.TheUkrainecrisishas
compoundedthechallengesRussiannationalsecurityexpertshavelongfearedintheEuro-Atlantictheater.At
thesametime,thebreakinrelationswithEuropeandtheUnitedStateshasnotresultedinnewpartnershipsor
alliancesforRussiaelsewhere.Thishasoccurredatatimeofmajornewinstabilityintheinternationalarenain
generalandinregionsnearRussiainparticular.

ASelf-FulfillingProphecyinEurope
InEurope,RussianthreatperceptionsandconcernsaboutNATOslowlymovingitsmilitarycapabilitiestoward
itsbordersarebecomingaself-fulfillingprophecyintheaftermathoftheUkrainecrisis.If,priortotheannexation
ofCrimeaandthewarineasternUkraine,Russiawasconsideredbytheallianceasapossible,albeitincreasingly
unlikely,partner,thenRussianactionsinUkrainehaveputanendtosuchhopesforpartnershipandtransformed
therelationshipintoonethatisopenlyadversarial.133Thealliancescommitmentnottopermanentlystation
substantialcombatforcesontheterritoriesofnewmembersinthecurrentandforeseeablesecurityenvironment
disappearedwiththeannexationofCrimea,theaggressionineasternUkraine,andRussianthreatsagainstthe
BalticstatesandotherNATOmembers.

TheUkrainecrisishasspurredNATOtoproceedwithactionspreviouslyconsideredonlyremoteandunlikely
possibilities.InresponsetowhatseniorNATOofficialsdescribeasthemostdangerousthreattoEurope,
NATOisundertakingaseriesofstepsthatincludethestationingofU.S.andotherNATOtroopsandpre-
positioningofequipment,includingheavyU.S.equipment,inthefrontlinestatesfromtheBaltictotheBlackSea
planningforandtrainingtodefendagainstRussianaggressionandestablishmentofrapidresponseandbroader
responseforces.134AndnowSweden,neutralfornearlytwocenturies,andFinland,neutralsince1948,are
havingactivedebatesaboutjoiningthealliance.135

Further,theUkrainecrisishaspromptedcallsfromWesternmilitaryanalyststocounterRussianthreatsto
EuropewiththeverysystemsthatRussianassessmentshavelonghighlightedasdestabilizingandmost
threateningintheeventofacrisis.136Acombinationoflong-range,stealth,andprecisiontechnologies,if
deployedbyNATOalliesinacrisis,wouldbethefulfillmentofRussiandefenseplannersworstexpectations.

However,asidefromthepurelymilitarythreats,moreuncertaintyandpossiblyturmoilarelikelytoconfront
RussiainitsWesternstrategicdirection.ThebiggestchallengefacingRussiaalongitswesternfrontieristhe
unsettledconflictwithUkraine.RussianactionsinvolvingUkrainehaveservedasasourceoflong-term,deep
enmitybetweentwocountriesthatpreviouslyhadexperiencednone.Furthermore,theyhavecreatedalong-term
sourceofinstabilityinlieuofthepredictable,ifstagnant,relationshipthathadexistedbetweenRussiaand
UkraineforthequartercenturyfromthebreakupoftheSovietUniontotheannexationofCrimea.

UkraineaProblemNeighbor

Ukrainesoutlookfortheforeseeablefuturecanbestbedescribedalongtwouneasytrajectoriesmuddling
throughorreturningtoRussiasorbit.Thisbleakprospectisaproductofseveralcircumstances:thelegacyof
SovietrulecombinedwiththemisruleofthefirstquartercenturyofindependencethatleftUkraineacorrupt
oligarchythedepletedeconomybadlydamagedbytheconflictineasternUkraineandreformsthatwerenever
implementedandthelackofinterestintheWesttosupportUkrainewiththesamecommitmentEuropeandthe
UnitedStatesmadetointegratetheformerWarsawPactcountriesandBalticstatesintotheWesternpolitical,
economic,andsecuritystructures.Inaddition,theconflictineasternUkraineislikelytobesettledonlyasfrozen
ratherthanresolved,thusleavingapermanentwoundinUkrainesdomesticpolitics,economy,andsecurity.

Themuddling-throughscenariohasUkrainestayingonitspresentcourseofdifficult,haltingpoliticaland
economicreformsforthedurationofPresidentPetroPoroshenkostermuntil2019.ThisscenariohasUkraine
makingintermittentprogressinthefollowingareas:someimprovementinitsinvestmentclimategradualstructural
reformsoftheeconomy,especiallytheenergysectorandheavyindustrydecentralizationandsomecurbingof
thepowerofoligarchs.Allofthesechangespromisetobedifficultandpoliticallychallenging,threateningto
underminethegovernmentsprecariousstandinginthepollsandpossiblyleadingtoearlyparliamentaryelections,
furthercomplicatingthegovernmentstask.Thisscenarioalsoentailsimplementingadifficultsecurity-sector
reform,reequippingthearmedforces,andadaptingtoahostofEU-mandatedrequirementsthatmakeup
UkrainesAssociationAgreementandfree-tradeagreementwiththeEU.Thisisahighlyambitiousagendathat
atbestcanbeonlypartlyfulfilled,evenbythemostambitiousreformersandwiththehelpofgenerousaid,which
isunlikelytomaterialize.Allthewhile,UkrainewouldbeunderseverepressurefromRussia.

Thealternativescenarioentailsastalledreformeffort,growingpopulardiscontent,andgridlockintheparliament.
Together,thesewouldhaveaparalyzingeffectontheabilityofthegovernmenttofunction.TheInternational
MonetaryFund(IMF)agreementwouldthenbejeopardized,leadingtoahaltinIMFassistancetoUkraine.
OtherdonorassistanceconditionedoncompliancewithIMFrequirementswouldalsobeimperiled.Thisturnof
eventswouldprecipitateanothercrisis,afailureoftherulingcoalitionandearlyparliamentaryandpossibly
presidentialelectionsrestoringtopoweralessreform-mindedleadershipandreturningUkrainetothe
dysfunctionaloligarch-dominatedstateithadbeeninpriortotheEuromaidanantigovernmentuprisingin2013
2014.ThisscenarioalsoentailsthenewgovernmentsgradualaccommodationwithRussiainexchangefor
financialsubsidiesintheformoffavorabletermsforgastradeorloans.TheaccommodationwithRussiawould
provecontroversialwithmanyinUkraine,leadingtoadividedpolityandpermanentpoliticaltensions,
polarization,andgovernmentdysfunction.

Ineitherscenario,fortheforeseeablefuture,Ukraineislikelytoremainafragilestatestrugglingwithdomestic
reformsandcaughtinatug-of-warbetweenRussiaandtheWest.NeitherRussianorEuropeandtheUnited
StatesislikelytocountonUkraineasareliablepartner.ForbothRussiaandtheWest,Ukrainepromisestobea
sourceofeconomicandsecuritychallengesaswellasamajorsubjectoflong-termtensionsanddiscordintheir
bilateralrelations.

BelarusanUnreliableAlly

Similarlycaughtinatug-of-warbetweenRussiaandtheWestisUkrainesnorthernneighborBelarus.Ruledbya
wilyauthoritarianleader,AleksandrLukashenko,formorethantwodecades,thecountryhassurvivedinlarge
measurethankstoitsspecialrelationshipwithRussiaandhugesubsidiesfromMoscow,coupledwitha
repressiveregimethathassucceededineliminatingormarginalizingallopposition.

SincethecrisisinUkraine,LukashenkohassoughttodistancehimselfsomewhatfromMoscowandrebuild
bridgestotheWest.HiseffortshavemetwithreciprocalstepsonthepartoftheEU.137Someofthisoutreachto
theWestisnodoubtduetothediminishingeconomicprospectsinrelationswithRussiaandtheneedfor
economicassistancetokeeptheregimeafloat.138

Lukashenko,whoissixty-one,couldremaininofficeforanotherdecadeorlonger.Withhisskillatnavigating
betweenRussiaandtheWestprovedoverthecourseoftwodecadesandhisholdonpowerunchallenged,he
couldcontinuetomaneuverbetweenthetwoopposingsidesforanequallylongtime.

ThegreatestriskforLukashenkoorhissuccessorisinarapprochementwiththeWestthatRussiawouldfind
threateningtoitsinterests.TheBelarusianborderisbarely300milesfromMoscow.Apro-Westerngovernment
inMinskwouldundoubtedlybeseenbytheKremlininequallythreateningtermsasUkrainespursuitofan
AssociationAgreementwiththeEU,ifnotmoreso.BelarusiscloselyintegratedinRussiandefenseplansto
counterNATORussiahasambitionsforfurtherintegrationandexpansionofitsmilitarypresencethere.139
LukashenkosstatedoppositiontoaRussianairbaseinBelarusislikelytobeseeninMoscowasasignthatthe
Belarusianleaderisnotareliableallyandcannotbetrusted.140

AchangeinBelarussstrategicorientation,eitherasaresultofadeliberatedecisionbyLukashenkoorhis
successor,orasaconsequenceofadomesticupheaval,couldforcetheKremlinshandtolaunchyetanother
militaryintervention.ThistimeitwouldbedirectlyonRussiasborderwiththreeNATOmemberstatesLatvia,
Lithuania,andPoland.

MoldovaMoreoftheSame?

Impoverished,smallMoldovahasneverrecoveredfromthelegacyofitsconflictfrozensince1992withthe
RussianminorityinbreakawayTransnistria.Thecountryhasbeenshakenbyrepeatedscandalsandpolitical
proteststhathaveincapacitateditsgovernment.Moldovaremainsdividedbetweenthosewhoadvocatecloser
tieswithRomania,fromwhichitslargepartwassplitoffin1940asaresultoftheMolotov-RibbentropPact,
andthosewhowantclosertieswithRussia.141

Moldovaspoliticshasbeendysfunctionalformostofitshistoryasanindependentstate.Thereislittleinthe
countryscurrentpoliticaloreconomiclandscapeandoutlooktosuggestthatthenear-permanentgridlockis
likelytochangeandbereplacedbyabetter-functioninggovernmentthatwouldmovethecountryclosereitherto
RomaniaandtheEUortoRussia.Thepoliticalparalysisandeconomicstagnationarethereforelikelytocontinue
indefinitely,astheyhaveformuchofthepastquartercentury.

AnotherpossiblescenarioforMoldovaoverthenextdecadeoradecadeandahalfentailsagradualmigration
ofMoldovancitizenstoRomania,takingadvantageofRomaniasofferofpassports.Thiswouldeffectively
continuethetrendofworking-ageMoldovansleavingtheirhomelandasguestworkerselsewhereinEuropeorin
Russia.AccordingtoWorldBankdata,between2011and2015,personalremittancesamountedtomorethan
25percentofMoldovasGDP.142RussiaseconomicslowdownislikelytoaffectMoldovanguestworkers
there,increasingpressurestomigratetoEurope.RussiansanctionsagainstMoldovainretributionforitssigning
anAssociationAgreementwiththeEUarelikelytofurtherrestrictMoldovanguestworkersaccesstoRussia,
thusincreasingpressuresformigrationtoRomania.143Thiswouldineffectstimulateagradualhollowingoutof
MoldovaanditsdefactointegrationwithRomania.Aslongasthisprocessdoesnottriggeractionsleadingtoa
moreformalintegrationandanadversereactionfromRussia,thestatusquoinMoldovawouldremain.

FromaBuddingPartnershiptoHostilityWithTurkey

OneofRussiasmajorbreakthroughrelationshipsaftertheColdWarwaswithTurkey.Thetwohistoricalrivals
builtanewrelationshipbasedonrecognitionofmutualbenefits.144Turkeyquicklyemergedasamajor
destinationforRussiantraders,tourists,andenergycompanies.Turkishcompaniesestablishedthemselvesinthe
Russianrealestatedevelopmentindustry,andTurkishagriculturalproducersfoundareadymarketfortheir
exportsinRussia.145

DefyingthelegacyoftheColdWarandcenturiesofgeopoliticalrivalrypriortothat,RussiaandTurkey
developedapartnershipthatseemeddestinedtogetstronger.Theirpartnershipwasbuoyedbytwoimportant
factors.First,bothcountriesstruggledtofindtheirplaceinEurope,which,despitepromisesofpartnership,kept
thematarmslength.Theotherfactorwastheblossomingpersonalrelationshipbetweenthetwocountries
presidents,PutinandRecepTayyipErdoan.Bothproudoftheirreputationsasstrongleaderstransformingtheir
countries,bothincreasinglyaccusedofauthoritarianbehaviorathomeandcriticizedforitabroad,thetwo
presidentsweredescribedinaWashingtonPostarticlesheadlineasmadeforeachother.146Thecivilwarin
Syria,inwhichRussiahassupportedthegovernmentofSyrianPresidentBasharal-AssadandTurkeyhas
soughttooverthrowit,hasintroducedfrictionsintherelationshipbetweenAnkaraandMoscowbutdidnot
changewhatPutindescribedasitsfriendlyandcooperativenature.147

TheRussian-Turkishrelationship,whichhadbeenfullof
promiseanddeliveredmuchtobothcountries,almost
instantlyrevertedtoitsoldadversarialrootswithnoprospect
ofimprovementintheforeseeablefuture.

ThemajorshiftinrelationsbetweenTurkeyandRussia,rekindlingtalkabouttheircenturies-oldgeopolitical
rivalry,occurredinlateNovember2015,whenaTurkishF-16fightershotdownaRussianSu-24groundattack
aircraft.148TheTurkishgovernmentsaidatthetimethattheRussianaircrafthadviolatedTurkishairspacea
claimdisputedbytheRussiangovernment.PutindescribedTurkishactionsasastabinthebackandreferred
totheTurkishgovernmentasaccomplicesofterrorism.149PutinreportedlyrefusedtheTurkishpresidents
outreachattempts,andtheRussiangovernmentproceededtoimposeeconomicsanctionsonTurkey.150A
relationshipthathadbeenfullofpromiseforbothcountriesanddeliveredsomuchtobothalmostinstantly
revertedtoitsoldadversarialrootswithnoprospectofimprovementintheforeseeablefuture.151

InstabilityintheSouthCaucasus

HavingregainedCrimea,andwithitsecureditsholdontheBlackSeaFleetbaseinSevastopol,Russiahas
sealedthetransformationoftheBlackSeaintoalong-termhostileenvironment.NoneoftheBlackSealittoral
statescanbecountedonasapartnerbyRussianmilitaryplanners.AllexceptforUkraineandGeorgiaare
NATOmembers.KyivandTbilisiviewRussiaasanaggressorandthebiggestthreattotheirsurvivalas
independentandsovereignstates,andbothhavemademembershipinthealliancethekeygoaloftheirnational
securitypolicies.ThesituationintheBlackSearegionisfurtheraggravatedfromMoscowsstandpointbythe
breakdowninRussian-TurkishrelationsfollowingRussiasmilitarydeploymenttoSyriaandtheshootingdownof
theRussianaircraftbyTurkey.

ThesituationintheSouthCaucasusishardlymorereassuringforRussiandefenseplanners,albeitfordifferent
reasons,largelyunconnectedtoNATO.Theregion,hometothreefrozenconflictsinNagorno-Karabakh,
Abkhazia,andSouthOssetia,ishighlylikelytoundergomajorchangesasafunctionofitsinternaldynamicsand
developmentsarounditinthenextfivetotenyears.

AmajordriverofchangeintheSouthCaucasuspromisestobeAzerbaijan.Hailedinthe1990sasasecular
Islamiccountrywithamoderateauthoritarianregimepresidedoverbyarelativelytolerantpro-Westernleader,
Azerbaijanalsohadvasteconomicpotentialthankstoitsoilwealthandopennesstoforeignoilcompanies
investment.Little,ifany,ofthatpromisehasmaterialized.Therelativelybenignandconfidentdictatorshipof
HeydarAliyevwasreplacedin2003bythekleptocratic,increasinglyinsecure,andhighlyintolerantregimeofhis
sonIlham.Theregimesappealtothepublicbasedonitsclaimofdeliveringameasureofwell-beinghasbeen
erodedbythedeclineinthepriceofoilthathasdealtasevereblowtoAzerbaijanseconomy.152Moreover,the
prospectofdepletingitsmajoroildepositsthreatensthecountrywiththelossofitscriticalsourceofrevenueata
timewhenitsalternativestrategyofpositioningitselfasakeysupplierandtransithubofnaturalgashasto
contendwiththesamefalloutfromthelowoilpriceenvironment.153

Theproteststhathaverockedthecountryastheeconomysputtersraisequestionsabouttheregimeslongevity
andabilitytosustaindomesticstability.Intheeventofaprolongedeconomicslumpcausedbylowoilprices,
IlhamAliyevsregimewouldhaveseveraloptions,noneofthemmutuallyexclusive:tocontinuetotightenthe
restrictionsontheoppositionandcivilsocietytotrytouseitsdecliningfinancialresourcestoaddressthemost
pressingneedsandtoappealtonationalunityandpatriotismbyexploitingthethemeofNagorno-Karabakhand
launchingamilitarycampaigntoregaintheoccupiedterritories.154

TheoutlookforAzerbaijancontainsbleakalternatives.Oneofthemisaninternaldestabilizationandlossof
controlbytheregime.AnotherwouldberenewedconflictwithArmeniaoverNagorno-Karabakh.Athird
possibilityentailsboth.

IlhamAliyevssuppressionofnotjustalloppositionbutnearlyallcivicorganizationsandmanifestationsof
independentopinionhasunderminedAzerbaijanstieswithEuropeandtheUnitedStates.Asaresult,theWest
wouldnothavethenecessaryleveragetomoderatetheregimesbehaviordomesticallyorinternationally.155

ThefightingthatbrokeoutbetweenArmeniaandAzerbaijaninApril2016servedasagrimreminderofhow
fragilethesituationisalongtheirlineofcontact.Tomakemattersworse,acrisisinvolvingAzerbaijanand
Armeniacoulddrawintoitthreecriticalexternalactors:Russia,Turkey,andIran.Allthreehavemajorstakesin
theregion.RussiaandTurkeywouldverylikelybepittedagainsteachotherinthenewconflictsupportingtheir
respectiveclientstates.InternalturmoilinAzerbaijanevenwithoutaconflictwithArmeniawouldalmostcertainly
involvemeddlingbyallthreeneighboringpowers,eachforitsownreasonsseekingtoexpanditsinfluenceinthe
country,whichtheyconsidertobeofcriticalgeopoliticalimportance.

AcrisisinvolvingAzerbaijanandArmeniacoulddrawintoit
threecriticalexternalactors:Russia,Turkey,andIran.

WithRussia,Turkey,andIrancompetingforinfluenceinAzerbaijan,thecountryandthesurroundingregion
couldexperiencespilloversfromtheconflictandtheneighborsreactionstoit.Thesewouldalmostcertainly
affectArmeniaandGeorgia,consideringtheboundarylinesdrawnwithoutregardtoethnicdivisions,and
infrastructureandsupplyroutesthattraversetheentireregion.

Predictingtheoutcomeofthisturmoilisaninherentlydifficulttask.Russia,Iran,andTurkeyallhaveadvantages
anddisadvantagesintheirpursuitofinfluenceoverAzerbaijan.RussiaandIranhavetheadvantageofshared
borderswithAzerbaijan,whileTurkeyhastheadvantageofethnickinshipandlong-terminvestmentinthe
relationshipwithAzerbaijan.However,RussiahashadtodealwithitsowntroubledNorthCaucasusIranhasto
bemindfulofitsownAzerbaijaniTurkishpopulationandTurkeywouldhavetocrossGeorgianorArmenian
territorytogettoAzerbaijan.Allofthesearelikelytobecomplicatingfactorsfortheirinvolvementthere,though
eachofthesecomplicatingfactorscouldserveasarationaleforinterveninginAzerbaijaniturmoil.

TheturmoilcouldlastforyearsandbecomepartofthelargerturmoilintheMiddleEast,withIranandTurkey
pittedagainsteachotherinSyria,Russian-TurkishrelationsattheirworstsincetheColdWar,andweapons,
refugees,militants,andillicitgoodscrossinginalldirections.TheCaucasusregionmaynotseestabilityreturnfor
adecadeorlonger.

Onceameasureofstabilityisrestored,theregion,boththeNorthandtheSouthCaucasus,maynotbe
recognizable,withnewbordersandpossiblyevensomestatesdisappearingfromthemap.Theshapeofthe
regionislikelytobedeterminedbydevelopmentsaroundtheregionRussiasowntrajectoryandabilityto
securetheNorthCaucasusTurkeysabilitytohandleitsKurdishproblemthefutureofIraqandtheconflictin
Syria.AllofthesewillhaveabearingontheCaucasusregion,whichisnolongerseparated,asitoncewas,from
theGreaterMiddleEast.Whatisclear,however,isthattheregionisheadingintoanuncertainfuturefullof
dangersallofthatonRussiasdoorstep.

ATransitioninCentralAsia

CentralAsiaisinthemidstofabiggeopoliticalchangewhoseconsequencesforRussiaandEurasiaarelikelyto
befeltinthenextdecadeandbeyond.Thefirstquartercenturyofindependenceforthefivestatesofformerly
SovietCentralAsiawasatimeofestablishingtheirownstatehood,securingtheirsovereignty,andbuildinglinks
totheoutsideworld.Formuchofthatperiod,theWest,andespeciallytheUnitedStates,playedakeyroleasa
supporterofthefivestatesindependence,sovereignty,andintegrationintotheinternationalarena.156

WiththeUnitedStatesandEuropelargelyout,Russian
influencedown,andChinaascendantinCentralAsia,the
regionisallbutcertaintoshiftitsgeopoliticalorientationfrom
theWesttotheEast.

DuringthepostColdWarperiodoftheWestsdominance,thenewstatesintegrationintotheinternational
arenawastoaverylargeextentequatedwithbuildingtiestoWesternstructurestheOrganizationforSecurity
andCooperationinEurope,theWorldBank,andtheIMF,aswellasNATOandtheEU.Moreover,thanksto
theU.S.-ledcampaigninAfghanistan,theWestservedasamajorsecurityprovidertoCentralAsiafornearlya
decadeandahalfaftertheSeptember11,2001,terroristattacks.Insum,forthefirstquartercenturyofCentral
Asiasindependence,theWestplayedakeyroleinensuringtheregionssecurity.EvenRussia,asaEuropean
power,albeitnotcontenttoseetheUnitedStatesanditsNATOalliesinvolvedinitsjealouslyguarded
backyard,ineffectservedasaconnectiontoEuropeforCentralAsia.

Thatisnowchanging.TheUnitedStatesisactivelylookingtodisengagefromAfghanistan,orattheveryleastto
minimizeitsrolethere,whilemanyU.S.allieshavepulledtheirforcesoutofAfghanistanaltogether.TheWests
roleasasecurityproviderforCentralAsiaisending.

Tradeandinvestmentflows,too,aredrivingCentralAsiatowardadifferentgravitationalpolefromtheWest
China.ChinastradewithCentralAsiahasincreasedmorethanahundredfoldinthepastquartercenturyand
passedthe$50billionmarkin2013.Chineseinvestmentinpipelines,roads,andenergyexplorationismeasured
inthetensofbillionsofdollarsandisprojectedtogrowfurther,asChinaplansambitiousnewprojectsforthe
regioninthenextdecade.RussiahasbeenlosingtheeconomiccompetitionwithChinainCentralAsia,whilethe
UnitedStatesandEuropebarelyregisterastradepartners.157

WiththeUnitedStatesandEuropelargelyout,Russianinfluencedown,andChinaascendantinCentralAsia,the
regionisallbutcertainfortheforeseeablefuturetoshiftitsgeopoliticalorientationfromtheWest,towhichitwas
leaningduringthefirstquartercenturyofitsindependence,totheEast.Thisisboundtohavefar-reaching
consequencesforallinvolved.

FortheCentralAsianstates,aswellasforRussiaandChina,thismeansthattheUnitedStateswillnolongerbe
providingsecurityfortheregion.AgreaterburdeninthisrespectwillfallontheCentralAsiastatesthemselves,
aswellasontheirimmediateneighbors,especiallyRussiaandChina.ThisraisesthequestionofRussiasability
toactastheregionssecuritymanagerforCentralAsiainlightofMoscowslimitedcapabilitiesandchallenges
elsewhere,andofChinaswilltoengageintheregioninaroleithasbeenreluctanttoassume.Theresultofthis
changewillbegreateruncertaintyandpotentiallygreaterinstabilityfacingRussianplannersastheycontemplate
thefutureoftheregionthattheyhavelongviewedasamajorvulnerabilityontheirperiphery.Itseemsnothingis
stableandsecureonRussiasthresholdanywhere,initsfrontyardoritsbackyard.

Conclusion

AttheendofthefirstquartercenturyafterthebreakupoftheSovietUnion,Russiaisathreattoitsneighbors
andfeelsdeeplythreatenedbythem.Itssenseofvulnerabilityandinferiorityvis--vistheWestislong-standing
anddeep,anditissurroundedbyavast,diverse,andturbulentregionwithamultitudeofpotentialcrisesthat
holdoutthepossibilityofescalatingintolargerconflicts.ThisunstablesituationinEuropesEastandEurasiaisa
productoftheinterplayoverthepasttwenty-fiveyearsofmultiplefactors,bothindigenoustotheirhomeregions
andresultingfromactionsofoutsidepowersandexternaldevelopments.

ChiefamongthesefactorsisRussiasownevolutionfromaquietlydissenting,grumbling,butnonethelesslargely
passivebystanderindevelopmentofthepostColdWarEuro-Atlanticsecurityarchitectureintoitsactive
opponentandastatecapableofprojectingpowerarounditsperipheryandassertingitselfbeyonditsimmediate
neighborhoodindefenseofitsinterests.Aseriesofeventsthe2008Russian-GeorgianWar,the2014
annexationofCrimeaandthewarineasternUkraine,theemergenceofsecuritythreatstotheBaltics,the
economicstormsbuffetingRussiasneighborsfromMoldovatoTajikistanillustrateshowmuchswayRussia
continuestoholdoverthesecurityandwell-beingofthepost-Sovietstates,nomatterhowmuchtheyhavetried
toleavethatlabelbehindandbreakoutoftheRussiansphereofinfluence.
Russia,inotherwords,remainstheessentialsecuritypillarinEasternEuropeandEurasia.Astable,prosperous,
secure,andfriendlyRussiaisfarmorelikelytobeasourceofthesametoitsneighborsthanthealternativean
insecure,unstable,andstrugglingRussia,whichhascastalonganddarkshadowoverthem.

UnfortunatelyforRussiasneighborsandfortheirfriends,allies,andpartners,theprospectofastable,
prosperous,secure,andfriendlyRussiaisremote.Theoutlookforthecountryfortheforeseeablefutureisbleak
absentmajorreforms,whereassuchreformsappearunlikely.

NowhereisthesenseofpessimismaboutRussiasprospectsmoreacutethaninsideRussiaitself.Itpermeates
Russianassessmentsofthecountryseconomicconditionandprospects,itspoliticalstability,anditsmilitaryin
relationtothethreatsandchallengestoitssecurity.Foremostamongthesesecuritythreats,intheviewofRussian
defenseexperts,isNATO,followedcloselybyfragilestatesaroundRussiasperiphery.

Thetransatlanticsecurityorderintendedasaframeworkforbringingunity,security,andstabilitytoallofEurope,
includingRussia,isseenbyitssecurityestablishmentastheprincipalchallengetoitssecurityandstability,
intendedtoexploititsmanyvulnerabilities.ThisassessmentofWesternmotivesandactionsresultingfromthem
hasenduredwithremarkableconsistencyintheRussiannationalsecuritynarrativesincetheearliestdaysofthe
post-SovietRussianstatetothepresent.ItisthedominantviewinMoscowsnationalsecurityestablishmentwith
nodissentingvoicesofanyconsequence.

EquallyenduringandwidespreadamongRussianelitesandexpertsistheperceptionofRussiasdeepinferiority
economically,militarilyvis--vistheWest.ThecombinationofRussiasinsecurityanditsperceptionofthe
WestshostilitytoithasbeentheprincipaldriverofRussiansecuritypolicy.TherejectionofexpansionbyNATO
andtheEUintocountriesapparentlygenuinelyviewedbyRussianpolicymakersaswithintheirsphereof
privilegedinterests,coupledwiththefearoftheWesternsecurityandpoliticalorderapproachingRussias
borders,wasthekeymotivatorbehindthewarwithGeorgiaandtheundeclaredwaragainstUkraine.This
underlyingRussianworldviewisunlikelytochangeintheforeseeablefuture.

TheemergingnewsecurityorderwithNATOrethinkingitspostColdWarpostureforthefirsttimeina
quartercenturyandrebuildingitsdeterrentcapabilitiesandwithRussiabuildingupitsmilitarycapabilitiesalong
itswesternborderisunstableandunpredictable.BothRussiaandtheWestfeelinsecureandcompelledtodo
more,raisingtherisksofanescalatorydynamicinthenameofdefenseanddeterrence.

NothingjustifiesRussiasundeclaredwaragainstUkraine,whichviolatedmultipleRussianinternational
commitmentsandhastriggeredtheworstpoliticalandsecuritycrisisinEuropeinageneration.However,in
devisingtheirresponsetoRussianactions,Westernpolicymakersshouldbeclearaboutthedriversand
motivationsofRussianactionstheinsecurityandperceptionofvulnerabilityasregardstheWest,ingrainedin
Russiasnationalsecurityestablishmentforageneration.Westernpolicymakersshouldalsobeclearthat
MoscowhasneveracceptedtheargumentthattheexpansionofWesterninstitutionswasmeantasamove
towarditratherthanagainstit.

WesterndiscussionsaboutthenewlydiscoveredvulnerabilityofNATOalliesthatborderRussia,especiallythe
Balticstates,mustnotoverlookthefactthattheBalticstatesmembershipinNATOhasmeanttoRussian
militaryplannersthatNATO,stillseenasahostilealliance,isnowonly100milesfromSaintPetersburg,andthat
thecurrentbuildupofNATOcapabilitiesintheBalticstatesisoccurringlessthanatwo-hourdrivefromRussias
secondmostimportantcity.Westernpolicymakersshouldhavenoillusionsthatthebuildupofdefenseand
deterrentcapabilitiesinthefrontlinestateswillhaveastabilizingeffectonthestandoffbetweenNATOand
Russia.ThebuildupofRussiananti-accessandarea-denial(A2/AD)capabilitiesinCrimeaandKaliningradand
threatstodeploynuclearweaponstherearestrongindicatorsthattensionswillincreaseratherthansubsidein
theseregions.158

Inthiscontext,themostdisturbingaspectofthisrenewedadversarialrelationshipisthereturnofthespecterof
nuclearwartotheEuropeancontinent.Russiaslong-standingperceivedinferiorityvis--visNATOs
conventionalcapabilitiesandtheirproximitytotheRussianheartlandhavegivenrisetoamilitarystrategythat
assignsacriticalroletolimitednuclearstrikesearlyinaconflictasameansofthwartingNATOsconventional
dominanceandendingtheconflictbeforeitresultsindevastatinglossestotheheartland.Defenseofthe
homelandhastakenonenhancedprioritybecauseafterthelossoftheouterandinnerempiresandtheexpansion
ofNATO,ithasbecometheforwardareainanyfutureconflictbetweenRussiaandNATO.

Needlesstosay,anyuseofnuclearweaponswillbeadecisionmadebyRussiaspoliticalleadership,andexpert
writingsaboutearlynuclearuseshouldnotbetreatedasareliableindicatoroffutureRussianactions.
Nonetheless,theprominenceofnuclearweaponsinRussianstrategicthoughtisindicativeofthecountrys
perceivedvulnerabilitiesandintensityoftheadversarialrelationshipwiththeWest.

FortheUnitedStatesanditsallies,thisposesadauntingchallengehowtorespondtoRussianactionsina
mannerthatensuresacredible,robustdeterrentposturethatisstabilizinganddoesnotfeedRussiasworst
perceptionsofitsownvulnerabilities.Relianceonnucleardeterrenceinthiscontextcouldproveescalatoryand
reinforceRussianmilitaryplannersnuclearleanings,whilerelianceonconventionalmeanswouldunderscore
Russiasperceivedvulnerabilities.

NowherewilltheadversarialrelationshipbetweenRussiaand
theWestplayoutwithgreaterintensitythaninEastern
Europe.

NowherewilltheadversarialrelationshipbetweenRussiaandtheWestplayoutwithgreaterintensitythanin
EasternEuropethestatesoftheformerSovietUnionthathavenotjoinedtheEuro-Atlanticpolitical,
economic,andsecurityinstitutionsandareunwillingtojointheRussian-dominatedcounterpartEurasian
structures.Armenia,Azerbaijan,Belarus,Georgia,Moldova,andUkrainehavebecomethebattlegroundstates,
toonedegreeoranotherpulledindifferentdirectionsinthegeopoliticaltug-of-warbetweenRussiaandthe
West.

Much,ifnotmost,oftheattentionfollowingRussiasaggressionagainstUkrainehasbeenfocusedontheBaltic
statesastheNATOalliesmostexposedandvulnerabletoRussianattack.Balticdefenseisundoubtedlyamajor
challengeforthealliance.However,Russianactionsbefore,during,andsincetheaggressionagainstUkraine
suggestthatMoscowstilltakesNATOsArticle5securityguaranteeofitsmembersseriouslyandthatitisnot
preparedtotestthatguaranteedirectly.Rather,itsactionsinformationandcyberoperations,airspace
violations,nuclearsaberrattling,andthelikeappearaimedatcreatinganairofuncertaintyaboutthat
guaranteeandunderminingmemberstatesconfidenceinit.Russianleadershavedemonstratedtwicebytheir
actionsinGeorgiain2008andinUkrainesince2014thattheytakethatguaranteeseriously.Russianleaders
wenttowartwicetopreventthetwocountriesfrommovingclosertotheWestandeventuallyastheysawit
joiningNATO.

TheexperiencesofUkraineandGeorgiahaveprofoundimplicationsforthesixbattlegroundstates.Lacking
NATOssecurityguarantee,theyremaininwhatMoscowperceivesasitssphereofprivilegedinterests.Itis
preparedtouseallavailablemeans,includingmilitaryforce,tokeeptheminthatsphere.AslongastheWestis
notpreparedtoconsignthesestatestotheRussiansphere,theybecomethearenaforEast-Westcompetition.

Despitethisadversarialrelationship,inmanyinstances,theUnitedStatesanditsallieswillhavenochoicebutto
cooperatewithRussia,oratleastseekitsconsenttopursuetheirinterestsinEurasia.Besidestheobvious
examplesofSyria,Afghanistan,ornucleartalkswithIran,inallofwhichRussiahasplayedanimportantpart,
futureexamplesofsuchsituationsmayinvolvecontingenciesinEasternEurope,theSouthCaucasus,orCentral
Asia.Inallofthoselocations,whetherforreasonsofgeography,politics,oreconomics,theUnitedStatesandits
allieswillneedtogetRussiaonboardtobeabletorespondtonaturaldisasters,humanitariancrises,regional
conflicts,orotherunforeseenevents.

AbsentmajorchangesinoutlookonthepartofeitherRussia
orNATO,thisadversarialrelationshipwillremainthekey
featureoftheEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderfortheforeseeable
future.

Moreover,evenintimeswhencircumstancesforceRussiaandtheWesttocooperate,Russiaislikelytosustain
itsotherdestabilizingbehaviors.Theuseofmeasuresshortofwareconomicleversinstatesthatarevulnerable,
suchasBulgaria,Cyprus,orGreeceandbribery,blackmail,infiltrationofintelligenceoperatives,andan
assortmentofothertacticswillbepartofthetoolkitdeployedbyRussianpolicymakersintimesofcrisis,aswell
asinpeacetimeaspartofthenormalcontinuationofwarfarebyothermeans.

Russiasrelianceontheseformsofcompetitionshortofoutrightwarfareisfullyjustifiedintheeyesofthe
countryssecurityestablishmentasasymmetricmeanswarrantedbytheperceivedRussia-NATOimbalance.
RussianrelianceonthemandtheintensityofitsoppositiontotheEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderareunlikelyto
diminishifitseconomicprospectsordomesticstabilityerode.Onthecontrary,suchreliancemaybecomeeven
greaterasotherinstrumentsinitstoolkitbecomescarcer.

AsseenfromRussia,theenvironmentinEuropeandEurasiahasleftMoscowwithoutreliablepartners,letalone
allies.NATOsexpansionhaspositionedthealliance,viewedbyRussianelitesasadversarial,onthecountrys
doorstep,farcloserthanithaseverbeen.TheothersideofthiscoinisthatRussiaisonNATOsdoorstepasit
hasneverbeenbefore.Theresultisastateofprofoundmutualinsecurity.Absentmajorchangesinoutlookon
thepartofeitherRussiaorNATO,thisadversarialrelationshipwillremainthekeyfeatureoftheEuro-Atlantic
securityorderfortheforeseeablefuture.Eventually,itwilltakeapolitical,notamilitary,solutiontoaddressthese
tensions.

Notes
1AEuropeWholeandFree,transcriptofremarksbyPresidentGeorgeH.W.BushtothecitizensinMainz,
FederalRepublicofGermany,U.S.DiplomaticMissiontoGermany,May31,1989,
http://usa.usembassy.de/etexts/ga6-890531.htm.

2DmitriTrenin,TheCrisisinCrimeaCouldLeadtheWorldIntoaSecondColdWar,Guardian,March2,
2014,http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/02/crimea-crisis-russia-ukraine-cold-war.

3ThisissueisdiscussedindetailinRajanMenonandEugeneRumer,ConflictinUkraine:TheUnwinding
ofthePostColdWarOrder(Cambridge,MA:MITPress,2015).

4OrganizationforSecurityandCooperationinEurope(OSCE),HelsinkiFinalAct,August1,1975,
http://www.osce.org/mc/39501.

5OSCE,CharterofParisforaNewEurope,November21,1990,http://www.osce.org/node/39516.

6EuropeanUnion,TreatyofMaastrichtonEuropeanUnion,February7,1992,http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-
content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:xy0026.

7,:,

,281992,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/31532.

8Ibid.

9YevgeniyAmbartsumov,InteresyRossiiNeZnayutGranits[Russianinterestsknownoborders],
Megapolis-Express,May6,1992.

10AleksandrVladislavlevandSergeyKaraganov,TyazhkiyKrestRossii[Russiasheavycross],
NezavisimayaGazeta,November11,1992.

11TimothyHeritage,Grachev:NATOGrowthaThreat,MoscowTimes,March28,1996,
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/grachev-nato-growth-a-threat/326450.html.

12JanePerlez,YeltsinUnderstandsPolishBidforaRoleinNATO,NewYorkTimes,August26,1993,
http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/26/world/yeltsin-understands-polish-bid-for-a-role-in-nato.html.

13RogerCohen,YeltsinOpposesExpansionofNATOinEasternEurope,NewYorkTimes,October2,
1993,http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/02/world/yeltsin-opposes-expansion-of-nato-in-eastern-europe.html.

14Ibid.

15JamestownFoundation,ChubaisDemandsCompensationforNATOEnlargement,Monitor3,no.84
(April1997).

16SamuelHuntington,TheClashofCivilizationsandtheRemakingofWorldOrder(NewYork:Simon&
Schuster,1996)ZbigniewBrzezinski,TheGrandChessboard:AmericanPrimacyandItsGeostrategic
Imperatives(NewYork:BasicBooks,1997).

17DouglasJ.Gillert,AfterJumping,BattalionLearnstoCrawl,DoDNews,U.S.DepartmentofDefense,
October1,1997.

18ModestKolerov,BezSSSR[WithouttheUSSR](Moscow:Regnum,2008).
19Http://www.pressarchive.ru/nijegorodskie-novosti/1999/08/21/135100.html(pagediscontinued).

20:,
,,172015,http://glavred.info/mir/zhurnalist-rf-o-motivacii-putina-pomnit-sudby-
miloshevicha-kaddafi-i-dedushki-pinocheta-323242.html.

21CelesteA.Wallander,RussianNationalSecurityPolicyin2000(PONARS[ProgramonNewApproaches
toRussianSecurity]PolicyMemo102,DavisCenterforRussianStudies,HarvardUniversity,2000)Nikolai
Sokov,TheViewsoftheMilitaryLeadership,inModernizationofStrategicNuclearWeaponsinRussia:The
EmergingNewPosture(PONARSWorkingPaperNo.6,DavisCenterforRussianStudies,Harvard
University,May1998).

22GrossDomesticProduct:Russia19902014,WorldMacroeconomicResearch,19702014,
http://www.kushnirs.org/macroeconomics_/en/russia__gdp.html.

23PutinsPreparedRemarksat43rdMunichConferenceonSecurityPolicy,WashingtonPost,February12,
2007,http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/12/AR2007021200555.html.

24UweKlumann,MatthiasSchepp,andKlausWiegrefe,NATOsEastwardExpansion:DidtheWestBreak
ItsPromisetoMoscow?,SpiegelOnline,November26,2009,
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nato-s-eastward-expansion-did-the-west-break-its-promise-to-
moscow-a-663315.html.

25MaryEliseSarotte,ABrokenPromise?WhattheWestReallyToldMoscowAboutNATOExpansion,
ForeignAffairs,September/October2014,http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2014-08-
11/broken-promise.

26SergeyLavrov,Democracy,InternationalGovernance,andtheFutureWorldOrder,RussiainGlobal
Affairs,no.1(February9,2005):http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/number/n_4422.

27CheneyChidesRussiaonDemocracy,BBC,May4,2006,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4972464.stm.

28StevenErlanger,Putin,atNATOMeeting,CurbsCombativeRhetoric,NewYorkTimes,April5,2008,
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/05/world/europe/05nato.htmlTextofPutinsSpeechatNATOSummit
(Bucharest,April2,2008),UnianInformationAgency,April18,2008,http://www.unian.info/world/111033-
text-of-putins-speech-at-nato-summit-bucharest-april-2-2008.html.

29MedvedevonRussiasInterests,Economist,September1,2008,
http://www.economist.com/blogs/certainideasofeurope/2008/09/medvedev_on_russias_interests.

30ChristianLowe,GeorgiaWarShowsRussianArmyStrongbutFlawed,Reuters,August20,2008,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-georgia-ossetia-military-idUSLK23804020080820.

31RussianMilitaryCapability,FOI(SwedishDefenceResearchAgency),http://www.foi.se/en/Our-
Knowledge/Security-policy-studies/Russia/Russian-Military-Capability/.

32DmitryMedvedevsBuildingProject,Economist,November26,2009,
http://www.economist.com/node/14973198.

33UkrainesParliamentVotestoAbandonNatoAmbitions,BBC,June3,2010,
http://www.bbc.com/news/10229626.

34DavidM.HerszenhornandEllenBarry,LargeAnti-PutinProtestSignalsGrowingResolve,NewYork
Times,June12,2012,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/world/europe/anti-putin-demonstrators-gather-in-
moscow.htmlHundredsDetainedAfterMoscowAnti-PutinProtest,Guardian,March5,2012,
http://www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2012/mar/05/russian-election-reaction-putin-liveRussianPresident
DmitryMedvedevAdmitsPoliticalReformNecessary,Telegraph,December22,2011,
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8972807/Russian-President-Dmitry-Medvedev-
admits-political-reform-necessary.html.
35Russia,SovietStyle,NewYorkTimes,June12,2012,
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/opinion/russia-soviet-style.html.

36KarounDemirjian,MeanwhileinRussia,PutinPassesLawAgainstProtests,WashingtonPost,July22,
2014,http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/07/22/meanwhile-in-russia-putin-passes-
law-against-protests/MiriamElder,RussiansFearCrackdownasHundredsAreArrestedAfterAnti-Putin
Protest,Guardian,March6,2012,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/06/russians-crackdown-anti-
putin-protestKathyLallyandKarenDeYoung,PutinAccusesClinton,U.S.ofFomentingElectionProtests,
WashingtonPost,December8,2011,http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/putin-accuses-clinton-us-
of-stirring-election-protests/2011/12/08/gIQA0MUDfO_story.html.

37D.GarrisonGolubock,CultureMinistryAffirmsRussiaIsNotEurope,MoscowTimes,April7,2014,
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/culture-ministry-affirms-russia-is-not-europe/497658.html.

38VladimirPutin,ANewIntegrationProjectforEurasia:TheFutureintheMaking,Izvestia,October3,

2011,asreprintedbythePermanentMissionoftheRussianFederationtotheEuropeanUnion,
http://www.russianmission.eu/en/news/article-prime-minister-vladimir-putin-new-integration-project-eurasia-
future-making-izvestia-3-.

39Ibid.

40EuropeanNeighbourhoodPolicy(ENP),EuropeanUnionexternalaction,http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/.

41OleksandrSushko,AForkintheRoad?UkraineBetweenEUAssociationandtheEurasianCustoms
Union(PONARSEurasiaPolicyMemoNo.293,September2013)tefanFle,StatementonthePressure
ExercisedbyRussiaonCountriesoftheEasternPartnership,pressrelease,EuropeanCommission,September
11,2013.

42AlexandraMcLeesandEugeneRumer,SavingUkrainesDefenseIndustry,CarnegieEndowmentfor

InternationalPeace,July30,2014,http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/07/30/saving-ukraine-s-defense-
industry.

4316%ofNaturalGasConsumedinEuropeFlowsThroughUkraine,U.S.EnergyInformation
Administration,March14,2014,http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=15411.

44JudyDempsey,U.S.SenatorUrgesUseofNATODefenseClauseforEnergy,InternationalHerald
Tribune,November28,2006,http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/28/world/europe/28iht-nato.3702073.html.

45Formoreonthis,seeMenonandRumer,ConflictinUkraine.

46DanLamothe,RussiaIsGreatestThreattotheU.S.,SaysJointChiefsChairmanNomineeGen.Joseph
Dunford,WashingtonPost,July9,2015,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/07/09/russia-is-greatest-threat-to-the-u-s-says-
joint-chiefs-chairman-nominee-gen-joseph-dunford/.

47JulianE.Barnes,NATOsBreedloveCallsforSharperFocusonRussiaAheadofDeparture,WallStreet
Journal,May1,2016,http://www.wsj.com/articles/natos-breedlove-calls-for-sharper-focus-on-russia-ahead-
of-departure-1462115561TheodoreSchleiferandJimSciutto,TopArmyLeader:RussiaIsMost
DangerousThreatFacingU.S.,CNN,August12,2015,http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/12/politics/russia-
army-leader-dangerous-odierno/.

48TheRussianNavy:AHistoricTransition,OfficeofNavalIntelligence,December18,2015,
http://news.usni.org/2015/12/18/document-office-of-naval-intelligence-report-on-russian-navy.

49,,,,,15
2016,http://www.ng.ru/courier/2016-02-15/9_friends.html.

50,,11
2015,http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50913.
51,,31
2015,http://kremlin.ru/acts/news/51129.

52,:
,,102015,http://www.ng.ru/news/519934.html?
print=Y.

53NATO-RussiaRelations:TheFacts,NorthAtlanticTreatyOrganization,lastupdatedDecember17,2015,

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_111767.htm.

54,,,23
2014,http://rg.ru/2014/04/23/karaganov-site.html.

55RussianNationalSecurityStrategy,December2015Full-TextTranslation,InstitutoEspaoldeEstudios

Estratgicos,December31,2015,
http://www.ieee.es/Galerias/fichero/OtrasPublicaciones/Internacional/2016/Russian-National-Security-Strategy-
31Dec2015.pdf.

56Transcript:InterviewWithSergeiIvanov,FinancialTimes,June21,2015,
http://next.ft.com/content/b81bbd70-17f0-11e5-a130-2e7db721f996.

57,,,222015,

http://m.rg.ru/2015/12/22/patrushev-site.html.

58,:,
(),232015,http://svop.ru//lectorium/18389/.

59,,.,29,2015,

http://lenta.ru/articles/2015/12/29/alone/,:
.

60,.

61,.
,,302015,http://www.ng.ru/editorial/2015-12-
30/1_otredaktora.html.

62,:.

63,:,,15
2016,http://www.vedomosti.ru/economics/articles/2016/01/15/624167-gref-rossiya.

64,2023-:,
,212015,http://www.rbc.ru/opinions/economics/21/12/2015/567799949a79478889fd54ee
,http://svop.ru.

653.,,302015,
http://www.ng.ru/economics/2015-12-30/4_import.html.

66,:,

,,252015,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/28148.

67:,,
222016,http://tass.ru/ekonomika/3303885,,,
292016,http://kommersant.ru/doc/2975531.

68,,,182015,http://vpk-

news.ru/articles/24284.

69Ibid.
70NATOCondemnsPutinsNuclearSabre-Rattling,BBC,June16,2015,

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33153703AdamWithnall,RussiaThreatensDenmarkWithNuclear
WeaponsifItTriestoJoinNATODefenceShield,Independent,March22,2015.

71DavidLermanandTerryAtlas,RussiasSaber-RattlingThreatensStability,U.S.Says,Bloomberg,June
25,2015,http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-threatens-denmark-with-nuclear-weapons-
if-it-tries-to-join-nato-defence-shield-10125529.html.

72,,,

,272015,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2015-11-27/1_stairway.html.

73MaryC.Fitzgerald,MarshalOgarkovonModernWar:19771985,ProfessionalPaper443.10,Center
forNavalAnalyses,revisedNovember1986.

74DoctorStrangeloveDoomsdayMachine,YouTubevideo,postedbyliberalartist6,July31,2010,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yfXgu37iyI.

75RussiaRevealsGiantNuclearTorpedoinStateTVLeak,BBC,November12,2015,
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34797252.

76,,-,252015,
http://vpk-news.ru/articles/24405.

77DavidE.Hoffman,In1983WarScare,SovietLeadershipFearedNuclearSurpriseAttackbyU.S.,

WashingtonPost,October24,2015,http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-1983-war-
scare-soviet-leadership-feared-nuclear-surprise-attack-by-us/2015/10/24/15a289b4-7904-11e5-a958-
d889faf561dc_story.html.

78Forathoroughdiscussionofthis,seePavelPodvig,DidStarWarsHelpEndtheColdWar?Soviet
ResponsetotheSDIProgram(workingpaper,RussianNuclearForcesProject,March17,2013).

79:,

,182015,http://ria.ru/interview/20150218/1048334517.html.

80Ibid.

81,,-,13

2014,http://www.vko.ru/strategiya/v-poiskah-strategicheskoy-stabilnosti.

82,,
,282012,http://nvo.ng.ru/armament/2012-09-
28/11_satan.html.

83,-,282013,http://vpk-

news.ru/news/16557.

84Ibid,,.,18

2004,http://polit.ru/article/2004/11/18/slipch/,
,,2013,http://www.intertrends.ru/thirty-
second/Volodin.pdf...
,Viperson.ru,302012,http://viperson.ru/wind.php?ID=652675.

85,
,:
,-,,,20
2020.,http://www.armscontrol.ru/pubs/em092012.htm.

86,,,-
,132014,http://www.vko.ru/geopolitika/ugrozy-bezopasnosti-rossii.
87,,,-,-
,212015,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/27617.

88Ibid.

89RussiaHasDeliveredOver1,000AirstrikesinSyriaSinceStartofYearGeneral,TASS,January11,

2016,http://tass.ru/en/defense/848749.

90,,,23

2014,http://www.ng.ru/armies/2014-09-23/1_rogozin.html.

91StepanKravchenko,PutinTellsDefenseChiefstoStrengthenRussianNuclearForces,Bloomberg,

December11,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-11/putin-tells-defense-chiefs-to-
strengthen-russian-nuclear-forces.

92,

,,122014,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2014-09-
12/1_oborona.html.

93,:4202,

,,222015,
http://www.mk.ru/politics/2015/07/22/istochnik-rossiya-ispytyvaet-giperzvukovoy-obekt-4202-kotoryy-
obescenit-amerikanskuyu-pro.html.

94,-.,

,162014,http://www.ng.ru/armies/2014-12-16/3_kartblansh.html.

95,:4202,

,,222015,
http://www.mk.ru/politics/2015/07/22/istochnik-rossiya-ispytyvaet-giperzvukovoy-obekt-4202-kotoryy-
obescenit-amerikanskuyu-pro.html.

96PetrTopychkanov,IsRussiaAfraidofChineseandIndianMissiles?CarnegieMoscowCenter,November

3,2014,http://carnegie.ru/2014/11/03/is-russia-afraid-of-chinese-and-indian-missiles.

97,Newsru.com,4

2015,http://www.newsru.com/russia/04jul2015/midnukes.html.

98,,,3

2014,http://nvo.ng.ru/nvo/2014-10-03/1_strike.html.

99,,,-
,272016,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/30420.

100:,
-,282013,http://file-rf.ru/context/2324.

101Ibid.

102,,

,152016,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2016-01-15/10_infowar.html.

103:,

-,282013,http://file-rf.ru/context/2324.

104ThedoctrineoftheRussianFederationInformationSecurity(inRussian),

http://www.scrf.gov.ru/documents/6/5.html.

105:,,13

2013,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2001-12-26/1_war.html.
106,,31

2015,http://kremlin.ru/acts/news/51129.

107AgenceFrance-Presse,VladimirPutinWarnsRussianstoAvoidGoogle:TheInternetIsaCIASpecial

Project,RawStory,April24,2014,http://www.rawstory.com/2014/04/vladimir-putin-warns-russians-to-
avoid-google-the-internet-is-a-cia-special-project/RussiaandChinaWantMoreControlOvertheInternet,
Stratfor,August14,2015,http://www.stratfor.com/sample/analysis/russia-and-china-want-more-control-over-
internet.

108,:,

,212016,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/04/21/ru-63383/ixdw,
,,32015,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2781186.

109,,122016,

http://www.ng.ru/editorial/2016-02-12/2_red.htmlRussiasChiefInternetCensorEnlistsChinasKnow-How,
FinancialTimes,April27,2016.

110,.,,1

2016,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/02/01/ru-62632/itei.

111MasterCard,VisaNowProcessRussianPaymentsThroughSanction-ProofSystem,MoscowTimes,May

28,2015,http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/mastercard-visa-now-process-russian-payments-
through-sanction-proof-system/522576.html.

112TASS,RussiaMayUseChinasPaymentInfrastructureInsteadofSWIFTVTBBankHead,Russia

BeyondtheHeadlines,March11,2015,
http://in.rbth.com/news/2015/03/11/russia_may_use_chinas_payment_infrastructure_instead_of_swift_vtb_bank_h_41911.

113RussiaBrainstormsStrategytoReplaceBannedWesternDefenseImports,MoscowTimes,August14,

2014,http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/russia-brainstorms-strategy-to-replace-banned-
western-defense-imports/505133.html.

114PutinsDeoffshorizationBringsMajorFirmsBacktoTaxman,MoscowTimes,December20,2013,

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/putins-deoffshorization-brings-major-firms-back-to-
taxman/491910.html.

115UriFriedman,SmartSanctions:AShortHistory,ForeignPolicy,April23,2012,

http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/04/23/smart-sanctions-a-short-history/.

116RobinNiblett,NATOMustFocusontheHybridWarsBeingWagedontheWest,FinancialTimes,July

17,2014,http://next.ft.com/content/3192c7a0-0cd2-11e4-bf1e-00144feabdc0JohnVandiver,SACEUR:
AlliesMustPrepareforRussiaHybridWar,StarsandStripes,September4,2014,
http://www.stripes.com/news/saceur-allies-must-prepare-for-russia-hybrid-war-1.301464.

117Vandiver,HybridWar.

118,(:,2015),
http://lib100.com/book/other/hybrid_war/_%D0%9C%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B2
%D0%A1.%D0%90.,
%D0%93%D0%B8%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B4%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%8F
%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%B9%D0%BD%D0%B0
%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%B2
%D0%A0%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D0%B8.pdf,
,-,182016,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2961578:
,.,242015,http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=2529147.

119,,,142014,http://topwar.ru/56079-
gibridnaya-voyna.html,:
(II),,132015,
http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2015-03-13/1_gybrid2.html,:
,,222016,
http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2014-10-10/1_nato.html.

120,:,
,222016,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2014-10-10/1_nato.html.

121,,,302015,
http://topwar.ru/75928-mif-o-gibridnoy-voyne.html.

122Ibid.

123ShaunWalker,AlexisTsiprasinMoscowAsksEuropetoEndSanctionsAgainstRussia,Guardian,April
8,2015,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/08/alexis-tsipras-in-moscow-asks-europe-to-end-
sanctions-against-russiaGeorgiGotev,BulgarianParliamentAlmostRejectedtheEUSanctionsAgainst
Russia,EurActiv,October8,2015,http://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/bulgarian-
parliament-almost-rejected-the-eu-sanctions-against-russia/.

124IvoOliveira,NationalFrontSeeksRussianCashforElectionFight,PoliticoEurope,February19,2016,
http://www.politico.eu/article/le-pen-russia-crimea-putin-money-bank-national-front-seeks-russian-cash-for-
election-fight/.

125MelanieAmannetal.,TheHybridWar:RussiasPropagandaCampaignAgainstGermany,Spiegel
Online,January30,2016,http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/putin-wages-hybrid-war-on-germany-
and-west-a-1075483.htmlTheCzechsandRussia:SpyVersusPolitician,Economist,October29,2014,
http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2014/10/czechs-and-russiaGregoryFeiferandBrian
Whitmore,CzechPowerGames:HowRussiaIsRebuildingInfluenceintheFormerSovietBloc,RadioFree
Europe/RadioLiberty,September25,2010,
http://www.rferl.org/content/Czech_Mate_How_Russia_Is_Rebuilding_Influence_In_The_Former_Soviet_Bloc/2168090.html
AleksTapinsh,LatviaSeesGoodandBadasRussianMoneyHaven,Reuters,October23,2012,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-latvia-russia-banks-idUSBRE89M0S120121023.

126,,,231995,
http://medium.com/@OpenUni/--1995-23------
-9785d26186b2#.byb71wmzt.

127DmitryZhdannikovandGuyFaulconbridge,KhodorkovskySaysPutinIsLeadingRussiaToward
Stagnation,Collapse,Reuters,November27,2015,http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-khodorkovsky-
west-idUSKBN0TF23920151126.

128Forthepurposesofthisanalysis,atacticalmovebyPutintotheprimeministersofficewouldnotconstitutea
meaningfulbreakwithPutinism.ThisanalysisalsoassumesthatPutinremainshealthyandthattherewillbeno
coupagainsthimfortheremainderofhiscurrentterm.

129Politburo2.0andPost-CrimeanRussia,MinchenkoConsulting,October22,2014,
http://www.minchenko.ru/netcat_files/File/Politburo_2014_ENG1_pre_final1.pdfRussia:TheStrugglesWithin
PartI,Stratfor,January9,2008,http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/russia-struggles-within-part-i.

130NeilMacFarquhar,RussiansAnxietySwellsasOilPricesCollapse,NewYorkTimes,January22,2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/23/world/europe/russians-anxiety-swells-as-oil-prices-collapse.htmlTom
Balmforth,SacredGround:MuscovitesProtestChurchConstructioninPark,RadioFreeEurope/Free
Liberty,June26,2015,http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-moscow-church-protest-torfyanka-
park/27095836.htmlAlexeyMalashenko,DivisionsandDefianceAmongRussiasMuslims,Carnegie
MoscowCenter,November20,2015,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2015/11/20/divisions-and-defiance-
among-russia-s-muslims/im56MiriamElder,MoscowRiotsExposeRacismattheHeartofRussianFootball,
Guardian,December18,2010,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/19/spartak-moscow-race-riots-
ultranationalistAlexeyMalashenkoandAlexeyStarostin,TheRiseofNontraditionalIslamintheUrals,
CarnegieMoscowCenter,September30,2015,http://carnegie.ru/2015/09/30/rise-of-nontraditional-islam-in-
urals/iie6.
131BenJudah,PutinsMedievalPeacePactinChechnya,Bloomberg,April25,2013,
http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2013-04-25/putin-s-medieval-peace-pact-in-chechnyaMichael
Schwirtz,RussianAngerGrowsOverChechnyaSubsidies,NewYorkTimes,October8,2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/world/europe/chechnyas-costs-stir-anger-as-russia-approaches-
elections.htmlEx-MinisterSaysRussiaWillCutDefenseBudgetin23Years,TASS,January13,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/defense/849380RussiatoCutSocialSpendingin2016,RT,January14,2016,
http://www.rt.com/business/328915-russia-social-spending-2016/MoscowProtestersRallyAgainstBudget
CutsinScience,Education,RT,June6,2015,http://www.rt.com/news/265495-moscow-protest-science-
education/EugeneVorotnikov,GovernmentPlanstoCut10%OffUniversityFunding,UniversityWorld
News,February20,2015,http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20150220085025625.

132MikhailKrutikhin,GrabandShare:NewTaxProposalsforRussiasOilIndustry,CarnegieMoscow
Center,October15,2015,http://carnegie.ru/publications/?fa=61623,
,,242015,
http://www.rbc.ru/society/24/03/2015/551134c29a7947727d49866d,
,,30
2015,http://www.ng.ru/editorial/2015-12-30/1_otredaktora.html.

133RobertBurns(AssociatedPress),NATOOfficial:RussiaNowanAdversary,YahooNews,May1,2014,
http://www.yahoo.com/news/nato-official-russia-now-adversary-150211090--politics.html?ref=gs.

134NATOLeaderSaysRussiaBuildingArcofSteelinEurope,U.S.DepartmentofDefense,October6,
2015,http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/622080/nato-leader-says-russia-building-arc-of-
steel-in-europeNaftaliBendavid,NATORampsUpResponsetoRussia,WallStreetJournal,June24,
2015,http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-ramps-up-response-to-russia-1435174136.

135NeutralEuropeanCountries:Austria,Switzerland,Sweden,Finland,Ireland,SloveniaandNATO,
http://nato.gov.si/eng/topic/national-security/neutral-status/neutral-countries/TheEffectsofFinlandsPossible
NATOMembership,MinistryofForeignAffairsofFinland,April29,2016,
http://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?contentid=345685TomasBertelman,JohanMolander,andSven-Olof
Peterson,APowerfulCaseforSwedishMembershipinNATO,NATOSource(blog),AtlanticCouncil,
August21,2015,http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/a-powerful-case-for-swedish-membership-in-
nato.

136RichardFontaineandJulianneSmith,Anti-Access/AreaDenialIsntJustforAsiaAnymore,DefenseOne,
April2,2015,http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2015/04/anti-accessarea-denial-isnt-just-asia-
anymore/109108/.

137AgenceFrance-Presse,BelarusPoll:EULiftsSanctionsonLukashenkoEuropesLastDictator,
Guardian,October12,2015,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/13/belarus-poll-eu-lifts-sanctions-
on-lukashenko-europes-last-dictator.

138SabraAyres,AsBelarusEconomyFalters,LukashenkoLooksWest,AlJazeeraAmerica,January3,
2016,http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2016/1/as-belarus-economy-falters-lukashenko-looks-west.html.

139AnasMarin,TradingOffSovereignty.TheOutcomeofBelarussIntegrationWithRussiaintheSecurity
andDefenceField,OrodekStudiwWschodnich,April29,2013,
http://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/osw-commentary/2013-04-29/trading-sovereignty-outcome-belaruss-
integration-russiaChrisBiggers,RussianAirbaseinBelarusRemainsinLimbo,Bellingcat,December27,
2015,http://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-europe/2015/12/27/russian-airbase-belarus-remains-limbo/.

140YurasKarmanau(AssociatedPress),BelarusPresidentSaysHeDoesntWantRussianAirBase,Voice

ofAmerica,October6,2015,http://www.voanews.com/content/belarus-president-says-he-does-not-want-
russian-air-base/2993864.htmlChristopherHarress,ScaredbyUkraineWar,BelarusStrongmanLukashenko
MullsDitchingRussia,InternationalBusinessTimes,January31,2015,http://www.ibtimes.com/scared-
ukraine-war-belarus-strongman-lukashenko-mulls-ditching-russia-1801070MikalaiAnishchanka,IsBelarus
andRussiasBrotherlyLoveComingtoanEnd?Guardian,May29,2015,
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/28/belarus-russia-brotherly-love-ukraine-crisis.

141KitGillet,OppositionGroupsinMoldovaUnitetoProtestNewGovernment,NewYorkTimes,January
25,2016,http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/world/europe/oppositions-groups-in-moldova-unite-to-protest-
new-government.html.

142PersonalRemittances,Received(%ofGDP),database,WorldBank,
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.TRF.PWKR.DT.GD.ZS.

143MoldovanMigrantsDeniedRe-EntrytoRussia,DeutscheWelle,December21,2014,
http://www.dw.com/en/moldovan-migrants-denied-re-entry-to-russia/a-18144394.

144JeffreyMankoff,WhyRussiaandTurkeyFight:AHistoryofAntagonism,ForeignAffairs,February24,
2016,http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2016-02-24/why-russia-and-turkey-fight.

145SelinGirit,TurkeyFacesBigLossesasRussiaSanctionsBite,BBC,January2,2016,
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35209987.

146IshaanTharoor,HowRussiasPutinandTurkeysErdoganWereMadeforEachOther,WashingtonPost,
December2,2014,http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/12/02/how-russias-putin-and-
turkeys-erdogan-were-made-for-each-other/.

147Cengizandar,PutinSupportsErdoganinTurkey,butNotinSyria,Al-Monitor,September24,2015,
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/09/turkey-russia-putin-not-supports-erdogan-in-syria.html
NewsConferenceFollowingStateVisittoTurkey,OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,
December1,2014,http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/47126.

148Mankoff,WhyRussiaandTurkeyFightTurkeysDowningofRussianWarplaneWhatWeKnow,
BBC,December1,2015,http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34912581.

149AndreyBiryukov,PutinSaysTurkishStabinBackCausedRussianWarplaneCrash,Bloomberg,
November24,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-24/putin-says-turkish-stab-in-back-
caused-russian-warplane-crash.

150RaziyeAkkocandRolandOliphant,VladimirPutinRefusestoSpeaktoTurkishPresidentOverAnkaras
LackofApology,Telegraph,November27,2015,
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/12020980/Vladimir-Putin-refuses-to-speak-to-
Turkish-president-over-Ankaras-lack-of-apology.html.

151WorstinDecades,NoWaytoImproveforNowKremlinonRussia-TurkeyRelations,RT,February9,

2016,http://www.rt.com/news/331878-russia-turkey-relations-worst/.

152AzerbaijansEconomyinDireStraitsasOilPricesKeepTanking,Oilprice.com,January14,2016,
http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Azerbaijans-Economy-In-Dire-Straits-As-Oil-Prices-
Keep-Tanking.html.

153JackFarchy,BakuSeeksAlternativesasAzerbaijanOilProductionDeclines,FinancialTimes,March
12,2015,http://next.ft.com/content/b86cb5b4-be99-11e4-8036-00144feab7deAzerbaijancountryreport,
U.S.EnergyInformationAdministration,http://www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis.cfm?iso=AZE.

154RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty,AzerbaijanForcedtoCutBreadTaxesAfterWidespreadProtests,
Guardian,January15,2016,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/15/azerbaijan-forced-to-cut-bread-
taxes-after-widespread-protests.

155AzerbaijanCancelsEUDelegationVisitAfterCriticismofRightsRecord,Reuters,September11,2015,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-azerbaijan-europe-idUSKCN0RB1U920150911U.S.CriticizesAzerbaijan
Crackdown,RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty,December2,2014,http://www.rferl.org/content/journalists-in-
trouble-us-criticizes-azerbaijan-crackdown/26720682.html.

156Formoreonthis,seeEugeneRumer,RichardSokolsky,andPaulStronski,U.S.PolicyTowardCentral
Asia3.0,CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace,January25,2016.
http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/01/25/u.s.-policy-toward-central-asia-3.0/it2s.
157Ibid.

158SydneyJ.FreedbergJr.,RussiansinSyriaBuildingA2/ADBubbleOverRegion:Breedlove,Breaking

Defense,September28,2015,http://breakingdefense.com/2015/09/russians-in-syria-building-a2ad-bubble-
over-region-breedlove/StevenPifer,RussianNukesinCrimea?ABetterWaytoRespond,Brookings
Institution,February2,2015,http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2015/02/02-russia-nuclear-
weapons-crimea-better-us-response-piferStevenErlanger,NATORatchetsUpMissileDefenseDespite
RussianCriticism,NewYorkTimes,May5,2016,http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/world/europe/nato-
russia-poland.html.
From: RobertOtto<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Senttime: 06/30/201603:04:35AM
To: loywil@gmail.com
Subject: FriendsWithBenefits?Russian-ChineseRelationsAftertheUkraineCrisis-CarnegieMoscowCenter-CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace

http://carnegie.ru/2016/06/29/friends-with-benefits-russian-chinese-relations-after-ukraine-crisis/j2m2

FriendsWithBenefits?Russian-ChineseRelations
AftertheUkraineCrisis
FacingsanctionsfromtheWestaftertheannexationofCrimea,RussiahasreorienteditseconomytowardChina.Inmakingthe
pivot,itsoughttobreakitsdiplomaticisolation,secureamarketforitsenergyresources,andgaingreateraccesstoChinese
creditandtechnology.Theresultsoftheshiftaremixed,butiftrendscontinue,MoscowislikelytodriftfurtherintoBeijings
embrace.Anasymmetricalinterdependenceisemerging,withglobalimplications.

AnIncreasinglyUnbalancedRelationship

RussiaseconomicoutreachtoChinapredatesitsannexationofCrimeaandtheimpositionofWesternsanctions,butit
hasintensifiedfollowingtheUkrainecrisis.

Intryingtoreorientitseconomyquickly,MoscowhaseasedinformalbarrierstoChineseinvestment.

TherewasasharpdeclineintradebetweenChinaandRussiain2015anddifficultiesinnegotiatingnewmegadeals.Still,
therapprochementhasacceleratedprojectsthathavebeenunderdiscussionfordecades,resultinginagreementsona
naturalgaspipelineandcross-borderinfrastructure,amongotherdeals.

ChinesefinancialinstitutionsarereluctanttoignoreWesternsanctions,butMoscowandBeijingaredevelopingparallel
financialinfrastructurethatwillbeimmunetosanctions.

Newdealsintherailwayandtelecommunicationssectorsmaysetimportantprecedentsforbilateralrelations.These
projectscouldreduceRussiastechnologicallinkswiththeWestandincreaseitsdependenceonChina.

TheRussian-Chineserelationshipisincreasinglyunequal,withRussiatheneedierpartner.Withoutviablealternatives,
Moscowmaybewillingtoaccepttheimbalance.

LessonsforWesternLeaders

RussiaandChinaarenotenteringintoananti-Westernalliance.BeijingdoesnotwanttoconfronttheWestoverissuesit
seesasalowpriority,suchasUkraine.MoscowprefersnottobedraggedintogrowingU.S.-Chinarivalryorterritorial
disputesintheAsia-Pacific.

Still,MoscowsgrowingdependenceonChinaanditstendencytoseeconflictthroughananti-Americanlensisforcingit
tosupportBeijinginsomedisputesitwouldprefertoavoid.

Russiasmilitary-industrialcomplexisopeningupmoretotheChinesemarket.Thisshiftmayaffectthestrategicbalance
inTaiwan,theEastChinaSea,andtheSouthChinaSeaastheChinesemilitarygainsaccesstoadvancedequipment.

CentralAsiaisapotentialarenaforrivalrybetweenMoscowandBeijing.Attemptstocoordinatethecountriesregional
economicintegrationprojectshavebeenunsuccessful.YetMoscowhopesitcanserveasregionalsecurityproviderwhile
Chinapresidesovereconomicdevelopmentadeparturefromapreviouscollisioncourse.

MoscowandBeijingarelearningfromeachothersexperiencelimitingWesterninfluence,providingexamplesforother
authoritariancountries.

RussiaEmbracesChina:TurningFearsIntoHopes
WhenthecrisisinUkraineeruptedin2014,nooneintheKremlinwasexpectingaprolongedconfrontation.Butassoonas
sanctionswerementionedforthefirsttimeintheWest,theRussiangovernmentorganizedaseriesofbrainstormingsessionsto
analyzehowdifferentscenariosmighthurttheRussianeconomy.Theconclusionwasclear:RussiasAchillesheelwasitsnear-
totaldependenceonWesternmarketsforitshydrocarbonexports,capital,andtechnology.1Thehistoricalcasesofsanctions
regimespresentedbyRussiananalystsatthesediscussions,rangingfromNorthKoreatoIran,suggestedthatinorderto
withstandWesternpressureacountryneededastrongexternalpartner.2TheonlyobviouscandidatethatfitthebillwasChina
thelargesteconomythatdidnotplantoimposesanctionsonRussia.

Thiswasthecontextinwhich,inMay2014,theRussianleadershipembarkedonanewandmoreambitiouspivottoChina.
ThestrategicgoalwasnotonlytodeepenthepoliticalrelationshipbutalsotoreorienttheRussianeconomytowardtheEast.It
washopedthatChinawouldbecomeamajorbuyerofSiberianhydrocarbons,ShanghaiandHongKongwouldbecomethe
newLondonandNewYorkforRussiancompaniesseekingcapital,andChineseinvestorswouldflocktobuyRussianassets,
providingbadlyneededcash,upgradingthecountrysaginginfrastructure,andsharingtechnology.3Putsimply,thenewpivot
wouldkeeptheRussianeconomyafloatandspurnewsourcesofgrowth.

Foritspart,ChinaneithersupportedRussiasactionsinUkrainenordirectlycriticizedthem.ButitwelcomedMoscowspolicy
ofgoingEast.TherupturebetweenRussiaandtheWestoverUkrainewasseenassomethingthatwouldhelpChinatosecurea
RussiamoreaccommodatingtoBeijingscommercialdemandsandmorewillingtogiveuponambitionsofdeepintegrationwith
theWestanightmarescenarioforChinesestrategists.

Withsomeexceptions,4thisnewapparentrapprochementwasgreetedwithconsiderableskepticismintheWest.5Thedominant
viewinWesterncapitalswasthatrelationsbetweenMoscowandBeijingwouldalwaysremainanaxisofconvenience.6
RelationswiththeWestandwiththeUnitedStatesinparticular,itwasargued,aremoreimportantforChinathanitstiesto
Russia,giventhatU.S.-ChinesetradevolumesweresixtimesgreaterthanRussian-Chinesetradeflowsin2014andtentimes
greaterin2015.Moreimportantly,Westernanalystspredictedthatdeepmistrustbetweenthecountrieselites,historical
territorialdisputes,anunbalancedstructureoftrade,theChineseeconomicanddemographicthreattoSiberiaandtheFarEast,
competitionforinfluenceinCentralAsia,andtheoverallgrowinginequalitybetweenthetwocountrieswouldprecludeany
meaningfulpartnership.

TwoyearsafterMoscowbeganitsChinapivot,somedevelopmentsconfirmthisskepticalview.Westerncommentarieshave
oftenadoptedamockingtoneabouttheexaggeratedhopesthatMoscowhasplacedonBeijing.Mr.Putinmayhopethatsuch
arrangements[withChina]canhelpshieldRussiafromwesternsanctions.Yet,inhisheartofhearts,hemustknowthatBeijing
isnotgoingtodoMoscowanyfavours,arguedaMay2015editorialintheFinancialTimes.7ThomasS.EderandMikko
HuotarifromtheBerlin-basedMercatorInstituteforChinaStudieswroteinForeignAffairsthat

WhatonefindstimeandagainwithSinoRussiancooperationareloftyannouncementsthatfailtocorrespondwiththe
realityofalessthanrobustrelationship.Asaresult,thecurrentstateofSinoRussianrelationsdo[sic]littletoprovide
MoscowwithanygeopoliticalleverageagainstEurope.Infact,itistheotherwayaround.Europehasbeenmore
successfulatplayingthediversificationgame,aswellasattractinginvestmentsandincreasingtradewithChina.8

Yet,thenewRussian-Chineserapprochementmaybemoreseriousthanthislineofreasoningsuggests.Inthewakeofthe
Ukrainecrisis,theRussianleadershiptookafreshlookatmanyissuesthathadbeenblockingcooperationwithBeijingfor
years.Thisprocessresultedintheremovalofthreekeyinformalbarriers.First,Moscowdecidedithadbeentooreticentabout
sellingadvancedweaponrytoChina.Second,MoscowchosetoreviewadefactobanonChineseparticipationinlarge
infrastructureandnatural-resourceprojects.Third,theKremlinreassesseditsrelationshipwithChinainCentralAsia,whichhad
hithertobeendefinedaslargelycompetitivewithverylimitedopportunitiesforcollaboration.

ThenewapproachthattheKremlinadoptedyieldedfewsuccessesin2014and2015.Butthedealsconcludedorunder
discussionmaypresagemoremeaningfuldevelopmentsinthefuture,puttingRussiaonapathwhereitendsupacceptingthe
roleofajuniorpartnerinanincreasinglyasymmetricalrelationship.MoscowmayendupprovidingcrucialresourcesthatBeijing
needs(suchasmilitarytechnology,naturalresources,andaccesstonewmarkets)toboostthelattersambitiontobethenext
globalsuperpowerinexchangeforaneconomicandfinanciallifeline.

OneofthecentralfactorsthatispropellingthenewRussian-Chineserelationshipisthepersonalconnectionbetweenthetwo
countriesleaders,VladimirPutinandXiJinping.

BorisYeltsinsrelationshipwithhisChinesecounterpart,JiangZemin,wasgood.TheyspokeinRussian,whichfacilitateddirect
conversation,buttheRussianpresidentnevercalledhisChinesecolleaguefriend,asheaddressedformerU.S.presidentBill
ClintonandformerJapaneseprimeministerRyutaroHashimoto.PutinsexperiencewithJiangwasfruitfulbutbrief.Both
leadersmanagedtosignthe2001FriendshipTreaty,whichpavedthewayforthesettlementofRussian-Chineseborder
disputes.JiangssuccessorHuJintaowastenyearsolderthanPutinandunemotional.VariousinterlocutorsdescribeHuas
wearingthesameinscrutablefaceinallsituations.

Xihasbeenverydifferentfrombothhispredecessors.JustsixmonthsyoungerthanPutin,XicouldbedescribedastheRussian
presidentssoulmateastrongleaderwithavisionofhiscountrybecomingagreatpoweragain.XisremarksinMexicoin
2009aboutsomeforeignerswithfullbelliesandnothingbettertodo[than]engageinfinger-pointingatusdidnotgo
unnoticedinMoscow.9ExtendedprofilesofhimbearalotofsimilaritiestowhatispubliclyknownaboutPutin.10Thetwomen
havedevelopeddeeppersonaltiesdespitethelanguagebarrier,accordingtothosewhohaveobservedtherelationshipup
close.

ThefirstpersonalmeetingbetweenthetwotookplaceinMarch2010inMoscow,whenPutinwasprimeministerandXiwas
vicepresidentofthePeoplesRepublicofChina(PRC).11ButitwasonOctober7,2013,thattherelationshipbecametruly
personal.ThetwoleadersmetonthesidelinesoftheAsia-PacificEconomicCooperation(APEC)summitinBaliitwas
Putinsbirthdayandthelastmeetingofthedayforbothleaders.Negotiationsturnedintoaprivatebirthdaypartywithveryfew
peoplepresentandmanycelebratorytoasts,whichhelpedcementthebondbetweenthem.GiventheimportancePutinattaches
topersonaldiplomacy,thisnewlevelofcontactwiththeChineseleaderwasanimportantfactorbehindMoscowschanged
approach.

In2014,followinginternaldeliberations,theKremlindecidedtoreachouttoChinatofosteraneconomicpartnershipinamore
directfashionthanbefore.InformalpoliticalbarrierslimitingChineseinvestmentinRussiawereeased.AttheKrasnoyarsk
EconomicForuminFebruary2015,DeputyPrimeMinisterArkadyDvorkovichannouncedthatChinesecompanieswould
nowbewelcometobuyassetsinthenatural-resourcesector.Theyalsowerepermittedtobidoninfrastructurecontractsin
sensitiveindustrieslikeroadsandrailways,whichforadecadehadbeencarefullyprotectedfromcompetitionbypowerful
Russianlobbies.ChinesefinancialinstitutionswereinformallyencouragedtoexpandtheirpresenceintheRussianmarkettofilla
gapvacatedbyWesternfirms.High-levelRussianofficialsdeliveredthesemessagesthroughaseriesofunannouncedvisitsto
Asianfinancialcapitals,whiletheywereexploringopportunitiesforRussiandebtandequitylistings.12

MoscowalsosignificantlyupgradeditsmechanismsforcommunicatingwithBeijing.WhileWashingtonhasmaintainedvarious
channelsofcorrespondencewithChineseelitesandpoliticalleadersformanyyears,Russiaslinkshadremainedprimitive.Now
inadditiontotheexistingintergovernmentalcommissionforpreparingprimeministersmeetings(co-chairedbyRussianDeputy
PrimeMinisterDmitriRogozinandChineseVicePremierWangYang)andanalready-establishedstrategicdialogueonenergy
issues(co-chairedbyDeputyPrimeMinisterDvorkovichandChinashighest-rankingvicepremier,ZhangGaoli),anew
intergovernmentalcommissionwasformed.Thenewcommissionisco-chairedbyRussianFirstDeputyPrimeMinisterIgor
Shuvalov,Putinspowerfulpointmanforeconomictroubleshooting,andZhang,whoisalsooneofsevenmembersofthe
ChineseCommunistPartys(CCP)powerfulPolitburoStandingCommittee.Shuvalovscommissionhasbecomethekey
institutionfornegotiatinglarge-scalebilateralprojects.Inadditiontothesebodies,PutinappointedhislongtimefriendGennady
TimchenkotochairtheRussian-ChineseBusinessCouncil.13TimchenkoranksfifthontheForbeslistofwealthiestRussian
citizens,14andwasaddedtotheU.S.TreasuryDepartmentsanctionslistaftertheannexationofCrimea.Byputtinginplacea
capablebureaucratandapersonalfriendwithdirectaccesstotheRussianleaderhimself,Putinhasmovedthebilateralbusiness
agendatoanewlevel.

Asidefromthesepragmaticbusinessmatters,anattemptbytheKremlintoforgeemotionalbondswithChineseelitesonthe
basisofacommonworldoutlookconstitutedakindofgrouppsychotherapyfortheRussianleadershipafterthetraumaofthe
Ukrainecrisis.AnuneasysenseofisolationandfeelingsofrageaboutwhatwasviewedasbetrayalbytheWestwascombined
withthesenseofbelongingtoaresurgentgreatpoweraftertheincorporationofCrimeaintoRussia,andthiscreatedastrong
needforinternationalsoulmates.15PressurefromtheWest,itwasbelieved,wouldbringRussianandChineseelitesmuch
closertogetherthanbefore.Anation-buildingnarrativecenteredonprideandtherevivalofthegloriouspasthasbeenstrongin
Chinasinceapatrioticeducationcampaignwaslaunchedinthe1990s.16ThisnationalstorybecamedominantinChinaafterXi
accededtopowerandpromotedhisambiguousChinaDreamconcept.Asimilarnarrativebecameincreasinglyimportantinthe
Russiancontext,particularlyafterthetakeoverofCrimea.17

Bothregimeshaveinvestedalotincommemoratinghistoricevents,especiallythevictoryinWorldWarII.FormodernRussia,
thevictoryinwhatitcallstheGreatPatrioticWarformsthemoralfoundationofmanyRussiansidentity.FortheCCP,
memoriesofthewaragainstJapan,itsenormoushumancost,andtheroleoftheCommunistsinthenationalresistancestillform
oneofthepillarsofthepartyslegitimacy.AttemptstoquestionordownplaytheroleofeithercountryduringWorldWarIIare
viewedinMoscowandBeijingasattacksontheirprestigeandonthecoreideologicalfoundationsoftheregimes.18Butthis
patriotismismorethanjustcold-bloodedcalculation:ithasdeeprootsinthegenuinepersonalemotionsoftheleaders.Afterall,
Xisfather,XiZhongxun(19132002),tookpartinthewaragainstJapan,andPutinsfather,VladimirSpiridonovichPutin
(19111999),foughtinthewaragainstGermany.
ItthereforecameasnosurprisewhenXiJinpingwastheguestofhonoratthe2015VictoryDayparadeinMoscow,anevent
boycottedbyU.S.PresidentBarackObamaandotherWesternleaders.Putinreturnedthefavorandwastheguestofhonor
duringthecelebrationsinBeijingonSeptember3,2015,thefirstparadeinPRChistorytocommemoratethevictoryover
Japan.ThedecisionofWesternleaderstoskipboththeseimportanteventsinprotestofRussiasannexationofCrimeaand
growingChineseassertivenessintheSouthChinaSeawasperceivedinMoscowandBeijingasacoordinatedplottodeny
bothcountriestheirrightfulplaceinhistory.

Throughout2014and2015,attemptsweremadetobringbothsocietiesclosertogetherandtoovercomelingeringmistrust
throughthecarefuluseofbothgovernmentpropagandaandstate-controlledmedia.Since2006,Russianstate-runtelevision
channelshaveobservedaninformalbanonnegativecoverageofChina.ThereisgrowingevidencethatXihasauthorizedthe
samepolicyvis--visRussia.TheCCPPropagandaDepartmenttellseditorsatChinesestate-controllednewsagencieslike
XinhuaandtelevisionchannelslikeChinaCentralTelevision(CCTV)tobecarefulinhowtheycoverRussiaingeneralandto
avoidcriticizingPutinpersonally.ThisstancewasevidentduringthecoverageofthePanamaPapersscandal,whenmainland
ChinesemediaavoidedmentioningbothChineseandRussianleadersthatwereimplicated.Searchresultswerealsoerased
fromWeibo,Chinasmostpopularmicrobloggingplatform.

Theseeffortshaveyieldedresults,atleastinRussia.AccordingtopollsconductedbytheindependentLevadaCenter,19
RussianspositiveattitudestowardChinapeakedinMay2014,with77percentofrespondentsviewingChinapositivelyand
only15percentseeingitinanegativelight(seefigure1).Thisisastarkcontrastnotonlytothefiguresoftwodecadesago(48
percentpositiveand21percentnegative,respectively,inMarch1995)butalsotothefiguresfromjustayearbeforethe
Ukrainecrisis.InNovember2013,only55percentofrespondentsviewedChinapositivelyand31percentsawitnegatively.

Thespeedandintensityofthesemoodswingsdemonstratetheconsiderableinfluenceofmassmediaandtheknock-onimpact
ofaverageRussiansangertowardmajorWesternpowersasaresultoftheUkrainecrisis.SomeWesterncommentatorscite
conventionalwisdomthataverageRussiansharbornegativefeelingstowardChina,20butempiricalevidencethatsupportssuch
assertionsishardtocomeby.Russianeliteslong-standingcautiousattitudestowardChinaareaseparatematter,butthismind-
sethasundergonesignificantchangesasadirectresultoftheUkrainecrisis.

ChinasRussiaGambit:AnyTakers?

Beijingspre-2014RussiapolicywasmadesignificantlymorecomplicatedbytheUkrainecrisis.PolicydebatesinBeijingabout
thecrisis,Russiaseastwarddrift,andthedramaticchangesintheglobalstrategicenvironmentcreatedbythesedevelopments
unfoldedquickly,astheChineseleadershipwatchedthesuddendepartureofUkrainesthenpresidentViktorYanukovych,and
thenPutinsboldstepofannexingCrimeaoutright.Theseevents,accordingtoChineseforeignpolicyexpertsadvisingthe
countrystopofficialsinZhongnanhai,caughtChinasleadersoffguardjustastheydidWesternleaders.Themajorchallenge
forBeijingintheinitialstageofthecrisiswastocarefullynavigateasensitiveissue,whichinvolvedmanyofChinasimportant
politicalandeconomicpartners,eventhoughitdidnotaffectChinadirectly.

ThepublicstancethatBeijingtookwaspredictableenough.TheChineseMinistryofForeignAffairsstucktoitsusualmantra
aboutrespectforinternationallawandresolvingtheconflictbypeacefulmeans.Yanukovychsabruptdepartureafter
demonstrationsontheMaidanturnedviolentalarmedBeijing,stirringupChinesesuspicionsaboutU.S.involvementinsupport
ofcolorrevolutionsaroundtheworld.RussiasaggressiveresponsetowhatwasviewedasWesternintrusiongarnered
sympathyamongsomeChineseelites.EarlycommentsbyaChineseMinistryofForeignAffairsspokesperson,HongLei,
followingthetopplingofYanukovych,reflectedthispointofview.21

AsMoscowlatermovedtoannexCrimea,thesituationbecamedecidedlymorecomplicatedforBeijing.Chinahasanegative
viewoftheveryideaofoutsideforcessupportingseparatismonethnicgroundsinlightoflingeringethnictensionsinthe
countryswesternregionsofTibetandXinjiangnottomentiontheTaiwanissue.Chinaspropagandadepartmentissueda
warningtodomesticmediathattheymaynotconnectthe...[Crimeaissue]toourowncountrysissueswithTaiwan,Tibet,or
Xinjiang.22BeijingsstanceonUkraineduringthisperiodamountedtocarefulmaneuveringandaconcertedeffortnottotake
sidesintheconflict.ChinaabstainedfromvotingonaWestern-backedUNSecurityCouncilresolutionthatcondemnedthe
Crimeareferendum,supportedUkrainesterritorialintegrity,andcalledforthenon-useofforce.23Atthesametime,Chinese
officialswerecarefultoavoiddirectcriticismofRussiawhileconsistentlycondemningtheWestssanctionspolicy.

InternaldiscussionsontheconsequencesforChinaofRussiasrupturewiththeWestweremoreintense,accordingtoopen-
sourceinformationandconversationswithChineseofficialsandexperts.ThedominantviewintheChineseleadershipwasthat
theUkrainecrisispresentedbothchallengesandopportunities.ChineseleadersweresurprisedbythedegreeoftheKremlins
unpredictability.ThedecisiontoannexCrimeaandtodirectlychallengetheU.S.-ledinternationalorderandtopayahuge
economicpricefordoingsowas,inBeijingsview,irrationalandagainstRussiaslong-terminterests.ConcernsthatRussia
wasworryinglyunpredictablewerelaterconfirmedbyMoscowsdirectinvolvementinSyriaandtherapidescalationof
tensionswithTurkey,neitherofwhichChineseexpertsanticipated.AnotherriskwasthatthetensionsbetweenRussiaandthe
WestwouldescalateandputgreaterpressureonChinatotakesides.

However,itwastheopportunitiessideoftheledgerthatwasreportedlyhighlightedduringtheCCPsForeignAffairsLeading
SmallGroupmeetingsinApril2014.IsolatedfromtheWest,RussiawasexpectedtoreachouttoBeijingandbecomemore
eagertoopenupitseconomytoChinesecompanies.Also,itwashopedthatWashingtonspreoccupationwiththeRussia
challengewouldshiftU.S.attentionawayfromitsownpivottoAsiaandgiveBeijingadditionalbreathingroom.Thisviewwas
particularlystronginthemilitary,ascouldbeseenfrompubliccommentsbyPeoplesLiberationArmy(PLA)Major-General
WangHaiyun,aformerdefenseattachinMoscow.24InfluentialscholarslikeYanXuetongofTsinghuaUniversity,retired
generalslikeWang,andevenretiredseniordiplomatspubliclycalledontheChineseleadershiptousethesituationtoforgea
closerquasi-alliancewithMoscow.25Wang,oneofthemostvocaladvocatesofacloserpartnership,calledforthetwo
countriestopooltheireconomicandforeignpolicyresourcesandtakeadvantageoftheirinherentcomplementarity.Russiaisa
masterinboxing,whileChinaisskilledintaichi,hewroteinaChinese-languageop-edfortheGlobalTimes.26

Thetopleadershipformulatedamorecautiousposition.AccordingtoseveralChineseinterlocutors,beforePutinsvisitto
ShanghaiinMay2014,XigavepersonalinstructionstokeymembersoftheStateCouncilandthetopmanagersofkeystate-
ownedenterprises(SOEs).HismainmessagewasthatcorporateplayersshouldactivelyseeknewopportunitiesinRussiabut
avoidovertlyexploitingRussiasdifficultsituationorseekingone-sideddealsatknockdownprices.InBeijingsview,the
oversizedappetitesandaggressivenessofChineseinvestorscouldcontributetoundesirabletensionsinthefutureandeventually
encourageRussiatomakeanotherU-turninordertomendrelationswiththeWest.Atthesametime,SOEsweretoldthatthey
shouldnotengageinprojectsthatmadenoeconomicsense.

ThiscautionaryadvicefromZhongnanhaicamejustasthelargestChineseSOEswerebeginningtofeeltheaftermathofthree
simultaneousshocks.ChinasongoinganticorruptioncampaignwhichbeganasaninvestigationintoZhouYongkang,aformer
memberofthePolitburoStandingCommitteeandChinasenergyczareventuallywipedoutmanyofthetopmanagersof
leadingenergycompanies.Theirreplacementsneededtimetocatchuponthedetailsofwhathadalreadybeendiscussedwith
theirRussiancounterparts.Theanticorruptioncampaignsooneliminatedanyincentivesforproactiveinitiativeonthepartof
managersandbureaucratsintimesofbigpurges,passivityisobviouslythesafeststrategy.New,stricterrequirementsforSOE
efficiency,establishedattheCCPCentralCommitteesThirdPlenummeetinginNovember2013,presentedanadditional
obstacletogreaterinvolvementinRussia.TheslowdownoftheChineseeconomyfurthercomplicatedmatters.Thescaleof
ChinaseconomicchallengeswasnotwidelyapparentduringtheinitialstageofRussiaspivottoAsiainmid-2014.Yetwithina
fewmonths,theslackeningdemandfornaturalresourcesandsharppricedeclinesinmajorglobalcommoditiesmarketspulled
therugoutfromunderpotentialprojects,includingintheenergysector,whichhistoricallyhasbeenthemostcrucialspherefor
bilateraleconomiccooperation.27

FuelingtheDragon

EnergyformsthebackboneofRussian-Chinesetrade,butattemptstoradicallyincreasethevolumeofenergytradebetween
thetwocountriesoverthepasttwoyearshavehadmixedresults.Energyexports,ofcourse,areofvitalimportancefor
sustainingPutinsregimeandRussiasoveralleconomicprospects.Directandindirectearningsfromhydrocarbonsaccountfor
upwardof70percentofRussiasbudgetrevenue,accordingtosomeestimates.28Chinabecameanetimporterofoilin1994,
andthecountryhasworkedassiduouslytosecureaccesstonewenergysourcestopoweritseconomicgrowth,preferringto
dosothroughland-basedpipelines.29Priortotheeconomicslowdown,accesstoRussiannaturalgasbecameincreasingly
importantamidprojectionsofincreasedChinesedomesticdemand,attemptstoreducedependenceoncoal,andmounting
politicalconcernsaboutpollutioninbigcitiesaswellasotherilleffectsofChinasrapidmodernization.

Gas

Inthegassector,therearetentativesignsofprogress,butthesituationisstillfarfromrosy.Thetwosidesmanagedtosigna
long-awaitedgasdealduringPutinsvisittoShanghaiinMay2014.Thegaswillbedeliveredfromtwoas-yetundeveloped
fieldsinEasternSiberia,KovyktaandChayanda,viathenewPowerofSiberia(orSilaSibiri)pipeline,whichwillpump38
billioncubicmetersofgasannuallyuntil2030.WhilethepartiesdidnotdisclosethepriceatwhichRussiawillbesellingthisgas,
thereportedtotalvalueofthecontractwas$400billion.Atthetimethedealwassigned,thepriceofoilwasover$109per
barrel.TodaythepricefortheBrentcrudeoilbenchmarkislessthanhalfthat,whichmattersgreatlygiventheuseofoil-index
pricinginthecontract.AlexeyMiller,thechiefexecutiveofficer(CEO)ofthemajorRussiannatural-gasfirmGazprom,
expressedhispleasurewiththedeal,declaringattheSeptember2014SochiInternationalInvestmentForumthatinjustoneday
ouresteemedChinesepartnerscamenearGermany,ourmajorgasconsumer.30

Twoyearslater,thisprojectisfacingmajorchallenges.TheChinesesidehasrefusedtoprovideaplanned$25billionloan
neededforpipelineconstruction,andRussianofficialshavecomplainedthattheconditionsonofferfromBeijingrequiringthe
participationofChinesecompaniesintheconstructionphaseareunacceptable.31SeveralGazpromtendersforthepipeline
werecanceledin2015attherequestofRussiasFederalAntimonopolyService.32Moreimportantly,thosefamiliarwith
GazpromsfinancingmodelsforthePowerofSiberiapipelinesaythattheprojectmayremainunprofitableiftheoilpricedoes
notincreasesignificantlyinthenextfifteenyears33thepipelinecouldbeusedforanothercontractafter2030,allowing
Gazpromtoactuallyturnaprofit.TheSovietUnionfollowedthesamelogicin1970whenitsignedagas-for-pipesagreement
withWestGermany.Thefirstcontractwasusedtofinancetheconstructionofexpensiveinfrastructure,whichallowedthe
SovietUniontoearnhardcurrencylateron,aftertheconstructioncostshadbeenfullypaidoff.34

Allthesame,officialsonbothsidesremainconfidentthatthepipelinewillbebuilt,thoughperhapswithdelays.Constructionhas
begunonbothRussianandChineseterritory.35ThefactthatthemaincontractorsontheRussiansideincludecompaniesowned
byGennadyTimchenko(Stroytransgaz)andArkadyRotenberg(Stroygazmontazh),membersofPutinsinnercircle,hasfurther
boostedconfidenceintheproject.36AfterGazpromabandoneditsmassiveSouthStreamandTurkishStreamprojectsin
Europe,freed-upcashflowscouldbedivertedtothePowerofSiberiapipeline,whichwillreceiveactivegovernmentsupportin
theformoftaxexemptionsandotherincentives.However,whilesomeChinesesourcesarecertainthatthepipelinewill
eventuallybecommissioned,thereisstillnoclarityonthematteroftheChineseloan.IfcreditisneededandChinacontinuesto
demandtheinvolvementofitsconstructioncompanies,itispossiblethatRotenbergsandTimchenkosfirmsmayultimatelybe
forcedtoformconsortiumswithChinesecompanies.37

Fornow,prospectsforotherGazpromprojectstargetedattheChinesemarketremainbleak.Moscowofferedtobuilda
pipelineacrosstheAltaiMountainstoXinjiang(theso-calledWesternRouteorthePowerofSiberiaIIpipeline),whichwould
haveacapacityof30billioncubicmetersofgasperyear.UnlikethefirstPowerofSiberia,thispipelinecouldbebuilton
existinginfrastructure,requiringlessconstructionwork,andwouldallowGazpromtopumpgastoChinafromexistingfieldsin
WesternSiberia.MoscowseekstopititsWesternandEasterncustomersagainsteachotherwhilesupplyinggasfromthesame
fieldstobothsides.Followingyearsofnegotiations,adetailedframeworkagreementwassignedduringXisMay2015visitto
Moscow,38butacommercialcontractbetweenGazpromandtheChinaNationalPetroleumCorporation(CNPC)settinga
pricefortheprojectsgasdoesnotappeartobeimminent.

Themainreasonforthedelayisadisagreementovertheprice:RussiaandChinaareusingdifferentbenchmarks.Gazpromis
basingitsdesiredpriceonitsexistingcontractswithGermanyorpossiblythePowerofSiberiapriceitsettledonwithChina.
ButfortheCNPC,thepreferredbenchmarkisfarcheaperTurkmengaspumpedintoXinjiangthroughapipelinecommissioned
in2010.RussiangaswouldrequireexpensiveinfrastructuretocarryitfromanentrypointinXinjiangtomajorconsumption
hubsinChinaseasternprovinces.Giventheabundanceofimportedliquefiednaturalgas(LNG)andthescaling-backof
projecteddemandforimportedgasduetotheeconomicslowdownandmoreefficientcoalusebyanewgenerationofChinese
powerplants,thewesternroutenowappearstobeanonstarter,asdoGazpromsplanstobuildathirdpipelineforSakhalin
gastoChinaviaVladivostok.AlthoughthecompanysignedamemorandumofunderstandingwiththeCNPC,andan8-billion-
cubic-meterpipelinebetweenSakhalinandVladivostok,whichwasbuiltbeforethe2012APECsummit,isalreadyoperational,
therearelingeringproblemswiththeresourcebase.39

Oil
TheRussiansectorthatmadethemostsignificantgainsintheChinesemarketin2014and2015wasoil,despitethecollapsein
prices.Thefoundationsforapartnershipwereestablishedin2005,whenRussiasstate-ownedRosneftbegansupplyingoilto
ChinaviarailwaytoservicecrucialChineseloans,whichhadenabledthefirmtobuyYuganskneftegaz,akeypartofanother
Russianoilcompany,Yukos,whichwasnationalizedfollowingthejailingoffallenoligarchMikhailKhodorkovsky.(Western
bankshadrefusedtoprovideloanstocoverthetransactionamidfearsthatYukossshareholderswouldusethecourtstopress
theirclaimtotheirformerassets.)

The2009pipelinedealpavedthewayforamassiveincreaseinRussianoilexportstoChina,despitepricedisputesbetween
RosneftandtheCNPC,whichresultedina$3billionlossinrevenuefortheRussiancompany.Moreover,in2013,IgorSechin,
thepowerfulchairofRosneftandacloseallyofPresidentPutin,agreedtoaccept$60billioninloansfromChinesecompanies
aspartofwhatwastermedaprepaymentschemebackedbyfutureoildeliveries.ThemoneywasthenusedforRosnefts
domesticexpansion,includingitslandmarkpurchaseofRussiasthirdlargestproducer,TNK-BP,in2013.Now,withoilprices
50percentbelow2013levels,Rosneftisstrugglingfinanciallytocontendwiththesechallengingnewrealitiesevenasitfulfillsits
obligationsanddeliversthepromisedoiltotheChinese.InadditiontoincreasingthecapacityoftheSkovorodino-Mohe
pipeline,RosnefthasbegunsellingoiloutoftheKozminoportonthePacificCoastwith60percentofitnowgoingtoChina40
aswellasthroughKazakhstan,41whichhasincreasedRussiasshareofChineseoilimports(seefigures2and3).Atvarious
pointsin2015and2016,RussiaactuallysurpassedSaudiArabiaasChinasleadsupplier.42
Increaseddeliveriesnotwithstanding,theRussianoilindustrywasdealtahugeblowwhenoilpricesplummetedin2015.The
collapsewasimmediatelyreflectedintheoveralltradevolumebetweenChinaandRussiajustasthesurgeinglobaloilprices
inthe2000splayedasignificantroleinarapidtradeexpansion.Between2003and2012,tradebetweenthetwocountries
grewatanaverageof26.4percentperyear.In2011,thenpresidentsDmitryMedvedevandHuJintaoannouncedtheirgoals
ofachieving$100billioninbilateraltradeby2015and$200billionby2020.Initially,thesetargetsseemedattainable.In2014,
tradegrewby6.8percent,reachingatotalof$95.3billion,butin2015itcollapsedby28.6percent,totalingjust$68billion.
RussiadroppedfrombeingChinasninth-largesttradepartnerin2014tosixteenthplacein2015.Thedeclinewasnot
attributedsolelytothedropincommoditypricesthedropintradewithChinasothercommoditysuppliers,suchasAustralia
andBrazil,wasnotnearlyassteep.43ThekeyfactorappearstohavebeentheeconomicdeclineinRussiathatsameyear,as
GDPdecreasedby3.4percent,andthesubsequentlowpurchasingpowerofRussiancompaniesandhouseholdsseeninthe
sharpdropinRussianimportsfromChina.TheonlysilverliningforRussiawastheeffectivedisappearanceofanimbalance
betweenitsexportstoandimportsfromChina(seefigure4).

Theplungeinoilpricesin2015alsocreatednewobstaclesforcooperationoninvestmentprojects.RosneftofferedtheCNPC
a10percentstakeinitsflagshipoilfield,Vankor,themajorresourcebasefortheEasternSiberiaPacificOcean(ESPO)
pipeline.InNovember2014,theRussianMinisterofEnergyAlexanderNovaksuggestedthatRosneftmightacceptpayment
forthestakeinChineserenminbi.44Meanwhile,PutintoldtheTASSnewsagencythatRussiawasreadytoswitchtradein
VankoroilfromU.S.dollarstonationalcurrencies.45However,theRussiansappearedtohaveunrealisticexpectationsabout
thepotentialpricefortheminoritystakeinVankor,andtheChineseeventuallysuspendednegotiations.TheOilandNaturalGas
CorporationLimited,anIndiancompany,isasofmid-2016intheprocessofacquiringthestakeinVankor,provoking
additionaldissatisfactionfromBeijing.ChineseinvestorshavealsoexpressedinterestinstakesinotherRussianoilcompanies,
accordingtoRussianFinanceMinisterAntonSiluanov.46TherehavebeenunconfirmedsuggestionsinChineseanalyticalcircles
thatRussiamightultimatelysellalargestakeinRosnefttoaChineseoilcompanyorfinancialinstitutionforasymbolicprice,and
thatsuchapurchasemightprovideRosneftwithahelpfulwrite-downofitsdebtundertheprepaymentagreementandother
loanarrangements.TheRussiangovernmentcurrentlyisdiscussingthesaleofa19.7percentstakeinRosnefttovariousforeign
investors,includingthepossibilitythattheCNPCmaypurchase7percentofit.AccordingtoCNPCFirstVicePresidentWang
Zhongcai,thecompanyisactivelylookingintothedealandhasformedastudygrouptoexploretheopportunity.47

Thoughthepracticesarestillintheirinfancy,theuseofChinesetechnologyinoffshoredrillingandrenminbi-denominatedoil
contractsrepresenttwoimportantrecentdevelopmentsintheoilsector.ThefirstexperimentinthisareawasRosnefts
September2015contractwithChinaOilfieldServicesLimited,asubsidiaryoftheChinaNationalOffshoreOilCompany,
involvingthedrillingoftwooilwellsintheSeaofOkhotsk.48Atthedrillingsite,theseahasadepthofonly150meters(around
500feet),whichmeansitdoesnotqualifyasdeep-seadrillingundertheprovisionsofU.S.-andEU-ledsanctions.Asmany
internationaloil-servicecompanieshavebecomecautiousaboutRussianprojectsintheareascoveredbysanctions,the
introductionofadvancedChinesetechnologiescouldincreaseRussianoilcompaniesrelianceonChinaintheoil-servicesector,
whichisalreadydominatedbyChineseproducersinsomesubsectorssuchasdrillingplatforms.ThedependenceonChina,
however,isexpectedtoremainlimited,giventhattheRussianoil-serviceindustryisdominatedbylocalchampionslikeEurasia
Drillingandthesubsidiariesofmajorinternationalenergyfirms.Forthetimebeing,Chineseservicecompaniesclearlycannot
matchthetechnologiesorcapabilitiesofmajorglobaloilcompaniesorleadingoil-servicefirmssuchasHalliburtonand
Schlumberger.

Thesecond,morepromising,experimentwaslaunchedbyGazprom-Neft,Gazpromsoilsubsidiary,whichannouncedthatit
willselloilfromtheESPOpipelinetoChinesecustomersforrenminbi.49Despitethehypedclaimthatthistransactionwill
underminetheglobaldominanceofdollar-basedtransactions,thepricingofoilisstilltiedtothedollar-denominatedBrent
benchmark.AccordingtointerviewswithmanagersofRussianoilcompanies,thelogicbehindthismoveisthattheuseof
renminbitopurchaseChineseequipmentwillpreventconversionlossesandhedgeagainstcurrencyrisks,thussavingRussians
about5to7percentofthecontractprice,aswellasmovepaymentsoutoftheorbitoftheU.S.bankingsystem.Ifthisscheme
becomeswidespread,itcouldhelpimmunizetheRussian-ChineseoiltradeagainstrisksassociatedwithpossiblefutureWestern
sanctions.

AnyMarketforaBear?

AcentralgoalofMoscowspivottoChinawasgreateraccesstoChinesecredit.Hopesthatthisobjectivewouldbeobtained
werefueledbyBeijingscriticalstancetowardtheU.S.-andEU-ledsanctionsregime.ChineseVicePremierZhangGaolitold
PresidentPutinonSeptember1,2014,thathewant[ed]tomakeitclearthatChinacategoricallyopposesthesanctionsthe
UnitedStatesandWesterncountrieshavetakenagainstRussia.50However,Russiancompaniesquicklydiscoveredthat
ChinesefinancialinstitutionscouldbeasstrictasorevenstricterthansomeWesternbanksaboutcompliancewiththesanctions
regime.

PubliccomplaintsaboutChinesepartnersambiguouspositionregardingRussianbanksinthewakeofUSandEUsanctions,
asRussianbankerYuriSolovievputit,begantobevoicedinthesummerof2015,ayearafterPutinstriumphantvisitto
Shanghai.51Soloviev,thefirstdeputypresidentandchairmanofthesecond-largestbankinRussiastate-ownedJSCVTB
Bankusedthefollowingwords,inaJune16,2015,op-edinFinanceAsia:MostChinesebankswillcurrentlynotexecute
interbanktransactionswiththeirRussianpeers.Inaddition,Chinesebankshavesignificantlycurtailedtheirinvolvementin
interbankforeigntradedeals,suchasprovidingtradefinance.52Later,inSeptember2015,SolovievscolleagueVasilyTitov
complainedthatChinesebanksweretoorigorousinobservingWesternsanctionsandthatittooktwoweekstoclear
paymentsthroughChinesebankswhenithadtakenjustthreedaysbeforethesanctionswereintroduced.53

Publiclyavailabledataindicatethatsanctionshaveindeedhadanegativeeffect.In2014and2015,noRussiancompanies
managedtoissuedebtorequityonChinesestockexchangesincludingHongKong.Localregulatorsandfinancialinstitutions
appeartoharborbadmemoriesofRusalsill-starredinitialpublicoffering.Inaddition,thisnegativesentimentwasreportedly
strengthenedbyfriendlywordsofcautionfromU.S.TreasuryandStateDepartmentofficials.54Russianinvestorswerealso
waryofShanghaiaftertheequityroutthatbeganinthesummerof2015.Creditlinesamountingto9billionrenminbithat
RussiasSberbank,theJSCVTBBank,andChineselenderssignedinMayarebarelybeingusedbecausethereisnodemand
inRussiaforloansinrenminbi,accordingtoMaximPoletaev,thefirstdeputychairmanofSberbanksexecutiveboard.55Atthe
sametime,Chinesebankshavebeenreluctanttoprovideloansinmuch-neededU.S.dollarsoreuros.Inrarecaseswhen
ChinesecredithasbeenextendedtoRussiancompanies,thesetransactionshavelargelybeensyndicatedloansinvolvingChinas
fourlargestbanksworkingincoordinationwithotherinternationalplayers.Thisfundingisofferedonlytowell-regarded
corporateborrowerslikeNovolipetskSteel,56whicharenotundersanctionsandcontinuetoenjoyaccesstoWesterncredit.57
Otherraresuccessstoriesincludethe$2billioncreditlinethattheLondonsubsidiaryoftheBankofChinaprovidedto
Gazprom.58ThisdealappearstobeagoodwillgestureconnectedtothePowerofSiberiapipelineconstructionaheadof
PutinsvisittoChinainJune2016.DatafromtheCentralBankofRussiashowthatthenumberofloansoriginatingfromChina
rosethroughout2014and2015fromaverylowbaseline,butthetotalamountissmallandcaninnowayreplaceprevious
flowsofcreditfromWesternfinancialinstitutions(seefigure5).59

Broadlyspeaking,therearethreemainreasonsforChinesebankersreticenceabouttheRussianmarket.

First,thereisnooverlookingthefactthatWesternmarketsarefarmoredevelopedandattractivetoChinesebanksevenwhen
thosebanksarepresentedwithfavorabletermstotapintotheRussianmarketmoredeeply.In2015,Chinastradeingoods
withtheUnitedStateswas$598billion,60whileChinesetradewithEuropeingoodsforthesameyeartotaled520.9billion
euros(about$583.4billion).61Chinesestate-ownedbankswerealsorecentlyallowedtobuystakesinU.S.andEuropean
banksafteryearsofsuspicionandlong-standingbans.InRussia,Chinasfourlargestbankshaveneverbeenallowedtobuy
localplayers,andtheformersexpansionintotheretailsectorwassubjecttoadditionallevelsofscrutinyatatimewhen
investmentbyFrench,British,andItaliancompetitorswasencouraged.Moreover,Beijinghasrecentlyembarkedonaquestto
promotetherenminbiasaglobalcurrency,andChinasfourmajorbanksaretryingtocarveoutsignificantrolesintermsof
clearingpaymentsandmakingmarketsinEuropeandtheUnitedStates.Thechoicebetweenjeopardizingrelationswiththe
regulatorsoflarge,profitableprospectivemarketsandenteringtherelativelytiny,risky,andoverregulatedRussianmarketwas
aneasyoneformajorChinesefinancialplayers.

Second,ChinasbankingsectorlacksexpertiseonRussia.WhileChinesebankshavecapableteamsonthegroundinMoscow
andtheFarEast,thesearenomatchforthepoolofRussiaexpertsthatEuropeanandU.S.bankshaveattheirdisposal.As
riskcompliancegrowsincreasinglysynonymouswithnavigatingtheU.S.andEUsanctionsregimeandcircumventingwhat
couldbetermedtoxicgrayareas,thecostofoperatinginRussiaisprohibitiveformanyChinesebanks.Thefirstbankstocut
backonbusinesswithRussiaweresmalleronessuchasPingAnBank,theBankofCommunications,andChinaMerchants
Bank,whichwereservicingtheaccountsofcompaniesfromoffshorejurisdictionsusedtoclearpaymentswithRussia.The
bankshaveaskedsomecustomerstoclosetheiraccountsbecausetheywereengagedinsomeactivitieswithRussia,
accordingtoaRosbaltnewsreport.62RussianandChinesebankingrepresentativesindicateprivatelythatthesamesituationhas
takenholdinHongKong,wherelocalbankshavebecomeextremelyreticentaboutopeningbankaccountsforRussianaswell
asUkrainiancitizens.

Lastbutnotleast,thepoliticalenvironmentinwhichstate-ownedbanksarenowoperatinginthewakeoftheanticorruption
campaigndoesnotencouragetakingadditionalrisksinRussia.

WiththelionsshareofChinesecommercialbanksmaintainingacautiousstancetowardRussia,theonlytwoChinesefinancial
institutionsthathavebeenaggressivelysigningagreementswithRussianpartnersarethetwopoliticalbankstheChina
DevelopmentBank(CDB)andtheExport-ImportBankofChina(orChinaEximBank).63Thesebankswhichserveasthe
politicalpocketsoftheChinesegovernment,sotospeakarelessconnectedtotheinternationalfinancialsystem,andthuscan
takegreaterrisksintermsoftheirexposuretotheRussianmarket.64BothbankshavebeenactiveinRussiandealsthatrange
frombuildingsteelplantstoprovidingcreditlinesforRussiassanctionedstate-ownedbanks.65Themostrecentexampleof
theirinvolvementintheRussianeconomywasthelate-April2016announcementthattheCDBandtheChinaEximBankwill
providemuch-neededloansfortheYamalLNGprojecttotaling$12billionoverfifteenyears,whichmeansthattheprojecthas
lockedinalltheexternalfinancingitneeds($27billionintotal).ThedealisalandmarknotonlybecauseYamalLNGisakey
partofRussiasbroaderstrategyintheArcticandaflagshipLNGprojectbutalsobecauseNovatek(alongwithmajor
shareholderGennadyTimchenko)isatargetofU.S.andEUsanctions.Total,aFrenchnatural-gasproducerandaYamal
shareholder,hastriedtosecureEuropeanandJapanesefinancingfortheproject,accordingtoTotalCEOPatrickPouyanns
interviewswithKommersantandAsiaNikkei,buttheseeffortsfailed.66ThesamelogicappliedtoaMarch15,2016,dealin
whicha9.9percentstakeinYamalLNGwassoldtotheSilkRoadFund(SRF)fornearly$1.1billiontheSRFisa$40
billioninvestmentfundthatChinaestablishedin2014tosupportPresidentXisSilkRoadEconomicBeltinitiative.67

Amidsluggishdemandanddepressedglobalgasprices,manyinternationalmajorsaredelayingorshelvingbig-ticketLNG
projects,whichmakesthetimingoftheChineseinterestintheYamalprojectparticularlycurious.68AccordingtoChinese
interlocutors,bothdealswerepersonallyblessedbyXiandintendedasagestureofgoodwilltotheKremlin,givenTimchenkos
roleasamemberofPutinsinnercircleandhispointpersonforChina.Whilethepersonalinvolvementofthetwocountries
leadershelpsexplaintheimpetusbehindtheYamalLNGdeal,italsoseemslikelythattheselectiveuseoffinancialinstitutions
withlimitedexposuretointernationalmarketswillbecomethepreferredmethodforfuturebilateralventures.Therearealready
callsbyRussianexpertstoestablishaspecializedjointRussian-Chinesefinancialunitwhichshouldbeimmunetoany
pressurefromtheUnitedStatesortheEU,asVasilyKashinputit.69

AnotherimportantdirectionforRussian-Chinesecooperationisthecreationofnewmechanismsforraisingdebtinnational
currencies.InJuly2015,beforethestartoftheBRICSsummitinUfa,Chineseinvestorsbought$1billioninRussian
governmentbonds.70AccordingtoRussianDeputyFinanceMinisterAlexeyMoiseev,bothcountriesMinistriesofFinance,
alongwiththeCentralBankofRussiaandthePeoplesBankofChina,areworkingonmechanismsthatwillallowRussiato
issuerenminbi-denominatedgovernmentbondsinMoscowtargetingmainland-basedChineseinvestors.71Ifsuccessful,this
initiativewillcreateaframeworkforthepossiblefutureissuanceofso-calledpandabondsbyRussiancorporateplayers.The
firstpotentialissuancemaybeunderwrittenbytheIndustrialandCommercialBankofChina,theBankofChina,and
Gazprombank.72SucheffortsarenotdirectlyprohibitedbyU.S.andEUsanctions.Finally,BeijingisurgingRussiatojoinits
ChinaInternationalPaymentSystem,analternativetotheSocietyforWorldwideInterbankFinancialTelecommunication
(SWIFT).73Thesemoveswillhelptolaythegroundworkforbilateraltransactionsthatarecenteredaroundtherenminbiand
lesstiedtointernationalmarkets,includingtheU.S.bankingsystem.

OtherpiecesofthepuzzleincludeanagreementbetweentheChineseUnionPaycreditcardsystemandtheRussianMir
paymentsystemduetotakeeffectin2017,andapacttorecognizeeachothersauditingstandardsandcreditratings.This
collaborationbetweenUnionPayandMirandtheauditingandratingsmovesreflectMoscowsdesiretobreakthedomination
thatMasterCard,Visa,andinternationalratingsagenciesenjoyoveritspaymentssystem.ManyRussianbankshaverushedto
getChineselocalratingsissuedbyDagongGlobalCreditRating,whichrathercuriouslyratedRussiassovereigndebtasless
riskythanU.S.notes.74

Lastbutnotleast,inordertoprovideliquidity,bothcountrieswanttoboostaccesstoeachotherscurrencies.Thethree-year
currency-swapagreementfor150billionrenminbi(about$24.5billion)announcedinOctober2014duringChinesePremierLi
KeqiangsvisittoMoscowwasnotactivatedduetorubleandrenminbivolatility.Theinstabilityofthetwocurrenciescanbe
explainedbylowtradevolumesandthesmallshareofbilateraltradeclearedthroughnationalcurrencies.AccordingtoaMay
2015statementbyPresidentPutin,suchtransactionsaccountedforonly7percentofbilateraltradevolumein2014.75

Onbalance,RussianeliteshopesthatChinesefinancingwouldmakeupforthelossofWesterncapitalmarketsappear
exaggerated.ThelasttwoyearshaveshownthatevenChinesestate-ownedbanksarereluctanttorunafoulofU.S.andEU
sanctions,forfearofjeopardizingtheirrelationswiththeregulatorsoftheirmostsignificantinternationalmarkets.Still,Russia
andChinahavefoundwaystofinancehigh-prioritydealsthroughspecialchannels,andhaveembarkedonanattempttocreate
therudimentsofabilateralfinancialinfrastructurethatwillbeimmunetointernationalpressure.Chinawillbeplayingthe
dominantroleinthesearrangements,whichcouldhelpcementitsplaceasthefinancialcenterofgravityacrossEurasia.

TechnologicalLinks

TheRussian-Chineserelationshipisalsoexperiencingmajorshiftsincooperationoninfrastructureandtechnology.Previously,
ChinesecompanieswereinformallybannedfrombiddingonlargeinfrastructureprojectsinRussia,mostlikelyduetothe
KremlinsdesiretoprotectlocalcompaniesfromcompetitionincludingthosewithwhichithadstrongtiesaswellasRussian
fearsofaninfluxofChinesemigrantworkers.InMay2015,aconsortiumcomposedofaChinaRailwayGroupsubsidiary
calledtheChinaRailwayEryuanEngineeringGroup,theNationalTransportationEngineeringDesignInstituteofMoscow,and
NizhnyNovgorodMetroDesignAGwastheonlybidderfora$400millioncontracttodesignahigh-speedraillinebetween
MoscowandKazan.76OnApril29,2016,RussianrailwaysreportedthatChinawasreadytoprovideupto$6billioninloans
andthataconcessionagreementwouldbesignedbytheendoftheyear.77TheChinesesidehasalsoagreednottoseekformal
Russiangovernmentloanguarantees,reportedlyatthedirectinstructionofPresidentXi,accordingtoseveralChinese
interlocutors.78Previousexperiencesuggeststhattheprojectcouldencountersignificantdelays,astheChinesepartnersare
demandingthatthelionsshareofequipmentbeproducedinChina.Yetthetoneoftheconversationmarksanimportantshiftin
RussiasattitudetowardChineseparticipationinthedevelopmentofitsinfrastructure.

Oneareaofbilateraltechnologicalcooperationthatisboomingisinformationtechnology(IT)andhardware.Russiancompanies
haddiscoveredtheadvantagesofworkingwithChinesetelecommunicationsgiantslikeZTEandHuaweiasopposedtotheir
WesternrivalslongbeforetheUkrainecrisis.DiscussionsaboutthepossibilityofshiftingtheprocurementofRussianITnetwork
assetsusedbygovernmentbodiesfromU.S.-producedtoChinese-producedequipmentintensifiedin2013afterEdward
SnowdensdisclosuresaboutsurveillanceunderU.S.NationalSecurityAgencyprograms.InMay2014,RussiasMinistryof
TelecomandMassCommunicationsestablishedataskforcetostudywhethersuchashiftwasfeasible,andbytheendof2015
theprocessoftransitioningtoChineseequipmentwaswellunderway.InOctober2014,theVoskhodResearchInstitute
whichisadministereddirectlybyRussiasMinistryofTelecomandMassCommunicationsandprovideshardwareandIT
solutionstostateinstitutions,includingmanycriticalsystemssuchasthevote-countingplatformusedinnationalandlocal
electionsagreedtobuyserversfromInspur,aChinesecompany.79Manyfinancialinstitutions,includingWestern-sanctioned
bankssuchasSberbankandJSCVTBBank,stateagencies,andstate-ownedcompanieshavestartedexpensive
modernizationprogramstoreplaceU.S.-madeequipment.80

Otherdealsaresmallinmonetarytermsbutlargeintheirsymbolicsignificance,suchastheJiangsuHengtongPowerCable
CompanyLimitedsagreementtosupplyhigh-voltagecablefortheanenergybridgethatisintendedtosupplyelectricityto
Crimea.81(WesternfirmsarepreventedfromparticipatingduetotheU.S.andEUsanctionsprogramagainstCrimea.)Faced
withovercapacityandfiercecompetitionathome,manyChinesefirmsaredirectingtheireffortstowardoverseasexpansionand
arewillingtoprovidesignificantdiscountsinordertosecurethefirst-moveradvantageinnewmarkets.Frompassengervehicles
tocomplexITsystems,RussiasprocessoftransferringitstechnologicalpartnershipsfromtheWesttoChinahasalreadybegun
inearnest.

ComradesinArms

ThebiggesttectonicshiftcausedbytheUkrainecrisisishappeninginthemostsensitiveareaoftechnologicalcooperation
betweenRussiaandChinathemilitarysector.Fortenyears,Russiahadaninformalbanonsellingitsmostadvanced
technologytoChina.Moscowsconcernswerebothmilitaryitfearedthatweaponssoldmightonedaybeusedagainst
Russiaandalsocommercial.TheChinesehadareputationwithintheRussianmilitary-industrialcomplexforcopyingRussian
equipment,producingtheirownversions,andthencompetingwithRussianarmsmanufacturersinwhatcouldbecalledtheir
naturalmarketslikeMyanmarandEgypt.

AftertheUkrainecrisis,theKremlintookafreshlookatitsoldpolicyandthepossibleimplicationsofexpandingbilateralarms
tradewithChinatoincludethemostsophisticatedsystems.Thereweretwolinesofreasoninginsupportofrelaxingthe
restrictions.First,RussiananalysisofChinasmilitaryindustryindicatedthatthesectorwasfarmoreadvancedthanpreviously
believed,leadingRussiandefenseofficialstoworrylessabouttheriskthattechnologytransferwouldprovideaboostto
Chinesecompetitorsintheglobalarmsmarket.Inaddition,MoscowlearnedthatmanyofthesystemsthattheChinesehad
allegedlystolenwereactuallydevelopedbyRussianengineersinthe1990sthroughcontractswithChinesemilitarySOEs.
Militarytechnologytransferwaspoorlyregulatedandlackedpropersupervisionatthattime,andBeijing,likemanyothers,was
simplytakingadvantageofthechaoticenvironment.Infact,thesecontractshelpedmanyRussianmilitaryenterprisesand
engineeringteamstosurvivetheseveredisruptionsofthe1990s.82

ThesecondargumentrevolvedaroundChinasactualdemographicandeconomicfootprintinSiberiaandtheFarEast.Realistic
officialfigures,alongwithindependentstudies,haveshownthatChinesemigrationismarginal:atanygivenmoment,thereareno
morethan300,000ChineseinSiberiaandtheFarEast,includingtourists,exchangestudents,andlegaltemporaryworkers.
Illegalmigrationwascurtailedtowardtheendofthe2000s,andundercurrenteconomicconditionspeopleinChineseborder
provincesprefertomigratetotherichcoastalregionsoftheirmotherland,nottoRussiasFarEast.Thistrendhasaccelerated
sincetherubledevaluation,asmanyChinesebusinesspeopleinRussia,whowerepreviouslysendingmoneybackhome,
reportedlyareleavingthecountryandaregoingbacktothePRC.83
ThesefactorshaveallowedMoscowtoreverseitslong-standingpolicyandresumesalesofadvancedweaponrytoChina.One
ofthemostimportantdealssofaristhesaleoftheS-400Triumphairdefensemissilecomplex,whichNATOcallstheSA-21
Growler.Thedeal,signedinSeptember2014,wasannouncedbyAnatolyIsaykintheCEOofRosoboronexport,theRussian
arms-exportmonopolyinanApril2015interviewwithKommersant.IfweworkinChinasinterests,thatmeanswealso
workinourinterests,Isaykinsaid.84ChinawillstartreceivingthefirstoffourtosixconsignmentsofS-400snoearlierthan
2018,85andthepriceofthecontractcouldreach$3billion.86AsVasilyKashin,aRussianexpertonmilitarytieswithChina,
wroteinaCarnegie.rucommentary,itwouldbenavetosupposethattheChinesecancopytheS-400systemswithinashort
periodsuchataskwouldrequiremanyyearsofeffort.Meanwhile,Almaz-Antey,theRussianproducerofairdefensesystems,
isalreadywellonitswaytodevelopingthenext-generationsystem(theS-500).87Thus,thedealmakesalotofcommercial
sense.

ThemilitaryandpoliticalconsequencesofthedealaremuchmoreimportantastheyincreasethePLAscapabilities.TheS-400
hasagreaterrangeforidentifyingtargetsandagreatermaximumfiringrange(upto400kilometersoraround250miles)than
previous-generationsystemsliketheS-300.ThiswillbringsignificantchangestothemilitarybalanceintheskiesoverTaiwan
andtheDiaoyu(Senkaku)Islands.ThePLAnowwillbebetter-positionedtocontrolairspaceabovetheseregionsfrom
mainlandpositionsinFujianandShandongProvinces.ForJapan,thetaskofdefendingtheislandswillbecomemuchmore
difficult.ForTaiwan,theS-400maybeagamechanger,sincethePLAwouldbeabletoshootdownTaiwanesefighterplanes
assoonastheytakeoff.Chinacouldalsousethenewsystemtoestablishanairdefenseidentificationzoneoverthecontested
watersoftheSouthChinaSea.NegotiationsonthesaleoftheS-400toChinastartedseveralyearsago,butweresignificantly
acceleratedbytheUkrainecrisis.RussiasconfrontationwiththeWestanditsreassessmentofthestrategiccontextofRussian-
ChineserelationspushedtheKremlintogiveitsfinalblessingtothedeal.

AnotherlandmarktransactioninfluencedbytheUkrainecrisiswasChinaspurchaseof24Su-35fighterjets,whichNATO
callstheFlankerEthis$2billiondealwassignedinlate2015.88ItisnotablethatBeijingwasthefirstforeigncustomerforthis
advancedsystem.AccordingtoVasilyKashinscommentaryonCarnegie.ru,purchasingtheSu-35swillallowtheChineseAir
ForcetogaugeitssuccessindevelopingtheindigenousJ-11fighterjetandbecomefamiliarwithRussiansolutionstotechnical
problems.89TheSu-35s,whichareexpectedtobedeliveredbeginningattheendof2016,willalsohavemilitarysignificance,
reinforcingChinesedominanceinskiesoverTaiwanaswellasstrengtheningtheircombatpositionsinotherpotentialhotspots.

RussianofficialsandexpertsdifferastowhetherMoscowandBeijingshouldgoaheadwithmoreS-400orSu-35deals.But
RussiasreenergizedmilitarycooperationwithChinaisnotlimitedtothesetwosystems.TherearereportsthatMoscowmay
authorizesalesofitsnewlydevelopedLada-classsubmarinetoChina.90Reversesalesarealsotakingplace.Forexample,after
GermanydeclinedtosellRussiadieselenginesforitsnewProject21631Buyan-Mcorvettesduetosanctions,Moscowturned
toBeijingtopurchaseChineseengines.AnotherareaofincreasedcooperationisthepurchaseofChineseelectronic
componentsforRussiasspaceprogram.91NoneofthesedealswouldhavebeenpossiblewithouttheruptureinRussias
relationswiththeWest,andallofthemwillhavefar-rangingconsequencesforthemilitarybalanceintheAsia-Pacific.

RegionalCooperation:TowardaGreaterEurasia?

MoscowsandBeijingsapproachestoregionalcooperationinCentralAsiaarealsoundergoingaprofoundchange.Inthe
decadessincethecollapseoftheSovietUnion,RussiahasviewedthefiveCentralAsianstatesasbelongingtoitsself-
proclaimedexclusivesphereofinfluence.AccordingtoofficialRussianthinking,CentralAsiaisanareawhereRussianotonly
hascenturies-longties,butalsopressingsecurityandeconomicinterests.TheKremlinhasviewedtherapidincreaseinChinas
economicandpoliticalpenetrationoftheresource-richregion,usuallyatRussiasexpense,withgreatunease.Beijinghasbeen
atpainstostressitsrespectforMoscowsexclusiveinterestsinCentralAsia,butclearlyperceivesaneedtosecurefirmties
withthecountriesborderingtheunstableXinjiangregionandastrongincentivetogetaccesstotheregionsvastenergy
resources.

XifirstunveiledChinasSilkRoadEconomicBeltprojectona2013triptoKazakhstan,anditwaslatercomplementedbya
maritimecomponent,leadingtoitsbeingrenamedtheOneBeltOneRoad(OBOR)initiative.OBORrepresentsBeijingsfirst
multidimensionalattempttotransformcountriesaroundChinausingacombinationoftargetedfinancialandinvestment
incentives,softpower,andmilitarytools.Inprivateconversations,Chineseofficialsacknowledgethattheyhadmajorconcerns
aboutRussiasreactiontotheunveilingofOBOR,astheKremlinwasinitiallyreluctanttonegotiategroundrulesfortheco-
existenceofXisinitiativeandPutinspetproject,theEurasianEconomicUnion(EEU).BeijingsfearwasthatMoscow,
anxiousaboutitsownstatusastheleadingyetgreatlydiminishedregionalpower,wouldregardOBORasanintrusioninto
RussiassphereofinfluenceandthereforepressurethestatesofCentralAsianottotakepartintheChineseproject.Chinese
leaderswerethereforebothsurprisedandrelievedwhenFirstDeputyPrimeMinisterShuvalovfirstannouncedattheBoao
ForuminMarch2015thattheEEUmemberswerereadytocooperatewithOBOR.Shuvalovthenpersonallyembarkedon
negotiatingaframeworkdocumentwithBeijingonPutinsbehalf.
FortheRussianleadership,thiswastheresultofpainfulinternaldiscussions,inwhichtheeconomicteamledbyShuvalovwith
supportfromRussianexpertsandmembersofthebusinesscommunitysoughttowinPutinssupportandovercomethe
concernsofthesecurityestablishment.Intheend,theKremlinconcludedthatthebenefitsofcoordinatingtheEEUwiththe
Chineseinitiativeoutweighedtherisks.ItisnowunderstoodthatChinawillinevitablybecomethemajorinvestorinCentralAsia
andthemajormarketforitsvastnaturalresources,duetothecomplementarynatureoftheChineseandregionaleconomies.

AccordingtoRussianofficials,MoscowandBeijingwillstrivetoachieveastabledivisionoflaborinCentralAsia.China,with
itsdeeppocketsandhungerforresources,willbethemajordriverofeconomicdevelopmentintheregionthroughOBORand
otherprojects,whileMoscowwillremainthedominanthard-securityproviderthroughitsCollectiveSecurityTreaty
Organization(CSTO),whilealsocementingtheEEUsroleasasourceofnormsfortheimplementationofChineseinvestment
projects.TheKremlinhopesthisformulawillsatisfybothBeijingwhichisstilluncomfortabledeployingtroopsoutsideits
bordersandtheCentralAsianstates,whichareanxiousaboutarisingChinaandmoreaccustomedtoRussiaslong-standing
militarypresenceintheregion.

OnMay8,2015,PutinandXisignedajointdeclarationoncooperationincoordinatingthedevelopmentoftheEEUandthe
SilkRoadEconomicBelt.92MoscowandBeijingdeclaredtheirdesiretocoordinatethetwoprojectsinordertobuilda
commoneconomicspaceinEurasiafeaturingafreetradeagreementbetweenEEUmembersandChina.Althoughthelanguage
isstillsomewhatambiguous,thedocumentmarkedamajordeparturefromtheKremlinspreviouscourseofcompetitionand
suspicion.BeijingformallyrecognizedtheEEUasapotentialnegotiatingpartneronthefreetradezoneandonrulesforthe
implementationoftransnationalinfrastructureprojects.TheEurasianEconomicCommission,thesupranationalbodyofthe
EEU,receivedamandatefromitsmemberstatestostartnegotiationsonatradeandinvestmentagreementwithChina.This
issue,whichisastumblingblockforbothRussiaandtheCentralAsianstatesgiventheirhighlevelsofprotectionism,was
declaredadistantgoalandeffectivelyrelegatedtoanundeterminedpointinthefuture.

Ofcourse,therealityhasproventobemorecomplicatedthantheseambitioushopes.Bysigningthedeclarationbilaterallywith
China,MoscowoffendeditsEEUpartners,mostnotablyKazakhstan.Thus,Astanaandothercapitalscontinuetohavegood
reasontoreachouttoBeijingdirectlyinordertoseekinvestment,bypassingboththeEEUbureaucracyandtheKremlin.China
alsostayedtruetoitsoldhabitofdoingbusinesswithCentralAsianleadersonapurelybilateralbasis,withoutinvolving
Moscow.DuringhisSeptember2015visittoBeijing,KazakhPresidentNursultanNazarbaevsignedadeclarationof
coordinationbetweenOBORandKazakhstansnationalinfrastructuredevelopmentprogram,NurlyZhol.Kazakhstanwasthe
firstCentralAsianstatetoactivelypitchitsinvestmentprojectstoChina,whichcausedtensionswithMoscow.InOctober
2015,EEUleadersagreedtocoordinatetheirbilateralarrangementswithChinaundertheunionsumbrella,butsofarnotmuch
hashappened.ItwasonlyinMarch2016attheBoaoForumthatRussianDeputyPrimeMinisterDvorkovichpromised
ChinesePremierLithatRussiawouldprovidealistofEEUproposalsforinvestmentprojectsthatcouldhelptolinkupthetwo
initiatives.ThefirstanniversaryoftheostensiblyhistoricdeclarationwasthuscelebratedquietlyinBeijingandMoscowwitha
silentconsensusthatthefirstyearoftheagreementhadbasicallybeenafailure.TheMay31EEUsummitinAstanaalso
broughtnomajornewsregardingEEU-OBORcoordination.

Despitemutualdissatisfactionoverthelackofprogressonthesecoordinationefforts,theoverlappinginterestsofthetwogreat
powersmayoutweightheirdifferences.BothRussiaandChinashareavisionofaregionrunbysecularauthoritarianleaders
withnomajorinterstateconflictsandnooutsideinvolvement,particularlyoftheUnitedStatesanditsallies.Giventheextentof
U.S.disengagementfromtheregionasthedrawdownfromAfghanistancontinues,andRussiasrelativedeclineasaneconomic
centerofgravity,overthelongrunMoscowandBeijingmayfindwaystoaccommodatetheirmutualinterestsoutsidethe
frameworkofEEU-OBORcooperation,especiallyasthefutureofbothprojectslooksdim.

However,rivalrybetweenRussiaandChinainCentralAsiaisquitepossibleandcouldevenacceleratewhenthelong-expected
leadershiptransitionsinKazakhstanandUzbekistan,thetwomostimportantcountriesintheregion,finallytakeplace.Moscow
andBeijinglackcoordinationmechanismsorintensivediplomaticdialogueonCentralAsia.Anyabruptdepartureofleadersin
AstanaorTashkentcouldconceivablytriggerasuccessioncrisis.Rivalfactionsoflocalelitesmayendupreachingoutto
MoscowandBeijingforsupport.Whilesuchdynamicsareunpredictable,itisnothardtoconceiveofdestabilizingscenarios,
whichcouldspuramajorrupturebetweenthetwopowers.

Inasimilarvein,tensionsbetweenMoscowandBeijinginCentralAsiamayariseifthelattercontestsRussiasself-proclaimed
roleastheleadsecurityprovidertotheregion.SofarChinaofficiallyhasavoidedstepsthatmightundercutRussiaspositionas
thepreeminentregionalmilitarysuperpower,astatusthatRussiaenjoysthankstoitsroleinCentralAsiathroughCSTOandits
militarypresenceinTajikistanandKyrgyzstan.ThemainvenueforBeijingsparticipationinregionalsecurityarrangementsfor
thepreviousdecadehasbeentheShanghaiCooperationOrganization,whichhasprovidedaplatformforjointRussian-Chinese
militarydrills.However,ChinasgrowingtradeandinvestmentpresenceinCentralAsiaisstartingtotriggeranevolutionin
Beijingslong-standingposition.TheregionsmineralresourcesarelikelytoplayanincreasinglyimportantroleinthePRCs
overallenergysecurity.Likewise,risksofinstabilityaregrowingduetothedeterioratingsecuritysituationinneighboring
AfghanistanandthepotentialriseofIslamicextremism.Asofthiswriting,thecircumstancesbehindthedeadlyJune2016
attacksintheKazakhcityofAktoberemainfarfromclear,butmayprovideanotherindicationthateventhemoststable
countriesinCentralAsiafacethisthreat.Takentogether,theChineseleadershipwillprobablystarttothinkabouthowto
protectitsregionaleconomicinterests.OBOR-relatedinfrastructureprojectsandinvestmentsmayprovideyetanotherreason
forChinatothinkaboutassumingamoreactiveroleinprovidingregionalsecurityandphysicalprotectionforcritical
infrastructure.

AccordingtoChineseexpertsadvisingZhongnanhaionRussianandCentralAsianaffairs,Beijinghistoricallyhasbeenhappy
withtheestablisheddivisionoflaborwithMoscow.Chineseattemptstoforgebilateralsecuritytieswithcountriesoftheregion
wereseenascounterproductivesincetheycouldpotentiallyjeopardizetieswithMoscoworraisesuspicionsinlocalcapitals
aboutChineseintentions.Thislineofthinkingisslowlystartingtochange,asBeijingbecomesincreasinglyworriedabout
Moscowsunpredictability,andalsotheKremlinsabilitytomaintainpromisedlevelsofinvestmentinCSTOanditsmilitary
installationsinCentralAsia.

InternaldiscussionontherolethatChinacouldplayasaregionalsecurityproviderarestillintheirinfancyandrarelymentioned,
ifatall,inChineseopensources.93However,accordingtoChineseacademics,differentideasarebeingfloated,suchas
establishingspecialChineseprivatemilitarycompaniesordevelopingclosertieswithregionalarmies.Notablerecent
developmentsincludeaMarch2016visittoTajikistanandAfghanistanbyFangFenghui,thechiefofthePLAsGeneralStaff
andamemberoftheCentralMilitaryCommission,todiscussbilateralmilitary-to-militarytieswithbothcountries,aswellasthe
establishmentofanewsecuritycoordinationmechanismforintelligencesharingandconsultationsamongBeijing,Dushanbe,
Kabul,andIslamabad.ThesedevelopmentshavestirredanxietyinMoscow,withsomeexpertslabelingthesemovesanattempt
tocreateanalternative,Beijing-centeredsecurityframeworkintheregionthatwillputRussiaatadisadvantage.94Fangstrip
wasalsoatopicfordiscussionbetweentheRussianandChineseenvoysonissuespertainingtoAfghanistan,ZamirKabulov
andDengXijun,duringtheirMarch2016talksinMoscow.

TheKremlinsofficialreactiontoBeijingsmovesremainscalm,asisseeninKabulovsremarkstotheRussiangovernment
newspaperIzvestia.95NeverthelessfurtherChineseattemptstoboostitssecurityroleinCentralAsiaattheexpenseofRussia
mayerodefragiletrustthathasbeenfosteredbetweenthetwocountriesnationalsecurityestablishments.Overtime,such
movescouldunderminetheoverallrelationshipand,conceivably,triggermisunderstandings,miscalculations,andrenewed
feelingsofgeopoliticalrivalry.

TowardAsymmetricInterdependence

TwoyearsafterPutinsMay2014visittoShanghai,RussianhopesofaquickandstableChinesealternativetoEuropean
energyandcapitalmarketsaregoingthroughapainfulrealitycheck.BilateraltradewithChinaplungedby28percentin2015
duetothefalloutfromlowercommoditypricesandtheknock-oneffectsofthecontinueddeclineoftheRussianeconomyand
thedevaluationoftheruble.ManyoftheRussian-Chinesedealsinauguratedwithmuchfanfareoverthelasttwenty-fourmonths
haveremainedonpaper.LeadingChinesebankshavesurprisedtheKremlinwiththeirrigorousadherencetoWestern
sanctions.CapitalmarketsinShanghaiandHongKonghaveremainedlargelyclosedtoRussianissuersaswell.Thefew
existingchannelsofaccesstoChinesemoneythroughpoliticalbanksremainopenonlyforahandfulofstrategicstate-owned
companiesandmembersofPutinsinnercircle.

GrowingdisillusionmentwithMoscowspivottoChinaisstartingtocometothesurface,airedinpublicforumsbythemost
well-connectedandwealthyRussiancitizens.96SimilardisillusionmentiswidespreadinBeijing,whereofficialsand
businesspeoplecomplainaboutRussiansbeingstubborn,arrogant,andshort-sightedmissingagoldenopportunitytoopenup
toChinaasaresult.

Still,temporarysetbacksnotwithstanding,MoscowandBeijingaredriftingclosertogether.Thefundamentalconditionsfor
Russian-ChineserapprochementwerepresentlongbeforetheUkrainecrisis.Theseincludethecomplementaryandincreasingly
interdependentnatureofthetwocountrieseconomiesasharedcommitmenttomaintainingauthoritarianpoliticalsystemsand
limitingforeigninfluenceathome,aswellastoupholdingprinciplesofsovereigntyandnoninterventionineachothersaffairs
traditionalistsocialnormsandvaluesfueledbythegreat-powerambitionsoflargeswathesoftheirpopulationsandacommon
eliteandpopularresentmentoftheWestsglobaldominance.Themutualdistrustbetweentheelitesofbothcountries,
particularlyontheRussianside,andtheveryambivalentpersonalstanceofmanypowerfulofficialsandtycoonsinboth
countriestowardtheWest,meantformanyyearsthatthetwocountriesonlysawmarginalimprovementsinrelationsdespite
theirmanysharedinterests.NowthepersonalchemistrybetweenPutinandXiandtheWesternsanctionscampaignagainst
Russiahavegalvanizedthepartnershipandmaybringittoanewandhigherlevelthanbefore.

ThisnewRussian-Chineserelationshipmayturnouttobemoremeaningfulthanpreviouslywasthecase,butitishardto
overlookthedegreeofinequalitybetweenthetwopartners.ThebasictrendisoneofRussiaandChinamovingtowarda
deeperasymmetricalinterdependence,withBeijingenjoyingafarstrongerposition.Thebiggestnewdevelopmentisthatthis
economicinequalitymaynolongerbeabarriertogreatercooperation.RussiafacescontinuedestrangementfromtheWestin
theformofthesanctionsregime,whichwillimpactMoscowsabilitytobuildclosertiestoU.S.alliessuchasJapanandSouth
Korea.Russialacksthepoliticalwilltomodernizeitseconomyandinstitutions,whichwouldrequirechallengingvariouspillars
ofthecurrentregimeandvestedinterests.Inthatcontext,MoscowmaybemostcomfortablewithChinaasitskeypartner,
especiallyasChinaiswillingtoacceptRussiaasitis.Beijingis,ofcourse,unlikelytocriticizeRussiaslackofprogresson
economicreformsorthepoorstateofitsdemocracy.Inreturn,Russiamaybecomemoreaccommodatingonitstermsfor
commercialcooperationwithChina.

IffuturegasandoilpipelinesoriginatinginSiberiaendupleadingtoChinaonly,Russiawilldenyitselfoptionstobranchoutto
otherpotentialmarketsinotherAsianeconomiesviathePacificOcean.GazpromssuggestionthatitmayscraptheVladivostok
LNGprojectinfavorofyetanotherpipelinetoChinasuggestsMoscowmayalreadybemovinginthisdirection.Beforethe
Ukrainecrisis,RussiawastryingtocreatepipelineinfrastructureleadingtothePacificCoast,whilebranchpipelinestoChina
wereseenasnecessarypreconditionsforreceivingChinesefunding(thiswasthecasewiththeESPOoilpipeline).Now,direct
pipelinestoChinamaybecomeendsinthemselves,particularlyifcommoditypricesremainlowandRussiacontinuestolackthe
technologyitneedstobuildLNGplants.

AsecondmajoroutcomecouldbeMoscowsacceptanceofChinesecompaniesownershipofsubstantialstakes(including
jointcontrolwithRussianminoritystakeholders)instrategicdepositsofnaturalresources.AsremarksmadebyRussianDeputy
PrimeMinisterDvorkovichinKrasnoyarskin2015show,thisideaisalreadycirculatingwithintheRussianelitecommunity.So
farmarketconditionsandhopesforaspeedyremovalfromWesternsanctionshaveallowedRussianstodriveahardbargain
whendiscussingpotentialsalesoftheseassets.However,ifcurrentconditionspersist,Russiasappetiteforhardcashmaygrow
inthemediumterm,andtheChinesemaybeabletobuyassetsatmuchcheaperprices.Athirdformofsymbiosiscouldtake
theshapeofjointventuresbetweenChinesecompaniesandRussianbusinesspeopleclosetotheKremlin,inwhichtheChinese
wouldprovidetechnologyandfinancingwhiletheRussianswouldensureMoscowsapprovalofprojectsandbids.

Ofcourse,ifWesternsanctionsareeventuallyliftedorrelaxed,commoditypricesrecover,orRussiaembarksonmeaningful
structuralreformsthatdramaticallyimproveitsattractivenesstoforeigninvestors,thingscouldgobacktotheirpre-Ukraine
state.Butallthreeofthesescenariosseemratherfar-fetchedatthemoment.Russiaappearsmorelikelytocontinuetoslip
furtherintoChinasembrace,atleastintheeconomicsphere.Inthisnewscheme,themutualbenefitsthatbothsidesderivewill
compensateforthegrowinginequalitybetweenthem.ChinawillofferMoscowaneconomiclifeline,whileRussiawillprovide
vitalresources(militaryandciviliantechnology,naturalresources,anddiplomaticsupport,includingintheUNSecurityCouncil)
topropelChinasriseasaglobalpowerhousethatcancompetewiththeUnitedStates.ThebitterpillofRussiascontinued
declinewillbelesspainfulamidBeijingseffortstoshowsymbolicdeferencetoRussiasstatusasagreatpower.Thetoneof
theirofficialdialoguewilldiffersharplyfromwhatMoscowhearsfromWesterninterlocutors,asthevaluesofthetworegimes
convergemuchmoreclosely.

Westernexpectationsthatdifferencesbetweenthetwocountrieswillinevitablyleadtorivalry,aswiththesplitbetweenChina
andtheSovietUnioninthe1960s,couldprovehollow.RussiahasindeedbeenfrustratedinitshopesthatChinawouldquickly
fillthevoidleftbytheWest,buthasneverthelessembarkedonatrajectoryofgrowingdependenceonBeijing.The
consequencesfortheWestwillbefar-rangingandlong-lasting,giventhewealthofresourcesthatRussiacanofferChinato
supportitsgloballeadershipaspirations.ThemostimmediaterepercussionswilllikelyconcerngrowingChinesemilitary
capabilitiesinthecomingyears:sophisticatedRussianweaponrycouldbeagamechangerinconflictsoverTaiwan,theSouth
ChinaSea,andtheEastChinaSea.RussiasdiplomaticsupportforChinaalsowillbeimportant.Inthelongrun,itwillbecome
moreandmoredifficultforMoscowtoremainneutralonissueslikedisputesintheSouthChinaSea,anditwillnotbeeasyfor
RussiatokeepupmilitarytieswithcountriessuchasVietnam.Othercountriesshouldtakenoteandrethinktheirassumptions
abouttheRussian-Chineserelationship.ThefalloutfromtheUkrainecrisisistriggeringfundamentalchangesinrelationsbetween
thelargestpowersinEurasia,whichwillleavefewunaffected.

Notes
1Foramoredetaileddiscussion,seeAlexanderGabuev,ASoftAlliance?:Russia-ChinaRelationsAftertheUkraineCrisis,
EuropeanCouncilonForeignRelations,February10,2015,http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR126_-_A_Soft_Alliance_Russia-
China_Relations_After_the_Ukraine_Crisis.pdf.

2ThisobservationisbasedonprivatemeetingswithseveralindependentRussianexpertsfamiliarwiththematter.

3ThisstudyisbasedonaseriesofinterviewswithRussianandChineseofficials,businesspeople,andexperts.Interviewswere

conductedfromFebruary2014toApril2016inMoscow,Vladivostok,Beijing,andHongKong.Theauthorwouldliketo
thankallwhowerereadytosharetheirinsights.Mostoftheinterlocutors,forunderstandablereasons,haverequested
anonymityduetothesensitivenatureoftheirwork.TheauthorwouldalsoliketothankVitaSpivakandNataliaDobrynina,his
researchassistantsattheCarnegieMoscowCenter.
4See,forexample,GilbertRozman,AsiafortheAsians:WhyChinese-RussianFriendshipIsHeretoStay,ForeignAffairs,

October29,2014,http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/east-asia/2014-10-29/asia-asians.

5DmitriTreninusestheFrenchwordententetodescribethenewstateofRussian-Chineserelations,inwhichBeijingand

MoscowsupporteachotherintheirstruggleagainstU.S.dominancebutarentengagedinaformalalliance.SeeDmitriTrenin,
FromGreaterEuropetoGreaterAsia?TheSino-RussianEntente,CarnegieMoscowCenter,April9,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/04/09/from-greater-europe-to-greater-asia-sino-russian-entente/i64a.

6ThistermwascoinedbyformerAustraliandiplomatBoboLoinhisbookofthesametitle.SeeBoboLo,Axisof

Convenience:Moscow,Beijing,andtheNewGeopolitics(Washington,DC:BrookingsInstitution,2008).

7PutinandXi:NotQuitetheAlliesTheySeem,FinancialTimes,May7,2015,http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cd637c7e-
f4a8-11e4-8a42-00144feab7de.html#axzz4AxH2WeWF.

8ThomasS.EderandMikkoHuotari,MoscowsFailedPivottoChina,ForeignAffairs,April17,2016,
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2016-04-17/moscow-s-failed-pivot-china.

9BenBlanchard,XiJinpingsJourneyFromChinaPartyElitetoPartyLeader,Reuters,November15,2012,

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-congress-xi-idUSBRE8AE0BZ20121115.

10EvanOsnos,BornRed,NewYorker,April6,2015,http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/06/born-red.

11AreadoutofthemeetingbetweenPrimeMinisterVladimirPutinandChineseVicePresidentXiJinpingisavailableat:Prime

MinsiterPutinMeetsWithChineseVicePresidentXiJinping,ArchiveoftheOfficialSiteofthe20082012PrimeMinisterof
theRussianFederationVladimirPutin,March23,2012,http://archive.premier.gov.ru/eng/events/news/9884/.

12EvidenceofthischangeofcoursecanbefoundinpubliclyavailabledocumentssuchasaMay2014speechbyPrime
MinisterDmitryMedvedev:SoveschaniyeorazvitiisotrudnichestvasostranamiAziatsko-Tihookeanskogoregiona
[ConsultationonthedevelopmentofcooperationwithAsiaPacificcountries],RussianGovernment,May12,2014,
http://government.ru/news/12293/.

13Reuters,PutinMakesSanctionedBillionaireTimchenkoHeadofRussia-ChinaBusinessCouncil,MoscowTimes,May22,
2014,http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/putin-makes-sanctioned-billionaire-timchenko-head-of-russia-china-
business-council/500731.html.

14AprofileofGennadyTimchenkocanbefoundat:GennadiyTimchenko[GennadyTimchenko],Forbes,May3,2016,

http://www.forbes.ru/profile/gennadii-timchenko.

15DenisVolkov,RussianEliteOpinionAfterCrimea,CarnegieMoscowCenter,March23,2016,

http://carnegie.ru/2016/03/23/russian-elite-opinion-after-crimea/iwdo.

16SeethedetaileddiscussioninPeterHaysGries,ChinasNewNationalism:Pride,Politics,andDiplomacy(Berkeley,CA:
UniversityofCaliforniaPress,2004).

17AndreyKolesnikov,RussianIdeologyAferCrimea,CarnegieMoscowCenter,September22,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/09/22/russian-ideology-after-crimea/ihzq.

18MariaRepnikova,WhenXiWenttoMoscowandPutinWenttoBeijing,JournalofAsianStudies74,no.4(November

2015):1318.

19Levada-Center,MonitoringPublicAttitudesTowardsOtherCountries,September2015

http://www.levada.ru/2015/09/22/monitoring-otnosheniya-rossiyan-k-drugim-stranam-sentyabr/.

20Forexample,anarticlethatJosephNyewroteforProjectSyndicateinJanuary2015statesthatwithitseconomic,military,

anddemographicheftChinageneratesconsiderableuneaseinRussia.ConsiderthedemographicsituationineasternSiberia,
wheresixmillionRussiansliveacrosstheborderfromupto120millionChinese.See:JosephS.Nye,ANewSino-Russian
Alliance?,ProjectSyndicate,January12,2015,http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/russia-china-alliance-by-
joseph-s--nye-2015-01?barrier=true.

21AsummarycanbefoundinShannonTiezzi,ChinaBacksRussiaonUkraine,Diplomat,March4,2014,
http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/china-backs-russia-on-ukraine/.
22ThemessagewasrepublishedbytheChinaDigitalTimesprojectswebsite:Minitrue:CrimeaVotestoJoinRussia,China
DigitalTimes,March17,2014,http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2014/03/minitrue-crimea-votes-join-russia/.

23DetailedanalysisofChinesebehaviorcanbefoundinShannonTiezzi,ChinaReactstotheCrimeaReferendum,Diplomat,
March18,2014,http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/china-reacts-to-the-crimea-referendum/.

24WangHaiyun,WuweijhuogeiZhongguodailaishiniankuansongqi[UkrainecrisiscanbringChina10yearsofrelaxation],
HuanqiuShibao,April23,2014,http://opinion.huanqiu.com/opinion_world/2014-04/4978486.html.

25PrivatemeetinginBeijinginMarch2016.

26WangHaiyun,ChangshuaiEzhongguanxishizhanlueshangfanhutu[ItsstrategicallyblindtotreatSino-Russianrelationslike
mud],HuanqiuShibao,April2,2015,http://opinion.huanqiu.com/opinion_world/2015-02/5587490.html.

27See,forexample,ElenaMazneva,ChinaGasDemandForecastCutbyCNPCResearcherAmidSlowdown,Bloomberg,

September30,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-30/china-gas-demand-forecast-cut-by-cnpc-
researcher-amid-slowdown.

28AndreyMovchan,JustanOilCompany?TheTrueExtentofRussiasDependencyonOilandGas,CarnegieMoscow

Center,September14,2015,http://carnegie.ru/2015/09/14/just-oil-company-true-extent-of-russia-s-dependency-on-oil-and-
gas/ijra.

29EricaStreckerDowns,ChinasQuestforEnergySecurity(SantaMonica,CA:RANDCorporation,2000),2429.

30MessageontheGazpromswebsitepostedonSeptember19,2014:AddressbyGazpromManagementCommittee

ChairmanAlexeyMillerat13thInternationalInvestmentForumSochi-2014,Gazprom,September19,2014,
http://www.gazprom.com/press/miller-journal/335371/.

31MikhailSerov,Rossiyazhdetavansa[Russiawaitsforaprepayment],Vedomosti,May22,2014,

http://www.vedomosti.ru/newspaper/articles/2014/05/22/rossiya-zhdet-avansa.

32GazpromCancels$2.15BlnTenderforConstructionofPowerofSiberiaGasPipelineStretch,TASS,December29,
2015,http://tass.ru/en/economy/847697.

33MikhailKrutikhin,KakGazpromustalonekudadevatgaz[HowGazpromendedupwithnoonetosellitsgasto],

CarnegieMoscowCenter,June24,2015,http://carnegie.ru/2015/06/24/ru-60480/iaz0.

34JonathanStern,GasPipelineCooperationBetweenPoliticalAdversaries:ExamplesFromEurope,ChathamHouse,
January2005,
http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/public/Research/Energy,%20Environment%20and%20Development/jsjan05.pdf.

35AlexandraGalaktionovaandElenaMyazina,RotenbergbezkonkursapoluchilkontraktiGazpromapochtina200mlrd
rub[Rotenbergreceivesa200billionrubleGazpromcontractswithoutformalbid],RBC,December23,2015,
http://www.rbc.ru/business/23/12/2015/567adfee9a79471210b50252KitajnachalstroitprodolzhenieSiliSibiri[China
beginsconstructconstructionofPowerofSiberiaextension],Vedomosti,June2,2015,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/news/2015/06/02/594774-kitai-nachal-stroit-prodolzhenie-sili-sibiri.

36NataliaDerbyzheva,KompaniyaTimchenkobezkonkursapoluchilavtoroypodryadpoSileSibiri[Timchenkos
companyhasgainedsecondcontractforPowerofSiberiawithoutatender],RBC,May20,2016,
http://www.rbc.ru/business/20/05/2016/573f1d949a794729a502994c.

37PrivatemeetingswithRussianofficials.

38MessageonGazpromwebsitepostedonMay8,2015:GazpromandCNPCSignHeadsofAgreementforGasSupplyVia
WesternRoute,pressrelease,Gazprom,May8,2015,http://www.gazprom.com/press/news/2015/may/article226167/.

39RosneftResumesTalksWithGazpromonSalesofGasFromSakhalin-1ProjectReport,TASS,May18,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/economy/876415.

40Kitaystalkrupneyshimimporteromrossiyskoynefti[ChinabecamethelargerimporterofRussianoil],Vedomosti,March
11,2016,http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/news/2016/03/11/633217-kitai-nefti.
41OlgaMordyushenko,RosneftneidetvKitaiposuhu[RosneftdoesntgotoChinatroughland-basedroutes],

Kommersant,January14,2016,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2890833.

42MengMengandChenAizhu,RussiaPipsSaudiArabiaAgainasTopChinaCrudeSupplierinMarch,Reuters,April21,
2016,http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-crude-imports-idUSKCN0XI0VD.

43SeethisanalyticalreportonRussian-Chinesetradecooperationin2015:Analiticheskayaspravkaorossiisko-kitaiskom

torgovomsotrudnichestvev2015godu[AnalyticalreportonRussian-Chinesetradecooperationin2015],IntegratedForeign
EconomicInformationPortal,February2,2016,http://www.ved.gov.ru/exportcountries/cn/cn_ru_relations/cn_ru_trade/.

44SellingStakeinVankorOilandGasFieldtoChinaforYuanPossibleEnergyMinister,TASS,November18,2014,

http://tass.ru/en/economy/760398.

45TheKremlinstrancriptofthisinterviewwaspostedonlineonNovember14,2014:InterviewtoTASSAgency,Official
InternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,November14,2014,http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/47009.

46AlinaFadeeva,MinfingotopprodatRosneft[MinistryofFinancereadytosellRosneft],Vedomosti,December16,2015,

http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2015/12/16/621264-minfin-rosneft.

47YuliaKotovaandMaximTovkailo,KitayskuyuCNPCzainteresovalaprivatizatsiyaRosnefti[ChineseCNPCisinterested
inRosneftprivatization],RBC,April21,2016,http://www.rbc.ru/business/21/04/2016/5718bd919a7947743d4115f6.

48AlinaFadeeva,RosneftvperviyeprivlekaetkitaiskuyukompaniyudlyabureniyanashelfeOhotskogomoray[Forthefirst
time,RosneftinvitesaChinesecompanytodrillontheOkhotskSeashelf],Vedomosti,September2,2015,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2015/09/03/607298-rosneft-vpervie-privlekaet-kitaiskuyu-kompaniyu-dlya-
bureniya-shelfe-ohotskogo-morya.

49JackFarchy,GazpromNeftSellsOiltoChinainRenminbiRatherThanDollars,FinancialTimes,June1,2015,
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8e88d464-0870-11e5-85de-00144feabdc0.html#axzz4AjYW0EYt.

50TranscriptoftheSeptember1,2014,meetingbetweenPutinandZhangGaolicanbeaccessedat:MeetingWithVice

PremierofChinaZhangGaoli,OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,September1,2014,
http://en.kremlin.ru/catalog/countries/CN/events/46530.

51YuriSoloviev,UnlockingthePotentialofRussia-AsiaCooperation,FinanceAsia,June16,2015,

http://www.financeasia.com/News/398460,unlocking-the-potential-of-russia-asia-cooperation.aspx.

52Ibid.

53AlexandraTerentyeva,Kitaiskiyebankislishkomtshatelnopodhodiatksankciyam-VTB[VTB:Chinesebankstoostrict
onsanctions],Vedomosti,September5,2015,http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2015/09/05/607669-kitaiskie-baki-
slishkom-tschatelno-podhodyat-sanktsiyam.

54AccordingtoasetofinterviewswithHongKongbankersconductedinSeptember2015.

55YuliyaFedorinova,ElenaMazneva,andAnnaBaraulina,PutinsGotaNewProblemWithChina,Bloomberg,September
2,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-01/putin-s-china-turn-hits-potholes-as-trade-drops-markets-slide.

56NLMKsNovember2,2015,corporateannouncementcanbeaccessedat:NLMKGroupClosesUSD400MillionPre-
ExportFacility,pressrelease,LondonStockExchange,November2,2015,
http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/NLMK/12564244.html.

57SandrineBradley,Update1-LPC-RussiasNLMKSigns250MlnEuroLoanWithInternationalBanks,Reuters,April30,
2015,http://www.reuters.com/article/nlmk-loans-idUSL4N0XR6QL20150430.

58JackFarchy,GazpromSecures2bnLoanFromBankofChina,FinancialTimes,March3,2016,
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ac5b1ee4-e159-11e5-9217-6ae3733a2cd1.html#axzz47mLAFUVa.

59PleaseseeExternalSectorStatistics,CentralBankoftheRussianFederation,http://www.cbr.ru/eng/statistics/?PrtId=svs.

60DatacanbeaccessedattheOfficeoftheUnitedStatesTradeRepresentativesofficialwebpage:ThePeoplesRepublicof
China:U.S.-ChinaTradeFacts,OfficeoftheUnitedStatesTradeRepresenative,http://ustr.gov/countries-regions/china-
mongolia-taiwan/peoples-republic-china.

61DatacanbeaccesedattheEuropeanCommisionsofficialwebsite:China,EuropeanCommissionTrade,April29,2016,
http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/china/.

62BankiKitayaotkazivayutsyaobsluzhivatoffshornieschetarossiyskihklientov[ChinesebanksrefusetoworkwithRussians

offshoreaccounts],Rosbalt,September24,2014,http://www.rosbalt.ru/business/2014/09/24/1318906.html.

63EricaDowns,InsideChina,Inc:ChinaDevelopmentBanksCross-BorderEnergyDeals,JohnL.ThorntonChinaCenter
MonographSeriesNo.3,BrookingsInstitution,March2011,
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2011/3/21-china-energy-downs/0321_china_energy_downs.pdf.

64Ibid.

65DvakitayskihbankaotkrilikreditoSberbanku,VTBIVEBu[TwoChinesebankshaveprovidedcreditlinestoSberbank,
VTBandVEB],TASS,May8,2015,http://tass.ru/ekonomika/1956850VEBsofficialstatementcanbeaccessedat:VEB
andtheChinaDevelopmentBankSignCreditAgreement,VEBBankforDevelopment,December17,2015,
http://www.veb.ru/en/press/news/arch_news/index.php?id_19=101631RussiasVTB,VEBRosselkhazbankAgreeOn
LoanswithChinaEximBank,Reuters,October13,2014,http://www.reuters.com/article/russia-china-banks-
idUSL6N0S81HT20141013.

66YuriBarsukov,Ugazasvetloebudushee[Gashasabrightfuture],Kommersant,July17,2015,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2769183TotalCEOEyesCuttingCosts,ContinuingYamalLNGProject,NikkeiAsian
Review,October7,2015,http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Total-CEO-eyes-cutting-costs-continuing-Yamal-LNG-
project.

67RussiasNovatekCompletesDealtoSellYamalLNGStaketoChinasSilkRoad,Reuters,March15,2016,

http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFR4N0ZC01H.

68OlgaMordushenkoandJuriBarsukov,Soporoinasobstvenniesily[Relyingononesownstrength],Kommersant,April
30,2016,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2978177.

69VasilyKashin,IndustrialCooperation:PathtoConfluenceofRussianandChineseEconomies,ValdaiPapers#4(44),

ValdaiDiscussionClub,March2016,http://valdaiclub.com/files/10377/.

70VladimirKuznetsov,RussianBondsClimbasChinaPurchases$1BillionofRubleDebt,Bloomberg,July9,2015,
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-09/china-buys-1-billion-of-ruble-debt-as-russia-touts-local-market.

71CharlesClover,WesternSanctionsPushingRussiaTowardsCloserTiesWithChina,FinancialTimes,April17,2016,

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/470d6052-02d7-11e6-99cb-83242733f755.html#axzz46BcotTk9.

72LizMak,ICBCandBankofChinatoHelpUnderwriteRussiasIssuanceofLargestYuan-DenominatedForeignSovereign

Bond,SouthChinaMorningPost,April27,2016,http://www.scmp.com/business/markets/article/1939043/icbc-and-bank-
china-help-underwrite-russias-issuance-largest-yuan.

73SofiaOkunandSapozhkovOleg.Kitaiskayafinansovayagramota[Chinesefinancialgrammar],Kommersant,October
23,2015,http://www.kommersant.ru/Doc/2838059.

74RussianDebtSaferThanU.S.?SoSaysChinaRatingHouseDagong,Bloomberg,January8,2015,
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-08/russian-debt-safer-than-u-s-so-says-china-rating-house-dagong.

75PutinsMay8,2015statementonthisissuecanbeaccessedat:PressStatementsFollowingRussian-ChineseTalks,

OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,May8,2015,http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/49433.

76UPDATE1ChinaRailwayGroupWins$390MlnRussianHigh-SpeedRailContract,Reuters,May13,2015,

http://www.reuters.com/article/china-russia-idUSL3N0Y44E620150513.

77ChinatoLendOver$6BlnforRussiasMoscowKazanHighSpeedRail,SputnikNews,April29,2016,

http://sputniknews.com/business/20160429/1038854457/railway-money-china-russia.html.
78NataliaSkorlyginaandAnastasiaVedeneeva,YuanidoKazani[RMBtoKazan],Kommersant,May24,2016,

http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2995577.

79PavelKantishev,NIIVoskhodzakluchilsoglashenieskitaiskimInspurna$225mln[Voskhodresearchinstitutesigned

signsdealwithChineseInspurfor$225mln],Vedomosti,October15,2014,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/technology/articles/2014/10/15/voshod-kitajskogo-servera.

80SberbankscorporateannouncementofOctober13,2014,canbeaccessedat:SberbankofRussiaandHuaweiSigna

CollaborationAgreement,pressrelease,Sberbank,October13,2014,http://sberbank.ru/en/press_center/all/article?
newsID=200004787-1-2&blockID=1539&regionID=77&lang=enVTBscorporateannouncementofNovember10,2014,
canbeaccessedat:VTBBeginsCollaborationWithHuawei,VTBGroup,November10,2014,
http://www.vtb.com/group/press/news/releases/412003/.

81NataliyaSkorligina,Kabelorangakh[Cableofranks],Kommersant,April28,2015,http://kommersant.ru/doc/2718391.

82VassilyKashin,SellingS-400stoChina:ANewFrontintheColdWar?,CarnegieMoscowCenter,April27,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/04/27/selling-s-400s-to-china-new-front-in-cold-war/ik1m.

83Thesametrendscanbeobservedincross-bordertradein2014and2015,withChinesebordercitieslosingupto90

percentoftheirRussiantourists.InsteadChinesecitizensarecrossingthebordertobuyseeminglycheapRussiangoods,mostly
agriculturalproducts.In2015,RussianfoodexportstoChinagrewby200percent.

84IvanSafronov,EslimirabotaemvinteresakhKNR,torabotaemvsvoikhinteresakh[Ifweworkintheinterestsofthe
PRC,weworkinourowninterests],Kommersant,April13,2015,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2707945.

85RussianArmsExportersTradePortfolioStandsat$48BillionOfficial,TASS,June3,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/defense/879864.

86ChinaMakesAdvancePaymentforS-400AirDefenseSystemDelivery,TASS,March11,2016,

http://tass.ru/en/defense/861706.

87Kashin,SellingS-400s.

88RussiaInksContractWithChinaonSu-35Deliveries,TASS,November19,2015,http://tass.ru/en/defense/837662.

89VassilyKashin,WhyIsChinaBuyingRussianFighterJets?,CarnegieMoscowCenter,February9,2016,
http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/02/09/why-is-china-buying-russian-fighter-jets-su-35/itoe.

90ZacharyKeck,RussiaMaySellChinaNewAdvancedSubmarines,Diplomat,March28,2014,
http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/russia-may-sell-china-new-advanced-submarines/.

91Kashin,IndustrialCooperation.

92Thetextofthejointstatementcanbeaccessedat:SovmestnoyezayavleniyeRossiisoiFederaziiiKitaiskoiNarodnoi

RespublikiosotrudnichestveposopryazheniyustroitrlstvaEvraziiskogoEkonomicheskogosoyuzaiEkonomicheskogopoyasa
Shelkovogoputi[JointstatementoftheRussianFederationandPeoplesRepublicofChinaoncopperationontheconstruction
ofJointEurasianEconomicUnionandtheSilkRoadProjects],OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,March8,
2015,http://kremlin.ru/supplement/4971.

93FengYujun,GeoeconomicsinEurasia:AViewFromChina,November2015.

94AndreyKnyazev,Kart-blansh:KitaypristupaetksozdaniyuvoennogoalyansavZentralnoyAzii[Carte-blanche:Chinato

createamilitaryallianceinCentralAsia],NezavisimayaGazeta,March15,2016,http://www.ng.ru/world/2016-03-
15/3_kartblansh.html.

95TatyanaBaykoba,KitaytesnitRossiyuvZentralnoyAzii[ChinaisjostlingRussiainCentralAsia],Izvestia,March16,
2016,http://izvestia.ru/news/606469.

96RemarksbyVictorVekselberg,oneoftherichestmeninRussia,areillustrative.Therewasacertainlevelofoptimism

regardingChinesecompanies.ItwasthoughttheywerecomingtotheRussianmarkettospendbigmoney.ButtheChinese
turnedouttobeveryrationalandverygoodbusinesspeople,sotheywouldntgivemoneyawayfornothing,hesaidata
March2016businessconferenceinMoscow.Seemorein:AlexanderGabuev,APivottoNowhere:TheRealitiesofRussias
AsiaPolicy,CarnegieMoscowCenter,April22,2016,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/04/22/pivot-to-nowhere-realities-
of-russia-s-asia-policy/ixfw.
From: RobertOtto<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Senttime: 06/30/201603:07:11AM
To: RobertOtto<OttoRC@state.gov>
BCc: swallen@1scom.netchris.bort@gmail.comnaterey80@gmail.comdonald.jensen8@gmail.com
Subject: FriendsWithBenefits?Russian-ChineseRelationsAftertheUkraineCrisis-CarnegieMoscowCenter-CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace

http://carnegie.ru/2016/06/29/friends-with-benefits-russian-chinese-relations-after-ukraine-crisis/j2m2

FriendsWithBenefits?Russian-ChineseRelations
AftertheUkraineCrisis
FacingsanctionsfromtheWestaftertheannexationofCrimea,RussiahasreorienteditseconomytowardChina.Inmaking
thepivot,itsoughttobreakitsdiplomaticisolation,secureamarketforitsenergyresources,andgaingreateraccessto
Chinesecreditandtechnology.Theresultsoftheshiftaremixed,butiftrendscontinue,Moscowislikelytodriftfurtherinto
Beijingsembrace.Anasymmetricalinterdependenceisemerging,withglobalimplications.

AnIncreasinglyUnbalancedRelationship

RussiaseconomicoutreachtoChinapredatesitsannexationofCrimeaandtheimpositionofWesternsanctions,butit
hasintensifiedfollowingtheUkrainecrisis.

Intryingtoreorientitseconomyquickly,MoscowhaseasedinformalbarrierstoChineseinvestment.

TherewasasharpdeclineintradebetweenChinaandRussiain2015anddifficultiesinnegotiatingnewmegadeals.Still,
therapprochementhasacceleratedprojectsthathavebeenunderdiscussionfordecades,resultinginagreementsona
naturalgaspipelineandcross-borderinfrastructure,amongotherdeals.

ChinesefinancialinstitutionsarereluctanttoignoreWesternsanctions,butMoscowandBeijingaredevelopingparallel
financialinfrastructurethatwillbeimmunetosanctions.

Newdealsintherailwayandtelecommunicationssectorsmaysetimportantprecedentsforbilateralrelations.These
projectscouldreduceRussiastechnologicallinkswiththeWestandincreaseitsdependenceonChina.

TheRussian-Chineserelationshipisincreasinglyunequal,withRussiatheneedierpartner.Withoutviablealternatives,
Moscowmaybewillingtoaccepttheimbalance.

LessonsforWesternLeaders

RussiaandChinaarenotenteringintoananti-Westernalliance.BeijingdoesnotwanttoconfronttheWestoverissuesit
seesasalowpriority,suchasUkraine.MoscowprefersnottobedraggedintogrowingU.S.-Chinarivalryorterritorial
disputesintheAsia-Pacific.

Still,MoscowsgrowingdependenceonChinaanditstendencytoseeconflictthroughananti-Americanlensisforcing
ittosupportBeijinginsomedisputesitwouldprefertoavoid.

Russiasmilitary-industrialcomplexisopeningupmoretotheChinesemarket.Thisshiftmayaffectthestrategic
balanceinTaiwan,theEastChinaSea,andtheSouthChinaSeaastheChinesemilitarygainsaccesstoadvanced
equipment.

CentralAsiaisapotentialarenaforrivalrybetweenMoscowandBeijing.Attemptstocoordinatethecountriesregional
economicintegrationprojectshavebeenunsuccessful.YetMoscowhopesitcanserveasregionalsecurityprovider
whileChinapresidesovereconomicdevelopmentadeparturefromapreviouscollisioncourse.

MoscowandBeijingarelearningfromeachothersexperiencelimitingWesterninfluence,providingexamplesforother
authoritariancountries.

RussiaEmbracesChina:TurningFearsIntoHopes
WhenthecrisisinUkraineeruptedin2014,nooneintheKremlinwasexpectingaprolongedconfrontation.Butassoonas
sanctionswerementionedforthefirsttimeintheWest,theRussiangovernmentorganizedaseriesofbrainstormingsessions
toanalyzehowdifferentscenariosmighthurttheRussianeconomy.Theconclusionwasclear:RussiasAchillesheelwasits
near-totaldependenceonWesternmarketsforitshydrocarbonexports,capital,andtechnology.1Thehistoricalcasesof
sanctionsregimespresentedbyRussiananalystsatthesediscussions,rangingfromNorthKoreatoIran,suggestedthatin
ordertowithstandWesternpressureacountryneededastrongexternalpartner.2Theonlyobviouscandidatethatfitthebill
wasChinathelargesteconomythatdidnotplantoimposesanctionsonRussia.

Thiswasthecontextinwhich,inMay2014,theRussianleadershipembarkedonanewandmoreambitiouspivottoChina.
ThestrategicgoalwasnotonlytodeepenthepoliticalrelationshipbutalsotoreorienttheRussianeconomytowardtheEast.It
washopedthatChinawouldbecomeamajorbuyerofSiberianhydrocarbons,ShanghaiandHongKongwouldbecomethe
newLondonandNewYorkforRussiancompaniesseekingcapital,andChineseinvestorswouldflocktobuyRussianassets,
providingbadlyneededcash,upgradingthecountrysaginginfrastructure,andsharingtechnology.3Putsimply,thenewpivot
wouldkeeptheRussianeconomyafloatandspurnewsourcesofgrowth.

Foritspart,ChinaneithersupportedRussiasactionsinUkrainenordirectlycriticizedthem.ButitwelcomedMoscowspolicy
ofgoingEast.TherupturebetweenRussiaandtheWestoverUkrainewasseenassomethingthatwouldhelpChinatosecure
aRussiamoreaccommodatingtoBeijingscommercialdemandsandmorewillingtogiveuponambitionsofdeepintegration
withtheWestanightmarescenarioforChinesestrategists.

Withsomeexceptions,4thisnewapparentrapprochementwasgreetedwithconsiderableskepticismintheWest.5The
dominantviewinWesterncapitalswasthatrelationsbetweenMoscowandBeijingwouldalwaysremainanaxisof
convenience.6RelationswiththeWestandwiththeUnitedStatesinparticular,itwasargued,aremoreimportantforChina
thanitstiestoRussia,giventhatU.S.-ChinesetradevolumesweresixtimesgreaterthanRussian-Chinesetradeflowsin2014
andtentimesgreaterin2015.Moreimportantly,Westernanalystspredictedthatdeepmistrustbetweenthecountrieselites,
historicalterritorialdisputes,anunbalancedstructureoftrade,theChineseeconomicanddemographicthreattoSiberiaandthe
FarEast,competitionforinfluenceinCentralAsia,andtheoverallgrowinginequalitybetweenthetwocountrieswould
precludeanymeaningfulpartnership.

TwoyearsafterMoscowbeganitsChinapivot,somedevelopmentsconfirmthisskepticalview.Westerncommentarieshave
oftenadoptedamockingtoneabouttheexaggeratedhopesthatMoscowhasplacedonBeijing.Mr.Putinmayhopethatsuch
arrangements[withChina]canhelpshieldRussiafromwesternsanctions.Yet,inhisheartofhearts,hemustknowthatBeijing
isnotgoingtodoMoscowanyfavours,arguedaMay2015editorialintheFinancialTimes. 7ThomasS.EderandMikko
HuotarifromtheBerlin-basedMercatorInstituteforChinaStudieswroteinForeignAffairsthat

WhatonefindstimeandagainwithSinoRussiancooperationareloftyannouncementsthatfailtocorrespondwiththereality
ofalessthanrobustrelationship.Asaresult,thecurrentstateofSinoRussianrelationsdo[sic]littletoprovideMoscowwith
anygeopoliticalleverageagainstEurope.Infact,itistheotherwayaround.Europehasbeenmoresuccessfulatplayingthe
diversificationgame,aswellasattractinginvestmentsandincreasingtradewithChina.8

Yet,thenewRussian-Chineserapprochementmaybemoreseriousthanthislineofreasoningsuggests.Inthewakeofthe
Ukrainecrisis,theRussianleadershiptookafreshlookatmanyissuesthathadbeenblockingcooperationwithBeijingfor
years.Thisprocessresultedintheremovalofthreekeyinformalbarriers.First,Moscowdecidedithadbeentooreticentabout
sellingadvancedweaponrytoChina.Second,MoscowchosetoreviewadefactobanonChineseparticipationinlarge
infrastructureandnatural-resourceprojects.Third,theKremlinreassesseditsrelationshipwithChinainCentralAsia,which
hadhithertobeendefinedaslargelycompetitivewithverylimitedopportunitiesforcollaboration.

ThenewapproachthattheKremlinadoptedyieldedfewsuccessesin2014and2015.Butthedealsconcludedorunder
discussionmaypresagemoremeaningfuldevelopmentsinthefuture,puttingRussiaonapathwhereitendsupacceptingthe
roleofajuniorpartnerinanincreasinglyasymmetricalrelationship.Moscowmayendupprovidingcrucialresourcesthat
Beijingneeds(suchasmilitarytechnology,naturalresources,andaccesstonewmarkets)toboostthelattersambitiontobe
thenextglobalsuperpowerinexchangeforaneconomicandfinanciallifeline.

OneofthecentralfactorsthatispropellingthenewRussian-Chineserelationshipisthepersonalconnectionbetweenthetwo
countriesleaders,VladimirPutinandXiJinping.

BorisYeltsinsrelationshipwithhisChinesecounterpart,JiangZemin,wasgood.TheyspokeinRussian,whichfacilitated
directconversation,buttheRussianpresidentnevercalledhisChinesecolleaguefriend,asheaddressedformerU.S.
presidentBillClintonandformerJapaneseprimeministerRyutaroHashimoto.PutinsexperiencewithJiangwasfruitfulbut
brief.Bothleadersmanagedtosignthe2001FriendshipTreaty,whichpavedthewayforthesettlementofRussian-Chinese
borderdisputes.JiangssuccessorHuJintaowastenyearsolderthanPutinandunemotional.VariousinterlocutorsdescribeHu
aswearingthesameinscrutablefaceinallsituations.

Xihasbeenverydifferentfrombothhispredecessors.JustsixmonthsyoungerthanPutin,Xicouldbedescribedasthe
Russianpresidentssoulmateastrongleaderwithavisionofhiscountrybecomingagreatpoweragain.Xisremarksin
Mexicoin2009aboutsomeforeignerswithfullbelliesandnothingbettertodo[than]engageinfinger-pointingatusdidnot
gounnoticedinMoscow.9ExtendedprofilesofhimbearalotofsimilaritiestowhatispubliclyknownaboutPutin.10Thetwo
menhavedevelopeddeeppersonaltiesdespitethelanguagebarrier,accordingtothosewhohaveobservedtherelationshipup
close.

ThefirstpersonalmeetingbetweenthetwotookplaceinMarch2010inMoscow,whenPutinwasprimeministerandXiwas
vicepresidentofthePeoplesRepublicofChina(PRC).11ButitwasonOctober7,2013,thattherelationshipbecametruly
personal.ThetwoleadersmetonthesidelinesoftheAsia-PacificEconomicCooperation(APEC)summitinBaliitwas
Putinsbirthdayandthelastmeetingofthedayforbothleaders.Negotiationsturnedintoaprivatebirthdaypartywithveryfew
peoplepresentandmanycelebratorytoasts,whichhelpedcementthebondbetweenthem.GiventheimportancePutinattaches
topersonaldiplomacy,thisnewlevelofcontactwiththeChineseleaderwasanimportantfactorbehindMoscowschanged
approach.

In2014,followinginternaldeliberations,theKremlindecidedtoreachouttoChinatofosteraneconomicpartnershipinamore
directfashionthanbefore.InformalpoliticalbarrierslimitingChineseinvestmentinRussiawereeased.AttheKrasnoyarsk
EconomicForuminFebruary2015,DeputyPrimeMinisterArkadyDvorkovichannouncedthatChinesecompanieswould
nowbewelcometobuyassetsinthenatural-resourcesector.Theyalsowerepermittedtobidoninfrastructurecontractsin
sensitiveindustrieslikeroadsandrailways,whichforadecadehadbeencarefullyprotectedfromcompetitionbypowerful
Russianlobbies.ChinesefinancialinstitutionswereinformallyencouragedtoexpandtheirpresenceintheRussianmarkettofill
agapvacatedbyWesternfirms.High-levelRussianofficialsdeliveredthesemessagesthroughaseriesofunannouncedvisits
toAsianfinancialcapitals,whiletheywereexploringopportunitiesforRussiandebtandequitylistings.12

MoscowalsosignificantlyupgradeditsmechanismsforcommunicatingwithBeijing.WhileWashingtonhasmaintainedvarious
channelsofcorrespondencewithChineseelitesandpoliticalleadersformanyyears,Russiaslinkshadremainedprimitive.
Nowinadditiontotheexistingintergovernmentalcommissionforpreparingprimeministersmeetings(co-chairedbyRussian
DeputyPrimeMinisterDmitriRogozinandChineseVicePremierWangYang)andanalready-establishedstrategicdialogueon
energyissues(co-chairedbyDeputyPrimeMinisterDvorkovichandChinashighest-rankingvicepremier,ZhangGaoli),a
newintergovernmentalcommissionwasformed.Thenewcommissionisco-chairedbyRussianFirstDeputyPrimeMinister
IgorShuvalov,Putinspowerfulpointmanforeconomictroubleshooting,andZhang,whoisalsooneofsevenmembersofthe
ChineseCommunistPartys(CCP)powerfulPolitburoStandingCommittee.Shuvalovscommissionhasbecomethekey
institutionfornegotiatinglarge-scalebilateralprojects.Inadditiontothesebodies,PutinappointedhislongtimefriendGennady
TimchenkotochairtheRussian-ChineseBusinessCouncil.13TimchenkoranksfifthontheForbeslistofwealthiestRussian
citizens,14andwasaddedtotheU.S.TreasuryDepartmentsanctionslistaftertheannexationofCrimea.Byputtinginplacea
capablebureaucratandapersonalfriendwithdirectaccesstotheRussianleaderhimself,Putinhasmovedthebilateral
businessagendatoanewlevel.

Asidefromthesepragmaticbusinessmatters,anattemptbytheKremlintoforgeemotionalbondswithChineseelitesonthe
basisofacommonworldoutlookconstitutedakindofgrouppsychotherapyfortheRussianleadershipafterthetraumaofthe
Ukrainecrisis.AnuneasysenseofisolationandfeelingsofrageaboutwhatwasviewedasbetrayalbytheWestwascombined
withthesenseofbelongingtoaresurgentgreatpoweraftertheincorporationofCrimeaintoRussia,andthiscreatedastrong
needforinternationalsoulmates.15PressurefromtheWest,itwasbelieved,wouldbringRussianandChineseelitesmuch
closertogetherthanbefore.Anation-buildingnarrativecenteredonprideandtherevivalofthegloriouspasthasbeenstrongin
Chinasinceapatrioticeducationcampaignwaslaunchedinthe1990s.16ThisnationalstorybecamedominantinChinaafterXi
accededtopowerandpromotedhisambiguousChinaDreamconcept.Asimilarnarrativebecameincreasinglyimportantinthe
Russiancontext,particularlyafterthetakeoverofCrimea.17

Bothregimeshaveinvestedalotincommemoratinghistoricevents,especiallythevictoryinWorldWarII.FormodernRussia,
thevictoryinwhatitcallstheGreatPatrioticWarformsthemoralfoundationofmanyRussiansidentity.FortheCCP,
memoriesofthewaragainstJapan,itsenormoushumancost,andtheroleoftheCommunistsinthenationalresistancestill
formoneofthepillarsofthepartyslegitimacy.AttemptstoquestionordownplaytheroleofeithercountryduringWorldWar
IIareviewedinMoscowandBeijingasattacksontheirprestigeandonthecoreideologicalfoundationsoftheregimes.18But
thispatriotismismorethanjustcold-bloodedcalculation:ithasdeeprootsinthegenuinepersonalemotionsoftheleaders.
Afterall,Xisfather,XiZhongxun(19132002),tookpartinthewaragainstJapan,andPutinsfather,VladimirSpiridonovich
Putin(19111999),foughtinthewaragainstGermany.

ItthereforecameasnosurprisewhenXiJinpingwastheguestofhonoratthe2015VictoryDayparadeinMoscow,anevent
boycottedbyU.S.PresidentBarackObamaandotherWesternleaders.Putinreturnedthefavorandwastheguestofhonor
duringthecelebrationsinBeijingonSeptember3,2015,thefirstparadeinPRChistorytocommemoratethevictoryover
Japan.ThedecisionofWesternleaderstoskipboththeseimportanteventsinprotestofRussiasannexationofCrimeaand
growingChineseassertivenessintheSouthChinaSeawasperceivedinMoscowandBeijingasacoordinatedplottodenyboth
countriestheirrightfulplaceinhistory.
Throughout2014and2015,attemptsweremadetobringbothsocietiesclosertogetherandtoovercomelingeringmistrust
throughthecarefuluseofbothgovernmentpropagandaandstate-controlledmedia.Since2006,Russianstate-runtelevision
channelshaveobservedaninformalbanonnegativecoverageofChina.ThereisgrowingevidencethatXihasauthorizedthe
samepolicyvis--visRussia.TheCCPPropagandaDepartmenttellseditorsatChinesestate-controllednewsagencieslike
XinhuaandtelevisionchannelslikeChinaCentralTelevision(CCTV)tobecarefulinhowtheycoverRussiaingeneralandto
avoidcriticizingPutinpersonally.ThisstancewasevidentduringthecoverageofthePanamaPapersscandal,whenmainland
ChinesemediaavoidedmentioningbothChineseandRussianleadersthatwereimplicated.Searchresultswerealsoerased
fromWeibo,Chinasmostpopularmicrobloggingplatform.

Theseeffortshaveyieldedresults,atleastinRussia.AccordingtopollsconductedbytheindependentLevadaCenter,19
RussianspositiveattitudestowardChinapeakedinMay2014,with77percentofrespondentsviewingChinapositivelyand
only15percentseeingitinanegativelight(seefigure1).Thisisastarkcontrastnotonlytothefiguresoftwodecadesago
(48percentpositiveand21percentnegative,respectively,inMarch1995)butalsotothefiguresfromjustayearbeforethe
Ukrainecrisis.InNovember2013,only55percentofrespondentsviewedChinapositivelyand31percentsawitnegatively.

Thespeedandintensityofthesemoodswingsdemonstratetheconsiderableinfluenceofmassmediaandtheknock-onimpact
ofaverageRussiansangertowardmajorWesternpowersasaresultoftheUkrainecrisis.SomeWesterncommentatorscite
conventionalwisdomthataverageRussiansharbornegativefeelingstowardChina,20butempiricalevidencethatsupportssuch
assertionsishardtocomeby.Russianeliteslong-standingcautiousattitudestowardChinaareaseparatematter,butthis
mind-sethasundergonesignificantchangesasadirectresultoftheUkrainecrisis.

ChinasRussiaGambit:AnyTakers?
Beijingspre-2014RussiapolicywasmadesignificantlymorecomplicatedbytheUkrainecrisis.PolicydebatesinBeijingabout
thecrisis,Russiaseastwarddrift,andthedramaticchangesintheglobalstrategicenvironmentcreatedbythesedevelopments
unfoldedquickly,astheChineseleadershipwatchedthesuddendepartureofUkrainesthenpresidentViktorYanukovych,and
thenPutinsboldstepofannexingCrimeaoutright.Theseevents,accordingtoChineseforeignpolicyexpertsadvisingthe
countrystopofficialsinZhongnanhai,caughtChinasleadersoffguardjustastheydidWesternleaders.Themajorchallenge
forBeijingintheinitialstageofthecrisiswastocarefullynavigateasensitiveissue,whichinvolvedmanyofChinasimportant
politicalandeconomicpartners,eventhoughitdidnotaffectChinadirectly.

ThepublicstancethatBeijingtookwaspredictableenough.TheChineseMinistryofForeignAffairsstucktoitsusualmantra
aboutrespectforinternationallawandresolvingtheconflictbypeacefulmeans.Yanukovychsabruptdepartureafter
demonstrationsontheMaidanturnedviolentalarmedBeijing,stirringupChinesesuspicionsaboutU.S.involvementinsupport
ofcolorrevolutionsaroundtheworld.RussiasaggressiveresponsetowhatwasviewedasWesternintrusiongarnered
sympathyamongsomeChineseelites.EarlycommentsbyaChineseMinistryofForeignAffairsspokesperson,HongLei,
followingthetopplingofYanukovych,reflectedthispointofview.21

AsMoscowlatermovedtoannexCrimea,thesituationbecamedecidedlymorecomplicatedforBeijing.Chinahasanegative
viewoftheveryideaofoutsideforcessupportingseparatismonethnicgroundsinlightoflingeringethnictensionsinthe
countryswesternregionsofTibetandXinjiangnottomentiontheTaiwanissue.Chinaspropagandadepartmentissueda
warningtodomesticmediathattheymaynotconnectthe...[Crimeaissue]toourowncountrysissueswithTaiwan,Tibet,
orXinjiang.22BeijingsstanceonUkraineduringthisperiodamountedtocarefulmaneuveringandaconcertedeffortnotto
takesidesintheconflict.ChinaabstainedfromvotingonaWestern-backedUNSecurityCouncilresolutionthatcondemned
theCrimeareferendum,supportedUkrainesterritorialintegrity,andcalledforthenon-useofforce.23Atthesametime,
ChineseofficialswerecarefultoavoiddirectcriticismofRussiawhileconsistentlycondemningtheWestssanctionspolicy.

InternaldiscussionsontheconsequencesforChinaofRussiasrupturewiththeWestweremoreintense,accordingtoopen-
sourceinformationandconversationswithChineseofficialsandexperts.ThedominantviewintheChineseleadershipwasthat
theUkrainecrisispresentedbothchallengesandopportunities.ChineseleadersweresurprisedbythedegreeoftheKremlins
unpredictability.ThedecisiontoannexCrimeaandtodirectlychallengetheU.S.-ledinternationalorderandtopayahuge
economicpricefordoingsowas,inBeijingsview,irrationalandagainstRussiaslong-terminterests.ConcernsthatRussia
wasworryinglyunpredictablewerelaterconfirmedbyMoscowsdirectinvolvementinSyriaandtherapidescalationof
tensionswithTurkey,neitherofwhichChineseexpertsanticipated.AnotherriskwasthatthetensionsbetweenRussiaandthe
WestwouldescalateandputgreaterpressureonChinatotakesides.

However,itwastheopportunitiessideoftheledgerthatwasreportedlyhighlightedduringtheCCPsForeignAffairsLeading
SmallGroupmeetingsinApril2014.IsolatedfromtheWest,RussiawasexpectedtoreachouttoBeijingandbecomemore
eagertoopenupitseconomytoChinesecompanies.Also,itwashopedthatWashingtonspreoccupationwiththeRussia
challengewouldshiftU.S.attentionawayfromitsownpivottoAsiaandgiveBeijingadditionalbreathingroom.Thisviewwas
particularlystronginthemilitary,ascouldbeseenfrompubliccommentsbyPeoplesLiberationArmy(PLA)Major-General
WangHaiyun,aformerdefenseattachinMoscow.24InfluentialscholarslikeYanXuetongofTsinghuaUniversity,retired
generalslikeWang,andevenretiredseniordiplomatspubliclycalledontheChineseleadershiptousethesituationtoforgea
closerquasi-alliancewithMoscow.25Wang,oneofthemostvocaladvocatesofacloserpartnership,calledforthetwo
countriestopooltheireconomicandforeignpolicyresourcesandtakeadvantageoftheirinherentcomplementarity.Russiais
amasterinboxing,whileChinaisskilledintaichi,hewroteinaChinese-languageop-edfortheGlobalTimes. 26

Thetopleadershipformulatedamorecautiousposition.AccordingtoseveralChineseinterlocutors,beforePutinsvisitto
ShanghaiinMay2014,XigavepersonalinstructionstokeymembersoftheStateCouncilandthetopmanagersofkeystate-
ownedenterprises(SOEs).HismainmessagewasthatcorporateplayersshouldactivelyseeknewopportunitiesinRussiabut
avoidovertlyexploitingRussiasdifficultsituationorseekingone-sideddealsatknockdownprices.InBeijingsview,the
oversizedappetitesandaggressivenessofChineseinvestorscouldcontributetoundesirabletensionsinthefutureand
eventuallyencourageRussiatomakeanotherU-turninordertomendrelationswiththeWest.Atthesametime,SOEswere
toldthattheyshouldnotengageinprojectsthatmadenoeconomicsense.

ThiscautionaryadvicefromZhongnanhaicamejustasthelargestChineseSOEswerebeginningtofeeltheaftermathofthree
simultaneousshocks.ChinasongoinganticorruptioncampaignwhichbeganasaninvestigationintoZhouYongkang,a
formermemberofthePolitburoStandingCommitteeandChinasenergyczareventuallywipedoutmanyofthetopmanagers
ofleadingenergycompanies.Theirreplacementsneededtimetocatchuponthedetailsofwhathadalreadybeendiscussed
withtheirRussiancounterparts.Theanticorruptioncampaignsooneliminatedanyincentivesforproactiveinitiativeonthepart
ofmanagersandbureaucratsintimesofbigpurges,passivityisobviouslythesafeststrategy.New,stricterrequirementsfor
SOEefficiency,establishedattheCCPCentralCommitteesThirdPlenummeetinginNovember2013,presentedanadditional
obstacletogreaterinvolvementinRussia.TheslowdownoftheChineseeconomyfurthercomplicatedmatters.Thescaleof
ChinaseconomicchallengeswasnotwidelyapparentduringtheinitialstageofRussiaspivottoAsiainmid-2014.Yetwithina
fewmonths,theslackeningdemandfornaturalresourcesandsharppricedeclinesinmajorglobalcommoditiesmarketspulled
therugoutfromunderpotentialprojects,includingintheenergysector,whichhistoricallyhasbeenthemostcrucialsphere
forbilateraleconomiccooperation.27

FuelingtheDragon
EnergyformsthebackboneofRussian-Chinesetrade,butattemptstoradicallyincreasethevolumeofenergytradebetween
thetwocountriesoverthepasttwoyearshavehadmixedresults.Energyexports,ofcourse,areofvitalimportancefor
sustainingPutinsregimeandRussiasoveralleconomicprospects.Directandindirectearningsfromhydrocarbonsaccount
forupwardof70percentofRussiasbudgetrevenue,accordingtosomeestimates.28Chinabecameanetimporterofoilin
1994,andthecountryhasworkedassiduouslytosecureaccesstonewenergysourcestopoweritseconomicgrowth,
preferringtodosothroughland-basedpipelines.29Priortotheeconomicslowdown,accesstoRussiannaturalgasbecame
increasinglyimportantamidprojectionsofincreasedChinesedomesticdemand,attemptstoreducedependenceoncoal,and
mountingpoliticalconcernsaboutpollutioninbigcitiesaswellasotherilleffectsofChinasrapidmodernization.

Gas

Inthegassector,therearetentativesignsofprogress,butthesituationisstillfarfromrosy.Thetwosidesmanagedtosigna
long-awaitedgasdealduringPutinsvisittoShanghaiinMay2014.Thegaswillbedeliveredfromtwoas-yetundeveloped
fieldsinEasternSiberia,KovyktaandChayanda,viathenewPowerofSiberia(orSilaSibiri)pipeline,whichwillpump38
billioncubicmetersofgasannuallyuntil2030.WhilethepartiesdidnotdisclosethepriceatwhichRussiawillbesellingthis
gas,thereportedtotalvalueofthecontractwas$400billion.Atthetimethedealwassigned,thepriceofoilwasover$109
perbarrel.TodaythepricefortheBrentcrudeoilbenchmarkislessthanhalfthat,whichmattersgreatlygiventheuseofoil-
indexpricinginthecontract.AlexeyMiller,thechiefexecutiveofficer(CEO)ofthemajorRussiannatural-gasfirmGazprom,
expressedhispleasurewiththedeal,declaringattheSeptember2014SochiInternationalInvestmentForumthatinjustone
dayouresteemedChinesepartnerscamenearGermany,ourmajorgasconsumer.30

Twoyearslater,thisprojectisfacingmajorchallenges.TheChinesesidehasrefusedtoprovideaplanned$25billionloan
neededforpipelineconstruction,andRussianofficialshavecomplainedthattheconditionsonofferfromBeijingrequiringthe
participationofChinesecompaniesintheconstructionphaseareunacceptable.31SeveralGazpromtendersforthepipeline
werecanceledin2015attherequestofRussiasFederalAntimonopolyService.32Moreimportantly,thosefamiliarwith
GazpromsfinancingmodelsforthePowerofSiberiapipelinesaythattheprojectmayremainunprofitableiftheoilpricedoes
notincreasesignificantlyinthenextfifteenyears33thepipelinecouldbeusedforanothercontractafter2030,allowing
Gazpromtoactuallyturnaprofit.TheSovietUnionfollowedthesamelogicin1970whenitsignedagas-for-pipesagreement
withWestGermany.Thefirstcontractwasusedtofinancetheconstructionofexpensiveinfrastructure,whichallowedthe
SovietUniontoearnhardcurrencylateron,aftertheconstructioncostshadbeenfullypaidoff.34

Allthesame,officialsonbothsidesremainconfidentthatthepipelinewillbebuilt,thoughperhapswithdelays.Construction
hasbegunonbothRussianandChineseterritory.35ThefactthatthemaincontractorsontheRussiansideincludecompanies
ownedbyGennadyTimchenko(Stroytransgaz)andArkadyRotenberg(Stroygazmontazh),membersofPutinsinnercircle,
hasfurtherboostedconfidenceintheproject.36AfterGazpromabandoneditsmassiveSouthStreamandTurkishStream
projectsinEurope,freed-upcashflowscouldbedivertedtothePowerofSiberiapipeline,whichwillreceiveactive
governmentsupportintheformoftaxexemptionsandotherincentives.However,whilesomeChinesesourcesarecertainthat
thepipelinewilleventuallybecommissioned,thereisstillnoclarityonthematteroftheChineseloan.Ifcreditisneededand
Chinacontinuestodemandtheinvolvementofitsconstructioncompanies,itispossiblethatRotenbergsandTimchenkos
firmsmayultimatelybeforcedtoformconsortiumswithChinesecompanies.37

Fornow,prospectsforotherGazpromprojectstargetedattheChinesemarketremainbleak.Moscowofferedtobuilda
pipelineacrosstheAltaiMountainstoXinjiang(theso-calledWesternRouteorthePowerofSiberiaIIpipeline),whichwould
haveacapacityof30billioncubicmetersofgasperyear.UnlikethefirstPowerofSiberia,thispipelinecouldbebuilton
existinginfrastructure,requiringlessconstructionwork,andwouldallowGazpromtopumpgastoChinafromexistingfields
inWesternSiberia.MoscowseekstopititsWesternandEasterncustomersagainsteachotherwhilesupplyinggasfromthe
samefieldstobothsides.Followingyearsofnegotiations,adetailedframeworkagreementwassignedduringXisMay2015
visittoMoscow,38butacommercialcontractbetweenGazpromandtheChinaNationalPetroleumCorporation(CNPC)setting
apricefortheprojectsgasdoesnotappeartobeimminent.

Themainreasonforthedelayisadisagreementovertheprice:RussiaandChinaareusingdifferentbenchmarks.Gazpromis
basingitsdesiredpriceonitsexistingcontractswithGermanyorpossiblythePowerofSiberiapriceitsettledonwithChina.
ButfortheCNPC,thepreferredbenchmarkisfarcheaperTurkmengaspumpedintoXinjiangthroughapipelinecommissioned
in2010.RussiangaswouldrequireexpensiveinfrastructuretocarryitfromanentrypointinXinjiangtomajorconsumption
hubsinChinaseasternprovinces.Giventheabundanceofimportedliquefiednaturalgas(LNG)andthescaling-backof
projecteddemandforimportedgasduetotheeconomicslowdownandmoreefficientcoalusebyanewgenerationofChinese
powerplants,thewesternroutenowappearstobeanonstarter,asdoGazpromsplanstobuildathirdpipelineforSakhalin
gastoChinaviaVladivostok.AlthoughthecompanysignedamemorandumofunderstandingwiththeCNPC,andan8-billion-
cubic-meterpipelinebetweenSakhalinandVladivostok,whichwasbuiltbeforethe2012APECsummit,isalreadyoperational,
therearelingeringproblemswiththeresourcebase.39

Oil

TheRussiansectorthatmadethemostsignificantgainsintheChinesemarketin2014and2015wasoil,despitethecollapsein
prices.Thefoundationsforapartnershipwereestablishedin2005,whenRussiasstate-ownedRosneftbegansupplyingoilto
ChinaviarailwaytoservicecrucialChineseloans,whichhadenabledthefirmtobuyYuganskneftegaz,akeypartofanother
Russianoilcompany,Yukos,whichwasnationalizedfollowingthejailingoffallenoligarchMikhailKhodorkovsky.(Western
bankshadrefusedtoprovideloanstocoverthetransactionamidfearsthatYukossshareholderswouldusethecourtstopress
theirclaimtotheirformerassets.)

The2009pipelinedealpavedthewayforamassiveincreaseinRussianoilexportstoChina,despitepricedisputesbetween
RosneftandtheCNPC,whichresultedina$3billionlossinrevenuefortheRussiancompany.Moreover,in2013,Igor
Sechin,thepowerfulchairofRosneftandacloseallyofPresidentPutin,agreedtoaccept$60billioninloansfromChinese
companiesaspartofwhatwastermedaprepaymentschemebackedbyfutureoildeliveries.Themoneywasthenusedfor
Rosneftsdomesticexpansion,includingitslandmarkpurchaseofRussiasthirdlargestproducer,TNK-BP,in2013.Now,with
oilprices50percentbelow2013levels,Rosneftisstrugglingfinanciallytocontendwiththesechallengingnewrealitiesevenas
itfulfillsitsobligationsanddeliversthepromisedoiltotheChinese.InadditiontoincreasingthecapacityoftheSkovorodino-
Mohepipeline,RosnefthasbegunsellingoiloutoftheKozminoportonthePacificCoastwith60percentofitnowgoingto
China40aswellasthroughKazakhstan,41whichhasincreasedRussiasshareofChineseoilimports(seefigures2and3).At
variouspointsin2015and2016,RussiaactuallysurpassedSaudiArabiaasChinasleadsupplier.42

Increaseddeliveriesnotwithstanding,theRussianoilindustrywasdealtahugeblowwhenoilpricesplummetedin2015.The
collapsewasimmediatelyreflectedintheoveralltradevolumebetweenChinaandRussiajustasthesurgeinglobaloilprices
inthe2000splayedasignificantroleinarapidtradeexpansion.Between2003and2012,tradebetweenthetwocountriesgrew
atanaverageof26.4percentperyear.In2011,thenpresidentsDmitryMedvedevandHuJintaoannouncedtheirgoalsof
achieving$100billioninbilateraltradeby2015and$200billionby2020.Initially,thesetargetsseemedattainable.In2014,
tradegrewby6.8percent,reachingatotalof$95.3billion,butin2015itcollapsedby28.6percent,totalingjust$68billion.
RussiadroppedfrombeingChinasninth-largesttradepartnerin2014tosixteenthplacein2015.Thedeclinewasnot
attributedsolelytothedropincommoditypricesthedropintradewithChinasothercommoditysuppliers,suchasAustralia
andBrazil,wasnotnearlyassteep.43ThekeyfactorappearstohavebeentheeconomicdeclineinRussiathatsameyear,as
GDPdecreasedby3.4percent,andthesubsequentlowpurchasingpowerofRussiancompaniesandhouseholdsseeninthe
sharpdropinRussianimportsfromChina.TheonlysilverliningforRussiawastheeffectivedisappearanceofanimbalance
betweenitsexportstoandimportsfromChina(seefigure4).

Theplungeinoilpricesin2015alsocreatednewobstaclesforcooperationoninvestmentprojects.RosneftofferedtheCNPC
a10percentstakeinitsflagshipoilfield,Vankor,themajorresourcebasefortheEasternSiberiaPacificOcean(ESPO)
pipeline.InNovember2014,theRussianMinisterofEnergyAlexanderNovaksuggestedthatRosneftmightacceptpayment
forthestakeinChineserenminbi.44Meanwhile,PutintoldtheTASSnewsagencythatRussiawasreadytoswitchtradein
VankoroilfromU.S.dollarstonationalcurrencies.45However,theRussiansappearedtohaveunrealisticexpectationsaboutthe
potentialpricefortheminoritystakeinVankor,andtheChineseeventuallysuspendednegotiations.TheOilandNaturalGas
CorporationLimited,anIndiancompany,isasofmid-2016intheprocessofacquiringthestakeinVankor,provoking
additionaldissatisfactionfromBeijing.ChineseinvestorshavealsoexpressedinterestinstakesinotherRussianoilcompanies,
accordingtoRussianFinanceMinisterAntonSiluanov.46TherehavebeenunconfirmedsuggestionsinChineseanalytical
circlesthatRussiamightultimatelysellalargestakeinRosnefttoaChineseoilcompanyorfinancialinstitutionforasymbolic
price,andthatsuchapurchasemightprovideRosneftwithahelpfulwrite-downofitsdebtundertheprepaymentagreement
andotherloanarrangements.TheRussiangovernmentcurrentlyisdiscussingthesaleofa19.7percentstakeinRosneftto
variousforeigninvestors,includingthepossibilitythattheCNPCmaypurchase7percentofit.AccordingtoCNPCFirstVice
PresidentWangZhongcai,thecompanyisactivelylookingintothedealandhasformedastudygrouptoexplorethe
opportunity.47

Thoughthepracticesarestillintheirinfancy,theuseofChinesetechnologyinoffshoredrillingandrenminbi-denominatedoil
contractsrepresenttwoimportantrecentdevelopmentsintheoilsector.ThefirstexperimentinthisareawasRosnefts
September2015contractwithChinaOilfieldServicesLimited,asubsidiaryoftheChinaNationalOffshoreOilCompany,
involvingthedrillingoftwooilwellsintheSeaofOkhotsk.48Atthedrillingsite,theseahasadepthofonly150meters
(around500feet),whichmeansitdoesnotqualifyasdeep-seadrillingundertheprovisionsofU.S.-andEU-ledsanctions.As
manyinternationaloil-servicecompanieshavebecomecautiousaboutRussianprojectsintheareascoveredbysanctions,the
introductionofadvancedChinesetechnologiescouldincreaseRussianoilcompaniesrelianceonChinaintheoil-servicesector,
whichisalreadydominatedbyChineseproducersinsomesubsectorssuchasdrillingplatforms.ThedependenceonChina,
however,isexpectedtoremainlimited,giventhattheRussianoil-serviceindustryisdominatedbylocalchampionslikeEurasia
Drillingandthesubsidiariesofmajorinternationalenergyfirms.Forthetimebeing,Chineseservicecompaniesclearlycannot
matchthetechnologiesorcapabilitiesofmajorglobaloilcompaniesorleadingoil-servicefirmssuchasHalliburtonand
Schlumberger.

Thesecond,morepromising,experimentwaslaunchedbyGazprom-Neft,Gazpromsoilsubsidiary,whichannouncedthatit
willselloilfromtheESPOpipelinetoChinesecustomersforrenminbi.49Despitethehypedclaimthatthistransactionwill
underminetheglobaldominanceofdollar-basedtransactions,thepricingofoilisstilltiedtothedollar-denominatedBrent
benchmark.AccordingtointerviewswithmanagersofRussianoilcompanies,thelogicbehindthismoveisthattheuseof
renminbitopurchaseChineseequipmentwillpreventconversionlossesandhedgeagainstcurrencyrisks,thussavingRussians
about5to7percentofthecontractprice,aswellasmovepaymentsoutoftheorbitoftheU.S.bankingsystem.Ifthis
schemebecomeswidespread,itcouldhelpimmunizetheRussian-Chineseoiltradeagainstrisksassociatedwithpossiblefuture
Westernsanctions.

AnyMarketforaBear?
AcentralgoalofMoscowspivottoChinawasgreateraccesstoChinesecredit.Hopesthatthisobjectivewouldbeobtained
werefueledbyBeijingscriticalstancetowardtheU.S.-andEU-ledsanctionsregime.ChineseVicePremierZhangGaolitold
PresidentPutinonSeptember1,2014,thathewant[ed]tomakeitclearthatChinacategoricallyopposesthesanctionsthe
UnitedStatesandWesterncountrieshavetakenagainstRussia.50However,Russiancompaniesquicklydiscoveredthat
ChinesefinancialinstitutionscouldbeasstrictasorevenstricterthansomeWesternbanksaboutcompliancewiththe
sanctionsregime.

PubliccomplaintsaboutChinesepartnersambiguouspositionregardingRussianbanksinthewakeofUSandEUsanctions,
asRussianbankerYuriSolovievputit,begantobevoicedinthesummerof2015,ayearafterPutinstriumphantvisitto
Shanghai.51Soloviev,thefirstdeputypresidentandchairmanofthesecond-largestbankinRussiastate-ownedJSCVTB
Bankusedthefollowingwords,inaJune16,2015,op-edinFinanceAsia:MostChinesebankswillcurrentlynotexecute
interbanktransactionswiththeirRussianpeers.Inaddition,Chinesebankshavesignificantlycurtailedtheirinvolvementin
interbankforeigntradedeals,suchasprovidingtradefinance.52Later,inSeptember2015,SolovievscolleagueVasilyTitov
complainedthatChinesebanksweretoorigorousinobservingWesternsanctionsandthatittooktwoweekstoclear
paymentsthroughChinesebankswhenithadtakenjustthreedaysbeforethesanctionswereintroduced.53

Publiclyavailabledataindicatethatsanctionshaveindeedhadanegativeeffect.In2014and2015,noRussiancompanies
managedtoissuedebtorequityonChinesestockexchangesincludingHongKong.Localregulatorsandfinancialinstitutions
appeartoharborbadmemoriesofRusalsill-starredinitialpublicoffering.Inaddition,thisnegativesentimentwasreportedly
strengthenedbyfriendlywordsofcautionfromU.S.TreasuryandStateDepartmentofficials.54Russianinvestorswerealso
waryofShanghaiaftertheequityroutthatbeganinthesummerof2015.Creditlinesamountingto9billionrenminbithat
RussiasSberbank,theJSCVTBBank,andChineselenderssignedinMayarebarelybeingusedbecausethereisnodemandin
Russiaforloansinrenminbi,accordingtoMaximPoletaev,thefirstdeputychairmanofSberbanksexecutiveboard.55Atthe
sametime,Chinesebankshavebeenreluctanttoprovideloansinmuch-neededU.S.dollarsoreuros.Inrarecaseswhen
ChinesecredithasbeenextendedtoRussiancompanies,thesetransactionshavelargelybeensyndicatedloansinvolving
Chinasfourlargestbanksworkingincoordinationwithotherinternationalplayers.Thisfundingisofferedonlytowell-
regardedcorporateborrowerslikeNovolipetskSteel,56whicharenotundersanctionsandcontinuetoenjoyaccesstoWestern
credit.57Otherraresuccessstoriesincludethe$2billioncreditlinethattheLondonsubsidiaryoftheBankofChinaprovided
toGazprom.58ThisdealappearstobeagoodwillgestureconnectedtothePowerofSiberiapipelineconstructionaheadof
PutinsvisittoChinainJune2016.DatafromtheCentralBankofRussiashowthatthenumberofloansoriginatingfromChina
rosethroughout2014and2015fromaverylowbaseline,butthetotalamountissmallandcaninnowayreplaceprevious
flowsofcreditfromWesternfinancialinstitutions(seefigure5).59

Broadlyspeaking,therearethreemainreasonsforChinesebankersreticenceabouttheRussianmarket.

First,thereisnooverlookingthefactthatWesternmarketsarefarmoredevelopedandattractivetoChinesebanksevenwhen
thosebanksarepresentedwithfavorabletermstotapintotheRussianmarketmoredeeply.In2015,Chinastradeingoods
withtheUnitedStateswas$598billion,60whileChinesetradewithEuropeingoodsforthesameyeartotaled520.9billion
euros(about$583.4billion).61Chinesestate-ownedbankswerealsorecentlyallowedtobuystakesinU.S.andEuropean
banksafteryearsofsuspicionandlong-standingbans.InRussia,Chinasfourlargestbankshaveneverbeenallowedtobuy
localplayers,andtheformersexpansionintotheretailsectorwassubjecttoadditionallevelsofscrutinyatatimewhen
investmentbyFrench,British,andItaliancompetitorswasencouraged.Moreover,Beijinghasrecentlyembarkedonaquestto
promotetherenminbiasaglobalcurrency,andChinasfourmajorbanksaretryingtocarveoutsignificantrolesintermsof
clearingpaymentsandmakingmarketsinEuropeandtheUnitedStates.Thechoicebetweenjeopardizingrelationswiththe
regulatorsoflarge,profitableprospectivemarketsandenteringtherelativelytiny,risky,andoverregulatedRussianmarketwas
aneasyoneformajorChinesefinancialplayers.

Second,ChinasbankingsectorlacksexpertiseonRussia.WhileChinesebankshavecapableteamsonthegroundinMoscow
andtheFarEast,thesearenomatchforthepoolofRussiaexpertsthatEuropeanandU.S.bankshaveattheirdisposal.Asrisk
compliancegrowsincreasinglysynonymouswithnavigatingtheU.S.andEUsanctionsregimeandcircumventingwhatcould
betermedtoxicgrayareas,thecostofoperatinginRussiaisprohibitiveformanyChinesebanks.Thefirstbankstocutback
onbusinesswithRussiaweresmalleronessuchasPingAnBank,theBankofCommunications,andChinaMerchantsBank,
whichwereservicingtheaccountsofcompaniesfromoffshorejurisdictionsusedtoclearpaymentswithRussia.Thebanks
haveaskedsomecustomerstoclosetheiraccountsbecausetheywereengagedinsomeactivitieswithRussia,accordingto
aRosbaltnewsreport.62RussianandChinesebankingrepresentativesindicateprivatelythatthesamesituationhastakenhold
inHongKong,wherelocalbankshavebecomeextremelyreticentaboutopeningbankaccountsforRussianaswellas
Ukrainiancitizens.

Lastbutnotleast,thepoliticalenvironmentinwhichstate-ownedbanksarenowoperatinginthewakeoftheanticorruption
campaigndoesnotencouragetakingadditionalrisksinRussia.

WiththelionsshareofChinesecommercialbanksmaintainingacautiousstancetowardRussia,theonlytwoChinesefinancial
institutionsthathavebeenaggressivelysigningagreementswithRussianpartnersarethetwopoliticalbankstheChina
DevelopmentBank(CDB)andtheExport-ImportBankofChina(orChinaEximBank).63Thesebankswhichserveasthe
politicalpocketsoftheChinesegovernment,sotospeakarelessconnectedtotheinternationalfinancialsystem,andthuscan
takegreaterrisksintermsoftheirexposuretotheRussianmarket.64BothbankshavebeenactiveinRussiandealsthatrange
frombuildingsteelplantstoprovidingcreditlinesforRussiassanctionedstate-ownedbanks.65Themostrecentexampleof
theirinvolvementintheRussianeconomywasthelate-April2016announcementthattheCDBandtheChinaEximBankwill
providemuch-neededloansfortheYamalLNGprojecttotaling$12billionoverfifteenyears,whichmeansthattheprojecthas
lockedinalltheexternalfinancingitneeds($27billionintotal).ThedealisalandmarknotonlybecauseYamalLNGisakey
partofRussiasbroaderstrategyintheArcticandaflagshipLNGprojectbutalsobecauseNovatek(alongwithmajor
shareholderGennadyTimchenko)isatargetofU.S.andEUsanctions.Total,aFrenchnatural-gasproducerandaYamal
shareholder,hastriedtosecureEuropeanandJapanesefinancingfortheproject,accordingtoTotalCEOPatrickPouyanns
interviewswithKommersantandAsiaNikkei,buttheseeffortsfailed.66ThesamelogicappliedtoaMarch15,2016,dealin
whicha9.9percentstakeinYamalLNGwassoldtotheSilkRoadFund(SRF)fornearly$1.1billiontheSRFisa$40billion
investmentfundthatChinaestablishedin2014tosupportPresidentXisSilkRoadEconomicBeltinitiative.67

Amidsluggishdemandanddepressedglobalgasprices,manyinternationalmajorsaredelayingorshelvingbig-ticketLNG
projects,whichmakesthetimingoftheChineseinterestintheYamalprojectparticularlycurious.68AccordingtoChinese
interlocutors,bothdealswerepersonallyblessedbyXiandintendedasagestureofgoodwilltotheKremlin,given
TimchenkosroleasamemberofPutinsinnercircleandhispointpersonforChina.Whilethepersonalinvolvementofthe
twocountriesleadershelpsexplaintheimpetusbehindtheYamalLNGdeal,italsoseemslikelythattheselectiveuseof
financialinstitutionswithlimitedexposuretointernationalmarketswillbecomethepreferredmethodforfuturebilateral
ventures.TherearealreadycallsbyRussianexpertstoestablishaspecializedjointRussian-Chinesefinancialunitwhich
shouldbeimmunetoanypressurefromtheUnitedStatesortheEU,asVasilyKashinputit.69

AnotherimportantdirectionforRussian-Chinesecooperationisthecreationofnewmechanismsforraisingdebtinnational
currencies.InJuly2015,beforethestartoftheBRICSsummitinUfa,Chineseinvestorsbought$1billioninRussian
governmentbonds.70AccordingtoRussianDeputyFinanceMinisterAlexeyMoiseev,bothcountriesMinistriesofFinance,
alongwiththeCentralBankofRussiaandthePeoplesBankofChina,areworkingonmechanismsthatwillallowRussiato
issuerenminbi-denominatedgovernmentbondsinMoscowtargetingmainland-basedChineseinvestors.71Ifsuccessful,this
initiativewillcreateaframeworkforthepossiblefutureissuanceofso-calledpandabondsbyRussiancorporateplayers.The
firstpotentialissuancemaybeunderwrittenbytheIndustrialandCommercialBankofChina,theBankofChina,and
Gazprombank.72SucheffortsarenotdirectlyprohibitedbyU.S.andEUsanctions.Finally,BeijingisurgingRussiatojoinits
ChinaInternationalPaymentSystem,analternativetotheSocietyforWorldwideInterbankFinancialTelecommunication
(SWIFT).73Thesemoveswillhelptolaythegroundworkforbilateraltransactionsthatarecenteredaroundtherenminbiand
lesstiedtointernationalmarkets,includingtheU.S.bankingsystem.

OtherpiecesofthepuzzleincludeanagreementbetweentheChineseUnionPaycreditcardsystemandtheRussianMir
paymentsystemduetotakeeffectin2017,andapacttorecognizeeachothersauditingstandardsandcreditratings.This
collaborationbetweenUnionPayandMirandtheauditingandratingsmovesreflectMoscowsdesiretobreakthedomination
thatMasterCard,Visa,andinternationalratingsagenciesenjoyoveritspaymentssystem.ManyRussianbankshaverushedto
getChineselocalratingsissuedbyDagongGlobalCreditRating,whichrathercuriouslyratedRussiassovereigndebtasless
riskythanU.S.notes.74
Lastbutnotleast,inordertoprovideliquidity,bothcountrieswanttoboostaccesstoeachotherscurrencies.Thethree-year
currency-swapagreementfor150billionrenminbi(about$24.5billion)announcedinOctober2014duringChinesePremierLi
KeqiangsvisittoMoscowwasnotactivatedduetorubleandrenminbivolatility.Theinstabilityofthetwocurrenciescanbe
explainedbylowtradevolumesandthesmallshareofbilateraltradeclearedthroughnationalcurrencies.AccordingtoaMay
2015statementbyPresidentPutin,suchtransactionsaccountedforonly7percentofbilateraltradevolumein2014.75

Onbalance,RussianeliteshopesthatChinesefinancingwouldmakeupforthelossofWesterncapitalmarketsappear
exaggerated.ThelasttwoyearshaveshownthatevenChinesestate-ownedbanksarereluctanttorunafoulofU.S.andEU
sanctions,forfearofjeopardizingtheirrelationswiththeregulatorsoftheirmostsignificantinternationalmarkets.Still,Russia
andChinahavefoundwaystofinancehigh-prioritydealsthroughspecialchannels,andhaveembarkedonanattempttocreate
therudimentsofabilateralfinancialinfrastructurethatwillbeimmunetointernationalpressure.Chinawillbeplayingthe
dominantroleinthesearrangements,whichcouldhelpcementitsplaceasthefinancialcenterofgravityacrossEurasia.

TechnologicalLinks

TheRussian-Chineserelationshipisalsoexperiencingmajorshiftsincooperationoninfrastructureandtechnology.Previously,
ChinesecompanieswereinformallybannedfrombiddingonlargeinfrastructureprojectsinRussia,mostlikelyduetothe
Kremlinsdesiretoprotectlocalcompaniesfromcompetitionincludingthosewithwhichithadstrongtiesaswellas
RussianfearsofaninfluxofChinesemigrantworkers.InMay2015,aconsortiumcomposedofaChinaRailwayGroup
subsidiarycalledtheChinaRailwayEryuanEngineeringGroup,theNationalTransportationEngineeringDesignInstituteof
Moscow,andNizhnyNovgorodMetroDesignAGwastheonlybidderfora$400millioncontracttodesignahigh-speedrail
linebetweenMoscowandKazan.76OnApril29,2016,RussianrailwaysreportedthatChinawasreadytoprovideupto$6
billioninloansandthataconcessionagreementwouldbesignedbytheendoftheyear.77TheChinesesidehasalsoagreednot
toseekformalRussiangovernmentloanguarantees,reportedlyatthedirectinstructionofPresidentXi,accordingtoseveral
Chineseinterlocutors.78Previousexperiencesuggeststhattheprojectcouldencountersignificantdelays,astheChinese
partnersaredemandingthatthelionsshareofequipmentbeproducedinChina.Yetthetoneoftheconversationmarksan
importantshiftinRussiasattitudetowardChineseparticipationinthedevelopmentofitsinfrastructure.

Oneareaofbilateraltechnologicalcooperationthatisboomingisinformationtechnology(IT)andhardware.Russian
companieshaddiscoveredtheadvantagesofworkingwithChinesetelecommunicationsgiantslikeZTEandHuaweias
opposedtotheirWesternrivalslongbeforetheUkrainecrisis.Discussionsaboutthepossibilityofshiftingtheprocurementof
RussianITnetworkassetsusedbygovernmentbodiesfromU.S.-producedtoChinese-producedequipmentintensifiedin2013
afterEdwardSnowdensdisclosuresaboutsurveillanceunderU.S.NationalSecurityAgencyprograms.InMay2014,Russias
MinistryofTelecomandMassCommunicationsestablishedataskforcetostudywhethersuchashiftwasfeasible,andbythe
endof2015theprocessoftransitioningtoChineseequipmentwaswellunderway.InOctober2014,theVoskhodResearch
InstitutewhichisadministereddirectlybyRussiasMinistryofTelecomandMassCommunicationsandprovideshardware
andITsolutionstostateinstitutions,includingmanycriticalsystemssuchasthevote-countingplatformusedinnationaland
localelectionsagreedtobuyserversfromInspur,aChinesecompany.79Manyfinancialinstitutions,includingWestern-
sanctionedbankssuchasSberbankandJSCVTBBank,stateagencies,andstate-ownedcompanieshavestartedexpensive
modernizationprogramstoreplaceU.S.-madeequipment.80

Otherdealsaresmallinmonetarytermsbutlargeintheirsymbolicsignificance,suchastheJiangsuHengtongPowerCable
CompanyLimitedsagreementtosupplyhigh-voltagecablefortheanenergybridgethatisintendedtosupplyelectricityto
Crimea.81(WesternfirmsarepreventedfromparticipatingduetotheU.S.andEUsanctionsprogramagainstCrimea.)Faced
withovercapacityandfiercecompetitionathome,manyChinesefirmsaredirectingtheireffortstowardoverseasexpansion
andarewillingtoprovidesignificantdiscountsinordertosecurethefirst-moveradvantageinnewmarkets.Frompassenger
vehiclestocomplexITsystems,RussiasprocessoftransferringitstechnologicalpartnershipsfromtheWesttoChinahas
alreadybeguninearnest.

ComradesinArms

ThebiggesttectonicshiftcausedbytheUkrainecrisisishappeninginthemostsensitiveareaoftechnologicalcooperation
betweenRussiaandChinathemilitarysector.Fortenyears,Russiahadaninformalbanonsellingitsmostadvanced
technologytoChina.Moscowsconcernswerebothmilitaryitfearedthatweaponssoldmightonedaybeusedagainst
Russiaandalsocommercial.TheChinesehadareputationwithintheRussianmilitary-industrialcomplexforcopyingRussian
equipment,producingtheirownversions,andthencompetingwithRussianarmsmanufacturersinwhatcouldbecalledtheir
naturalmarketslikeMyanmarandEgypt.

AftertheUkrainecrisis,theKremlintookafreshlookatitsoldpolicyandthepossibleimplicationsofexpandingbilateralarms
tradewithChinatoincludethemostsophisticatedsystems.Thereweretwolinesofreasoninginsupportofrelaxingthe
restrictions.First,RussiananalysisofChinasmilitaryindustryindicatedthatthesectorwasfarmoreadvancedthanpreviously
believed,leadingRussiandefenseofficialstoworrylessabouttheriskthattechnologytransferwouldprovideaboostto
Chinesecompetitorsintheglobalarmsmarket.Inaddition,MoscowlearnedthatmanyofthesystemsthattheChinesehad
allegedlystolenwereactuallydevelopedbyRussianengineersinthe1990sthroughcontractswithChinesemilitarySOEs.
Militarytechnologytransferwaspoorlyregulatedandlackedpropersupervisionatthattime,andBeijing,likemanyothers,was
simplytakingadvantageofthechaoticenvironment.Infact,thesecontractshelpedmanyRussianmilitaryenterprisesand
engineeringteamstosurvivetheseveredisruptionsofthe1990s.82

ThesecondargumentrevolvedaroundChinasactualdemographicandeconomicfootprintinSiberiaandtheFarEast.Realistic
officialfigures,alongwithindependentstudies,haveshownthatChinesemigrationismarginal:atanygivenmoment,thereare
nomorethan300,000ChineseinSiberiaandtheFarEast,includingtourists,exchangestudents,andlegaltemporaryworkers.
Illegalmigrationwascurtailedtowardtheendofthe2000s,andundercurrenteconomicconditionspeopleinChineseborder
provincesprefertomigratetotherichcoastalregionsoftheirmotherland,nottoRussiasFarEast.Thistrendhasaccelerated
sincetherubledevaluation,asmanyChinesebusinesspeopleinRussia,whowerepreviouslysendingmoneybackhome,
reportedlyareleavingthecountryandaregoingbacktothePRC.83

ThesefactorshaveallowedMoscowtoreverseitslong-standingpolicyandresumesalesofadvancedweaponrytoChina.One
ofthemostimportantdealssofaristhesaleoftheS-400Triumphairdefensemissilecomplex,whichNATOcallstheSA-21
Growler.Thedeal,signedinSeptember2014,wasannouncedbyAnatolyIsaykintheCEOofRosoboronexport,theRussian
arms-exportmonopolyinanApril2015interviewwithKommersant.IfweworkinChinasinterests,thatmeanswealso
workinourinterests,Isaykinsaid.84ChinawillstartreceivingthefirstoffourtosixconsignmentsofS-400snoearlierthan
2018,85andthepriceofthecontractcouldreach$3billion.86AsVasilyKashin,aRussianexpertonmilitarytieswithChina,
wroteinaCarnegie.rucommentary,itwouldbenavetosupposethattheChinesecancopytheS-400systemswithinashort
periodsuchataskwouldrequiremanyyearsofeffort.Meanwhile,Almaz-Antey,theRussianproducerofairdefense
systems,isalreadywellonitswaytodevelopingthenext-generationsystem(theS-500).87Thus,thedealmakesalotof
commercialsense.

ThemilitaryandpoliticalconsequencesofthedealaremuchmoreimportantastheyincreasethePLAscapabilities.TheS-400
hasagreaterrangeforidentifyingtargetsandagreatermaximumfiringrange(upto400kilometersoraround250miles)than
previous-generationsystemsliketheS-300.ThiswillbringsignificantchangestothemilitarybalanceintheskiesoverTaiwan
andtheDiaoyu(Senkaku)Islands.ThePLAnowwillbebetter-positionedtocontrolairspaceabovetheseregionsfrom
mainlandpositionsinFujianandShandongProvinces.ForJapan,thetaskofdefendingtheislandswillbecomemuchmore
difficult.ForTaiwan,theS-400maybeagamechanger,sincethePLAwouldbeabletoshootdownTaiwanesefighterplanes
assoonastheytakeoff.Chinacouldalsousethenewsystemtoestablishanairdefenseidentificationzoneoverthecontested
watersoftheSouthChinaSea.NegotiationsonthesaleoftheS-400toChinastartedseveralyearsago,butweresignificantly
acceleratedbytheUkrainecrisis.RussiasconfrontationwiththeWestanditsreassessmentofthestrategiccontextof
Russian-ChineserelationspushedtheKremlintogiveitsfinalblessingtothedeal.

AnotherlandmarktransactioninfluencedbytheUkrainecrisiswasChinaspurchaseof24Su-35fighterjets,whichNATO
callstheFlankerEthis$2billiondealwassignedinlate2015.88ItisnotablethatBeijingwasthefirstforeigncustomerforthis
advancedsystem.AccordingtoVasilyKashinscommentaryonCarnegie.ru,purchasingtheSu-35swillallowtheChineseAir
ForcetogaugeitssuccessindevelopingtheindigenousJ-11fighterjetandbecomefamiliarwithRussiansolutionstotechnical
problems.89TheSu-35s,whichareexpectedtobedeliveredbeginningattheendof2016,willalsohavemilitarysignificance,
reinforcingChinesedominanceinskiesoverTaiwanaswellasstrengtheningtheircombatpositionsinotherpotentialhotspots.

RussianofficialsandexpertsdifferastowhetherMoscowandBeijingshouldgoaheadwithmoreS-400orSu-35deals.But
RussiasreenergizedmilitarycooperationwithChinaisnotlimitedtothesetwosystems.TherearereportsthatMoscowmay
authorizesalesofitsnewlydevelopedLada-classsubmarinetoChina.90Reversesalesarealsotakingplace.Forexample,after
GermanydeclinedtosellRussiadieselenginesforitsnewProject21631Buyan-Mcorvettesduetosanctions,Moscowturned
toBeijingtopurchaseChineseengines.AnotherareaofincreasedcooperationisthepurchaseofChineseelectronic
componentsforRussiasspaceprogram.91NoneofthesedealswouldhavebeenpossiblewithouttheruptureinRussias
relationswiththeWest,andallofthemwillhavefar-rangingconsequencesforthemilitarybalanceintheAsia-Pacific.

RegionalCooperation:TowardaGreaterEurasia?

MoscowsandBeijingsapproachestoregionalcooperationinCentralAsiaarealsoundergoingaprofoundchange.Inthe
decadessincethecollapseoftheSovietUnion,RussiahasviewedthefiveCentralAsianstatesasbelongingtoitsself-
proclaimedexclusivesphereofinfluence.AccordingtoofficialRussianthinking,CentralAsiaisanareawhereRussianotonly
hascenturies-longties,butalsopressingsecurityandeconomicinterests.TheKremlinhasviewedtherapidincreaseinChinas
economicandpoliticalpenetrationoftheresource-richregion,usuallyatRussiasexpense,withgreatunease.Beijinghasbeen
atpainstostressitsrespectforMoscowsexclusiveinterestsinCentralAsia,butclearlyperceivesaneedtosecurefirmties
withthecountriesborderingtheunstableXinjiangregionandastrongincentivetogetaccesstotheregionsvastenergy
resources.

XifirstunveiledChinasSilkRoadEconomicBeltprojectona2013triptoKazakhstan,anditwaslatercomplementedbya
maritimecomponent,leadingtoitsbeingrenamedtheOneBeltOneRoad(OBOR)initiative.OBORrepresentsBeijingsfirst
multidimensionalattempttotransformcountriesaroundChinausingacombinationoftargetedfinancialandinvestment
incentives,softpower,andmilitarytools.Inprivateconversations,Chineseofficialsacknowledgethattheyhadmajor
concernsaboutRussiasreactiontotheunveilingofOBOR,astheKremlinwasinitiallyreluctanttonegotiategroundrulesfor
theco-existenceofXisinitiativeandPutinspetproject,theEurasianEconomicUnion(EEU).BeijingsfearwasthatMoscow,
anxiousaboutitsownstatusastheleadingyetgreatlydiminishedregionalpower,wouldregardOBORasanintrusioninto
RussiassphereofinfluenceandthereforepressurethestatesofCentralAsianottotakepartintheChineseproject.Chinese
leaderswerethereforebothsurprisedandrelievedwhenFirstDeputyPrimeMinisterShuvalovfirstannouncedattheBoao
ForuminMarch2015thattheEEUmemberswerereadytocooperatewithOBOR.Shuvalovthenpersonallyembarkedon
negotiatingaframeworkdocumentwithBeijingonPutinsbehalf.

FortheRussianleadership,thiswastheresultofpainfulinternaldiscussions,inwhichtheeconomicteamledbyShuvalov
withsupportfromRussianexpertsandmembersofthebusinesscommunitysoughttowinPutinssupportandovercomethe
concernsofthesecurityestablishment.Intheend,theKremlinconcludedthatthebenefitsofcoordinatingtheEEUwiththe
Chineseinitiativeoutweighedtherisks.ItisnowunderstoodthatChinawillinevitablybecomethemajorinvestorinCentral
Asiaandthemajormarketforitsvastnaturalresources,duetothecomplementarynatureoftheChineseandregional
economies.

AccordingtoRussianofficials,MoscowandBeijingwillstrivetoachieveastabledivisionoflaborinCentralAsia.China,with
itsdeeppocketsandhungerforresources,willbethemajordriverofeconomicdevelopmentintheregionthroughOBORand
otherprojects,whileMoscowwillremainthedominanthard-securityproviderthroughitsCollectiveSecurityTreaty
Organization(CSTO),whilealsocementingtheEEUsroleasasourceofnormsfortheimplementationofChineseinvestment
projects.TheKremlinhopesthisformulawillsatisfybothBeijingwhichisstilluncomfortabledeployingtroopsoutsideits
bordersandtheCentralAsianstates,whichareanxiousaboutarisingChinaandmoreaccustomedtoRussiaslong-standing
militarypresenceintheregion.

OnMay8,2015,PutinandXisignedajointdeclarationoncooperationincoordinatingthedevelopmentoftheEEUandthe
SilkRoadEconomicBelt.92MoscowandBeijingdeclaredtheirdesiretocoordinatethetwoprojectsinordertobuilda
commoneconomicspaceinEurasiafeaturingafreetradeagreementbetweenEEUmembersandChina.Althoughthelanguage
isstillsomewhatambiguous,thedocumentmarkedamajordeparturefromtheKremlinspreviouscourseofcompetitionand
suspicion.BeijingformallyrecognizedtheEEUasapotentialnegotiatingpartneronthefreetradezoneandonrulesforthe
implementationoftransnationalinfrastructureprojects.TheEurasianEconomicCommission,thesupranationalbodyofthe
EEU,receivedamandatefromitsmemberstatestostartnegotiationsonatradeandinvestmentagreementwithChina.This
issue,whichisastumblingblockforbothRussiaandtheCentralAsianstatesgiventheirhighlevelsofprotectionism,was
declaredadistantgoalandeffectivelyrelegatedtoanundeterminedpointinthefuture.

Ofcourse,therealityhasproventobemorecomplicatedthantheseambitioushopes.Bysigningthedeclarationbilaterallywith
China,MoscowoffendeditsEEUpartners,mostnotablyKazakhstan.Thus,Astanaandothercapitalscontinuetohavegood
reasontoreachouttoBeijingdirectlyinordertoseekinvestment,bypassingboththeEEUbureaucracyandtheKremlin.China
alsostayedtruetoitsoldhabitofdoingbusinesswithCentralAsianleadersonapurelybilateralbasis,withoutinvolving
Moscow.DuringhisSeptember2015visittoBeijing,KazakhPresidentNursultanNazarbaevsignedadeclarationof
coordinationbetweenOBORandKazakhstansnationalinfrastructuredevelopmentprogram,NurlyZhol.Kazakhstanwasthe
firstCentralAsianstatetoactivelypitchitsinvestmentprojectstoChina,whichcausedtensionswithMoscow.InOctober
2015,EEUleadersagreedtocoordinatetheirbilateralarrangementswithChinaundertheunionsumbrella,butsofarnotmuch
hashappened.ItwasonlyinMarch2016attheBoaoForumthatRussianDeputyPrimeMinisterDvorkovichpromised
ChinesePremierLithatRussiawouldprovidealistofEEUproposalsforinvestmentprojectsthatcouldhelptolinkupthetwo
initiatives.ThefirstanniversaryoftheostensiblyhistoricdeclarationwasthuscelebratedquietlyinBeijingandMoscowwitha
silentconsensusthatthefirstyearoftheagreementhadbasicallybeenafailure.TheMay31EEUsummitinAstanaalso
broughtnomajornewsregardingEEU-OBORcoordination.

Despitemutualdissatisfactionoverthelackofprogressonthesecoordinationefforts,theoverlappinginterestsofthetwogreat
powersmayoutweightheirdifferences.BothRussiaandChinashareavisionofaregionrunbysecularauthoritarianleaders
withnomajorinterstateconflictsandnooutsideinvolvement,particularlyoftheUnitedStatesanditsallies.Giventheextentof
U.S.disengagementfromtheregionasthedrawdownfromAfghanistancontinues,andRussiasrelativedeclineasan
economiccenterofgravity,overthelongrunMoscowandBeijingmayfindwaystoaccommodatetheirmutualinterests
outsidetheframeworkofEEU-OBORcooperation,especiallyasthefutureofbothprojectslooksdim.

However,rivalrybetweenRussiaandChinainCentralAsiaisquitepossibleandcouldevenacceleratewhenthelong-expected
leadershiptransitionsinKazakhstanandUzbekistan,thetwomostimportantcountriesintheregion,finallytakeplace.Moscow
andBeijinglackcoordinationmechanismsorintensivediplomaticdialogueonCentralAsia.Anyabruptdepartureofleadersin
AstanaorTashkentcouldconceivablytriggerasuccessioncrisis.Rivalfactionsoflocalelitesmayendupreachingoutto
MoscowandBeijingforsupport.Whilesuchdynamicsareunpredictable,itisnothardtoconceiveofdestabilizingscenarios,
whichcouldspuramajorrupturebetweenthetwopowers.

Inasimilarvein,tensionsbetweenMoscowandBeijinginCentralAsiamayariseifthelattercontestsRussiasself-proclaimed
roleastheleadsecurityprovidertotheregion.SofarChinaofficiallyhasavoidedstepsthatmightundercutRussiasposition
asthepreeminentregionalmilitarysuperpower,astatusthatRussiaenjoysthankstoitsroleinCentralAsiathroughCSTOand
itsmilitarypresenceinTajikistanandKyrgyzstan.ThemainvenueforBeijingsparticipationinregionalsecurityarrangements
forthepreviousdecadehasbeentheShanghaiCooperationOrganization,whichhasprovidedaplatformforjointRussian-
Chinesemilitarydrills.However,ChinasgrowingtradeandinvestmentpresenceinCentralAsiaisstartingtotriggeran
evolutioninBeijingslong-standingposition.Theregionsmineralresourcesarelikelytoplayanincreasinglyimportantrolein
thePRCsoverallenergysecurity.Likewise,risksofinstabilityaregrowingduetothedeterioratingsecuritysituationin
neighboringAfghanistanandthepotentialriseofIslamicextremism.Asofthiswriting,thecircumstancesbehindthedeadly
June2016attacksintheKazakhcityofAktoberemainfarfromclear,butmayprovideanotherindicationthateventhemost
stablecountriesinCentralAsiafacethisthreat.Takentogether,theChineseleadershipwillprobablystarttothinkabouthowto
protectitsregionaleconomicinterests.OBOR-relatedinfrastructureprojectsandinvestmentsmayprovideyetanotherreason
forChinatothinkaboutassumingamoreactiveroleinprovidingregionalsecurityandphysicalprotectionforcritical
infrastructure.

AccordingtoChineseexpertsadvisingZhongnanhaionRussianandCentralAsianaffairs,Beijinghistoricallyhasbeenhappy
withtheestablisheddivisionoflaborwithMoscow.Chineseattemptstoforgebilateralsecuritytieswithcountriesoftheregion
wereseenascounterproductivesincetheycouldpotentiallyjeopardizetieswithMoscoworraisesuspicionsinlocalcapitals
aboutChineseintentions.Thislineofthinkingisslowlystartingtochange,asBeijingbecomesincreasinglyworriedabout
Moscowsunpredictability,andalsotheKremlinsabilitytomaintainpromisedlevelsofinvestmentinCSTOanditsmilitary
installationsinCentralAsia.

InternaldiscussionontherolethatChinacouldplayasaregionalsecurityproviderarestillintheirinfancyandrarely
mentioned,ifatall,inChineseopensources.93However,accordingtoChineseacademics,differentideasarebeingfloated,
suchasestablishingspecialChineseprivatemilitarycompaniesordevelopingclosertieswithregionalarmies.Notablerecent
developmentsincludeaMarch2016visittoTajikistanandAfghanistanbyFangFenghui,thechiefofthePLAsGeneralStaff
andamemberoftheCentralMilitaryCommission,todiscussbilateralmilitary-to-militarytieswithbothcountries,aswellas
theestablishmentofanewsecuritycoordinationmechanismforintelligencesharingandconsultationsamongBeijing,
Dushanbe,Kabul,andIslamabad.ThesedevelopmentshavestirredanxietyinMoscow,withsomeexpertslabelingthesemoves
anattempttocreateanalternative,Beijing-centeredsecurityframeworkintheregionthatwillputRussiaatadisadvantage.94
FangstripwasalsoatopicfordiscussionbetweentheRussianandChineseenvoysonissuespertainingtoAfghanistan,Zamir
KabulovandDengXijun,duringtheirMarch2016talksinMoscow.

TheKremlinsofficialreactiontoBeijingsmovesremainscalm,asisseeninKabulovsremarkstotheRussiangovernment
newspaperIzvestia. 95NeverthelessfurtherChineseattemptstoboostitssecurityroleinCentralAsiaattheexpenseofRussia
mayerodefragiletrustthathasbeenfosteredbetweenthetwocountriesnationalsecurityestablishments.Overtime,such
movescouldunderminetheoverallrelationshipand,conceivably,triggermisunderstandings,miscalculations,andrenewed
feelingsofgeopoliticalrivalry.

TowardAsymmetricInterdependence
TwoyearsafterPutinsMay2014visittoShanghai,RussianhopesofaquickandstableChinesealternativetoEuropean
energyandcapitalmarketsaregoingthroughapainfulrealitycheck.BilateraltradewithChinaplungedby28percentin2015
duetothefalloutfromlowercommoditypricesandtheknock-oneffectsofthecontinueddeclineoftheRussianeconomyand
thedevaluationoftheruble.ManyoftheRussian-Chinesedealsinauguratedwithmuchfanfareoverthelasttwenty-four
monthshaveremainedonpaper.LeadingChinesebankshavesurprisedtheKremlinwiththeirrigorousadherencetoWestern
sanctions.CapitalmarketsinShanghaiandHongKonghaveremainedlargelyclosedtoRussianissuersaswell.Thefew
existingchannelsofaccesstoChinesemoneythroughpoliticalbanksremainopenonlyforahandfulofstrategicstate-owned
companiesandmembersofPutinsinnercircle.

GrowingdisillusionmentwithMoscowspivottoChinaisstartingtocometothesurface,airedinpublicforumsbythemost
well-connectedandwealthyRussiancitizens.96SimilardisillusionmentiswidespreadinBeijing,whereofficialsand
businesspeoplecomplainaboutRussiansbeingstubborn,arrogant,andshort-sightedmissingagoldenopportunitytoopenup
toChinaasaresult.

Still,temporarysetbacksnotwithstanding,MoscowandBeijingaredriftingclosertogether.Thefundamentalconditionsfor
Russian-ChineserapprochementwerepresentlongbeforetheUkrainecrisis.Theseincludethecomplementaryand
increasinglyinterdependentnatureofthetwocountrieseconomiesasharedcommitmenttomaintainingauthoritarianpolitical
systemsandlimitingforeigninfluenceathome,aswellastoupholdingprinciplesofsovereigntyandnoninterventionineach
othersaffairstraditionalistsocialnormsandvaluesfueledbythegreat-powerambitionsoflargeswathesoftheirpopulations
andacommoneliteandpopularresentmentoftheWestsglobaldominance.Themutualdistrustbetweentheelitesofboth
countries,particularlyontheRussianside,andtheveryambivalentpersonalstanceofmanypowerfulofficialsandtycoonsin
bothcountriestowardtheWest,meantformanyyearsthatthetwocountriesonlysawmarginalimprovementsinrelations
despitetheirmanysharedinterests.NowthepersonalchemistrybetweenPutinandXiandtheWesternsanctionscampaign
againstRussiahavegalvanizedthepartnershipandmaybringittoanewandhigherlevelthanbefore.

ThisnewRussian-Chineserelationshipmayturnouttobemoremeaningfulthanpreviouslywasthecase,butitishardto
overlookthedegreeofinequalitybetweenthetwopartners.ThebasictrendisoneofRussiaandChinamovingtowarda
deeperasymmetricalinterdependence,withBeijingenjoyingafarstrongerposition.Thebiggestnewdevelopmentisthatthis
economicinequalitymaynolongerbeabarriertogreatercooperation.RussiafacescontinuedestrangementfromtheWestin
theformofthesanctionsregime,whichwillimpactMoscowsabilitytobuildclosertiestoU.S.alliessuchasJapanandSouth
Korea.Russialacksthepoliticalwilltomodernizeitseconomyandinstitutions,whichwouldrequirechallengingvariouspillars
ofthecurrentregimeandvestedinterests.Inthatcontext,MoscowmaybemostcomfortablewithChinaasitskeypartner,
especiallyasChinaiswillingtoacceptRussiaasitis.Beijingis,ofcourse,unlikelytocriticizeRussiaslackofprogresson
economicreformsorthepoorstateofitsdemocracy.Inreturn,Russiamaybecomemoreaccommodatingonitstermsfor
commercialcooperationwithChina.

IffuturegasandoilpipelinesoriginatinginSiberiaendupleadingtoChinaonly,Russiawilldenyitselfoptionstobranchoutto
otherpotentialmarketsinotherAsianeconomiesviathePacificOcean.Gazpromssuggestionthatitmayscrapthe
VladivostokLNGprojectinfavorofyetanotherpipelinetoChinasuggestsMoscowmayalreadybemovinginthisdirection.
BeforetheUkrainecrisis,RussiawastryingtocreatepipelineinfrastructureleadingtothePacificCoast,whilebranchpipelines
toChinawereseenasnecessarypreconditionsforreceivingChinesefunding(thiswasthecasewiththeESPOoilpipeline).
Now,directpipelinestoChinamaybecomeendsinthemselves,particularlyifcommoditypricesremainlowandRussia
continuestolackthetechnologyitneedstobuildLNGplants.

AsecondmajoroutcomecouldbeMoscowsacceptanceofChinesecompaniesownershipofsubstantialstakes(including
jointcontrolwithRussianminoritystakeholders)instrategicdepositsofnaturalresources.AsremarksmadebyRussian
DeputyPrimeMinisterDvorkovichinKrasnoyarskin2015show,thisideaisalreadycirculatingwithintheRussianelite
community.SofarmarketconditionsandhopesforaspeedyremovalfromWesternsanctionshaveallowedRussianstodrive
ahardbargainwhendiscussingpotentialsalesoftheseassets.However,ifcurrentconditionspersist,Russiasappetiteforhard
cashmaygrowinthemediumterm,andtheChinesemaybeabletobuyassetsatmuchcheaperprices.Athirdformof
symbiosiscouldtaketheshapeofjointventuresbetweenChinesecompaniesandRussianbusinesspeopleclosetotheKremlin,
inwhichtheChinesewouldprovidetechnologyandfinancingwhiletheRussianswouldensureMoscowsapprovalofprojects
andbids.

Ofcourse,ifWesternsanctionsareeventuallyliftedorrelaxed,commoditypricesrecover,orRussiaembarksonmeaningful
structuralreformsthatdramaticallyimproveitsattractivenesstoforeigninvestors,thingscouldgobacktotheirpre-Ukraine
state.Butallthreeofthesescenariosseemratherfar-fetchedatthemoment.Russiaappearsmorelikelytocontinuetoslip
furtherintoChinasembrace,atleastintheeconomicsphere.Inthisnewscheme,themutualbenefitsthatbothsidesderive
willcompensateforthegrowinginequalitybetweenthem.ChinawillofferMoscowaneconomiclifeline,whileRussiawill
providevitalresources(militaryandciviliantechnology,naturalresources,anddiplomaticsupport,includingintheUNSecurity
Council)topropelChinasriseasaglobalpowerhousethatcancompetewiththeUnitedStates.ThebitterpillofRussias
continueddeclinewillbelesspainfulamidBeijingseffortstoshowsymbolicdeferencetoRussiasstatusasagreatpower.
ThetoneoftheirofficialdialoguewilldiffersharplyfromwhatMoscowhearsfromWesterninterlocutors,asthevaluesofthe
tworegimesconvergemuchmoreclosely.

Westernexpectationsthatdifferencesbetweenthetwocountrieswillinevitablyleadtorivalry,aswiththesplitbetweenChina
andtheSovietUnioninthe1960s,couldprovehollow.RussiahasindeedbeenfrustratedinitshopesthatChinawouldquickly
fillthevoidleftbytheWest,buthasneverthelessembarkedonatrajectoryofgrowingdependenceonBeijing.The
consequencesfortheWestwillbefar-rangingandlong-lasting,giventhewealthofresourcesthatRussiacanofferChinato
supportitsgloballeadershipaspirations.ThemostimmediaterepercussionswilllikelyconcerngrowingChinesemilitary
capabilitiesinthecomingyears:sophisticatedRussianweaponrycouldbeagamechangerinconflictsoverTaiwan,theSouth
ChinaSea,andtheEastChinaSea.RussiasdiplomaticsupportforChinaalsowillbeimportant.Inthelongrun,itwillbecome
moreandmoredifficultforMoscowtoremainneutralonissueslikedisputesintheSouthChinaSea,anditwillnotbeeasyfor
RussiatokeepupmilitarytieswithcountriessuchasVietnam.Othercountriesshouldtakenoteandrethinktheirassumptions
abouttheRussian-Chineserelationship.ThefalloutfromtheUkrainecrisisistriggeringfundamentalchangesinrelations
betweenthelargestpowersinEurasia,whichwillleavefewunaffected.

Notes
1Foramoredetaileddiscussion,seeAlexanderGabuev,ASoftAlliance?:Russia-ChinaRelationsAftertheUkraineCrisis,
EuropeanCouncilonForeignRelations,February10,2015,http://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR126_-_A_Soft_Alliance_Russia-
China_Relations_After_the_Ukraine_Crisis.pdf.

2ThisobservationisbasedonprivatemeetingswithseveralindependentRussianexpertsfamiliarwiththematter.

3ThisstudyisbasedonaseriesofinterviewswithRussianandChineseofficials,businesspeople,andexperts.Interviews
wereconductedfromFebruary2014toApril2016inMoscow,Vladivostok,Beijing,andHongKong.Theauthorwouldliketo
thankallwhowerereadytosharetheirinsights.Mostoftheinterlocutors,forunderstandablereasons,haverequested
anonymityduetothesensitivenatureoftheirwork.TheauthorwouldalsoliketothankVitaSpivakandNataliaDobrynina,his
researchassistantsattheCarnegieMoscowCenter.

4See,forexample,GilbertRozman,AsiafortheAsians:WhyChinese-RussianFriendshipIsHeretoStay,ForeignAffairs,
October29,2014,http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/east-asia/2014-10-29/asia-asians.

5DmitriTreninusestheFrenchwordententetodescribethenewstateofRussian-Chineserelations,inwhichBeijingand
MoscowsupporteachotherintheirstruggleagainstU.S.dominancebutarentengagedinaformalalliance.SeeDmitriTrenin,
FromGreaterEuropetoGreaterAsia?TheSino-RussianEntente,CarnegieMoscowCenter,April9,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/04/09/from-greater-europe-to-greater-asia-sino-russian-entente/i64a.
6ThistermwascoinedbyformerAustraliandiplomatBoboLoinhisbookofthesametitle.SeeBoboLo,Axisof
Convenience:Moscow,Beijing,andtheNewGeopolitics(Washington,DC:BrookingsInstitution,2008).

7PutinandXi:NotQuitetheAlliesTheySeem,FinancialTimes,May7,2015,http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/cd637c7e-
f4a8-11e4-8a42-00144feab7de.html#axzz4AxH2WeWF.

8ThomasS.EderandMikkoHuotari,MoscowsFailedPivottoChina,ForeignAffairs,April17,2016,
http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2016-04-17/moscow-s-failed-pivot-china.

9BenBlanchard,XiJinpingsJourneyFromChinaPartyElitetoPartyLeader,Reuters,November15,2012,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-congress-xi-idUSBRE8AE0BZ20121115.

10EvanOsnos,BornRed,NewYorker,April6,2015,http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/06/born-red.

11AreadoutofthemeetingbetweenPrimeMinisterVladimirPutinandChineseVicePresidentXiJinpingisavailableat:Prime
MinsiterPutinMeetsWithChineseVicePresidentXiJinping,ArchiveoftheOfficialSiteofthe20082012PrimeMinisterof
theRussianFederationVladimirPutin,March23,2012,http://archive.premier.gov.ru/eng/events/news/9884/.

12EvidenceofthischangeofcoursecanbefoundinpubliclyavailabledocumentssuchasaMay2014speechbyPrime
MinisterDmitryMedvedev:SoveschaniyeorazvitiisotrudnichestvasostranamiAziatsko-Tihookeanskogoregiona
[ConsultationonthedevelopmentofcooperationwithAsiaPacificcountries],RussianGovernment,May12,2014,
http://government.ru/news/12293/.

13Reuters,PutinMakesSanctionedBillionaireTimchenkoHeadofRussia-ChinaBusinessCouncil,MoscowTimes,May22,
2014,http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/putin-makes-sanctioned-billionaire-timchenko-head-of-russia-china-
business-council/500731.html.

14AprofileofGennadyTimchenkocanbefoundat:GennadiyTimchenko[GennadyTimchenko],Forbes,May3,2016,
http://www.forbes.ru/profile/gennadii-timchenko.

15DenisVolkov,RussianEliteOpinionAfterCrimea,CarnegieMoscowCenter,March23,2016,
http://carnegie.ru/2016/03/23/russian-elite-opinion-after-crimea/iwdo.

16SeethedetaileddiscussioninPeterHaysGries,ChinasNewNationalism:Pride,Politics,andDiplomacy(Berkeley,CA:
UniversityofCaliforniaPress,2004).

17AndreyKolesnikov,RussianIdeologyAferCrimea,CarnegieMoscowCenter,September22,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/09/22/russian-ideology-after-crimea/ihzq.

18MariaRepnikova,WhenXiWenttoMoscowandPutinWenttoBeijing,JournalofAsianStudies74,no.4(November
2015):1318.

19Levada-Center,MonitoringPublicAttitudesTowardsOtherCountries,September2015
http://www.levada.ru/2015/09/22/monitoring-otnosheniya-rossiyan-k-drugim-stranam-sentyabr/.

20Forexample,anarticlethatJosephNyewroteforProjectSyndicateinJanuary2015statesthatwithitseconomic,military,
anddemographicheftChinageneratesconsiderableuneaseinRussia.ConsiderthedemographicsituationineasternSiberia,
wheresixmillionRussiansliveacrosstheborderfromupto120millionChinese.See:JosephS.Nye,ANewSino-Russian
Alliance?,ProjectSyndicate,January12,2015,http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/russia-china-alliance-by-
joseph-s--nye-2015-01?barrier=true.

21AsummarycanbefoundinShannonTiezzi,ChinaBacksRussiaonUkraine,Diplomat,March4,2014,
http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/china-backs-russia-on-ukraine/.

22ThemessagewasrepublishedbytheChinaDigitalTimesprojectswebsite:Minitrue:CrimeaVotestoJoinRussia,China
DigitalTimes,March17,2014,http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2014/03/minitrue-crimea-votes-join-russia/.

23DetailedanalysisofChinesebehaviorcanbefoundinShannonTiezzi,ChinaReactstotheCrimeaReferendum,Diplomat,
March18,2014,http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/china-reacts-to-the-crimea-referendum/.

24WangHaiyun,WuweijhuogeiZhongguodailaishiniankuansongqi[UkrainecrisiscanbringChina10yearsofrelaxation],
HuanqiuShibao,April23,2014,http://opinion.huanqiu.com/opinion_world/2014-04/4978486.html.

25PrivatemeetinginBeijinginMarch2016.
26WangHaiyun,ChangshuaiEzhongguanxishizhanlueshangfanhutu[ItsstrategicallyblindtotreatSino-Russianrelations
likemud],HuanqiuShibao,April2,2015,http://opinion.huanqiu.com/opinion_world/2015-02/5587490.html.

27See,forexample,ElenaMazneva,ChinaGasDemandForecastCutbyCNPCResearcherAmidSlowdown,Bloomberg,
September30,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-30/china-gas-demand-forecast-cut-by-cnpc-
researcher-amid-slowdown.

28AndreyMovchan,JustanOilCompany?TheTrueExtentofRussiasDependencyonOilandGas,CarnegieMoscow
Center,September14,2015,http://carnegie.ru/2015/09/14/just-oil-company-true-extent-of-russia-s-dependency-on-oil-and-
gas/ijra.

29EricaStreckerDowns,ChinasQuestforEnergySecurity(SantaMonica,CA:RANDCorporation,2000),2429.

30MessageontheGazpromswebsitepostedonSeptember19,2014:AddressbyGazpromManagementCommittee
ChairmanAlexeyMillerat13thInternationalInvestmentForumSochi-2014,Gazprom,September19,2014,
http://www.gazprom.com/press/miller-journal/335371/.

31MikhailSerov,Rossiyazhdetavansa[Russiawaitsforaprepayment],Vedomosti,May22,2014,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/newspaper/articles/2014/05/22/rossiya-zhdet-avansa.

32GazpromCancels$2.15BlnTenderforConstructionofPowerofSiberiaGasPipelineStretch,TASS,December29,
2015,http://tass.ru/en/economy/847697.

33MikhailKrutikhin,KakGazpromustalonekudadevatgaz[HowGazpromendedupwithnoonetosellitsgasto],
CarnegieMoscowCenter,June24,2015,http://carnegie.ru/2015/06/24/ru-60480/iaz0.

34JonathanStern,GasPipelineCooperationBetweenPoliticalAdversaries:ExamplesFromEurope,ChathamHouse,January
2005,
http://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/public/Research/Energy,%20Environment%20and%20Development/jsjan05.pdf.

35AlexandraGalaktionovaandElenaMyazina,RotenbergbezkonkursapoluchilkontraktiGazpromapochtina200mlrdrub
[Rotenbergreceivesa200billionrubleGazpromcontractswithoutformalbid],RBC,December23,2015,
http://www.rbc.ru/business/23/12/2015/567adfee9a79471210b50252KitajnachalstroitprodolzhenieSiliSibiri[Chinabegins
constructconstructionofPowerofSiberiaextension],Vedomosti,June2,2015,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/news/2015/06/02/594774-kitai-nachal-stroit-prodolzhenie-sili-sibiri.

36NataliaDerbyzheva,KompaniyaTimchenkobezkonkursapoluchilavtoroypodryadpoSileSibiri[Timchenkos
companyhasgainedsecondcontractforPowerofSiberiawithoutatender],RBC,May20,2016,
http://www.rbc.ru/business/20/05/2016/573f1d949a794729a502994c.

37PrivatemeetingswithRussianofficials.

38MessageonGazpromwebsitepostedonMay8,2015:GazpromandCNPCSignHeadsofAgreementforGasSupplyVia
WesternRoute,pressrelease,Gazprom,May8,2015,http://www.gazprom.com/press/news/2015/may/article226167/.

39RosneftResumesTalksWithGazpromonSalesofGasFromSakhalin-1ProjectReport,TASS,May18,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/economy/876415.

40Kitaystalkrupneyshimimporteromrossiyskoynefti[ChinabecamethelargerimporterofRussianoil],Vedomosti,March
11,2016,http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/news/2016/03/11/633217-kitai-nefti.

41OlgaMordyushenko,RosneftneidetvKitaiposuhu[RosneftdoesntgotoChinatroughland-basedroutes],
Kommersant,January14,2016,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2890833.

42MengMengandChenAizhu,RussiaPipsSaudiArabiaAgainasTopChinaCrudeSupplierinMarch,Reuters,April21,
2016,http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-crude-imports-idUSKCN0XI0VD.

43SeethisanalyticalreportonRussian-Chinesetradecooperationin2015:Analiticheskayaspravkaorossiisko-kitaiskom
torgovomsotrudnichestvev2015godu[AnalyticalreportonRussian-Chinesetradecooperationin2015],IntegratedForeign
EconomicInformationPortal,February2,2016,http://www.ved.gov.ru/exportcountries/cn/cn_ru_relations/cn_ru_trade/.

44SellingStakeinVankorOilandGasFieldtoChinaforYuanPossibleEnergyMinister,TASS,November18,2014,
http://tass.ru/en/economy/760398.
45TheKremlinstrancriptofthisinterviewwaspostedonlineonNovember14,2014:InterviewtoTASSAgency,Official
InternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,November14,2014,http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/47009.

46AlinaFadeeva,MinfingotopprodatRosneft[MinistryofFinancereadytosellRosneft],Vedomosti,December16,2015,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2015/12/16/621264-minfin-rosneft.

47YuliaKotovaandMaximTovkailo,KitayskuyuCNPCzainteresovalaprivatizatsiyaRosnefti[ChineseCNPCisinterestedin
Rosneftprivatization],RBC,April21,2016,http://www.rbc.ru/business/21/04/2016/5718bd919a7947743d4115f6.

48AlinaFadeeva,RosneftvperviyeprivlekaetkitaiskuyukompaniyudlyabureniyanashelfeOhotskogomoray[Forthefirst
time,RosneftinvitesaChinesecompanytodrillontheOkhotskSeashelf],Vedomosti,September2,2015,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2015/09/03/607298-rosneft-vpervie-privlekaet-kitaiskuyu-kompaniyu-dlya-bureniya-
shelfe-ohotskogo-morya.

49JackFarchy,GazpromNeftSellsOiltoChinainRenminbiRatherThanDollars,FinancialTimes,June1,2015,
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8e88d464-0870-11e5-85de-00144feabdc0.html#axzz4AjYW0EYt.

50TranscriptoftheSeptember1,2014,meetingbetweenPutinandZhangGaolicanbeaccessedat:MeetingWithVice
PremierofChinaZhangGaoli,OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,September1,2014,
http://en.kremlin.ru/catalog/countries/CN/events/46530.

51YuriSoloviev,UnlockingthePotentialofRussia-AsiaCooperation,FinanceAsia,June16,2015,
http://www.financeasia.com/News/398460,unlocking-the-potential-of-russia-asia-cooperation.aspx.

52Ibid.

53AlexandraTerentyeva,Kitaiskiyebankislishkomtshatelnopodhodiatksankciyam-VTB[VTB:Chinesebankstoostrict
onsanctions],Vedomosti,September5,2015,http://www.vedomosti.ru/business/articles/2015/09/05/607669-kitaiskie-baki-
slishkom-tschatelno-podhodyat-sanktsiyam.

54AccordingtoasetofinterviewswithHongKongbankersconductedinSeptember2015.

55YuliyaFedorinova,ElenaMazneva,andAnnaBaraulina,PutinsGotaNewProblemWithChina,Bloomberg,September2,
2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-01/putin-s-china-turn-hits-potholes-as-trade-drops-markets-slide.

56NLMKsNovember2,2015,corporateannouncementcanbeaccessedat:NLMKGroupClosesUSD400MillionPre-
ExportFacility,pressrelease,LondonStockExchange,November2,2015,
http://www.londonstockexchange.com/exchange/news/market-news/market-news-detail/NLMK/12564244.html.

57SandrineBradley,Update1-LPC-RussiasNLMKSigns250MlnEuroLoanWithInternationalBanks,Reuters,April30,
2015,http://www.reuters.com/article/nlmk-loans-idUSL4N0XR6QL20150430.

58JackFarchy,GazpromSecures2bnLoanFromBankofChina,FinancialTimes,March3,2016,
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ac5b1ee4-e159-11e5-9217-6ae3733a2cd1.html#axzz47mLAFUVa.

59PleaseseeExternalSectorStatistics,CentralBankoftheRussianFederation,http://www.cbr.ru/eng/statistics/?PrtId=svs.

60DatacanbeaccessedattheOfficeoftheUnitedStatesTradeRepresentativesofficialwebpage:ThePeoplesRepublicof
China:U.S.-ChinaTradeFacts,OfficeoftheUnitedStatesTradeRepresenative,http://ustr.gov/countries-regions/china-
mongolia-taiwan/peoples-republic-china.

61DatacanbeaccesedattheEuropeanCommisionsofficialwebsite:China,EuropeanCommissionTrade,April29,2016,
http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/countries/china/.

62BankiKitayaotkazivayutsyaobsluzhivatoffshornieschetarossiyskihklientov[Chinesebanksrefusetoworkwith
Russiansoffshoreaccounts],Rosbalt,September24,2014,http://www.rosbalt.ru/business/2014/09/24/1318906.html.

63EricaDowns,InsideChina,Inc:ChinaDevelopmentBanksCross-BorderEnergyDeals,JohnL.ThorntonChinaCenter
MonographSeriesNo.3,BrookingsInstitution,March2011,
http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/papers/2011/3/21-china-energy-downs/0321_china_energy_downs.pdf.

64Ibid.
65DvakitayskihbankaotkrilikreditoSberbanku,VTBIVEBu[TwoChinesebankshaveprovidedcreditlinestoSberbank,
VTBandVEB],TASS,May8,2015,http://tass.ru/ekonomika/1956850VEBsofficialstatementcanbeaccessedat:VEBand
theChinaDevelopmentBankSignCreditAgreement,VEBBankforDevelopment,December17,2015,
http://www.veb.ru/en/press/news/arch_news/index.php?id_19=101631RussiasVTB,VEBRosselkhazbankAgreeOnLoans
withChinaEximBank,Reuters,October13,2014,http://www.reuters.com/article/russia-china-banks-
idUSL6N0S81HT20141013.

66YuriBarsukov,Ugazasvetloebudushee[Gashasabrightfuture],Kommersant,July17,2015,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2769183TotalCEOEyesCuttingCosts,ContinuingYamalLNGProject,NikkeiAsian
Review,October7,2015,http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Total-CEO-eyes-cutting-costs-continuing-Yamal-LNG-
project.

67RussiasNovatekCompletesDealtoSellYamalLNGStaketoChinasSilkRoad,Reuters,March15,2016,
http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFR4N0ZC01H.

68OlgaMordushenkoandJuriBarsukov,Soporoinasobstvenniesily[Relyingononesownstrength],Kommersant,April
30,2016,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2978177.

69VasilyKashin,IndustrialCooperation:PathtoConfluenceofRussianandChineseEconomies,ValdaiPapers#4(44),Valdai
DiscussionClub,March2016,http://valdaiclub.com/files/10377/.

70VladimirKuznetsov,RussianBondsClimbasChinaPurchases$1BillionofRubleDebt,Bloomberg,July9,2015,
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-09/china-buys-1-billion-of-ruble-debt-as-russia-touts-local-market.

71CharlesClover,WesternSanctionsPushingRussiaTowardsCloserTiesWithChina,FinancialTimes,April17,2016,
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/470d6052-02d7-11e6-99cb-83242733f755.html#axzz46BcotTk9.

72LizMak,ICBCandBankofChinatoHelpUnderwriteRussiasIssuanceofLargestYuan-DenominatedForeignSovereign
Bond,SouthChinaMorningPost,April27,2016,http://www.scmp.com/business/markets/article/1939043/icbc-and-bank-
china-help-underwrite-russias-issuance-largest-yuan.

73SofiaOkunandSapozhkovOleg.Kitaiskayafinansovayagramota[Chinesefinancialgrammar],Kommersant,October23,
2015,http://www.kommersant.ru/Doc/2838059.

74RussianDebtSaferThanU.S.?SoSaysChinaRatingHouseDagong,Bloomberg,January8,2015,
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-08/russian-debt-safer-than-u-s-so-says-china-rating-house-dagong.

75PutinsMay8,2015statementonthisissuecanbeaccessedat:PressStatementsFollowingRussian-ChineseTalks,
OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,May8,2015,http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/49433.

76UPDATE1ChinaRailwayGroupWins$390MlnRussianHigh-SpeedRailContract,Reuters,May13,2015,
http://www.reuters.com/article/china-russia-idUSL3N0Y44E620150513.

77ChinatoLendOver$6BlnforRussiasMoscowKazanHighSpeedRail,SputnikNews,April29,2016,
http://sputniknews.com/business/20160429/1038854457/railway-money-china-russia.html.

78NataliaSkorlyginaandAnastasiaVedeneeva,YuanidoKazani[RMBtoKazan],Kommersant,May24,2016,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2995577.

79PavelKantishev,NIIVoskhodzakluchilsoglashenieskitaiskimInspurna$225mln[Voskhodresearchinstitutesigned
signsdealwithChineseInspurfor$225mln],Vedomosti,October15,2014,
http://www.vedomosti.ru/technology/articles/2014/10/15/voshod-kitajskogo-servera.

80SberbankscorporateannouncementofOctober13,2014,canbeaccessedat:SberbankofRussiaandHuaweiSigna
CollaborationAgreement,pressrelease,Sberbank,October13,2014,http://sberbank.ru/en/press_center/all/article?
newsID=200004787-1-2&blockID=1539&regionID=77&lang=enVTBscorporateannouncementofNovember10,2014,can
beaccessedat:VTBBeginsCollaborationWithHuawei,VTBGroup,November10,2014,
http://www.vtb.com/group/press/news/releases/412003/.

81NataliyaSkorligina,Kabelorangakh[Cableofranks],Kommersant,April28,2015,http://kommersant.ru/doc/2718391.

82VassilyKashin,SellingS-400stoChina:ANewFrontintheColdWar?,CarnegieMoscowCenter,April27,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/04/27/selling-s-400s-to-china-new-front-in-cold-war/ik1m.
83Thesametrendscanbeobservedincross-bordertradein2014and2015,withChinesebordercitieslosingupto90percent
oftheirRussiantourists.InsteadChinesecitizensarecrossingthebordertobuyseeminglycheapRussiangoods,mostly
agriculturalproducts.In2015,RussianfoodexportstoChinagrewby200percent.

84IvanSafronov,EslimirabotaemvinteresakhKNR,torabotaemvsvoikhinteresakh[Ifweworkintheinterestsofthe
PRC,weworkinourowninterests],Kommersant,April13,2015,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2707945.

85RussianArmsExportersTradePortfolioStandsat$48BillionOfficial,TASS,June3,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/defense/879864.

86ChinaMakesAdvancePaymentforS-400AirDefenseSystemDelivery,TASS,March11,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/defense/861706.

87Kashin,SellingS-400s.

88RussiaInksContractWithChinaonSu-35Deliveries,TASS,November19,2015,http://tass.ru/en/defense/837662.

89VassilyKashin,WhyIsChinaBuyingRussianFighterJets?,CarnegieMoscowCenter,February9,2016,
http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/02/09/why-is-china-buying-russian-fighter-jets-su-35/itoe.

90ZacharyKeck,RussiaMaySellChinaNewAdvancedSubmarines,Diplomat,March28,2014,
http://thediplomat.com/2014/03/russia-may-sell-china-new-advanced-submarines/.

91Kashin,IndustrialCooperation.

92Thetextofthejointstatementcanbeaccessedat:SovmestnoyezayavleniyeRossiisoiFederaziiiKitaiskoiNarodnoi
RespublikiosotrudnichestveposopryazheniyustroitrlstvaEvraziiskogoEkonomicheskogosoyuzaiEkonomicheskogopoyasa
Shelkovogoputi[JointstatementoftheRussianFederationandPeoplesRepublicofChinaoncopperationontheconstruction
ofJointEurasianEconomicUnionandtheSilkRoadProjects],OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,March
8,2015,http://kremlin.ru/supplement/4971.

93FengYujun,GeoeconomicsinEurasia:AViewFromChina,November2015.

94AndreyKnyazev,Kart-blansh:KitaypristupaetksozdaniyuvoennogoalyansavZentralnoyAzii[Carte-blanche:Chinato
createamilitaryallianceinCentralAsia],NezavisimayaGazeta,March15,2016,http://www.ng.ru/world/2016-03-
15/3_kartblansh.html.

95TatyanaBaykoba,KitaytesnitRossiyuvZentralnoyAzii[ChinaisjostlingRussiainCentralAsia],Izvestia,March16,
2016,http://izvestia.ru/news/606469.

96RemarksbyVictorVekselberg,oneoftherichestmeninRussia,areillustrative.Therewasacertainlevelofoptimism
regardingChinesecompanies.ItwasthoughttheywerecomingtotheRussianmarkettospendbigmoney.ButtheChinese
turnedouttobeveryrationalandverygoodbusinesspeople,sotheywouldntgivemoneyawayfornothing,hesaidata
March2016businessconferenceinMoscow.Seemorein:AlexanderGabuev,APivottoNowhere:TheRealitiesofRussias
AsiaPolicy,CarnegieMoscowCenter,April22,2016,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/04/22/pivot-to-nowhere-realities-
of-russia-s-asia-policy/ixfw.
From: ChrisBort<chris.bort@gmail.com>
Senttime: 07/06/201606:10:40PM
To: robertotto25@gmail.comChrisBort<chrisjb1@ucia.gov>
Cc: EugeneRumer<rumereugene@gmail.com>
Subject: RussiaandtheSecurityofEurope-CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace

Apologiesifyouvealreadyseenthis...

http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/06/30/russia-and-security-of-europe-pub-63990

RussiaandtheSecurityofEurope
RussiasannexationofCrimeainMarch2014wasthelateststepinMoscowslongprocessofrejectionofthepost
ColdWarEuro-Atlanticsecurityorder,reflectingadeeplyheldviewthatisunlikelytochangeanytimesoon.Western
strategywillneedtoadjusttoRussiasconceptionofitsinterestsandprioritiesinandaroundEurope.

TheReturnofGeopolitics

Russianelitesareguidedbyadeep-seatedsenseofvulnerabilityvis--vistheWestandfearWestern
encroachmentonthecountryssecurity,economic,andgeopoliticalinterests,aswellasontheirholdonpowerin
Russia.
Theperceptionofvulnerabilityvis--vistheWestincludeseveryaspectofRussiaseconomy,politics,and
defense.ItisreinforcedbyRussianelitesconcernsabouttheinternalweaknessofthecountryanditsdirection.
Italsoservesasatoolfortheelitestomobilizethepopulationinthefaceofexternalthreats.Theelitesrecognize
thatthecountryisinasystemiccrisisbutfearthatsolutionscouldprovedestabilizing.
ThelackofconfidenceintheirdefensecapabilitieshasledRussianmilitaryexpertstoconsiderstrategiesfor
earlynuclearescalationasadeterrentandcountermeasuretotheWestsperceivedconventionalsuperiority.The
WestsplansforimprovingconventionalcapabilitiesandmissiledefensesareerodingRussianmilitaryplanners
confidenceintheirnucleardeterrent.
AsseenbyRussiasnationalsecurityestablishmentandpoliticalelites,thesecurityenvironmentalongthe
peripheryofRussiaisprecariousandaddstotheinternalchallengesfacingthecountry.Russianplannersare
beingconfrontedwitharegionrifewithinstability,localconflicts,andforeignpowerstheyviewascompeting
withoropenlyhostiletoRussiaineverystrategicdirection.
Inthisenvironment,Russiaisresortingtoanarrayoftoolsfromnuclearsaberrattlingtointimidationofsmaller,
weakerneighborstoinformationwarfare,cyberoperations,subversion,bribery,andotherpoliticalandeconomic
measuresasmeansofhybridwarfareorcontinuationofpoliticsbyallavailablemeans.

ImplicationsforWesternPolicy

TheexperiencesofUkraineandGeorgiahaveprofoundimplicationsfornotonlythosecountriesbutalso
Armenia,Azerbaijan,Belarus,andMoldova.LackingtheNorthAtlanticTreatyOrganizations(NATOs)
securityguarantee,thesesixbattlegroundstatesremaininwhatMoscowperceivesasitssphereofprivileged
interests.Itispreparedtousemilitaryforcetokeeptheminit.AstheWestisnotpreparedtoconsignthese
statestotheRussiansphere,theybecomethearenaforEast-Westcompetition.
Russianactionsbefore,during,andsincetheaggressionagainstUkrainesuggestthatMoscowstilltakes
NATOsArticle5securityguaranteeofitsmembersseriously,andthatitisnotpreparedtotestthatguarantee
directly.RussianleaderswenttowartwicetopreventGeorgiaandUkrainefromeventuallyastheysawit
joiningNATO.RatherthanchallengeNATOdirectly,Moscowwillcontinuetorelyonitswidearrayofhybrid
warfaremethodstounderminememberstatesconfidenceinthealliance.
Westernpolicymakersshouldhavenoillusionsthatthebuildupofdefenseanddeterrentcapabilitiesinthe
frontlinestateswillhaveastabilizingeffectonthestandoffbetweenNATOandRussia.NATOsactionsinthe
aftermathoftheUkrainecrisis,intendedtoshoreupthefrontlinestates,havetriggereddisproportionateRussian
responses,includingdeploymentofanti-accessandarea-denial(A2/AD)capabilitiestoCrimeaandKaliningrad
aswellasthreatstodeploynuclearweaponsthere.
AbsentmajorchangesinRussias(orNATOs)outlook,thisadversarialrelationshipwillremainakeyfeatureof
theEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderfortheforeseeablefuture.Eventually,itwilltakeapolitical,notamilitary,
solutiontoresolvethisstandoff.

Introduction

TheannexationofCrimeabyRussiainMarch2014andtheundeclaredwaragainstUkrainethatfollowedmarkedthe
endofthepostColdWarperiodinEuropeanhistory.Russianactionshavedestroyedkeyelementsofboththepost
ColdWarsecuritysystemandthepostWorldWarIIsecuritysysteminEuropethathadsurvivedfornearlythree-
quartersofacentury.ThedamagedonebyRussianactionsisdeepandlasting,withpre-andpost-Ukraineembodying
acleardividinglineinEuropeansecurityaffairs.AnewgeopoliticaldivisionofEuropehasemergedaswell.Puttingthe
piecesbacktogetherinUkraineandshoringupaunitedEuropewillstretchU.S.capabilities.Thesetwinchallengeswill
remainastrategicimperativeforU.S.policymakersabsentamajorshiftinRussianpositionswithrespecttoEuropean
securityahighlyunlikelyoccurrencewithoutachangeinthecountrysleadershipandgoverningideology.

RussianactionsinUkraineandelsewhereinEuropehaveshockedbothEuropeanandU.S.nationalsecurityand
foreignpolicyestablishments.Few,ifany,analystsoneithersideoftheAtlantichadpredictedthatMoscowwould
movetodestroywhatwasenvisionedattheendoftheColdWarasEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfandits
neighbors.1RussianactionsagainstUkrainecameasasurpriseevenformanyseasonedRussianforeignpolicy
observers.2ThedecisiontoseizeandsubsequentlyannexCrimeaandtolaunchthewarineasternUkraineinsupport
ofRussian-inspiredseparatistswasmostlikelypartofaspontaneous,panickyresponsebyMoscowtotherapidly
changingpoliticalenvironmentinUkraineratherthananelementofalong-term,well-thought-out,deliberatestrategy.3

However,acarefulexaminationofRussiasownnarrativeaboutEuropeanandEurasiansecurity,anditsevolutionsince
theendoftheColdWar,suggeststhatRussianactionsinUkrainewereentirelylogical,perhapseveninevitable,asan
extensionofRussianthreatperceptions.AsseenfromMoscow,therapidchangesinUkrainianpoliticsthecollapse
ofthepresidencyofViktorYanukovychandthecomingtopowerofapoliticalcoalitionadvocatingUkrainespro-
EuropeanandEuro-Atlanticorientation,includingeventualmembershipintheEuropeanUnion(EU)andtheNorth
AtlanticTreatyOrganization(NATO)carriedwiththemprofoundgeopoliticalconsequencesforRussia:theysignaled
theemergenceofnewthreatstoRussiassecurityrightatitsdoorstep,threatsthatnoRussianleaderislikelytotolerate
withoutawholesalechangeinthecountrysideologyandunderstandingofitsnationalsecurity.

FromMoscowsperspective,itsactionsinUkrainerepresentedquintessentiallyaseriesofnecessarydefensive,rather
thanoffensiveandexpansionist,measuresthatwereintendedtopreventanevenmoreseveregeopoliticalimbalanceon
thecontinentresultingfromNATOandEUexpansionintoCentralandEasternEurope.Attherootoftheseactions
wasasenseofvulnerabilityratherthanconfidenceinMoscowsrelationswiththeWest.Ironically,thesecurity
environmentaroundtheperipheryofRussiathathasemergedasaresultoftheannexationofCrimeaandthe
subsequentaggressionagainstUkraineundoubtedlyleavesRussianmilitaryplannerswithagreatersenseof
vulnerability.

EuropeWhole,Free,andatPeaceWithItselfandItsNeighbors?

ThepeacefulendoftheColdWaranddissolutionoftheSovietUnionin1991signaledthedawnofanewerain
Europeansecurity.Aftertheideologicalandmilitarystandoffthathaddividedthecontinentformorethanfourdecades,
EuropeincludingRussiawascomingtogetheronthebasisofanewvision,embracedbyallasthefoundationfora
newsecurityorder.

Thatsecurityorder,describedbyWesternleadersasEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfanditsneighbors,
wouldnotrelyonsuchfamiliarconceptsasbalanceofpowerorbalanceofintereststomaintainpeaceonthecontinent.
ItwouldinsteadrelyonallEuropeannationsincludingRussiamaintainingacommitmenttosharedvaluesand
adherencetoasetofkeyprinciplestoguidetheirforeignandsecuritypolicies.Theseprincipleswererespectingthe
independence,sovereignty,andterritorialintegrityofallnationsrefrainingfromusingforcetosettleinternational
disputesallowingfreedomofchoicebyallstatestopursuetheirforeignpoliciesandenterintoalliancesand
demonstratingrespectforfundamentalhumanrightsandpersonalfreedomsinstatesdomesticpoliticalarrangements.

NoneofthesecommitmentsundertakenbyallEuropeannationsincludingRussiawerenew.Theyhadtheir
antecedentsintheUnitedNations(UN)charterattheendofWorldWarII,aswellasmorerecentlyinthe1975
HelsinkiFinalAct.4Asiftounderscoretheircommitmentsandrenewthemforthenewera,theheadsofstateor
governmentofallEuropeannations,Canada,andtheUnitedStatescametogetherin1990tosigntheCharterofParis
foraNewEurope.5Inthatdocument,theywelcomedtheneweraofdemocracy,peaceandunityinEuropeand,
amongotherthings,pledgedtosettledisputesbypeacefulmeansanddefenddemocraticinstitutionsagainstactivities
whichviolatetheindependence,sovereignequalityorterritorialintegrityoftheparticipatingStates.

TheCharterofPariswasjoinedbytheSovietUnion,whosecommitmentswereassumedbyRussiauponitsdissolution
in1991.UkraineandotherformerSovietstatesalsojoinedtheOrganizationforSecurityandCooperationinEurope,
whichwasestablishedtoimplementthevisionoftheCharterofParis.

AnothermajorstepintheevolutionofEuropewasthesigningin1992oftheMaastrichtTreaty.6Itwasamilestonein
theprocessofEuropeanintegrationalsoonthebasisofsharedvaluesthattransformedtheEuropeanCommunity
intotheEuropeanUnion.TheEUwouldpursuethegoalsofpromotingandstrengtheningdemocraticinstitutions,
establishingamonetaryunion,anddevelopingacommonforeignandsecuritypolicy.

TheSovietUnionandsubsequentlyRussiaplayedessentialrolesinthistransformationoftheEuropeansecurity
landscape,havingconsentedtoshedtheouterandinnerempirespeacefullyinthelate1980sandearly1990s.Atthe
time,boththeSovietgovernmentandthegovernmentofthenewRussianstatedeclaredanddemonstratedindeedtheir
commitmenttoupholdtheunderlyingprinciplesofEuropeansecurityandstability.

EarlySignsofTrouble

However,whiletherestofthecontinentcelebratedthedawnofanewpeacefulandharmoniouserainEuropeanhistory
andembracedthevisionofEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfanditsneighbors,Russiawashavingsecond
thoughts.TheideaofaEuropeansecuritysystembasedonavagueconceptofsharedvaluesdidnotsitwellwiththe
Russianforeignpolicyandsecurityestablishment.Thus,speakingataforeignministryconferencedevotedtoa
discussionofanewforeignpolicyconceptoftheRussianFederation,thenforeignministerAndreyKozyrevdeclared
thatRussiamustbecomeanormalgreatpower.7ThechairmanoftheForeignAffairsCommitteeoftheRussian
Duma,YevgeniyAmbartsumov,welcomedtheforeignministersproposalandwentfurther,declaringthatthetimehad
cometoabandonidealisticdeclarationsinfavorofrealpolitik.8

AlthoughtheRussiangovernmentwaspreoccupiedatthetimewithaseeminglyendlesssuccessionofdomesticcrises
thatfollowedthedissolutionoftheSovietUnion,includingacollapsingeconomyandfiercepoliticalstruggleinthe
Russianparliament,wherethereformagendaranintostrongopposition,theRussianforeignpolicyestablishment
articulatedamoreambitiousvisionofthestatesintereststhanthedirestateofRussiasdomesticpoliticsandeconomy
mighthavesuggested.Insharpcontrasttohisearlierconciliatorystatements,Ambartsumovexplicitlylaidclaimto
Russiasspecialrights,evenresponsibilities,throughouttheterritoriesoftheformerSovietstatesandsuggestedthat
Russianintereststranscendedthebordersofthesenewlyindependentstates.9SergeyKaraganov,aleadingforeign
policyscholarandfounderoftheCouncilonForeignandDefensePolicy,wroteinasimilarveinthatRussiahadnotjust
asetofinterests,butaspecialmissionaheavycrosstobearintheterritoriesoftheformerSovietUnion.10

RussiahadinheriteditsnationalsecurityestablishmentfromtheSovietUnion.Ambartsumov,Kozyrev,andKaraganov
representedanewgenerationofforeignpolicythinkersandpractitionerswithrelativelyprogressiveattitudeswhocould
havebeenexpectedtoholdmoreenlightenedviewsonrelationswithneighboringstatesandthepostColdWar
securityarrangementsinEurope.ButtheRussianmilitary,securityservices,anddiplomaticestablishmentwereall
productsoftheColdWarinwhichmistrustoftheWestwasdeepandnoteasilyovercomebydeclarationsofpeaceful
intentionsbyEuropeanandU.S.leaders.11

TheseearlysignalsthatsharedvaluesmaynotbesufficientforRussiaasthebasisforEuropeansecurityandstability
couldhaveremainedalargelyinconsequentialdiscourseintherelativelynarrowandself-containedcommunityof
Russianforeignpolicyexperts.Foreignpolicyinthe1990stookabackseattodomesticaffairs,especiallytheeconomy,
whichwasthedominantconcernofthecountryselitesandthegeneralpublic.However,thedebatewasbroughttothe
foreofRussiandomesticpoliticsandEuropeandiscussionsaboutthecontinentssecurityarchitecturebytwocritically
importantprocesses:enlargementoftheEUandNATO.

Thefirstmajorencountersignalingfuturetroublestookplacein1993.DuringanAugustmeetingwiththenPolish
presidentLechWasainWarsaw,thenRussianpresidentBorisYeltsininawrittenstatementexpressedhis
understandingofPolandsdesiretojoinNATO.12Kozyrevreportedlyechoedthatsentimentdespitehavingbeen
opposedtotheideapreviously.However,justafewweekslater,inOctober1993,theRussianpresidentsentaletter
tothenU.S.presidentBillClintonstatinghisstrongoppositiontomembershipintheallianceforPolandoranyother
CentralorEasternEuropeancountry.13Yeltsinsapparentchangeofpositionwasreportedlyduetopressurefromthe
Russianmilitaryestablishment,whichstillconsideredNATOathreat.14

ThelaunchofanactivediscussioninEuropeandtheUnitedStatesaboutNATOenlargementtransformedtheinitial
cracksintheEuropeansecuritylandscapeintoamajordividebetweenRussiaandmostoftherestofEurope.NATO
alliesandaspirantsmaintainedthatexpandingthealliancewasintendednotasahostilestepagainstRussia,butthat
bringingthezoneofstabilityandsecurityclosertoRussiasborderwouldonlybenefitMoscow.Russian
counterargumentswerepreciselytheopposite,stressingthemilitarycapabilitiesthatNATOexpansionwouldinevitably
bringclosertoRussianborders.(SeeRussiangovernmentthinktankmapsshowingNATOenlargementinfigures1
and2.)
RussianoppositiontoNATOenlargementwassharedbypoliticiansacrossthepoliticalspectrum.Theconservative
wingofRussianpoliticsrepresentedbythenationalistsandtheCommunistsopposedthealliancesexpansionfor
geopoliticalandideologicalreasons.Theliberalsandreformersopposeditbecausetheysawitasdamagingtotheir
alreadytenuouspositioninRussiandomesticpolitics,vulnerabletocriticismfromopponentswhoaccusedthemof
betrayingRussiannationalinterestandbeingagentsoftheWest.15

Thevalues-basedapproachtoEuropeansecuritywasfailingtogetrecognitioninRussiaforseveralreasons:after
nearlythree-quartersofacenturyunderanideologicallydrivenandfailedregime,thepopulationhadlittleconfidencein
ideasingeneralthismistrustwasreinforcedbythenewRussiangovernmentsfailuretodeliveranddemonstratetothe
publicthetangiblebenefitsofthenewrulingideologyofthemarketanddemocracy,asthecountrylimpedfromone
crisistothenext.

AfterbeingcutofffromWesternpoliticalsciencefordecades,Russianinternationalrelationsscholarswereavidly
absorbingideasputforthbyleadingWesternpoliticalscientists.ThemostprominentamongthemwereSamuel
HuntingtonandZbigniewBrzezinski,whosebooksTheClashofCivilizationsandtheRemakingofWorldOrder
andTheGrandChessboardrespectivelyapproachedcontemporaryinternationalrelationsfrompointsofviewthat
rejectedtheveryideaofavalues-basedsecuritysysteminEuropeandEurasia.16Huntingtonsvolume,asthetitle
suggests,predictedaconflictpittingWesterncivilizationanditsliberalideologyagainstothercivilizationsguidedby
otherideas.BrzezinskiarguedthatitwasimportantfortheUnitedStatestopreventanothermajorpowerreadRussia
fromdominatingtheEurasianlandmass.

TheRussiangovernmentvehementlyopposedNATOs
interventioninYugoslaviaas,amongotherreasons,apotential
precedentforsimilaractionbyNATOinRussiaoraroundits
periphery.18

InlightofthesetwobooksbyleadingAmericanforeignpolicythinkerswidelyregardedinRussiaasspeakingfor
Washingtonsforeignpolicyestablishment,itwaseasyforRussianforeignandnationalsecuritypolicymakers,manyof
themproductsoftheColdWar,tobeskepticalofU.S.andalliesreassurancesaboutvalues-basedsecurity
arrangementsforEuropeandEurasia.WhiletheideaofNATOextendingitsmembershipbeyondEuropewasnot
broughtupeveninthemostambitiousdiscussionsofthealliancesfutureatthetime,NATOdidextenditsreachinto
CentralAsiathroughitsPartnershipforPeaceprogram.17ThatcouldhavebeeninterpretedbyRussianmilitary
plannersasamaneuvertoencircleRussia,notwithstandingthefactthatRussiaitselfhadjoinedthePartnershipfor
Peace.

AnotherfactorshapingRussianthreatperceptionswithrespecttoNATOandEuropeansecuritywastheconflictinthe
formerYugoslavia.ForRussia,stillreelingfromthedissolutionoftheSovietUnionandstrugglingtoovercomemultiple
politicalandeconomicchallenges,theviolentbreakupofYugoslaviawasacontinuingreminderofthedangersithad
barelyescaped.TheRussiangovernmentvehementlyopposedNATOsinterventioninYugoslaviaas,amongother
reasons,apotentialprecedentforsimilaractionbyNATOinRussiaorarounditsperiphery.18TheRussianmilitarys
brutaltacticsduringthe19941996warinChechnyadrewwidespreadcondemnationfromtheWest.Thepossibilityof
aNATOinterventioninthebreakawayrepublic,nomatterhowimprobabletomostseasonedobservers,was
nonethelesswidelydiscussedinRussia.19

TheargumentputforthbytheWestthatNATOsinterventioninYugoslaviawasmotivatedbyhumanitarian
considerationsonlyreinforcedRussianoppositiontothecampaignandresistancetoNATOsenlargement.Fromthe
standpointofRussiannationalsecurityplanners,theextraditionandtrialoftheformerYugoslavstrongmanSlobodan
MiloeviundoubtedlyservedasareminderthatatsomefuturetimeaweakenedRussiangovernmentcouldbeforced
tosurrendertheleadersofthemilitarycampaigninChechnyaandthattheywouldfindthemselvesontrialforwar
crimesbeforeaninternationaltribunal.20

FromthestandpointofRussiannationalsecurityplanners,theonlyguaranteeagainstsucheventswasthevastnuclear
arsenalRussiahadinheritedfromtheSovietUnion.Russiannationalsecuritydocumentsfromthe1990sonwardhave
stressedtheuniqueroleofnuclearweaponsastheultimateperhapseventheonlyguaranteeofRussiansovereignty
andstrategicindependence.21

ButalthoughnuclearweaponswereindispensableasaguaranteeagainstWesterninterventioninRussia,theywerefar
lessusefulwhenitcametointerveningincrisesbeyondRussiasbordersandprojectingMoscowsinterestsbeyondthe
borders.ThenucleararsenalwasoflittleusewhenitcametodeterringNATOenlargementeverclosertoRussian
bordersandsecuringasphereofinfluenceforRussiaarounditsperipheryalong-standingRussianobjective
articulatedasearlyas1992byleadingRussianforeignpolicythinkersandpractitioners.Forthat,Russiawouldhaveto
rebuilditsconventionalcapabilities,whichinturnwouldrequireacommitmentofsignificanteconomicresources.

AStrongWarning

Duringthefirstdecadeofthetwenty-firstcentury,Russiaenjoyedamajoreconomicrebound.Inthedecadefromthe
financialcollapseof1998totheendofVladimirPutinssecondpresidentialtermin2008,Russiangrossdomestic
product(GDP)grewfromjustunder$300billiontonearly$1.7trillionincurrentprices.22Astheeconomyrebounded
anddomesticpoliticsstabilized,theRussiangovernmentassumedafarmoreprominentpositionintheinternational
arenathanduringthe1990s.Russiabecameafull-fledgedmemberoftheG8industrializedeconomiesandasserted
itselfasastrongandindependentvoiceonmajorissues,fromEuropeansecuritytothewarinIraq.

ThemostnotableandforcefulstatementonforeignandsecuritypolicyfromthatperiodcamefromPutinpersonally,
deliveredattheMunichSecurityConferencein2007.Thespeech,describedbysomeintheaudienceasColdWar
like,clearlylaidoutRussianrejectionofthepostColdWarsecurityorderinEurope.23TheRussianpresident
characterizedNATOenlargementasaprovocativeunilaterallandgrabbytheU.S.-ledallianceseekingtoexpandits
sphereofinfluence.InputtingitsmilitaryforcesrightuptoRussiasborder,Putinsaid,NATOwasinviolationof
assurancesgiventoRussiaattheendoftheColdWar.Thisunilateral,unipolar,U.S.-centricsecuritymodel,he
concluded,wasunacceptable.

Moreover,accordingtothenarrativewidelyheldinRussiasnationalsecurityestablishment,NATOenlargementwas
notonlyalandgrabthatupsetthegeopoliticalbalanceinEurope,butitalsoconstitutedaviolationofassurancesgiven
byWesternleaderstothenSovietpresidentMikhailGorbachevthatinexchangeforGermanysreunificationand
NATOmembership,thealliancewouldnotexpandeastward.24Thenatureofthisclaimhasbeenrepeatedly
disputed.25Anddocumentaryevidencetosupportithasbeenambiguousatbesttosaynothingofitspractical
irrelevance,fornobody,notevenRussianofficials,proposestoundoNATOenlargement.Still,theideathattheWest
brokeitspromisehasbecomeanintegralpartofRussiandiscussionsaboutpostColdWarsecurityinEurope.

TheRussianpresidentcharacterizedNATOenlargementasa
provocativeunilaterallandgrabbytheU.S.-ledallianceseeking
toexpanditssphereofinfluence.

RussianleadersopposedEuropespostColdWarsecurityorderalsoonideologicalgrounds.TheycriticizedU.S.and
EuropeaneffortstopromotedemocracyaroundtheperipheryofRussiaasathinlydisguisedpursuitoftheWests
expandedsphereofinfluence.26Theyalsoviewedtheeffortsasadeeplydestabilizingundertakingthatthreatenedthe
stabilityandsecurityofneighboringstatesandevenheldoutthepossibilityofunderminingRussiasownhard-won
domesticstability.Beyondthat,thepushbytheWesttopromotedemocracyinsideRussiawasdeclaredbyRussian
leadersasaviolationofRussiansovereigntyandpotentiallydestabilizinganddeeplythreateningtothePutin
administrationitself.

AsRussiasowndomesticpoliticstookonamoreauthoritarianturnandPutinconsolidatedmorepower,hecame
undercriticismfromWesternleaders.27CombinedwithenthusiasticWesternexpressionsofsupportfortheRose
RevolutioninGeorgiain2003andtheOrangeRevolutioninUkrainein20042005bothcrisesinwhichRussiaand
theWestwerepittedagainsteachotherthroughproxyfactionstheWestssupportfordemocracythroughtheever-
expandingreachoftheEUandNATOemergedasthemostcontentiousissueinrelationswithRussia.Buildingonthe
majorthemeofhisMunichaddress,PutindeliveredafurtherwarningtoNATOatthealliances2008Bucharest
summit.NATOspromiseoffuturemembershiptoGeorgiaandUkraine,hesaid,constitutedadirectthreatto
Russiansecurity.Inanominouspreviewoffutureevents,hespokeofthehistorictiesbetweenRussiaandtheethnic
RussianpopulationsofeasternUkraineandCrimeaandthepopulationsdesireforclosetieswiththemotherland.28

AsiftheRussianpresidentstwowarningswerenotenough,thewarwithGeorgiain2008sentafurthermessagetothe
West,aswellastoRussiasneighbors,thatPutinmeantwhathesaid.InastatementonRussiantelevisioninthe
immediateaftermathofthewarinGeorgia,thenpresidentDmitryMedvedevdeclaredcountriesaroundRussias
peripheryasasphereofRussiasprivilegedinterests.29NostatementdeliveredbyaRussianleaderpriortothewar
of2008hadsignaledwithgreaterclarityMoscowsrejectionofavalues-basedsecuritysysteminEurope.Medvedev
woulddividethecontinentintospheresofinterestsandinfluence,andhewasfullycommittedtodefendRussiassphere
fromencroachmentbyotherpowers.

ThewarinGeorgiadeliveredtwoverydistinctmessagestotwodifferentaudiences.TotheWest,themessagewasto
stayoutofthesphereofRussiasprivilegedinterests.ToRussia,themessagewasthatdespitethesuccessfulcampaign
againstitstinyneighbor,theRussianmilitarywasinneedoffar-reachingreform.30Russianeededthecapabilitybeyond
itsnucleararsenaltodefenditsinterestsanddeterthosewhomightconsiderinfringingonthem.Themilitaryreform
launchedintheaftermathofthewarinGeorgiaandaprogramofmilitarymodernizationwereintendedtogiveRussia
thecapabilitytodojustthat.31

TheBreak

The20082012interregnumbetweenPutinssecondandthirdtermsaspresidentwasaperiodofrelativecalmin
RussiasrelationswiththeWest.CombinedwiththeresetwithRussiabeginningin2009bytheadministrationofU.S.
PresidentBarackObama,otherimperativesthewarinAfghanistan,Iransnuclearprogram,thecrisisinLibyatook
precedenceoverNATOenlargement.Atthesametime,newlylauncheddebatesinsideRussiaaboutdomesticpolitical
andeconomicmodernizationheldouttheprospectofRussiareturningtothepathofdemocratizationandamore
cooperativerelationshipwiththeWest.32Inaddition,NATOlackedthenecessaryconsensustopushforGeorgias
membershipintheallianceintheaftermathofthewarof2008.Andin2010,UkraineremovedNATOmembership
fromitslistofnationalsecurityprioritiesaltogether.33

ThecalmwasbrokenbydevelopmentsinsideRussia.PutinsdecisiontoreclaimthepresidencyfromMedvedevwas
metwithlarge-scaleprotestsunprecedentedinthehistoryofmodernRussiabyproponentsoffurtherpoliticaland
economicreformsthathadbeendebatedduringMedvedevspresidency.34TheprotestsweregreetedintheWestasa
manifestationofRussiasdemocraticspiritandpoliticalreawakening.35

TheresponsefromthePutinadministrationwasharsh.ItincludedaseriesofnewlegislativestepstolimittheRussian
publicsspaceforpoliticalprotestscourtactionsagainstprotestersandamediacampaignaccusingtheWestof
instigatingprotestsinRussiatoundermineandweakenit.36TheWestwaspromotinginRussiavaluesthatwerealiento
Russiansociety,theKremlincharged,embracingthesloganRussiaisnotEurope.37Putinsthirdtermbeganwitha
clearjuxtapositionofRussiavs.theWestasaconflictdrivenbydifferentvaluessystems.Twodecadesaftersigningon
tothevisionofEuropewhole,free,andatpeacewithitselfanditsneighbors,Russiafinallyabandonedit.

PutinsthirdtermbeganwithaclearjuxtapositionofRussiavs.
theWestasaconflictdrivenbydifferentvaluessystems.

ThisbreakalsomanifesteditselfinRussianforeignpolicy,particularlyinrelationswiththeformerSovietstates.Building
onearlierRussianpronouncementsaboutasphereofinfluenceandinterests,andthedangerposedbytheWests
geopoliticalexpansion,PutinelevatedEurasianintegrationthegatheringoftheformerSovietstatesaroundRussiato
thetopofhisforeignpolicyagendaforhisthirdterm.38BuildingontheRussia-Kazakhstan-Belaruscustomsunion
establishedin2000,PutinproposedtomovetowardaCommonEconomicSpace,eventuallyproceedingtoa
politicalEurasianunion,allvaguelypatternedontheEUandrathertransparentlyintendedtocreatearegional
counterweighttoit.InPutinswords,theEurasianunionwouldbecomeapowerfulsupranationalassociationcapable
ofbecomingoneofthepolesinthemodernworldareferencetothelong-standingRussianpreferencefora
multipolarinternationalsystemandrejectionoftheU.S.-dominatedunipolarworld.39

PutinspolicyofEurasianintegrationstoodindirectconflictwiththeEUsEuropeanNeighborhoodPolicy,whichis
intendedtobringcountriesontheEUseasternbordersclosertoitbyofferingthemAssociationAgreements.40These
agreementsaredesignedtopromotepolitical,economic,andrule-of-lawreformsincountriesofEasternEuropeand
encouragetheircloserpoliticalandcommercialtiestotheEU.SeveralEasternEuropeancountriesArmenia,Georgia,
Moldova,andUkrainewereintheprocessofnegotiatingAssociationAgreementswiththeEUwhenPutin
announcedhisvisionofEurasianintegration.Ukrainewasthelargestamongthemandstrategicallythemostimportant
forRussia.

ThegovernmentofUkrainethesecondmostpopulousformerSovietrepublicandthecriticalbridgebetweenRussia
andEuropewasengagedintwosimultaneousnegotiations.OnewaswithRussiaaboutjoiningitseconomic
integrationprojecttheotherwaswiththeEUaboutanAssociationAgreement.Withthetwodeemedincompatible,
Kyivwouldeventuallyhavetochooseoneortheother.41

ForRussia,forPutinpersonally,thelossofUkrainetotheEUwouldnotbeatolerableoutcome.Thiswasdueto
severalreasons.In2004,PutinscandidateforthepresidencyofUkraine,ViktorYanukovych,wasdefeatedbythe
OrangeRevolutionencouragedbytheWest.AnotherdefeatofsimilarmagnitudeatthehandsoftheEUwasnotan
optionfortheRussianpresidentafterhehadelevatedEurasianintegrationtothetopofhispolicyagendaasa
counterweighttotheUnitedStatesandtheEU.

Moreover,allformerSovietsatellitesthathadjoinedtheEUalsojoinedNATO.UkrainesAssociationAgreementwith
theEUwasundoubtedlyseenbytheKremlinasasteptowardmembershipintheEUand,eventually,inNATO.This
wouldallowNATOspresencewithin300milesofMoscow.AsseenfromMoscow,thiswouldalsomeanthatkey
UkrainiandefenseenterprisesthatsuppliedtheRussianmilitarywithcriticalcomponentswouldbelocatedonNATO
territory.42

AnothersignificantdependenceofRussiaonUkrainehastodowithenergysuppliestoEurope.Ukraineisthecritical
transitcountry,withasmuchashalfofRussiangasexportedtoEuropedeliveredthroughtheDruzhbapipelinethat
crossesUkraine.43U.S.andEuropeanleadershavelongcomplainedaboutEuropesdependenceonRussiangasand
theinfluenceitgivesMoscowoverthecontinent.SomehavearguedforNATOtotakeonthemissionofsecuring
Europesenergysupply.44ForRussia,theprospectofUkrainejoiningNATOorbecomingasatelliteoftheEUwould
translateintoanunacceptablelossofpowerandinfluence.

Notwithstandingallthesestrategicconsiderations,thecrisisinUkraineapparentlycameasasurprisefortheKremlin.45
TheseverityofitsresponsetothecrisistheannexationofCrimea,thewarineasternUkraine,thevirulentpolitical
propagandacampaignagainstthenewgovernmentofUkraineandtheWestforsupportingit,andthedestructionofthe
entirepostColdWarEuropeansecuritysystemreflecttheperceptionsofthreatassociatedbyRussiannational
securityelitewiththepotentiallossofUkrainetoNATOandtheEU.

TheNewOldThreat

TheshockwavesinEurope,intheUnitedStates,andaroundtheperipheryofRussiafromRussianactionsinUkraine
(andsubsequentlyinSyria)haveamountedtoafundamentalreassessmentofRussia,itsmilitarycapabilities,andits
resolvetousethem.46TheperceptionofRussiaasasecond-ratepower,whosemilitarycapabilitieswerebadly
damagedbytheimplosionoftheSovietstateandneverrecovered,hasbeenreplacedwithnewlyalarmedassessments
oftheRussianmilitarythreatnotseenbyWesternpublicsinageneration.47EventheRussianNavy,longwrittenofffor
deadasapresenceinthehighseas,isthesubjectofanew,widelypublicizedreportbytheU.S.OfficeofNaval
Intelligence.48

Indeed,theswiftandapparentlyefficienttakeoverofCrimea,themilitaryinterventionandcovertoperationineastern
Ukraine,andmostrecentlythemissioninSyriahavehadatransformationaleffectontheimageoftheRussianmilitary
abroadandathome.However,withtheseaccomplishmentsonandoffthebattlefieldcameaseriesofsoberingRussian
reassessmentsofthenewsecurityenvironmentsurroundingRussiainpost-postColdWarEuropeandEurasia.

Paradoxically,Russianmilitarysuccesseshaveresultedinnewthreatsandnewchallenges,andtheyhavegenerateda
profoundfeelingofuneaseamongRussianmilitaryexperts.ThreatassessmentsfoundinofficialRussiandocuments,
statementsoftopofficials,andprivate-sectorcommentatorsdescribeauniformlybleakpicture.Inthewordsofone
authoritativeobserver,EuropesfailuretosecureitselfbehindabufferzoneestablishedwiththehelpoftheEUs
EasternPartnership,whichincludesArmenia,Azerbaijan,Belarus,Georgia,Moldova,andUkraine,hasmeantthat
Russiacannothidebehindabufferzoneeither.49Russiacannolongercountonthesecountriesasfriendlyandcapable
ofshieldingRussiaswesternandsouthernborders.

ThebreakinrelationswiththeWestNATOscontinuingplansforexpansion,itssupportforUkraine,itsmilitary
deploymentsalongitsEasternflankandplansformoresuchdeployments,anditslong-standingnuclearthreatto
RussiaandcentersforcybersecurityandinformationwarfareintheBalticstatesmakeupthenewthreatenvironment
Russiandefenseplannersarehavingtoconfront.Andthatisnoteventhecompletelist,whichomitsawiderangeofreal
andpotentialthreatsfromtheself-proclaimedIslamicStatespresenceinIraqandSyriatoJapansnewlegislation
governingtheuseofitsSelf-DefenseForcesabroad.Thisisthenewthreatenvironmentinwhichthearmedforcesof
theRussianstatehavetocarryouttheirmissionofdefendingandprotectingthesovereigntyoftheRussianstate,noted
DefenseMinisterSergeiShoigu,appearingbeforetheyear-endmeetingofseniorMinistryofDefenseofficialsattended
byPutin.50

ThenewNationalSecurityStrategythatPutinsignedintolawonDecember31,2015,echoedmanyofthesame
themes.51ThedocumentidentifiedtheUnitedStatesanditsalliesastheprincipalthreattoRussia,astheWestseeksto
hangontoitsdominantpositionintheworld.NATOenlargementcontinuesapace,withtheallianceaspiringtoaglobal
mission.NATO,accordingtothenewdocument,underminesinternationalsecurity,internationallaw,andarms-control
treatiesacquiresnewmilitarycapabilitiesanddeploysitsmilitaryinfrastructureeverclosertotheterritoryofthe
RussianFederation,threateningitssecurity.InUkraine,thedocumentcontinues,NATOandtheEUhavesupportedan
unconstitutionalcoupthattriggeredaprofoundsplitinUkrainiansocietyandresultedinanewsourceofinstabilityin
Europe.

ThisisallpartandparcelofU.S.strategyinEurasia,accordingtothenowdeceasedheadofRussianmilitary
intelligence,GeneralIgorSergun.52Writingin2015,heassertedthatthelong-termU.S.goalwastoencircleRussia
andChinawitharingofregimesloyaltotheUnitedStatesandflashpointsthatwouldreliablypreventRussiafrom
carryingoutitsEurasianintegrationproject.

FromthepointofviewofMoscow,NATOsreinforcementsoftheBalticstatesandPolandtodateandinthefuture
havebrokenyetanotherkeypromisegiventoRussiabythealliesnottostationpermanentlysubstantialcombat
forcesontheterritoriesofnewmembers.Regardlessofthecaveatthatthepromisewasconditionedonthecurrent
andforeseeablesecurityenvironment,whichwasupendedbytheannexationofCrimeaandaggressionineastern
UkrainetherecanbelittledoubtthatthereinforcementsareperceivedbyRussiasnationalsecurityestablishmentas
itsworstexpectationscomingtrue.53Whetherthesereinforcementswillconstituteapermanentorpersistentpresenceis
likelytobeoflittleconsequenceforRussiananalysts,foreitheronewouldconstituteacontinuousandineffect
permanentmilitarypresenceofNATOtroopsintheseforwardareas.

ItstheEconomy...

ThechallengeRussiaisfacinginthenewinternationalthreatenvironment,intheviewofofficialandunofficial
spokesmen,iscompoundedbytheunenviablestateofitseconomy.54Gonearethehighratesofgrowthtypicalofthe
firsttwotermsofthePutinpresidencythatmadepossibletherecoveryofthecountryseconomichealthaswellasits
internationalstandingandmilitarycapabilities.TheinabilityoftheRussianeconomytocompeteintheglobal
marketplaceanditsrelianceontheoldmodelofdevelopmentbasedonexportsofrawmaterialshavebeenelevatedin
thenewnationalsecuritystrategytotherankofthemainstrategicthreatsto[Russias]nationalsecurityinthesphereof
theeconomy.55ThetasknowbeforeRussianpolicymakersistodevelopanewmodelofeconomicgrowth,forthe
oldonehasoutliveditsusefulness.ThisthemehasbeenstressedbytopofficialsinRussia,includingKremlinChiefof
StaffSergeiIvanov,who,withcandorrareforaseniorKremlinofficial,admittedthatthecountryseconomicwoes
wereduelargelytofailuretoreformduringthefatyears.56SecurityCouncilSecretaryNikolaiPatrushev,too,has
stressedtheneedtojump-starttheRussianeconomyasamatterofnationalsecurity.57

FromthepointofviewofMoscow,NATOsreinforcementsof
theBalticstatesandPolandhavebrokenyetanotherkey
promisegiventoRussiabytheallies.

Russianforeignpolicyandnationalsecurityexpertsfromresearchinstitutesandacademiahaveechoedthesamesense
ofalarmaboutnewchallengesfacingRussiaasfoundinofficialgovernmentstatementsanddocuments.Theyhave
stressedtheincreasinglychaotic,seeminglyall-against-allnatureoftheinternationalsystemandtheweakeningofthe
maincentersofglobalpower,includingtheUnitedStatesandEurope.58However,thatishardlyacausefor
celebration,forRussiaisfindingitselfwithoutreliablepartnersinthissituation(therelationshipwithChinaistreatedwith
cautioninthiscontexttimewilltellhowitturnsout).59AsaresultoftheUkrainecrisisandthebreakwiththeWest,
Russiahasbeenleft,asCarnegiesDmitriTreninputit,aloneagainstall.60

Furthermore,Russiananalystshavearguedthatbytheendof2015,Russiawasinanall-encompassing,systemic
crisis.61Thebiggestblowwasdealtbythecollapseinoilpricesandtheendoftheglobalcommoditiesboom.Making
mattersworsewasacombinationofshrinkingGDP,chroniclackofinvestment,currencydevaluation,lossofaccessto
Westerncapitalmarkets,andhighinflation.Thepoliticalenvironmentwasnobetter,duetotheescalationofmilitary
activitiesabroad,theintensifyingcrackdownontheopposition,andthemurderofoppositionpoliticianBorisNemtsov.

Takentogether,thesewereallsignsoffundamentalproblemsforapoliticalleadershipthatwassteadfastlyresisting
comprehensivereforms.Stagnationandthefailuretocarryoutfar-reachingeconomic,political,andtechnological
modernizationcouldhavemajorsecurityimplications.Withoutreforms,Karaganovwarnedatthegatheringofthe
establishmentCouncilonForeignandDefensePolicy,defeatawaits[Russia]inthefuturepolitical,economic,and
military-strategiccompetitionofthetwenty-firstcentury.62HermanGref,theheadofthemajoritystate-ownedbiggest
RussianbankSberbank,echoedthesewordsinearly2016,when,speakingatapublicgatheringofeconomistsand
seniorgovernmentofficials,hedescribedRussiaasalosercountry.63

NoLightattheEnd

TheseandothersimilarlygloomyassessmentsthathavepermeatedtheentirespectrumofRussianpoliticalopinion,
fromofficialgovernmentdocumentsandestablishmentfigurestoscholarsatresearchinstitutionstooppositionfigures,
pointtoaprofoundsenseofinsecurityinRussiasestablishmentcircles.64Goneistheconfidenceofthefirsttwo
presidentialtermsofVladimirPutin.TheearlybravuraresponsetoWesternsanctionsanddeclarationsthatRussian
industrycanmorethanmakeupforthelossofimportedgoodsandgrowthankstoimportsubstitutionandthecheaper
Russianrublehavebeenderidedasdelusional.65Someofthemostalarmistcommentatorsgosofarastoclaimthatthe
Russianeconomyisbackslidingintothecategoryofindustrialandevenpreindustrialeconomies,rapidlyfallingbehindto
thepointwhereonedayitcouldceasetobeanindependentactorintheinternationalarena.66Asasignofthe
prevailinggloomamongRussianeconomicanalysts,includingseniorgovernmentofficials,theendofthecurrent
economiccrisis,whichsomebelieveRussiaisalreadyapproaching,maynotleadtogrowthinstead,inthewordsofthe
firstdeputychairoftheCentralBankofRussia,XeniaYudayeva,itwillmarkthebeginningofeternalorlong-term
stagnation.67

ThisbriefoverviewofthenarrativeinofficialRussianoutletsandsocietaldiscoursepointstoalackofconfidenceon
thepartofRussianelitesintheirleadership,intheirownabilities,andinthecountrysfuture.Thetimesoftrouble,which
manyifnotmostRussiansoncethoughtwereleftbehindinthe1990s,appeartobeanythingbutsafelybehindthem.
RussianassessmentsofthepresentsituationinandaroundRussiacanbesummarizedinafewshortsentences:

TheRussianeconomyhasoutliveditsmodelofdevelopmentandcanatbeststagnateandstayfirmlylodgedin
themiddle-incometrapthepoliticalsystemisnotabletoaddressthetensionsthatarebuildingwithinsociety.
Theleadershiphasyettoofferacrediblestrategyforleadingthecountryoutofitscrisis.
Theinternationalenvironmentischaoticandhostile.
Russiahasnoreliablepartnersandisfacingavastlysuperioradversarywhoseeconomyismuchbiggerand
betterperformingthanRussiasandwhosemilitaryandtechnologicalcapabilitiesaretheenvyandthetargetof
Russiasownmilitaryreformanddefensemodernizationplans.

MilitaryInferiorityVis--VistheWest

NotwithstandingtheimpressiverevivalofRussianmilitarycapabilitiesandthebattlefieldvictoriesinUkraine,Russian
assessmentsoftheRussianmilitaryhavebeenpermeatedbyadeepsenseofinferiorityvis--visNATO.An
authoritativeassessmentofferedbyaleadingRussianmilitaryanalystintheaftermathoftheactivephaseoftheconflict
ineasternUkrainedescribedthemilitaryconfrontationbetweenRussiaandUkraineasabattlebetweentwoobsolete
militaries,oneofwhich(Russias)wasbettertrained,equipped,andled.68

Ahypotheticalsimilarconflict,theanalysiscontinued,withparticipationbyvolunteersfromNATOcountrieswould
followaverydifferentscenario.TheRussianmilitarywouldfaceafarsuperiorenemy,onethatisbetterequipped,
bettertrained,betterled,andbettersustained.FromthesizeofNATOsgroundforcetosmartweaponsinitsarsenal
toitselectronicwarfarecapabilities,theRussianmilitarywouldbeoutnumbered,outgunned,outdone.Russiasonly
recourseinsuchcircumstances,theanalysisconcludes,istothreatentheadversarywithtacticalnuclearweapons.The
country,thearmy,andthenavyarenotyetreadyforalarge-scaleconventional-onlywar.69

ThissenseofvulnerabilitypermeatesRussianmilitarythinkingaboutfutureconflictsandthreatassessmentsasthey
pertaintoeverysphereofmilitaryactivityconventional,nuclear,cyberwar,andinformationwarfare.Noneofthisis
newandreflectslong-standingRussianandearlierSovietconcernsaboutthecountrysinferiormilitarycapabilities
whenstackedagainstNATOs.

NuclearWeaponsLastResort.AndFirst?

Inrecentyears,noRussianstatementaboutsecuritypolicyhasgeneratedmorealarmintheWestthanhigh-level
pronouncementsaboutRussiannuclearmodernizationandthereadinesstousenuclearweaponsintheeventofa
conflictinEurope.70WidelyinterpretedinpubliccommentaryintheWestasevidenceofRussianaggressivenessand
militaristicambitions,thesestatementshavebeenechoedindomesticRussiandiscussionsabouttheroleofnuclear
weaponsinafuturewar.71

ThatwarwouldbefoughtagainsttheWest.Russia,writesSergeyBrezkun,professoroftheAcademyofMilitary
Sciences,needstodevelopitsownde-escalationladderinordertolimitafutureregionalconflictatanearlystage
andpreventitfromblowingupintoalarge-scalewar.72Russianleaders,helaments,havenotadequatelyaddressedthe
problemofregionaldeterrence,whichisbecomingallthemoreurgentbecauseofwhathecharacterizedasthe
weakeningofthepolitical-militarypositionsoftheRussianFederation,proliferationontheperipheryofRussiaof
hostileregimesmanipulatedbytheWest,andthedeclineofRussiasconventionalcapabilities.Inthesecircumstances,
theideaofmassivenuclearretaliationinresponsetoaregionalcrisisisirrationalandimpractical.Russianeedsoptions
forde-escalatingthecrisisinitsbeginningphasewiththehelpoflimitednuclearstrikesagainstkeyassetsoftheenemy,
butwithoutcatastrophicconsequences,aswellasnuclearweaponsspecificallydesignedforthispurpose.Such
limitednuclearstrikes,Brezkunargues,willhaveasoberingeffectontheenemy,whichwillthenceaseanddesist.

Intheworstpossiblecase,whichtoRussianplannersisnot
unimaginable,acombinationofNATOsconventional,nuclear,
andmissiledefensecapabilitiescouldprovedevastatingto
Russiasnucleararsenalanddenyittheabilitytodelivera
retaliatorystrike.

Russianmilitarystrategistslackofconfidenceintheirconventionalcapabilitiesisalong-standingphenomenonthat
predateseventhebreakupoftheSovietUnionandtheimplosionoftheRussianeconomyanditsdefense-industrial
sector.OneoftheearliestvoicestosoundalarmabouttheWestsemergingsuperiorconventionalcapabilitiesinthe
1970sand1980swasMarshalNikolayOgarkov,thechiefoftheGeneralStaff.73Thislackofconfidencemayappear
surprisingintheaftermathofRussianmilitaryreform,inthemidstofaten-yeardefensemodernizationprogram,
increaseddefensespending,andtheRussianarmysstringofsuccessfuloperations.Still,U.S.andotherNATO
countriesconventionalcapabilitiescontinuetoimpressRussianmilitaryobserversandfeedtheirinsecuritywithrespect
totheirown.

Butthisdeep-seatedfeelingofinsecuritycomparedwithNATOapparentlygoesbeyondtheconventionalsphereand
appliestoRussiasstrategicandtacticalnuclearcapabilitiesaswell.Intheworstpossiblecase,whichtoRussian
plannersisnotunimaginable,acombinationofNATOsconventional,nuclear,andmissiledefensecapabilitiescould
provedevastatingtoRussiasnucleararsenalanddenyittheabilitytodeliveraretaliatorystrike.Facedwiththishighly
improbableprospect,Russianmilitaryplannershavetoconsiderfirst-useoptionsasade-escalatorymeasurethatwill
persuadetheenemyofthefutilityofitsactions.Otherwise,ifnuclearweaponsarenotusedearlyinaconflictforthe
purposeofendingit,Russiamaynotbeabletousethematallandbedefeated.

ThesamelackofconfidenceinRussianretaliatorycapabilitiesisapparentinRussiandiscussionsabouttheneedfora
doomsdaymachinelikeschemetoensureamassiveretaliatorystrikeintheeventofadevastatingattackonRussia
discussionsreminiscentofStanleyKubricksDr.Strangelovecharacter.74Inanapparentlydeliberateleak,Russian
mediarevealedtheexistenceofahigh-yieldunmannednucleartorpedothatcouldbelaunchedasaretaliatoryweapon
againstamajorU.S.coastalurbancenterandwouldresultinmassivehumanlossandeconomicdevastation.75Another
proposalcalledforRussiatousemassivenuclearchargestotriggercatastrophictsunamis,volcaniceruptions,or
earthquakesthatwouldcausedevastationoflargeareasoftheUnitedStatesalongtheWestcoast.76

RussianmilitaryplannersconcernsaboutthethreatofU.S.missiledefensestotheirretaliatorycapabilitieslongpredate
thedecisionsbytheadministrationsofObamaandhispredecessorasU.S.president,GeorgeW.Bush,todeploy
missiledefensesintheUnitedStatesandEurope.Someanalystshavegonesofarastosaythatformerpresident
RonaldReagansStrategicDefenseInitiative(commonlycalledStarWars)inthe1980swasresponsiblefor
convincingtheSovietPolitburothattheUnitedStatesenjoyedvastmilitary-technologicalsuperiority.Notonlycouldthe
UnitedStateslaunchasurpriseattackontheSovietUnion,theseanalystsconcluded,butitcouldalsoacquirethe
meansofdenyingtheSovietUnionthecapabilityofdeliveringaretaliatorystrike.77Thearmsrace,inotherwords,
couldnotbewon,andthatinturnledtotheendoftheColdWar.78

RussianconcernsaboutU.S.missiledefensecapabilitiesthusappeartohavedeeproots.Theyhavebeenrestatedwith
surprisingcandorbyRussianofficials.RussianMinistryofForeignAffairsSpecialEnvoyGrigoryBerdennikov,replying
toaquestioninFebruary2015aboutfuturearmscontrol,said,

Onehastounderstandthatnuclearweaponsarenotsomethingthatstandsalone,theyarepartofthestrategic
balance.Tomoveaheadwithnuclearweaponsreductions,itisnecessarytotakeintoaccountotherfactors
firstofall,thefactoroftheglobalmissiledefensesystem,whichtheAmericans,despiteall[our]arguments,
stubbornlydonotwanttodiscusswithus....

Theentiresystemofmutualrelationsinthenuclearsphereisbasedondeterrence.Inotherwords,youhaveto
havethecapability,havingsurvivedthefirststrike,toretaliate,andinsuchawaythattheretaliatorystrikeis
soterriblethatnobodywoulddaretolaunchthefirstone.Ifaneffectivemissiledefensesystemappears,then
someonemayhavetheillusionthatmostoftheweaponsoftheenemycanbedestroyedinthefirststrikeand
therestcanbemoreorlessintercepted.Thesmalleryourarsenal,theeasieritistointerceptwhatsleftafter
thefirststrike.Andwearebeingtold[bytheAmericans],Wellcontinuetodevelopthesedefensivesystems,
butletusreducefurthertheoffensivesystems.Forwhat?Tohaveafirmguaranteethatthesecondstrikewill
beintercepted,tohavethefreedomtolaunchthefirststrike?Isthatwhywearedoingallthis?79

Russianconcernsandcandorarenotlimitedtothenuclearsphere.Continuinghispointaboutthefallacyoftreating
nuclearweaponsasastand-alonecapability,Berdennikovsaid,
Wearepreparedforadialogueaboutfurthernucleardisarmamentsteps.Atthesametime,weareconvinced
thattheyareimpossiblewithoutsolvingsuchproblemsastheunlimitedgrowthofglobalU.S.missiledefenses,
theprojectofusingstrategicweaponswithconventionalwarheadswithintheconceptofglobalstrike,...
therefusaloftheUnitedStatestopledgenottodeployweaponsinspace,[and]thegrowthofqualitativeand
quantitativeconventionalimbalances.80

ThisstatementandothersbyseniorRussianofficialsandprominentanalystsunderscorethevitalfunctionnuclear
weaponscontinuetoperforminthedefenseoftheRussianstate.81Athreattothoseweaponsisathreattothesurvival
ofanindependentandsovereignRussianstate.

NewThreats

TheexpandingrangeofU.S.strategiccapabilitiesnuclear,high-precisionandlong-rangeconventional,andmissile
defensehasbeenamajorpreoccupationofRussianmilitaryanalysts.82Russianconcernaboutthesecapabilitiesis
reflectedincandidstatementsaboutthethreattheypose,aswellasreassurancesthatRussianstrategicsystemsare
robust,reliable,andimpervioustoU.S.offensiveordefensivearsenals.83

Theconversationaboutthechangingnatureofwarfare,therolesofnuclearandnon-nuclearweapons,anddeterrence
hasbeenunderwayamongRussianexpertsandmilitaryofficialsfordecades,beginningwiththewritingsofOgarkov.
ThisconversationreflectsthedeepconvictionamongRussiananalystsandplannersthatRussiahasfallenfarbehindthe
UnitedStatesinthedevelopmentofhigh-precisionconventionalweaponryandnon-nucleardeterrentcapabilities.84It
alsoreflectstheirviewthatgradually,theperformancecharacteristicsofnon-nuclear,high-precisionweaponsare
improvingsomuchthattheycouldbegintotakeonthefunctionsthatuntilnowhavebeenassignedexclusivelyto
nuclearweapons.85Asaresult,thetaskfacingtheRussianmilitaryofdeterringsuperioradversariesequippedwithsuch
systemsisincreasinglychallenging.86

Despitebravuraassurancesthatthenationsnuclearshieldis
invincibleandcapableofreliablydefendingagainstanddeterring
anyenemy,Russiandefenseexpertsappeartoharbordoubts.

TheranksofRussianmilitaryanalystsincludeanumberofskepticswhodoubtnotsomuchtherelativestateofaffairsin
thedevelopmentofU.S.andRussianarsenalsasthepropositionthatconventionalhigh-precisionsystemswillbeable
totakeovermissionsassignedtonuclearsystems.87TheseskepticsbelievethattheprincipalthreattoRussiasnuclear
deterrentandretaliatorycapabilitiesisposedbyU.S.nuclearsystemsandthatpriorityshouldbegiventoprograms
intendedtocounterthosesystems.However,eventheseskepticsconcludethatalthoughnon-nuclear,precision-guided
weaponscannotsupplantnuclearweapons,theycanaffectthestrategicbalanceinsignificantways.88

Tomeetthischallenge,Russiandefenseexpertscontinuetoemphasizenuclearweapons.Althoughmuchhasbeen
madeoftheseriesofRussianconventionalshipbornecruisemissilestrikesfromtheCaspianSeaagainsttargetsin
Syria,thesemuch-toutedcapabilitiesintheeyesofRussianexpertsareapparentlynotyetsufficienttodeterNATO
threatstoRussiainEurope.89

InSeptember2014,DmitryRogozin,thedeputyprimeministerinchargeofdefenseindustries,pledgedtomodernize
theentireRussianstrategicnuclearforcesby2020,notmerely70percentaspreviouslyplanned.90Accordingto
Shoigu,56percentofRussiannuclearweaponsarenew.91ThechiefoftheGeneralStaff,GeneralValeryGerasimov,
echoedRogozinsvowandreferredtoprioritydevelopmentofstrategicnuclearforcesastheMinistryofDefenses
mostimportanttask.92

However,despitetheseacceleratedprogramsandbravuraassurancesthatthenationsnuclearshieldisinvincibleand
capableofreliablydefendingagainstanddeterringanyenemy,Russiandefenseexpertsappeartoharbordoubtsthat
thesemeasuresaresufficient.93Thus,somehavesuggestedthatevendeployingIskandershort-rangeballisticmissiles,
capableofcarryingnuclearwarheads,toCrimeaandKaliningradmayproveinsufficienttodeterpotentialenemies.94
Instead,toaccomplishthatgoal,RussiamayhavetowithdrawfromtheIntermediate-RangeNuclearForcesTreaty
andreintroducethatclassofweaponsintoitsarsenal.95Russiancommentatorsmaintainthatsuchastepisbeing
contemplatedbecauseofthecombinedthreatofNATOmissiledefenseinEuropeandtheacquisitionofintermediate-
rangemissilesbyPakistan,India,andIran.96
NuclearweaponscertainlyarethecriticalelementofRussian
defensepolicyandwillremainsoforalongtime.

OfficialstatementsofferassurancesthatRussiawillusenuclearweaponsonlyintwocircumstances:inretaliationfora
strikeagainstitoritsalliesusingnuclearweaponsorsomeotherformofweaponsofmassdestructionorifRussiaisa
victimofanaggressionthatusesconventionalweaponsbutthreatenstheverysurvivaloftheRussianstate.97However,
RussiandefensepolicydiscussionsrevealthatseniorRussiandefenseplannersalsocontemplateanothercontingency:
launchingpreventivenuclearstrikes,whetherofalimitednatureintendedtode-escalateaconflictoronalargerscale.98
ThiscouldamounttoyetanothertacitadmissionofRussiandefenseplannerslackofconfidenceintheirsecond-strike
capability.Iftheydontusetheirnuclearweapons,inotherwords,theylosethem.

NuclearweaponscertainlyarethecriticalelementofRussiandefensepolicyandwillremainsoforalongtime.Russian
defenseexpertsandofficialsreadilyadmitthattheirindustrialandtechnologicalinferioritywillpreventthemfrom
matchingU.S.advancedmilitarytechnologiesintheforeseeablefuture.99Thisundoubtedlyfeedstheiralreadydeeply
heldfeelingofinsecurityandinferiorityvis--vistheWest,whichisonlyreinforcedbytheproliferationofnew
technologiesandcapabilitiesfordifferentformsofwarfare.

CyberwartheNewUltimateWeapon

AsifU.S.nuclear,high-precisionconventional,andmissiledefensetechnologieshavenotbeenenoughtofuelanxieties
ofRussiandefenseplanners,theadventofcyberwarfarehasaddedtotheirsenseofinsecurity.Thisisnottosaythat
Russiahasnotsustaineditsownvastcyberwarfareeffortorinvestedpriortotheadventofcybertechnologyinwhat
Russiandefenseexpertscallradio-electronicwarfareorinformationwarfare.Ithas.However,theinformation
revolutionanduniversalcomputerizationofeverysphereofstateandsocietalactivityhascreatedamultitudeofnew
threats.

Theworldisenteringanewphaseofwarfare,accordingtoRussiandefenseexperts,whoassertthatcyberwarfareis
nolongerawarofthefuture.100Itistakingplacenowanew,fifthdomain,alongwithland,air,sea,andspace,in
whichwarcanandwillbewaged.Cyberwarfaretakesprecedenceoverkineticwarfareandisbeingundertakenby
statescontinuously.Theboundarybetweenwarandpeaceisbeinggraduallyerased.CyberwarfarecanthreatenRussia
inawidevarietyofways,fromparalyzinganddestroyingitsinfrastructuretodisablingitscomputernetworksor
insertingdeliberatelyfalseinformationanddisseminatingittothepopulation.AccordingtoRussianexperts,the
destructivepotentialofcyberweaponsiscomparabletothatofnuclearweapons.101Cyberweaponscancreatepanic,
plungesocietiesintochaos,underminelegitimategovernments,suppressanationswilltoresistaggression,and
paralyzeitsarmedforces.Theycanwinwarsbeforeeventhefirstshotisfired.102Understandingtheconsequencesof
thisformofwarfareisofutmostimportancefortheRussianmilitary,whichhasalreadybegunthiseffort.103

InformationwarfarehaslongbeenamajorareaofinterestandconcernforRussiannationalsecurityofficials.The
RussianSecurityCounciladoptedtheDoctrineofInformationSecurityofRussianFederationasearlyas2000and
sincethenhasdevelopedawholelibraryofsupportingdocumentstoguideRussianpolicyinthissphere.104Sincethen,
Russianconcernsaboutthreatsposedbyoffensiveoperationsofcyberwarandinformationwarhaveincreased
manifold,andtheissuehasbeenactivelydiscussedamongdefenseandsecurityexperts.105The2016NationalSecurity
Strategystatesthatintheinterestofprotectingstateandpublicsecurity,thegovernmentwillundertakethenecessary
stepstoimprovetheprotectionofcitizensandsocietyfromtheeffectsofdestructiveinformationpropagatedby
extremistsandterroristorganizations,foreignintelligenceservices,andpropagandaoutlets.106

ThesensitivityandurgencyofthepotentialthreattoRussiafromthecyberdomainwasunderscoredin2014whenPutin
declaredGoogleaspecialprojectoftheU.S.CentralIntelligenceAgencyandurgedRussianstoavoidusingit.The
RussianleaderscommentsaboutU.S.controloftheInternet,combinedwiththeRussiangovernmentslong-term
pursuittoestablishsovereigncontroloverRussiasportionoftheInternet,reflecttheinsecuritynotonlyoftheelites
butalsoofthegeneralpublicaboutthecountrysvulnerabilitytocyberattacksandinformationattacksfromadversaries,
bothrealandimagined.107ThisinsecuritygoessofarastomotivatetheRussiangovernmenttoseekwaystocontrol
theRussianInternetandevenconsiderwaystoineffectunplugRussiafromtheInternetinanemergency.108Sovereign
controloverRussiasportionoftheInternethasbeenalong-standinggoaloftheRussiangovernmentspositionin
internationalforumsdealingwithInternetgovernanceagoalthathasservedasanelementofRussian-Chinese
partnershipinoppositiontoU.S.andotherWesternnationspursuitofthefreeflowofinformationwithoutborders.109
Inthefuture,theRussiangovernmentspursuitofcapabilitiestoregulateand,ifnecessary,switchofftheInternetis
expectedtointensifyasitconsidersafreeandunimpededInternetasoneofitsbiggestthreats.110

IntheviewofRussiannationalsecurityexperts,thefuturehasarrived.TheeffectonRussiahasbeentoaggravateits
senseofencirclement,compounditsvulnerabilities,andmultiplythreatstoit.

WarbyOtherMeans

ThedeteriorationofthisperceivedthreatenvironmentintheaftermathoftheUkrainecrisishasspawnedadiscussion
amongRussiannationalsecurityexpertsaboutvariousformsofnonkinetic,nonstopwarfarewagedbytheWestagainst
Russiaeveninpeacetime.Inadditiontoinformationwarandcyberwarfare,theyhavefocusedonWesterneconomic
sanctionsagainstRussiaasaformofcontinuous,undeclaredwarfare.

TheKremlinsresponsetosanctionscanbesummedupasamovetowardeconomicnationalismandisolationism.
WhenVisaandMasterCardcutoffservicestotwoRussianbanksthatweresanctionedbytheUnitedStates,themove
highlightedfortheRussiangovernmenttheeconomysheavyrelianceonWesternpaymentsystemsanditsresulting
vulnerabilitytofurtherWesternsanctions.Inresponse,theCentralBankofRussiahasannouncedaplantocreatea
nationalpaymentsystemtoinsulateRussiafromWesternpressureintheeventofanewroundofsanctions.111The
morerecentthreattocutoffRussianaccesstoSWIFT(SocietyforWorldwideInterbankFinancial
Telecommunication)hasledtheRussiangovernmenttoconsideroptionsforsettingupanalternativeinpartnershipwith
China.112

Thedefense-industrialsectorhasbeendirectedtodiminishandeventuallyeliminateitsrelianceonforeignsuppliers.113
Thedesiretoenddependenceonforeignsuppliersisnotlimitedtothedefensesector,forinMay2016,Putintasked
thecabinetwithstimulatingdomesticmanufacturinganddevelopingsubstitutesforforeignimportsthroughoutthe
economy.Inafurthermovetoinsulatetheeconomyfromforeigninfluence,Putinorderedthegovernmenttodevelop
andimplementstepsfordeoffshorizationofmajorindustrialenterprisesbydevelopingtax,accounting,andcriminal
legislationaimedatdiscouragingcompaniesfromlocatingfacilitiesoffshore.114

TheideathatsanctionsrepresentaformofwarfareoraninstrumentofcoercionishardlyneworuniquetoRussia.It
hasalonghistory,andrecordeddiplomacyandwarfarearerepletewithexamplesofitdatingallthewaytoancient
Greece.115Nonetheless,Westernsanctionsandtheeconomicslumpthathasfollowedtheirimpositionalthough
causednotonlybythemundoubtedlyhaveunderscoredRussiasvulnerabilitytooutsideforcesandthehostile
environmentaroundit.

HybridWarfareOldWine,OldSkins

ThetakeoverofCrimeabytheRussianmilitaryand,subsequently,theoperationsineasternUkrainehavefocusedthe
attentionofforeignandRussianobserversonso-calledhybridwarfare.Thisterm,whichreferstoawiderangeof
kineticandnonkineticactivitiesbymilitarypersonnelandcivilians,hasbeenthesubjectofextensivediscussionsin
RussiaasbothathreattoRussiansecurityandRussiasresponsetothreatstoitposedbyhostilepowers.

WesternofficialsandanalystshavefocusedonhybridwarfareprimarilyasaresultofRussiasundeclaredwarin
Ukraine,whichentailsamixofspecialforces,civilians,informationoperations,cyberattacks,and,onsomeoccasions,
uniformedmilitarypersonnel.116Presumably,acombinationofthesecapabilitiesinacrisisenvironmentcanbeusedto
achievesurpriseandconfusetheadversaryandtoaccomplishpoliticalandmilitaryobjectiveswithoutresortingto
large-scalekineticwarfareandanoutrightwardeclaration,whichinturncanpresentanadversarywithafaitaccompli
andavoidunnecessarycasualtiesandescalationofhostilitiesforRussia.CountriesthatshareborderswithRussia,
especiallytheBalticstates,someofwhichhavelargeRussianpopulations,areespeciallyvulnerabletothistypeof
warfare,Westernofficialshavewarned.117

Russianrelianceonsuchformsofwarfarehastheadditionalimportantbenefitofambiguity.Intheabsenceofan
outrightmilitaryinterventionbyRussiainoneormoreBalticstates,NATOwouldlackclearevidenceofRussian
aggression,thusrunningtheriskofconfusionandcontroversyamongtheallieswithrespecttomilitaryactionindefense
oftheBalticstatesinaccordancewiththealliancesArticle5guarantees.
RussiandefenseexpertsalsochargethattheWestisconductinghybridwarfareagainstRussiathroughacombinationof
militaryandothermeans,includingsanctionsandinformationwarfare.118Theirinterpretationofhybridwarfare
underscoresthedestabilizingfunctionoftheWestsdemocracypromotionactivitiesspecificallythecolorrevolutions
inthecountriessurroundingRussia.InRussiasview,thoseactivities,throughmeasureswellshortofwar,createazone
ofinstabilityaroundRussia,encircleitwithWesternagentsofinfluence,andcreateopportunitiesforWestern
intervention.119Moreover,instabilitythreatensnotonlyRussiasneighborsbutalsoRussiaitself,becausesupportfor
groupsinsideRussiaopposedtotheRussiangovernmentcanalsobeinterpretedasanelementofhybridwarfare.120
Large-scalewarfarehasbecomedangerous,evensuicidal,forthepartiesinvolved,duetothedestructionassociated
withitwithorwithoutnuclearweapons.Andthatinturnnecessitatesresortingtootherformsofwarfarethatcarry
smallerrisksofcatastrophicconsequences.

SomeRussiandefenseanalystshavearguedthatdespitethepublicitysurroundingthetermhybridwarfaresincethe
startoftheconflictinUkraine,theconceptisneithernewnorparticularlytransformative.121Forexample,theynote,
informationoperationshavelongbeenacriticalelementofstatesactivitiesintendedtomisleadanadversaryand
demoralizeitspopulationandcombatants.Deploymentofmilitarypersonnelwithoutnationalinsigniaisalong-standing
practiceinwarfare,asistheuseofproxiesandregularforcesundertheguiseofvolunteers.Theargumentaboutthe
noveltyofhybridwarfarethusdoesnotstanduptoscrutinyandiscontradictedbyalongandrichhistoricalrecordof
variousconflicts.122

TheRussiangovernmentsapproachtodealingwithUkraine-relatedsanctionsimposedbytheUnitedStatesandthe
EuropeanUnionisindicativeofwhatRussianbehaviorcanbeexpectedtobelikeinfuturecrises.Byfocusingonsome
oftheweakerandpoorerEUandNATOmembersGreeceorBulgaria,forinstanceRussianofficialshave
apparentlysoughttounderminebothorganizationsconsensusonsanctionsagainstRussia.123Similarly,thereported
financialtiesbetweenFrancesfar-rightNationalFrontandaMoscow-basedbankarelikelyintendedtosecurea
RussianfootholdinFrenchdomesticpoliticsandtoseektoinfluenceFrenchpolicy.124Politicalpartiesandindividual
politiciansandofficialsintheCzechRepublic,Germany,andLatviahaveallbeentargetedbytheRussian
government.125

Inacrisissituation,theuseofdisinformation,awiderangeofinformationoperations,diplomaticmaneuvering,
diversionarytroopmovements,activationofsleeperagentsandfriendlylocals,infiltrationofspecialforces,
reconnaissance,andvariousothermilitary,paramilitary,andcivilianpersonnelareallfairgame.Corruption,blackmail,
relianceoncriminalnetworks,andoverteconomicassistanceareallfairgameasmeansofpreparingthebattlefieldor
achievingpoliticalobjectivesbeforethefirstshotisfired.

ABleakOutlook

TheprofoundsenseofinsecuritythatpermeatesRussiandiscussionsaboutthecountryspositioninEuropeandEurasia
iswelljustified.TherearemanyuncertaintiesinRussiasfuture,aswellasinthoseofitsneighbors,potentialpartners,
allies,andadversaries.However,thoseuncertaintiesdisappearwhenitcomestothisprediction:theabilitiesofRussian
leaders,militaryplanners,anddiplomatswillbethoroughlytestedintheyearsanddecadestocomeasafunctionofthe
difficultgeopoliticalenvironmentandmultiplechallengesthecountryisfacingathome.

PredictingthetrajectoryofRussiaisaninherentlydifficulttask.FewpredictedthebreakupoftheSovietUnionbefore
itunraveledrapidly.Fewpredictedthatthecountrywoulddissolverelativelypeacefully.Fewpredictedtheeconomic
calamitythatfollowed,therecoveryofRussiaadecadelater,theeconomicboomthatfollowed,theprotestsof2012,
thewarwithUkraine,andthevirulentlyanti-WesternturninRussiandomesticandforeignpolicies.Allofthesemajor
shiftsoccurredintheshorthistoricallyspeakingspanoftwenty-fiveyears.

Acomparableseriesofeventsinthenextdecadeordecadeandahalfcouldtheoreticallyresultinthebreakupof
Russiaintoaseriesofsmallerstates,someofthemwithnuclearweaponsontheirterritoriesanotherwarintheSouth
CaucasusanewrapprochementwiththeWestnecessitatedbytheneedformodernization,economicaid,andhelp
consolidatingnuclearweaponsinwhatsleftofRussiaproper.Andallofthesecouldbefollowedbytheriseofa
nationalistRussianregimebentongatheringthelostempireandreconstitutingthegreatRussianstate,triggeringyet
anotherconflictwithbothimmediateneighborsandtheWest.

Insum,noforecastofRussiasfuturecanbereducedtoastraightline.Russiahastoexploremultiplepossibilities.Ithas
toconsiderpossibilitiesthatareliterallystrangerthanfiction.Andthenithastocautionthereadertotakeallwithabig
grainofsalt.

AnEstablishedPoliticalSystem

ConsideringthemanychangesinRussiainthepastquartercentury,itiseasytooverlookthefactthateventhoughthe
countryunderwentamajorpoliticalshockwhentheSovietUnionbrokeup,itspoliticalsystemisquitewellestablished.
DespitesignificantdifferencesbetweentheYeltsinera,thePutinpresidency,andtheMedvedevinterregnum,the
politicalsystemchangedlittle.DescribedearlyinitsdevelopmentbylongtimeRussiaexpertThomasGraham,ithas
remainedessentiallyanoligarchywithallthetrappingsofamoderndemocracy,butwithoutinternalideological
differencesandmotivatedonlybycompetitionforpropertyamongoligarchicgroupsorclans.126Atthecenterofthis
arrangementstandsapowerfulpresidentwhosemissionistomanagecompetitionamongclansandthusmaintain
domesticstability.

EstablishedearlyduringtheYeltsinpresidency,thissystemhassurvivedlargelyintact.Someclansandoligarchshave
departed,andothershavereplacedthem.Thepowerofthepresidencyhasincreasedordecreaseddependingonthe
personalityoftheincumbent.Butthroughitall,thesysteminitsessencehasremainedintact.Keyfeaturesofthissystem
apowerfulexecutive,thecloserelationshipbetweenpowerandproperty,theirconcentrationinthehandsofa
relativelysmallelite,thelackofarepresentativegovernment,andtheprevalenceoftherulingideologypredatethe
currentRussianregimeandhavetheirrootsintheSovietandimperialRussianperiods.Littleonthecountryspolitical
landscapesuggeststhatthesystemislikelytoundergosignificantchangesintheforeseeablefuture.Itmayundergo
somechangesonthemargins,butthereisnothinginRussiandomesticpoliticstoindicatethatamorerepresentative
formofgovernmentislikelytoemergeinthenexttentofifteenyears.Yet,changemayberequiredforthecountryto
overcomethemanyobstaclesfacingit.

StagnationLooms

In2016,wellintoPutinsthirdpresidentialterm,Russiafindsitselfconfrontedbyincreasinglybleakprospects.As
notedbymanyRussianobserversquotedinthispaper,theproblemisnotjustthatthepriceofoilisloworthatthe
sanctionsimposedbytheEUandtheUnitedStateshavehurttheRussianeconomy.Theentiremodelofeconomic
developmentpursuedbyRussiainthepastdecadeandahalf,theobserversconclude,hasoutliveditself.

SomeRussiananalystshavenotedthesimilaritybetweenPutinsRussia,nowintheseventeenthyearoftheRussian
presidentstenureatthehelm,andtheSovietUnionduringtheeraofLeonidBrezhnev,wholedthecountryfor
eighteenyearsfrom1964to1982.127Then,too,theSovietUnionhadreachedadeadendandhadtoradicallychange
courseindomesticandforeignaffairs.

Russiasnextpresidentialelectionisscheduledin2018.Putin,whowillthenbesixty-fiveyearsold,willendhisthird
presidentialtermandwilleitherrunforyetanothersix-yeartermorstepasideeitherasatacticalmeasureorasamove
towardretirement.ThelikelihoodofPutinsteppingasideretiring,ratherthanasatacticalmoveappearslowatthe
timeofthiswriting.128

Moreover,Putinsdeparturefromthepoliticalstageshouldnotbeequatedwithimprovedprospectsforpoliticalor
economicmodernizationinRussia.Theupperechelonofthecountryspoliticaleliteiscomposedofpeoplewhose
outlooksandbackgroundsaresimilartoPutins.Theirprospectsforimplementingmajorchangesinthecountrys
politicalsystemoreconomyappearequallymodestatbest

IfPutinLeaves

Nonetheless,theconsequencesofPutinsdeparturefromthepoliticalsceneareworthconsideringifonlyasan
intellectualenterprise.TheRussianpresidentsretirementattheendofhiscurrenttermwouldbefollowedbyan
electioninwhichanewleaderwouldbechosen.Thatishowtheprocessissupposedtoworkformally,andthereis
littlechancethatitwillnot.

Inreality,PutinsdeparturewouldholdthepossibilityofasignificantdestabilizationofRussianpolitics.Heoccupiesa
uniquelypowerfulplaceinthecountryspoliticalsystem,actingasthecentralfigureamongvariousinterestsgroupsand
clans,balancingtheircompetingdemandsandadjudicatingtheirdisputes.129NootherpoliticiancomesclosetoPutins
standinginthatsystem.Hehasnopoliticalheirorsecond-in-command.TheprimeministercurrentlyDmitry
Medvedevstepsintemporarilyifthepresidentisincapacitatedordiesinoffice,untilanewpresidentiselectedwithin
ninetydays.Few,ifany,politicalanalystswouldarguethatMedvedevisacrediblecandidateforthepresidencyto
succeedPutinorapowerfulfigureinRussiandomesticpolitics.

Intheabsenceofadesignatedpoliticalsuccessor,theprocessofnominatingacandidatefromthepoliticaleliteso-
calledthepartyofpowerwouldbehighlycontested,almostcertainlymoresothantheelectionitself.Suchintra-elite
strugglestookplaceduringthe20072008period,whenPutinssecondtermwasduetoexpirebuthehadnotyet
designatedhissuccessorormadeclearhisownplans.Similarly,in2011,Russianeliteswereunsettledbythelackof
clarityaboutthefutureoftheMedvedev-Putintandem.

ShouldPutindepartthepoliticalscenewithoutdesignatingasuccessor,therulingelitewouldhaveapowerfulincentive
inpreservingtheexistingsystemandavoidinganinternalsplit,thusincreasingthelikelihoodofcoalescingarounda
singlecandidate.Buttheprocessofselectingthatsinglecandidateislikelytobecontentious,resultinginafierce
competitionamongclansandinterestgroups.

Thenomineewouldbevirtuallycertaintowintheelection.Russiasbeleagueredpoliticaloppositionhasbeen
decimatedasaresultofaseriesofsystematicmeasuresbythePutinadministrationtolimittheabilityofopposition
partiesandcivilsocietyatlargetoorganize,recruitmembers,raisefunds,orinanyotherwayparticipateinthepolitical
lifeofthecountry.Noseriouscontenderforthepresidencyabletocompetewiththeonenominatedbythepartyof
powerislikelytoemergefromtheranksoftheopposition.

However,theelectionwouldnotmarktheendofpoliticalinstabilityinRussia.Thenewleaderwouldhavetowork
hardtoconsolidatehis(mostlikelynother)powerandrestoretheequilibriumamongclansdisruptedbyPutins
departure.Thiswouldalmostcertainlybeaprocessthatwouldtakeyears,giventhesizeofthecountry,themultitudeof
itsclansandinterestgroups,regionalinterests,andthesorrystateoftheeconomythatwouldalmostcertainlyleadto
fiercecompetitionamongclansforalargershareoftheshrinkingpie.

Howlikelyisthecountrysnewpresidenttointroducemajorreformsindomesticorforeignaffairsinthatenvironment?
SuchreformsnotunliketheGorbachev-eradtentewiththeWestinforeignpolicyandmovementtoward
deregulationandmarketcapitalismwouldundoubtedlyprovecontroversialandpoliticallydifficult,fortheywould
affectinterestsofvariousclansvestedinthestatusquo.Anynewleaderwouldhavetotakethatintoaccount.Anew
leaderwouldalsohavetotakeintoaccountthefragilityoftheRussianeconomyandprobablybemindfulthat
Gorbachevsreformsendedincatastrophethebreakupofthecountry.Withthisbaggage,anynewleaderwould
likelyproceedwithextremecaution,ifatall.ThelikelyoutcomeofthisscenariowouldbeacontinuationofPutinism,
butwithoutPutin,fortheremainderofthisdecade,ifnotlonger.Changewouldhavetowaituntillater,perhapsuntilthe
successorssecondpresidentialterm.

Oncechangecomes,itcouldprovedestabilizing.AfutureRussianleaderlaunchingmajorreformsinthemiddleofthe
thirddecadeofthetwenty-firstcenturywouldhavetocontendwithamultitudeofchallenges,including

anadversedemographicsituationinRussia
astagnanteconomy
technologicalbackwardnessofRussianindustry
highbarrierstodomesticandforeigninvestmentexcessivegovernmentregulation,weakruleoflaw,corruption,
andpoorinfrastructureand
ahighlycompetitiveinternationalenvironment.

Thegeographicexpanseofthecountryandproximityofitsvariousregionstoothereconomicandgeopolitical
gravitationalpolesChina,Turkey,Europewillcreatepowerfulcentrifugalforcesandgreatlycomplicatethetaskof
thefederalgovernmentofmanagingtheeconomyandpoliticalsystem.Russia,whichisorganizedasafederation,could
facesomeofthesameseparatisttendenciesthattheSovietUnionencounteredamongitsconstituentrepublicsinitsfinal
years.Alternatively,thiscouldresultinasignificantdelegationofpowerandauthoritytotheregions.Thepossibilityof
furtherfragmentationoftheRussianstatehastobeconsideredasoneofrealcontingenciestofaceRussiaattheendof
the2020s.

Putinsdeparturefromthepoliticalsceneattheendofthecurrenttermdoesnotguaranteethathissuccessorwould
undertakesignificantreformsindomesticorforeignpolicy.However,shouldsuchreformsbeattempted,theycould
resultinasignificantdestabilizationofRussia.
IfPutinStays

TheprospectofPutinsreelectiontoafourthpresidentialtermin2018raisesthecriticalquestionofwhetherheis
capableofchange.Putinsreturntothepresidencyin2012provedasetbackforRussiasreformersandadvocatesof
modernizationafteraperiodwhenprospectsforeconomicandpoliticalmodernizationlookedrelativelybright.Since
2012,theyhavedimmedconsiderably,andintheaftermathoftheUkrainecrisistheyappeartobenearlyextinguished.

Theneedforchangeinthecountryseconomicandpoliticallifecloselyrelatedtoeachotheriswidelyunderstood
andacknowledgedinRussiansociety.Itisequallywidelyunderstoodthatsignificantchangecouldprovedestabilizing
fortheestablishedpoliticalsystem.Asmentioned,theexperienceoftheGorbachev-erareformscontinuestoserveasa
potentcautionaryreminderofthedangersassociatedwithradicalchange.

Russiaisfacingadifficultdecadeoradecadeandahalf,
regardlessofPutinscourse.

Putinhasfirmlyandrepeatedlyrejectedtheideaofpoliticalmodernizationasathreattothecountrysstability.His
entirethirdtermcanbedescribedasantimodernization,includingsuppressionofcivilsociety,isolationofRussiafrom
EuropeandtheUnitedStates,propagandaofso-calledtraditionalRussianvaluesasdifferentfromEuropeanvalues
andnorms,prouddeclarationsthatRussiaisnotEurope,andapushtoautarkyineconomicdevelopmenttoinoculate
thecountryfromthethreatofWesternsanctions.MovesbytheKremlintoassertthesupremacyofRussianlawsover
internationaltreatiessignedbyRussiaanddisconnectthecountryfromtheInternetaresymbolicofthe
antimodernizationspiritthathaspermeatedRussianpoliticsandpolicymakingsincePutinsreturntothepresidency.

Putinhasraisedtheissueofeconomicmodernizationinhisspeechesrepeatedly.However,hisrecordinofficesincehis
accessiontothepresidencyin2000ofconsistent,step-by-step,deliberateconsolidationofpoliticalpowerand
economicleversinthehandsofthestateorasmallgroupofassociatescloselytiedtothestatespeaksmuchlouder
thanhiswords.Ifheweretobecomeamodernizerlateinhispoliticalcareer,itwouldbearadicaldeparturefrom
everythinghehasdoneuntilnow.

Increasingly,economicmodernizationinRussiarequirespoliticalmodernizationaswell,andashiftfromthesmall,
Kremlin-centeredoligarchytoamoreopeneconomicsystemwithstrongerruleoflaw,transparency,andadegreeof
competitiveness.Thatwillrequirereformsthatwouldchallengetheverypoliticalorderthatforthepastdecadeanda
halfhasservedasthefoundationofRussiandomesticstabilityandPutinspersonalpowerandhasitsrootsinthe
systemthatemergedsoonafterthebreakupoftheSovietUnion.Theoutlookforachangeofsuchmagnitudeisnot
encouragingfortheforeseeablefuture.

Underthepresentconstitutionalarrangement,andassumingPutinisreelectedin2018,hewillremaininofficeuntil
2024.Hewillbeseventy-onethenstillrelativelyyoungandquiteplausiblynotreadytodepartthepoliticalstage.The
prospectofPutinremainingatthehelmasfaras2030isquitereal,justastheprospectofhischangingcourseisquite
remote.

ThisisnottosaythatRussiawillcontinueindefinitelyalongitspresentglidepath.Theabsenceofreformsandlackof
progresstowardmodernizingthecountryspoliticalsystemandeconomyareboundtotaketheirtollonitseconomy,its
politics,anditsinternationalstanding.Thisisalmostcertaintotriggerdiscontinuitiespolitical,security,andeconomic.
Thatsaid,anyattemptbyPutinorhissuccessortotacklethischallengeisfraughtwithsignificantrisksofdiscontinuity.
Inshort,Russiaisfacingadifficultdecadeoradecadeandahalf,regardlessofPutinscourse.

Theweaknessofandsevererestrictionsonoppositionpoliticalpartiesandcivicorganizationsvirtuallyprecludethe
possibilityofapowerfulstructuredchallengetothePutinregime.However,therestrictionsonorganizedpolitical
activitiescandolittletolimitspontaneousmanifestationsofdiscontentandgrassrootsactionsinresponsetoadeclining
standardofliving,actionsoflocalauthorities,orintercommunal,interracial,orinterconfessionaltensions.130The
growthofsuchprotestactivitiescould,overtime,developintoapersistentpattern,creatingopportunitiesforpolitical
challengestotheregime.Theregimesinabilityorunwillingnesstotackletheunderlyingeconomicpoliticaland
economicproblemscouldexacerbatethechallengeandthethreattothecountrysdomesticstability.

Inadditiontothechallengetothecountryspoliticalstability,thelonglistofproblemsfacingtheRussiangovernmentin
theconditionsofastagnanteconomyandshrinkingresourcesincludesthethreatofyetanotherdestabilizationinthe
NorthCaucasus,whererelativepeaceandstabilityhavebeenmaintainedthroughmassivefederaltransfersandcutsin
defensespending,socialprograms,science,education,andotherprograms.131Combinedwithlackofinvestmenteven
inthecriticalenergysector,thesecutsthreatencascadinglong-termeffectsontheeconomy,furtherunderminingits
abilitytoinnovate,diversify,andgrow,allofwhichpointtothesystemiccrisis.132

ChallengesAbroad

TomakemattersworseforRussianpolicymakers,theexternalenvironmenttheyarelikelytofacealongtheimmediate
peripheryofRussiaandbeyondpromisestobeequallychallenging.TheUkrainecrisishascompoundedthechallenges
RussiannationalsecurityexpertshavelongfearedintheEuro-Atlantictheater.Atthesametime,thebreakinrelations
withEuropeandtheUnitedStateshasnotresultedinnewpartnershipsoralliancesforRussiaelsewhere.Thishas
occurredatatimeofmajornewinstabilityintheinternationalarenaingeneralandinregionsnearRussiainparticular.

ASelf-FulfillingProphecyinEurope

InEurope,RussianthreatperceptionsandconcernsaboutNATOslowlymovingitsmilitarycapabilitiestowardits
bordersarebecomingaself-fulfillingprophecyintheaftermathoftheUkrainecrisis.If,priortotheannexationof
CrimeaandthewarineasternUkraine,Russiawasconsideredbytheallianceasapossible,albeitincreasinglyunlikely,
partner,thenRussianactionsinUkrainehaveputanendtosuchhopesforpartnershipandtransformedtherelationship
intoonethatisopenlyadversarial.133Thealliancescommitmentnottopermanentlystationsubstantialcombatforces
ontheterritoriesofnewmembersinthecurrentandforeseeablesecurityenvironmentdisappearedwiththeannexation
ofCrimea,theaggressionineasternUkraine,andRussianthreatsagainsttheBalticstatesandotherNATOmembers.

TheUkrainecrisishasspurredNATOtoproceedwithactionspreviouslyconsideredonlyremoteandunlikely
possibilities.InresponsetowhatseniorNATOofficialsdescribeasthemostdangerousthreattoEurope,NATOis
undertakingaseriesofstepsthatincludethestationingofU.S.andotherNATOtroopsandpre-positioningof
equipment,includingheavyU.S.equipment,inthefrontlinestatesfromtheBaltictotheBlackSeaplanningforand
trainingtodefendagainstRussianaggressionandestablishmentofrapidresponseandbroaderresponseforces.134
AndnowSweden,neutralfornearlytwocenturies,andFinland,neutralsince1948,arehavingactivedebatesabout
joiningthealliance.135

Further,theUkrainecrisishaspromptedcallsfromWesternmilitaryanalyststocounterRussianthreatstoEuropewith
theverysystemsthatRussianassessmentshavelonghighlightedasdestabilizingandmostthreateningintheeventofa
crisis.136Acombinationoflong-range,stealth,andprecisiontechnologies,ifdeployedbyNATOalliesinacrisis,would
bethefulfillmentofRussiandefenseplannersworstexpectations.

However,asidefromthepurelymilitarythreats,moreuncertaintyandpossiblyturmoilarelikelytoconfrontRussiainits
Westernstrategicdirection.ThebiggestchallengefacingRussiaalongitswesternfrontieristheunsettledconflictwith
Ukraine.RussianactionsinvolvingUkrainehaveservedasasourceoflong-term,deepenmitybetweentwocountries
thatpreviouslyhadexperiencednone.Furthermore,theyhavecreatedalong-termsourceofinstabilityinlieuofthe
predictable,ifstagnant,relationshipthathadexistedbetweenRussiaandUkraineforthequartercenturyfromthe
breakupoftheSovietUniontotheannexationofCrimea.

UkraineaProblemNeighbor

Ukrainesoutlookfortheforeseeablefuturecanbestbedescribedalongtwouneasytrajectoriesmuddlingthroughor
returningtoRussiasorbit.Thisbleakprospectisaproductofseveralcircumstances:thelegacyofSovietrule
combinedwiththemisruleofthefirstquartercenturyofindependencethatleftUkraineacorruptoligarchythe
depletedeconomybadlydamagedbytheconflictineasternUkraineandreformsthatwereneverimplementedandthe
lackofinterestintheWesttosupportUkrainewiththesamecommitmentEuropeandtheUnitedStatesmadeto
integratetheformerWarsawPactcountriesandBalticstatesintotheWesternpolitical,economic,andsecurity
structures.Inaddition,theconflictineasternUkraineislikelytobesettledonlyasfrozenratherthanresolved,thus
leavingapermanentwoundinUkrainesdomesticpolitics,economy,andsecurity.

Themuddling-throughscenariohasUkrainestayingonitspresentcourseofdifficult,haltingpoliticalandeconomic
reformsforthedurationofPresidentPetroPoroshenkostermuntil2019.ThisscenariohasUkrainemaking
intermittentprogressinthefollowingareas:someimprovementinitsinvestmentclimategradualstructuralreformsofthe
economy,especiallytheenergysectorandheavyindustrydecentralizationandsomecurbingofthepowerofoligarchs.
Allofthesechangespromisetobedifficultandpoliticallychallenging,threateningtounderminethegovernments
precariousstandinginthepollsandpossiblyleadingtoearlyparliamentaryelections,furthercomplicatingthe
governmentstask.Thisscenarioalsoentailsimplementingadifficultsecurity-sectorreform,reequippingthearmed
forces,andadaptingtoahostofEU-mandatedrequirementsthatmakeupUkrainesAssociationAgreementandfree-
tradeagreementwiththeEU.Thisisahighlyambitiousagendathatatbestcanbeonlypartlyfulfilled,evenbythemost
ambitiousreformersandwiththehelpofgenerousaid,whichisunlikelytomaterialize.Allthewhile,Ukrainewouldbe
underseverepressurefromRussia.

Thealternativescenarioentailsastalledreformeffort,growingpopulardiscontent,andgridlockintheparliament.
Together,thesewouldhaveaparalyzingeffectontheabilityofthegovernmenttofunction.TheInternationalMonetary
Fund(IMF)agreementwouldthenbejeopardized,leadingtoahaltinIMFassistancetoUkraine.Otherdonor
assistanceconditionedoncompliancewithIMFrequirementswouldalsobeimperiled.Thisturnofeventswould
precipitateanothercrisis,afailureoftherulingcoalitionandearlyparliamentaryandpossiblypresidentialelections
restoringtopoweralessreform-mindedleadershipandreturningUkrainetothedysfunctionaloligarch-dominatedstate
ithadbeeninpriortotheEuromaidanantigovernmentuprisingin20132014.Thisscenarioalsoentailsthenew
governmentsgradualaccommodationwithRussiainexchangeforfinancialsubsidiesintheformoffavorabletermsfor
gastradeorloans.TheaccommodationwithRussiawouldprovecontroversialwithmanyinUkraine,leadingtoa
dividedpolityandpermanentpoliticaltensions,polarization,andgovernmentdysfunction.

Ineitherscenario,fortheforeseeablefuture,Ukraineislikelytoremainafragilestatestrugglingwithdomesticreforms
andcaughtinatug-of-warbetweenRussiaandtheWest.NeitherRussianorEuropeandtheUnitedStatesislikelyto
countonUkraineasareliablepartner.ForbothRussiaandtheWest,Ukrainepromisestobeasourceofeconomic
andsecuritychallengesaswellasamajorsubjectoflong-termtensionsanddiscordintheirbilateralrelations.

BelarusanUnreliableAlly

Similarlycaughtinatug-of-warbetweenRussiaandtheWestisUkrainesnorthernneighborBelarus.Ruledbyawily
authoritarianleader,AleksandrLukashenko,formorethantwodecades,thecountryhassurvivedinlargemeasure
thankstoitsspecialrelationshipwithRussiaandhugesubsidiesfromMoscow,coupledwitharepressiveregimethat
hassucceededineliminatingormarginalizingallopposition.

SincethecrisisinUkraine,LukashenkohassoughttodistancehimselfsomewhatfromMoscowandrebuildbridgesto
theWest.HiseffortshavemetwithreciprocalstepsonthepartoftheEU.137SomeofthisoutreachtotheWestisno
doubtduetothediminishingeconomicprospectsinrelationswithRussiaandtheneedforeconomicassistancetokeep
theregimeafloat.138

Lukashenko,whoissixty-one,couldremaininofficeforanotherdecadeorlonger.Withhisskillatnavigatingbetween
RussiaandtheWestprovedoverthecourseoftwodecadesandhisholdonpowerunchallenged,hecouldcontinueto
maneuverbetweenthetwoopposingsidesforanequallylongtime.

ThegreatestriskforLukashenkoorhissuccessorisinarapprochementwiththeWestthatRussiawouldfind
threateningtoitsinterests.TheBelarusianborderisbarely300milesfromMoscow.Apro-Westerngovernmentin
MinskwouldundoubtedlybeseenbytheKremlininequallythreateningtermsasUkrainespursuitofanAssociation
AgreementwiththeEU,ifnotmoreso.BelarusiscloselyintegratedinRussiandefenseplanstocounterNATORussia
hasambitionsforfurtherintegrationandexpansionofitsmilitarypresencethere.139Lukashenkosstatedoppositionto
aRussianairbaseinBelarusislikelytobeseeninMoscowasasignthattheBelarusianleaderisnotareliableallyand
cannotbetrusted.140

AchangeinBelarussstrategicorientation,eitherasaresultofadeliberatedecisionbyLukashenkoorhissuccessor,or
asaconsequenceofadomesticupheaval,couldforcetheKremlinshandtolaunchyetanothermilitaryintervention.
ThistimeitwouldbedirectlyonRussiasborderwiththreeNATOmemberstatesLatvia,Lithuania,andPoland.

MoldovaMoreoftheSame?

Impoverished,smallMoldovahasneverrecoveredfromthelegacyofitsconflictfrozensince1992withthe
RussianminorityinbreakawayTransnistria.Thecountryhasbeenshakenbyrepeatedscandalsandpoliticalprotests
thathaveincapacitateditsgovernment.Moldovaremainsdividedbetweenthosewhoadvocateclosertieswith
Romania,fromwhichitslargepartwassplitoffin1940asaresultoftheMolotov-RibbentropPact,andthosewho
wantclosertieswithRussia.141

Moldovaspoliticshasbeendysfunctionalformostofitshistoryasanindependentstate.Thereislittleinthecountrys
currentpoliticaloreconomiclandscapeandoutlooktosuggestthatthenear-permanentgridlockislikelytochangeand
bereplacedbyabetter-functioninggovernmentthatwouldmovethecountryclosereithertoRomaniaandtheEUorto
Russia.Thepoliticalparalysisandeconomicstagnationarethereforelikelytocontinueindefinitely,astheyhavefor
muchofthepastquartercentury.

AnotherpossiblescenarioforMoldovaoverthenextdecadeoradecadeandahalfentailsagradualmigrationof
MoldovancitizenstoRomania,takingadvantageofRomaniasofferofpassports.Thiswouldeffectivelycontinuethe
trendofworking-ageMoldovansleavingtheirhomelandasguestworkerselsewhereinEuropeorinRussia.According
toWorldBankdata,between2011and2015,personalremittancesamountedtomorethan25percentofMoldovas
GDP.142RussiaseconomicslowdownislikelytoaffectMoldovanguestworkersthere,increasingpressurestomigrate
toEurope.RussiansanctionsagainstMoldovainretributionforitssigninganAssociationAgreementwiththeEUare
likelytofurtherrestrictMoldovanguestworkersaccesstoRussia,thusincreasingpressuresformigrationto
Romania.143ThiswouldineffectstimulateagradualhollowingoutofMoldovaanditsdefactointegrationwith
Romania.Aslongasthisprocessdoesnottriggeractionsleadingtoamoreformalintegrationandanadversereaction
fromRussia,thestatusquoinMoldovawouldremain.

FromaBuddingPartnershiptoHostilityWithTurkey

OneofRussiasmajorbreakthroughrelationshipsaftertheColdWarwaswithTurkey.Thetwohistoricalrivalsbuilta
newrelationshipbasedonrecognitionofmutualbenefits.144TurkeyquicklyemergedasamajordestinationforRussian
traders,tourists,andenergycompanies.TurkishcompaniesestablishedthemselvesintheRussianrealestate
developmentindustry,andTurkishagriculturalproducersfoundareadymarketfortheirexportsinRussia.145

DefyingthelegacyoftheColdWarandcenturiesofgeopoliticalrivalrypriortothat,RussiaandTurkeydevelopeda
partnershipthatseemeddestinedtogetstronger.Theirpartnershipwasbuoyedbytwoimportantfactors.First,both
countriesstruggledtofindtheirplaceinEurope,which,despitepromisesofpartnership,keptthematarmslength.The
otherfactorwastheblossomingpersonalrelationshipbetweenthetwocountriespresidents,PutinandRecepTayyip
Erdoan.Bothproudoftheirreputationsasstrongleaderstransformingtheircountries,bothincreasinglyaccusedof
authoritarianbehaviorathomeandcriticizedforitabroad,thetwopresidentsweredescribedinaWashingtonPost
articlesheadlineasmadeforeachother.146ThecivilwarinSyria,inwhichRussiahassupportedthegovernmentof
SyrianPresidentBasharal-AssadandTurkeyhassoughttooverthrowit,hasintroducedfrictionsintherelationship
betweenAnkaraandMoscowbutdidnotchangewhatPutindescribedasitsfriendlyandcooperativenature.147

TheRussian-Turkishrelationship,whichhadbeenfullofpromise
anddeliveredmuchtobothcountries,almostinstantlyrevertedto
itsoldadversarialrootswithnoprospectofimprovementinthe
foreseeablefuture.

ThemajorshiftinrelationsbetweenTurkeyandRussia,rekindlingtalkabouttheircenturies-oldgeopoliticalrivalry,
occurredinlateNovember2015,whenaTurkishF-16fightershotdownaRussianSu-24groundattackaircraft.148
TheTurkishgovernmentsaidatthetimethattheRussianaircrafthadviolatedTurkishairspaceaclaimdisputedbythe
Russiangovernment.PutindescribedTurkishactionsasastabinthebackandreferredtotheTurkishgovernmentas
accomplicesofterrorism.149PutinreportedlyrefusedtheTurkishpresidentsoutreachattempts,andtheRussian
governmentproceededtoimposeeconomicsanctionsonTurkey.150Arelationshipthathadbeenfullofpromisefor
bothcountriesanddeliveredsomuchtobothalmostinstantlyrevertedtoitsoldadversarialrootswithnoprospectof
improvementintheforeseeablefuture.151

InstabilityintheSouthCaucasus

HavingregainedCrimea,andwithitsecureditsholdontheBlackSeaFleetbaseinSevastopol,Russiahassealedthe
transformationoftheBlackSeaintoalong-termhostileenvironment.NoneoftheBlackSealittoralstatescanbe
countedonasapartnerbyRussianmilitaryplanners.AllexceptforUkraineandGeorgiaareNATOmembers.Kyiv
andTbilisiviewRussiaasanaggressorandthebiggestthreattotheirsurvivalasindependentandsovereignstates,and
bothhavemademembershipinthealliancethekeygoaloftheirnationalsecuritypolicies.ThesituationintheBlackSea
regionisfurtheraggravatedfromMoscowsstandpointbythebreakdowninRussian-Turkishrelationsfollowing
RussiasmilitarydeploymenttoSyriaandtheshootingdownoftheRussianaircraftbyTurkey.

ThesituationintheSouthCaucasusishardlymorereassuringforRussiandefenseplanners,albeitfordifferentreasons,
largelyunconnectedtoNATO.Theregion,hometothreefrozenconflictsinNagorno-Karabakh,Abkhazia,and
SouthOssetia,ishighlylikelytoundergomajorchangesasafunctionofitsinternaldynamicsanddevelopmentsaround
itinthenextfivetotenyears.

AmajordriverofchangeintheSouthCaucasuspromisestobeAzerbaijan.Hailedinthe1990sasasecularIslamic
countrywithamoderateauthoritarianregimepresidedoverbyarelativelytolerantpro-Westernleader,Azerbaijanalso
hadvasteconomicpotentialthankstoitsoilwealthandopennesstoforeignoilcompaniesinvestment.Little,ifany,of
thatpromisehasmaterialized.TherelativelybenignandconfidentdictatorshipofHeydarAliyevwasreplacedin2003
bythekleptocratic,increasinglyinsecure,andhighlyintolerantregimeofhissonIlham.Theregimesappealtothe
publicbasedonitsclaimofdeliveringameasureofwell-beinghasbeenerodedbythedeclineinthepriceofoilthathas
dealtasevereblowtoAzerbaijanseconomy.152Moreover,theprospectofdepletingitsmajoroildepositsthreatens
thecountrywiththelossofitscriticalsourceofrevenueatatimewhenitsalternativestrategyofpositioningitselfasa
keysupplierandtransithubofnaturalgashastocontendwiththesamefalloutfromthelowoilpriceenvironment.153

Theproteststhathaverockedthecountryastheeconomysputtersraisequestionsabouttheregimeslongevityand
abilitytosustaindomesticstability.Intheeventofaprolongedeconomicslumpcausedbylowoilprices,IlhamAliyevs
regimewouldhaveseveraloptions,noneofthemmutuallyexclusive:tocontinuetotightentherestrictionsonthe
oppositionandcivilsocietytotrytouseitsdecliningfinancialresourcestoaddressthemostpressingneedsandto
appealtonationalunityandpatriotismbyexploitingthethemeofNagorno-Karabakhandlaunchingamilitarycampaign
toregaintheoccupiedterritories.154

TheoutlookforAzerbaijancontainsbleakalternatives.Oneofthemisaninternaldestabilizationandlossofcontrolby
theregime.AnotherwouldberenewedconflictwithArmeniaoverNagorno-Karabakh.Athirdpossibilityentailsboth.

IlhamAliyevssuppressionofnotjustalloppositionbutnearlyallcivicorganizationsandmanifestationsofindependent
opinionhasunderminedAzerbaijanstieswithEuropeandtheUnitedStates.Asaresult,theWestwouldnothavethe
necessaryleveragetomoderatetheregimesbehaviordomesticallyorinternationally.155

ThefightingthatbrokeoutbetweenArmeniaandAzerbaijaninApril2016servedasagrimreminderofhowfragilethe
situationisalongtheirlineofcontact.Tomakemattersworse,acrisisinvolvingAzerbaijanandArmeniacoulddraw
intoitthreecriticalexternalactors:Russia,Turkey,andIran.Allthreehavemajorstakesintheregion.Russiaand
Turkeywouldverylikelybepittedagainsteachotherinthenewconflictsupportingtheirrespectiveclientstates.
InternalturmoilinAzerbaijanevenwithoutaconflictwithArmeniawouldalmostcertainlyinvolvemeddlingbyallthree
neighboringpowers,eachforitsownreasonsseekingtoexpanditsinfluenceinthecountry,whichtheyconsidertobe
ofcriticalgeopoliticalimportance.

AcrisisinvolvingAzerbaijanandArmeniacoulddrawintoitthree
criticalexternalactors:Russia,Turkey,andIran.

WithRussia,Turkey,andIrancompetingforinfluenceinAzerbaijan,thecountryandthesurroundingregioncould
experiencespilloversfromtheconflictandtheneighborsreactionstoit.ThesewouldalmostcertainlyaffectArmenia
andGeorgia,consideringtheboundarylinesdrawnwithoutregardtoethnicdivisions,andinfrastructureandsupply
routesthattraversetheentireregion.

Predictingtheoutcomeofthisturmoilisaninherentlydifficulttask.Russia,Iran,andTurkeyallhaveadvantagesand
disadvantagesintheirpursuitofinfluenceoverAzerbaijan.RussiaandIranhavetheadvantageofsharedborderswith
Azerbaijan,whileTurkeyhastheadvantageofethnickinshipandlong-terminvestmentintherelationshipwith
Azerbaijan.However,RussiahashadtodealwithitsowntroubledNorthCaucasusIranhastobemindfulofitsown
AzerbaijaniTurkishpopulationandTurkeywouldhavetocrossGeorgianorArmenianterritorytogettoAzerbaijan.
Allofthesearelikelytobecomplicatingfactorsfortheirinvolvementthere,thougheachofthesecomplicatingfactors
couldserveasarationaleforinterveninginAzerbaijaniturmoil.

TheturmoilcouldlastforyearsandbecomepartofthelargerturmoilintheMiddleEast,withIranandTurkeypitted
againsteachotherinSyria,Russian-TurkishrelationsattheirworstsincetheColdWar,andweapons,refugees,
militants,andillicitgoodscrossinginalldirections.TheCaucasusregionmaynotseestabilityreturnforadecadeor
longer.

Onceameasureofstabilityisrestored,theregion,boththeNorthandtheSouthCaucasus,maynotberecognizable,
withnewbordersandpossiblyevensomestatesdisappearingfromthemap.Theshapeoftheregionislikelytobe
determinedbydevelopmentsaroundtheregionRussiasowntrajectoryandabilitytosecuretheNorthCaucasus
TurkeysabilitytohandleitsKurdishproblemthefutureofIraqandtheconflictinSyria.Allofthesewillhavea
bearingontheCaucasusregion,whichisnolongerseparated,asitoncewas,fromtheGreaterMiddleEast.Whatis
clear,however,isthattheregionisheadingintoanuncertainfuturefullofdangersallofthatonRussiasdoorstep.

ATransitioninCentralAsia

CentralAsiaisinthemidstofabiggeopoliticalchangewhoseconsequencesforRussiaandEurasiaarelikelytobefelt
inthenextdecadeandbeyond.ThefirstquartercenturyofindependenceforthefivestatesofformerlySovietCentral
Asiawasatimeofestablishingtheirownstatehood,securingtheirsovereignty,andbuildinglinkstotheoutsideworld.
Formuchofthatperiod,theWest,andespeciallytheUnitedStates,playedakeyroleasasupporterofthefivestates
independence,sovereignty,andintegrationintotheinternationalarena.156

WiththeUnitedStatesandEuropelargelyout,Russianinfluence
down,andChinaascendantinCentralAsia,theregionisallbut
certaintoshiftitsgeopoliticalorientationfromtheWesttothe
East.

DuringthepostColdWarperiodoftheWestsdominance,thenewstatesintegrationintotheinternationalarenawas
toaverylargeextentequatedwithbuildingtiestoWesternstructurestheOrganizationforSecurityandCooperation
inEurope,theWorldBank,andtheIMF,aswellasNATOandtheEU.Moreover,thankstotheU.S.-ledcampaignin
Afghanistan,theWestservedasamajorsecurityprovidertoCentralAsiafornearlyadecadeandahalfafterthe
September11,2001,terroristattacks.Insum,forthefirstquartercenturyofCentralAsiasindependence,theWest
playedakeyroleinensuringtheregionssecurity.EvenRussia,asaEuropeanpower,albeitnotcontenttoseethe
UnitedStatesanditsNATOalliesinvolvedinitsjealouslyguardedbackyard,ineffectservedasaconnectionto
EuropeforCentralAsia.

Thatisnowchanging.TheUnitedStatesisactivelylookingtodisengagefromAfghanistan,orattheveryleastto
minimizeitsrolethere,whilemanyU.S.allieshavepulledtheirforcesoutofAfghanistanaltogether.TheWestsroleas
asecurityproviderforCentralAsiaisending.

Tradeandinvestmentflows,too,aredrivingCentralAsiatowardadifferentgravitationalpolefromtheWestChina.
ChinastradewithCentralAsiahasincreasedmorethanahundredfoldinthepastquartercenturyandpassedthe$50
billionmarkin2013.Chineseinvestmentinpipelines,roads,andenergyexplorationismeasuredinthetensofbillionsof
dollarsandisprojectedtogrowfurther,asChinaplansambitiousnewprojectsfortheregioninthenextdecade.Russia
hasbeenlosingtheeconomiccompetitionwithChinainCentralAsia,whiletheUnitedStatesandEuropebarely
registerastradepartners.157

WiththeUnitedStatesandEuropelargelyout,Russianinfluencedown,andChinaascendantinCentralAsia,theregion
isallbutcertainfortheforeseeablefuturetoshiftitsgeopoliticalorientationfromtheWest,towhichitwasleaning
duringthefirstquartercenturyofitsindependence,totheEast.Thisisboundtohavefar-reachingconsequencesforall
involved.

FortheCentralAsianstates,aswellasforRussiaandChina,thismeansthattheUnitedStateswillnolongerbe
providingsecurityfortheregion.AgreaterburdeninthisrespectwillfallontheCentralAsiastatesthemselves,aswell
asontheirimmediateneighbors,especiallyRussiaandChina.ThisraisesthequestionofRussiasabilitytoactasthe
regionssecuritymanagerforCentralAsiainlightofMoscowslimitedcapabilitiesandchallengeselsewhere,andof
Chinaswilltoengageintheregioninaroleithasbeenreluctanttoassume.Theresultofthischangewillbegreater
uncertaintyandpotentiallygreaterinstabilityfacingRussianplannersastheycontemplatethefutureoftheregionthat
theyhavelongviewedasamajorvulnerabilityontheirperiphery.ItseemsnothingisstableandsecureonRussias
thresholdanywhere,initsfrontyardoritsbackyard.
Conclusion

AttheendofthefirstquartercenturyafterthebreakupoftheSovietUnion,Russiaisathreattoitsneighborsandfeels
deeplythreatenedbythem.Itssenseofvulnerabilityandinferiorityvis--vistheWestislong-standinganddeep,andit
issurroundedbyavast,diverse,andturbulentregionwithamultitudeofpotentialcrisesthatholdoutthepossibilityof
escalatingintolargerconflicts.ThisunstablesituationinEuropesEastandEurasiaisaproductoftheinterplayoverthe
pasttwenty-fiveyearsofmultiplefactors,bothindigenoustotheirhomeregionsandresultingfromactionsofoutside
powersandexternaldevelopments.

ChiefamongthesefactorsisRussiasownevolutionfromaquietlydissenting,grumbling,butnonethelesslargelypassive
bystanderindevelopmentofthepostColdWarEuro-Atlanticsecurityarchitectureintoitsactiveopponentandastate
capableofprojectingpowerarounditsperipheryandassertingitselfbeyonditsimmediateneighborhoodindefenseof
itsinterests.Aseriesofeventsthe2008Russian-GeorgianWar,the2014annexationofCrimeaandthewarin
easternUkraine,theemergenceofsecuritythreatstotheBaltics,theeconomicstormsbuffetingRussiasneighborsfrom
MoldovatoTajikistanillustrateshowmuchswayRussiacontinuestoholdoverthesecurityandwell-beingofthe
post-Sovietstates,nomatterhowmuchtheyhavetriedtoleavethatlabelbehindandbreakoutoftheRussiansphere
ofinfluence.

Russia,inotherwords,remainstheessentialsecuritypillarinEasternEuropeandEurasia.Astable,prosperous,secure,
andfriendlyRussiaisfarmorelikelytobeasourceofthesametoitsneighborsthanthealternativeaninsecure,
unstable,andstrugglingRussia,whichhascastalonganddarkshadowoverthem.

UnfortunatelyforRussiasneighborsandfortheirfriends,allies,andpartners,theprospectofastable,prosperous,
secure,andfriendlyRussiaisremote.Theoutlookforthecountryfortheforeseeablefutureisbleakabsentmajor
reforms,whereassuchreformsappearunlikely.

NowhereisthesenseofpessimismaboutRussiasprospectsmoreacutethaninsideRussiaitself.ItpermeatesRussian
assessmentsofthecountryseconomicconditionandprospects,itspoliticalstability,anditsmilitaryinrelationtothe
threatsandchallengestoitssecurity.Foremostamongthesesecuritythreats,intheviewofRussiandefenseexperts,is
NATO,followedcloselybyfragilestatesaroundRussiasperiphery.

Thetransatlanticsecurityorderintendedasaframeworkforbringingunity,security,andstabilitytoallofEurope,
includingRussia,isseenbyitssecurityestablishmentastheprincipalchallengetoitssecurityandstability,intendedto
exploititsmanyvulnerabilities.ThisassessmentofWesternmotivesandactionsresultingfromthemhasenduredwith
remarkableconsistencyintheRussiannationalsecuritynarrativesincetheearliestdaysofthepost-SovietRussianstate
tothepresent.ItisthedominantviewinMoscowsnationalsecurityestablishmentwithnodissentingvoicesofany
consequence.

EquallyenduringandwidespreadamongRussianelitesandexpertsistheperceptionofRussiasdeepinferiority
economically,militarilyvis--vistheWest.ThecombinationofRussiasinsecurityanditsperceptionoftheWests
hostilitytoithasbeentheprincipaldriverofRussiansecuritypolicy.TherejectionofexpansionbyNATOandtheEU
intocountriesapparentlygenuinelyviewedbyRussianpolicymakersaswithintheirsphereofprivilegedinterests,
coupledwiththefearoftheWesternsecurityandpoliticalorderapproachingRussiasborders,wasthekeymotivator
behindthewarwithGeorgiaandtheundeclaredwaragainstUkraine.ThisunderlyingRussianworldviewisunlikelyto
changeintheforeseeablefuture.

TheemergingnewsecurityorderwithNATOrethinkingitspostColdWarpostureforthefirsttimeinaquarter
centuryandrebuildingitsdeterrentcapabilitiesandwithRussiabuildingupitsmilitarycapabilitiesalongitswestern
borderisunstableandunpredictable.BothRussiaandtheWestfeelinsecureandcompelledtodomore,raisingthe
risksofanescalatorydynamicinthenameofdefenseanddeterrence.

NothingjustifiesRussiasundeclaredwaragainstUkraine,whichviolatedmultipleRussianinternationalcommitments
andhastriggeredtheworstpoliticalandsecuritycrisisinEuropeinageneration.However,indevisingtheirresponseto
Russianactions,WesternpolicymakersshouldbeclearaboutthedriversandmotivationsofRussianactionsthe
insecurityandperceptionofvulnerabilityasregardstheWest,ingrainedinRussiasnationalsecurityestablishmentfora
generation.WesternpolicymakersshouldalsobeclearthatMoscowhasneveracceptedtheargumentthatthe
expansionofWesterninstitutionswasmeantasamovetowarditratherthanagainstit.

WesterndiscussionsaboutthenewlydiscoveredvulnerabilityofNATOalliesthatborderRussia,especiallytheBaltic
states,mustnotoverlookthefactthattheBalticstatesmembershipinNATOhasmeanttoRussianmilitaryplanners
thatNATO,stillseenasahostilealliance,isnowonly100milesfromSaintPetersburg,andthatthecurrentbuildupof
NATOcapabilitiesintheBalticstatesisoccurringlessthanatwo-hourdrivefromRussiassecondmostimportantcity.
Westernpolicymakersshouldhavenoillusionsthatthebuildupofdefenseanddeterrentcapabilitiesinthefrontline
stateswillhaveastabilizingeffectonthestandoffbetweenNATOandRussia.ThebuildupofRussiananti-accessand
area-denial(A2/AD)capabilitiesinCrimeaandKaliningradandthreatstodeploynuclearweaponstherearestrong
indicatorsthattensionswillincreaseratherthansubsideintheseregions.158

Inthiscontext,themostdisturbingaspectofthisrenewedadversarialrelationshipisthereturnofthespecterofnuclear
wartotheEuropeancontinent.Russiaslong-standingperceivedinferiorityvis--visNATOsconventionalcapabilities
andtheirproximitytotheRussianheartlandhavegivenrisetoamilitarystrategythatassignsacriticalroletolimited
nuclearstrikesearlyinaconflictasameansofthwartingNATOsconventionaldominanceandendingtheconflict
beforeitresultsindevastatinglossestotheheartland.Defenseofthehomelandhastakenonenhancedprioritybecause
afterthelossoftheouterandinnerempiresandtheexpansionofNATO,ithasbecometheforwardareainanyfuture
conflictbetweenRussiaandNATO.

Needlesstosay,anyuseofnuclearweaponswillbeadecisionmadebyRussiaspoliticalleadership,andexpert
writingsaboutearlynuclearuseshouldnotbetreatedasareliableindicatoroffutureRussianactions.Nonetheless,the
prominenceofnuclearweaponsinRussianstrategicthoughtisindicativeofthecountrysperceivedvulnerabilitiesand
intensityoftheadversarialrelationshipwiththeWest.

FortheUnitedStatesanditsallies,thisposesadauntingchallengehowtorespondtoRussianactionsinamanner
thatensuresacredible,robustdeterrentposturethatisstabilizinganddoesnotfeedRussiasworstperceptionsofits
ownvulnerabilities.RelianceonnucleardeterrenceinthiscontextcouldproveescalatoryandreinforceRussianmilitary
plannersnuclearleanings,whilerelianceonconventionalmeanswouldunderscoreRussiasperceivedvulnerabilities.

NowherewilltheadversarialrelationshipbetweenRussiaandthe
WestplayoutwithgreaterintensitythaninEasternEurope.

NowherewilltheadversarialrelationshipbetweenRussiaandtheWestplayoutwithgreaterintensitythaninEastern
EuropethestatesoftheformerSovietUnionthathavenotjoinedtheEuro-Atlanticpolitical,economic,andsecurity
institutionsandareunwillingtojointheRussian-dominatedcounterpartEurasianstructures.Armenia,Azerbaijan,
Belarus,Georgia,Moldova,andUkrainehavebecomethebattlegroundstates,toonedegreeoranotherpulledin
differentdirectionsinthegeopoliticaltug-of-warbetweenRussiaandtheWest.

Much,ifnotmost,oftheattentionfollowingRussiasaggressionagainstUkrainehasbeenfocusedontheBalticstates
astheNATOalliesmostexposedandvulnerabletoRussianattack.Balticdefenseisundoubtedlyamajorchallengefor
thealliance.However,Russianactionsbefore,during,andsincetheaggressionagainstUkrainesuggestthatMoscow
stilltakesNATOsArticle5securityguaranteeofitsmembersseriouslyandthatitisnotpreparedtotestthatguarantee
directly.Rather,itsactionsinformationandcyberoperations,airspaceviolations,nuclearsaberrattling,andthelike
appearaimedatcreatinganairofuncertaintyaboutthatguaranteeandunderminingmemberstatesconfidenceinit.
RussianleadershavedemonstratedtwicebytheiractionsinGeorgiain2008andinUkrainesince2014thatthey
takethatguaranteeseriously.Russianleaderswenttowartwicetopreventthetwocountriesfrommovingclosertothe
WestandeventuallyastheysawitjoiningNATO.

TheexperiencesofUkraineandGeorgiahaveprofoundimplicationsforthesixbattlegroundstates.LackingNATOs
securityguarantee,theyremaininwhatMoscowperceivesasitssphereofprivilegedinterests.Itispreparedtouseall
availablemeans,includingmilitaryforce,tokeeptheminthatsphere.AslongastheWestisnotpreparedtoconsign
thesestatestotheRussiansphere,theybecomethearenaforEast-Westcompetition.

Despitethisadversarialrelationship,inmanyinstances,theUnitedStatesanditsallieswillhavenochoicebutto
cooperatewithRussia,oratleastseekitsconsenttopursuetheirinterestsinEurasia.Besidestheobviousexamplesof
Syria,Afghanistan,ornucleartalkswithIran,inallofwhichRussiahasplayedanimportantpart,futureexamplesof
suchsituationsmayinvolvecontingenciesinEasternEurope,theSouthCaucasus,orCentralAsia.Inallofthose
locations,whetherforreasonsofgeography,politics,oreconomics,theUnitedStatesanditsallieswillneedtoget
Russiaonboardtobeabletorespondtonaturaldisasters,humanitariancrises,regionalconflicts,orotherunforeseen
events.
AbsentmajorchangesinoutlookonthepartofeitherRussiaor
NATO,thisadversarialrelationshipwillremainthekeyfeatureof
theEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderfortheforeseeablefuture.

Moreover,evenintimeswhencircumstancesforceRussiaandtheWesttocooperate,Russiaislikelytosustainits
otherdestabilizingbehaviors.Theuseofmeasuresshortofwareconomicleversinstatesthatarevulnerable,suchas
Bulgaria,Cyprus,orGreeceandbribery,blackmail,infiltrationofintelligenceoperatives,andanassortmentofother
tacticswillbepartofthetoolkitdeployedbyRussianpolicymakersintimesofcrisis,aswellasinpeacetimeaspartof
thenormalcontinuationofwarfarebyothermeans.

Russiasrelianceontheseformsofcompetitionshortofoutrightwarfareisfullyjustifiedintheeyesofthecountrys
securityestablishmentasasymmetricmeanswarrantedbytheperceivedRussia-NATOimbalance.Russianrelianceon
themandtheintensityofitsoppositiontotheEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderareunlikelytodiminishifitseconomic
prospectsordomesticstabilityerode.Onthecontrary,suchreliancemaybecomeevengreaterasotherinstrumentsin
itstoolkitbecomescarcer.

AsseenfromRussia,theenvironmentinEuropeandEurasiahasleftMoscowwithoutreliablepartners,letaloneallies.
NATOsexpansionhaspositionedthealliance,viewedbyRussianelitesasadversarial,onthecountrysdoorstep,far
closerthanithaseverbeen.TheothersideofthiscoinisthatRussiaisonNATOsdoorstepasithasneverbeen
before.Theresultisastateofprofoundmutualinsecurity.AbsentmajorchangesinoutlookonthepartofeitherRussia
orNATO,thisadversarialrelationshipwillremainthekeyfeatureoftheEuro-Atlanticsecurityorderfortheforeseeable
future.Eventually,itwilltakeapolitical,notamilitary,solutiontoaddressthesetensions.

Notes
1AEuropeWholeandFree,transcriptofremarksbyPresidentGeorgeH.W.BushtothecitizensinMainz,
FederalRepublicofGermany,U.S.DiplomaticMissiontoGermany,May31,1989,
http://usa.usembassy.de/etexts/ga6-890531.htm.

2DmitriTrenin,TheCrisisinCrimeaCouldLeadtheWorldIntoaSecondColdWar,Guardian,March2,2014,
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/02/crimea-crisis-russia-ukraine-cold-war.

3ThisissueisdiscussedindetailinRajanMenonandEugeneRumer,ConflictinUkraine:TheUnwindingofthe

PostColdWarOrder(Cambridge,MA:MITPress,2015).

4OrganizationforSecurityandCooperationinEurope(OSCE),HelsinkiFinalAct,August1,1975,
http://www.osce.org/mc/39501.

5OSCE,CharterofParisforaNewEurope,November21,1990,http://www.osce.org/node/39516.

6EuropeanUnion,TreatyofMaastrichtonEuropeanUnion,February7,1992,http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-
content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:xy0026.

7,:,

,281992,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/31532.

8Ibid.

9YevgeniyAmbartsumov,InteresyRossiiNeZnayutGranits[Russianinterestsknownoborders],Megapolis-
Express,May6,1992.

10AleksandrVladislavlevandSergeyKaraganov,TyazhkiyKrestRossii[Russiasheavycross],Nezavisimaya
Gazeta,November11,1992.

11TimothyHeritage,Grachev:NATOGrowthaThreat,MoscowTimes,March28,1996,

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/grachev-nato-growth-a-threat/326450.html.

12JanePerlez,YeltsinUnderstandsPolishBidforaRoleinNATO,NewYorkTimes,August26,1993,
http://www.nytimes.com/1993/08/26/world/yeltsin-understands-polish-bid-for-a-role-in-nato.html.

13RogerCohen,YeltsinOpposesExpansionofNATOinEasternEurope,NewYorkTimes,October2,1993,

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/02/world/yeltsin-opposes-expansion-of-nato-in-eastern-europe.html.

14Ibid.

15JamestownFoundation,ChubaisDemandsCompensationforNATOEnlargement,Monitor3,no.84(April

1997).

16SamuelHuntington,TheClashofCivilizationsandtheRemakingofWorldOrder(NewYork:Simon&

Schuster,1996)ZbigniewBrzezinski,TheGrandChessboard:AmericanPrimacyandItsGeostrategic
Imperatives(NewYork:BasicBooks,1997).

17DouglasJ.Gillert,AfterJumping,BattalionLearnstoCrawl,DoDNews,U.S.DepartmentofDefense,October

1,1997.

18ModestKolerov,BezSSSR[WithouttheUSSR](Moscow:Regnum,2008).

19Http://www.pressarchive.ru/nijegorodskie-novosti/1999/08/21/135100.html(pagediscontinued).

20:,,

,172015,http://glavred.info/mir/zhurnalist-rf-o-motivacii-putina-pomnit-sudby-miloshevicha-kaddafi-i-
dedushki-pinocheta-323242.html.

21CelesteA.Wallander,RussianNationalSecurityPolicyin2000(PONARS[ProgramonNewApproachesto

RussianSecurity]PolicyMemo102,DavisCenterforRussianStudies,HarvardUniversity,2000)NikolaiSokov,
TheViewsoftheMilitaryLeadership,inModernizationofStrategicNuclearWeaponsinRussia:TheEmergingNew
Posture(PONARSWorkingPaperNo.6,DavisCenterforRussianStudies,HarvardUniversity,May1998).

22GrossDomesticProduct:Russia19902014,WorldMacroeconomicResearch,19702014,

http://www.kushnirs.org/macroeconomics_/en/russia__gdp.html.

23PutinsPreparedRemarksat43rdMunichConferenceonSecurityPolicy,WashingtonPost,February12,2007,

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/12/AR2007021200555.html.

24UweKlumann,MatthiasSchepp,andKlausWiegrefe,NATOsEastwardExpansion:DidtheWestBreakIts

PromisetoMoscow?,SpiegelOnline,November26,2009,http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nato-s-
eastward-expansion-did-the-west-break-its-promise-to-moscow-a-663315.html.

25MaryEliseSarotte,ABrokenPromise?WhattheWestReallyToldMoscowAboutNATOExpansion,Foreign

Affairs,September/October2014,http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2014-08-11/broken-promise.

26SergeyLavrov,Democracy,InternationalGovernance,andtheFutureWorldOrder,RussiainGlobalAffairs,

no.1(February9,2005):http://eng.globalaffairs.ru/number/n_4422.

27CheneyChidesRussiaonDemocracy,BBC,May4,2006,http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4972464.stm.

28StevenErlanger,Putin,atNATOMeeting,CurbsCombativeRhetoric,NewYorkTimes,April5,2008,

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/05/world/europe/05nato.htmlTextofPutinsSpeechatNATOSummit(Bucharest,
April2,2008),UnianInformationAgency,April18,2008,http://www.unian.info/world/111033-text-of-putins-
speech-at-nato-summit-bucharest-april-2-2008.html.

29MedvedevonRussiasInterests,Economist,September1,2008,

http://www.economist.com/blogs/certainideasofeurope/2008/09/medvedev_on_russias_interests.

30ChristianLowe,GeorgiaWarShowsRussianArmyStrongbutFlawed,Reuters,August20,2008,

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-georgia-ossetia-military-idUSLK23804020080820.
31RussianMilitaryCapability,FOI(SwedishDefenceResearchAgency),http://www.foi.se/en/Our-

Knowledge/Security-policy-studies/Russia/Russian-Military-Capability/.

32DmitryMedvedevsBuildingProject,Economist,November26,2009,

http://www.economist.com/node/14973198.

33UkrainesParliamentVotestoAbandonNatoAmbitions,BBC,June3,2010,
http://www.bbc.com/news/10229626.

34DavidM.HerszenhornandEllenBarry,LargeAnti-PutinProtestSignalsGrowingResolve,NewYorkTimes,

June12,2012,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/world/europe/anti-putin-demonstrators-gather-in-moscow.html
HundredsDetainedAfterMoscowAnti-PutinProtest,Guardian,March5,2012,
http://www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2012/mar/05/russian-election-reaction-putin-liveRussianPresidentDmitry
MedvedevAdmitsPoliticalReformNecessary,Telegraph,December22,2011,
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8972807/Russian-President-Dmitry-Medvedev-admits-
political-reform-necessary.html.

35Russia,SovietStyle,NewYorkTimes,June12,2012,http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/13/opinion/russia-

soviet-style.html.

36KarounDemirjian,MeanwhileinRussia,PutinPassesLawAgainstProtests,WashingtonPost,July22,2014,

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/07/22/meanwhile-in-russia-putin-passes-law-against-
protests/MiriamElder,RussiansFearCrackdownasHundredsAreArrestedAfterAnti-PutinProtest,Guardian,
March6,2012,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/mar/06/russians-crackdown-anti-putin-protestKathyLally
andKarenDeYoung,PutinAccusesClinton,U.S.ofFomentingElectionProtests,WashingtonPost,December8,
2011,http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/putin-accuses-clinton-us-of-stirring-election-
protests/2011/12/08/gIQA0MUDfO_story.html.

37D.GarrisonGolubock,CultureMinistryAffirmsRussiaIsNotEurope,MoscowTimes,April7,2014,
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts_n_ideas/article/culture-ministry-affirms-russia-is-not-europe/497658.html.

38VladimirPutin,ANewIntegrationProjectforEurasia:TheFutureintheMaking,Izvestia,October3,2011,as
reprintedbythePermanentMissionoftheRussianFederationtotheEuropeanUnion,
http://www.russianmission.eu/en/news/article-prime-minister-vladimir-putin-new-integration-project-eurasia-future-
making-izvestia-3-.

39Ibid.

40EuropeanNeighbourhoodPolicy(ENP),EuropeanUnionexternalaction,http://eeas.europa.eu/enp/.

41OleksandrSushko,AForkintheRoad?UkraineBetweenEUAssociationandtheEurasianCustomsUnion

(PONARSEurasiaPolicyMemoNo.293,September2013)tefanFle,StatementonthePressureExercisedby
RussiaonCountriesoftheEasternPartnership,pressrelease,EuropeanCommission,September11,2013.

42AlexandraMcLeesandEugeneRumer,SavingUkrainesDefenseIndustry,CarnegieEndowmentfor

InternationalPeace,July30,2014,http://carnegieendowment.org/2014/07/30/saving-ukraine-s-defense-industry.

4316%ofNaturalGasConsumedinEuropeFlowsThroughUkraine,U.S.EnergyInformationAdministration,
March14,2014,http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=15411.

44JudyDempsey,U.S.SenatorUrgesUseofNATODefenseClauseforEnergy,InternationalHeraldTribune,
November28,2006,http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/28/world/europe/28iht-nato.3702073.html.

45Formoreonthis,seeMenonandRumer,ConflictinUkraine.

46DanLamothe,RussiaIsGreatestThreattotheU.S.,SaysJointChiefsChairmanNomineeGen.JosephDunford,
WashingtonPost,July9,2015,http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/07/09/russia-is-greatest-
threat-to-the-u-s-says-joint-chiefs-chairman-nominee-gen-joseph-dunford/.

47JulianE.Barnes,NATOsBreedloveCallsforSharperFocusonRussiaAheadofDeparture,WallStreet

Journal,May1,2016,http://www.wsj.com/articles/natos-breedlove-calls-for-sharper-focus-on-russia-ahead-of-
departure-1462115561TheodoreSchleiferandJimSciutto,TopArmyLeader:RussiaIsMostDangerousThreat
FacingU.S.,CNN,August12,2015,http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/12/politics/russia-army-leader-dangerous-
odierno/.

48TheRussianNavy:AHistoricTransition,OfficeofNavalIntelligence,December18,2015,

http://news.usni.org/2015/12/18/document-office-of-naval-intelligence-report-on-russian-navy.

49,,,,,152016,
http://www.ng.ru/courier/2016-02-15/9_friends.html.

50,,112015,
http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/50913.

51,,312015,
http://kremlin.ru/acts/news/51129.

52,:

,,102015,http://www.ng.ru/news/519934.html?print=Y.

53NATO-RussiaRelations:TheFacts,NorthAtlanticTreatyOrganization,lastupdatedDecember17,2015,

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_111767.htm.

54,,,232014,

http://rg.ru/2014/04/23/karaganov-site.html.

55RussianNationalSecurityStrategy,December2015Full-TextTranslation,InstitutoEspaoldeEstudios

Estratgicos,December31,2015,http://www.ieee.es/Galerias/fichero/OtrasPublicaciones/Internacional/2016/Russian-
National-Security-Strategy-31Dec2015.pdf.

56Transcript:InterviewWithSergeiIvanov,FinancialTimes,June21,2015,http://next.ft.com/content/b81bbd70-
17f0-11e5-a130-2e7db721f996.

57,,,222015,http://m.rg.ru/2015/12/22/patrushev-
site.html.

58,:,
(),232015,http://svop.ru//lectorium/18389/.

59,,.,29,2015,

http://lenta.ru/articles/2015/12/29/alone/,:
.

60,.

61,.

,,302015,http://www.ng.ru/editorial/2015-12-
30/1_otredaktora.html.

62,:.

63,:,,15
2016,http://www.vedomosti.ru/economics/articles/2016/01/15/624167-gref-rossiya.

64,2023-:,,21
2015,http://www.rbc.ru/opinions/economics/21/12/2015/567799949a79478889fd54ee
,http://svop.ru.

653.,,302015,

http://www.ng.ru/economics/2015-12-30/4_import.html.

66,:,,

,252015,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/28148.

67:,,22

2016,http://tass.ru/ekonomika/3303885,,,29
2016,http://kommersant.ru/doc/2975531.

68,,,182015,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/24284.

69Ibid.

70NATOCondemnsPutinsNuclearSabre-Rattling,BBC,June16,2015,http://www.bbc.com/news/world-
europe-33153703AdamWithnall,RussiaThreatensDenmarkWithNuclearWeaponsifItTriestoJoinNATO
DefenceShield,Independent,March22,2015.

71DavidLermanandTerryAtlas,RussiasSaber-RattlingThreatensStability,U.S.Says,Bloomberg,June25,
2015,http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-threatens-denmark-with-nuclear-weapons-if-it-tries-
to-join-nato-defence-shield-10125529.html.

72,,,

,272015,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2015-11-27/1_stairway.html.

73MaryC.Fitzgerald,MarshalOgarkovonModernWar:19771985,ProfessionalPaper443.10,Centerfor

NavalAnalyses,revisedNovember1986.

74DoctorStrangeloveDoomsdayMachine,YouTubevideo,postedbyliberalartist6,July31,2010,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yfXgu37iyI.

75RussiaRevealsGiantNuclearTorpedoinStateTVLeak,BBC,November12,2015,

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34797252.

76,,-,252015,http://vpk-
news.ru/articles/24405.

77DavidE.Hoffman,In1983WarScare,SovietLeadershipFearedNuclearSurpriseAttackbyU.S.,
WashingtonPost,October24,2015,http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-1983-war-scare-
soviet-leadership-feared-nuclear-surprise-attack-by-us/2015/10/24/15a289b4-7904-11e5-a958-
d889faf561dc_story.html.

78Forathoroughdiscussionofthis,seePavelPodvig,DidStarWarsHelpEndtheColdWar?SovietResponseto

theSDIProgram(workingpaper,RussianNuclearForcesProject,March17,2013).

79:,,18

2015,http://ria.ru/interview/20150218/1048334517.html.

80Ibid.

81,,-,13

2014,http://www.vko.ru/strategiya/v-poiskah-strategicheskoy-stabilnosti.

82,,

,282012,http://nvo.ng.ru/armament/2012-09-28/11_satan.html.
83,-,282013,http://vpk-
news.ru/news/16557.

84Ibid,,.,182004,
http://polit.ru/article/2004/11/18/slipch/,
,,2013,http://www.intertrends.ru/thirty-second/Volodin.pdf
...,Viperson.ru,30
2012,http://viperson.ru/wind.php?ID=652675.

85,
,:
,-,,,202020.,
http://www.armscontrol.ru/pubs/em092012.htm.

86,,,-,13
2014,http://www.vko.ru/geopolitika/ugrozy-bezopasnosti-rossii.

87,,,-,-
,212015,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/27617.

88Ibid.

89RussiaHasDeliveredOver1,000AirstrikesinSyriaSinceStartofYearGeneral,TASS,January11,2016,

http://tass.ru/en/defense/848749.

90,,,232014,
http://www.ng.ru/armies/2014-09-23/1_rogozin.html.

91StepanKravchenko,PutinTellsDefenseChiefstoStrengthenRussianNuclearForces,Bloomberg,December
11,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-11/putin-tells-defense-chiefs-to-strengthen-russian-
nuclear-forces.

92,,

,122014,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2014-09-12/1_oborona.html.

93,:4202,
,,222015,
http://www.mk.ru/politics/2015/07/22/istochnik-rossiya-ispytyvaet-giperzvukovoy-obekt-4202-kotoryy-obescenit-
amerikanskuyu-pro.html.

94,-.,,
162014,http://www.ng.ru/armies/2014-12-16/3_kartblansh.html.

95,:4202,

,,222015,
http://www.mk.ru/politics/2015/07/22/istochnik-rossiya-ispytyvaet-giperzvukovoy-obekt-4202-kotoryy-obescenit-
amerikanskuyu-pro.html.

96PetrTopychkanov,IsRussiaAfraidofChineseandIndianMissiles?CarnegieMoscowCenter,November3,
2014,http://carnegie.ru/2014/11/03/is-russia-afraid-of-chinese-and-indian-missiles.

97,Newsru.com,42015,
http://www.newsru.com/russia/04jul2015/midnukes.html.

98,,,3
2014,http://nvo.ng.ru/nvo/2014-10-03/1_strike.html.
99,,,-,27
2016,http://vpk-news.ru/articles/30420.

100:,
-,282013,http://file-rf.ru/context/2324.

101Ibid.

102,,

,152016,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2016-01-15/10_infowar.html.

103:,
-,282013,http://file-rf.ru/context/2324.

104ThedoctrineoftheRussianFederationInformationSecurity(inRussian),
http://www.scrf.gov.ru/documents/6/5.html.

105:,,13

2013,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2001-12-26/1_war.html.

106,,312015,
http://kremlin.ru/acts/news/51129.

107AgenceFrance-Presse,VladimirPutinWarnsRussianstoAvoidGoogle:TheInternetIsaCIASpecialProject,
RawStory,April24,2014,http://www.rawstory.com/2014/04/vladimir-putin-warns-russians-to-avoid-google-the-
internet-is-a-cia-special-project/RussiaandChinaWantMoreControlOvertheInternet,Stratfor,August14,2015,
http://www.stratfor.com/sample/analysis/russia-and-china-want-more-control-over-internet.

108,:,

,212016,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/04/21/ru-63383/ixdw,
,,32015,http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2781186.

109,,122016,http://www.ng.ru/editorial/2016-
02-12/2_red.htmlRussiasChiefInternetCensorEnlistsChinasKnow-How,FinancialTimes,April27,2016.

110,.,,1
2016,http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/02/01/ru-62632/itei.

111MasterCard,VisaNowProcessRussianPaymentsThroughSanction-ProofSystem,MoscowTimes,May28,

2015,http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/mastercard-visa-now-process-russian-payments-through-
sanction-proof-system/522576.html.

112TASS,RussiaMayUseChinasPaymentInfrastructureInsteadofSWIFTVTBBankHead,RussiaBeyond
theHeadlines,March11,2015,
http://in.rbth.com/news/2015/03/11/russia_may_use_chinas_payment_infrastructure_instead_of_swift_vtb_bank_h_41911.

113RussiaBrainstormsStrategytoReplaceBannedWesternDefenseImports,MoscowTimes,August14,2014,
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/russia-brainstorms-strategy-to-replace-banned-western-defense-
imports/505133.html.

114PutinsDeoffshorizationBringsMajorFirmsBacktoTaxman,MoscowTimes,December20,2013,
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/putins-deoffshorization-brings-major-firms-back-to-
taxman/491910.html.

115UriFriedman,SmartSanctions:AShortHistory,ForeignPolicy,April23,2012,
http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/04/23/smart-sanctions-a-short-history/.

116RobinNiblett,NATOMustFocusontheHybridWarsBeingWagedontheWest,FinancialTimes,July17,
2014,http://next.ft.com/content/3192c7a0-0cd2-11e4-bf1e-00144feabdc0JohnVandiver,SACEUR:AlliesMust
PrepareforRussiaHybridWar,StarsandStripes,September4,2014,http://www.stripes.com/news/saceur-allies-
must-prepare-for-russia-hybrid-war-1.301464.

117Vandiver,HybridWar.

118,(:,2015),
http://lib100.com/book/other/hybrid_war/_%D0%9C%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B2
%D0%A1.%D0%90.,%D0%93%D0%B8%D0%B1%D1%80%D0%B8%D0%B4%D0%BD%D0%B0%D1%8F
%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%B9%D0%BD%D0%B0%D0%BF%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%82%D0%B8%D0%B2
%D0%A0%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D0%B8.pdf,
,-,182016,
http://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2961578:
,.,242015,http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=2529147.

119,,,142014,http://topwar.ru/56079-
gibridnaya-voyna.html,:
(II),,132015,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2015-
03-13/1_gybrid2.html,:,
,222016,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2014-10-10/1_nato.html.

120,:,,22
2016,http://nvo.ng.ru/concepts/2014-10-10/1_nato.html.

121,,,302015,http://topwar.ru/75928-mif-
o-gibridnoy-voyne.html.

122Ibid.

123ShaunWalker,AlexisTsiprasinMoscowAsksEuropetoEndSanctionsAgainstRussia,Guardian,April8,

2015,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/08/alexis-tsipras-in-moscow-asks-europe-to-end-sanctions-
against-russiaGeorgiGotev,BulgarianParliamentAlmostRejectedtheEUSanctionsAgainstRussia,EurActiv,
October8,2015,http://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/bulgarian-parliament-almost-rejected-the-eu-
sanctions-against-russia/.

124IvoOliveira,NationalFrontSeeksRussianCashforElectionFight,PoliticoEurope,February19,2016,
http://www.politico.eu/article/le-pen-russia-crimea-putin-money-bank-national-front-seeks-russian-cash-for-election-
fight/.

125MelanieAmannetal.,TheHybridWar:RussiasPropagandaCampaignAgainstGermany,SpiegelOnline,
January30,2016,http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/putin-wages-hybrid-war-on-germany-and-west-a-
1075483.htmlTheCzechsandRussia:SpyVersusPolitician,Economist,October29,2014,
http://www.economist.com/blogs/easternapproaches/2014/10/czechs-and-russiaGregoryFeiferandBrian
Whitmore,CzechPowerGames:HowRussiaIsRebuildingInfluenceintheFormerSovietBloc,RadioFree
Europe/RadioLiberty,September25,2010,
http://www.rferl.org/content/Czech_Mate_How_Russia_Is_Rebuilding_Influence_In_The_Former_Soviet_Bloc/2168090.html
AleksTapinsh,LatviaSeesGoodandBadasRussianMoneyHaven,Reuters,October23,2012,
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-latvia-russia-banks-idUSBRE89M0S120121023.

126,,,231995,

http://medium.com/@OpenUni/--1995-23------
-9785d26186b2#.byb71wmzt.

127DmitryZhdannikovandGuyFaulconbridge,KhodorkovskySaysPutinIsLeadingRussiaTowardStagnation,

Collapse,Reuters,November27,2015,http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-khodorkovsky-west-
idUSKBN0TF23920151126.
128Forthepurposesofthisanalysis,atacticalmovebyPutintotheprimeministersofficewouldnotconstitutea

meaningfulbreakwithPutinism.ThisanalysisalsoassumesthatPutinremainshealthyandthattherewillbenocoup
againsthimfortheremainderofhiscurrentterm.

129Politburo2.0andPost-CrimeanRussia,MinchenkoConsulting,October22,2014,
http://www.minchenko.ru/netcat_files/File/Politburo_2014_ENG1_pre_final1.pdfRussia:TheStrugglesWithinPart
I,Stratfor,January9,2008,http://www.stratfor.com/analysis/russia-struggles-within-part-i.

130NeilMacFarquhar,RussiansAnxietySwellsasOilPricesCollapse,NewYorkTimes,January22,2016,
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/23/world/europe/russians-anxiety-swells-as-oil-prices-collapse.htmlTomBalmforth,
SacredGround:MuscovitesProtestChurchConstructioninPark,RadioFreeEurope/FreeLiberty,June26,2015,
http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-moscow-church-protest-torfyanka-park/27095836.htmlAlexeyMalashenko,
DivisionsandDefianceAmongRussiasMuslims,CarnegieMoscowCenter,November20,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2015/11/20/divisions-and-defiance-among-russia-s-muslims/im56MiriamElder,
MoscowRiotsExposeRacismattheHeartofRussianFootball,Guardian,December18,2010,
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/19/spartak-moscow-race-riots-ultranationalistAlexeyMalashenkoand
AlexeyStarostin,TheRiseofNontraditionalIslamintheUrals,CarnegieMoscowCenter,September30,2015,
http://carnegie.ru/2015/09/30/rise-of-nontraditional-islam-in-urals/iie6.

131BenJudah,PutinsMedievalPeacePactinChechnya,Bloomberg,April25,2013,

http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2013-04-25/putin-s-medieval-peace-pact-in-chechnyaMichaelSchwirtz,
RussianAngerGrowsOverChechnyaSubsidies,NewYorkTimes,October8,2011,
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/09/world/europe/chechnyas-costs-stir-anger-as-russia-approaches-elections.html
Ex-MinisterSaysRussiaWillCutDefenseBudgetin23Years,TASS,January13,2016,
http://tass.ru/en/defense/849380RussiatoCutSocialSpendingin2016,RT,January14,2016,
http://www.rt.com/business/328915-russia-social-spending-2016/MoscowProtestersRallyAgainstBudgetCutsin
Science,Education,RT,June6,2015,http://www.rt.com/news/265495-moscow-protest-science-education/Eugene
Vorotnikov,GovernmentPlanstoCut10%OffUniversityFunding,UniversityWorldNews,February20,2015,
http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20150220085025625.

132MikhailKrutikhin,GrabandShare:NewTaxProposalsforRussiasOilIndustry,CarnegieMoscowCenter,
October15,2015,http://carnegie.ru/publications/?fa=61623,
,,242015,
http://www.rbc.ru/society/24/03/2015/551134c29a7947727d49866d,
,,302015,
http://www.ng.ru/editorial/2015-12-30/1_otredaktora.html.

133RobertBurns(AssociatedPress),NATOOfficial:RussiaNowanAdversary,YahooNews,May1,2014,
http://www.yahoo.com/news/nato-official-russia-now-adversary-150211090--politics.html?ref=gs.

134NATOLeaderSaysRussiaBuildingArcofSteelinEurope,U.S.DepartmentofDefense,October6,2015,

http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/622080/nato-leader-says-russia-building-arc-of-steel-in-europe
NaftaliBendavid,NATORampsUpResponsetoRussia,WallStreetJournal,June24,2015,
http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-ramps-up-response-to-russia-1435174136.

135NeutralEuropeanCountries:Austria,Switzerland,Sweden,Finland,Ireland,SloveniaandNATO,

http://nato.gov.si/eng/topic/national-security/neutral-status/neutral-countries/TheEffectsofFinlandsPossibleNATO
Membership,MinistryofForeignAffairsofFinland,April29,2016,http://formin.finland.fi/public/default.aspx?
contentid=345685TomasBertelman,JohanMolander,andSven-OlofPeterson,APowerfulCaseforSwedish
MembershipinNATO,NATOSource(blog),AtlanticCouncil,August21,2015,
http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/a-powerful-case-for-swedish-membership-in-nato.

136RichardFontaineandJulianneSmith,Anti-Access/AreaDenialIsntJustforAsiaAnymore,DefenseOne,April
2,2015,http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2015/04/anti-accessarea-denial-isnt-just-asia-anymore/109108/.

137AgenceFrance-Presse,BelarusPoll:EULiftsSanctionsonLukashenkoEuropesLastDictator,Guardian,

October12,2015,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/13/belarus-poll-eu-lifts-sanctions-on-lukashenko-
europes-last-dictator.

138SabraAyres,AsBelarusEconomyFalters,LukashenkoLooksWest,AlJazeeraAmerica,January3,2016,

http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2016/1/as-belarus-economy-falters-lukashenko-looks-west.html.

139AnasMarin,TradingOffSovereignty.TheOutcomeofBelarussIntegrationWithRussiaintheSecurityand
DefenceField,OrodekStudiwWschodnich,April29,2013,http://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/osw-
commentary/2013-04-29/trading-sovereignty-outcome-belaruss-integration-russiaChrisBiggers,RussianAirbasein
BelarusRemainsinLimbo,Bellingcat,December27,2015,http://www.bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-
europe/2015/12/27/russian-airbase-belarus-remains-limbo/.

140YurasKarmanau(AssociatedPress),BelarusPresidentSaysHeDoesntWantRussianAirBase,Voiceof

America,October6,2015,http://www.voanews.com/content/belarus-president-says-he-does-not-want-russian-air-
base/2993864.htmlChristopherHarress,ScaredbyUkraineWar,BelarusStrongmanLukashenkoMullsDitching
Russia,InternationalBusinessTimes,January31,2015,http://www.ibtimes.com/scared-ukraine-war-belarus-
strongman-lukashenko-mulls-ditching-russia-1801070MikalaiAnishchanka,IsBelarusandRussiasBrotherly
LoveComingtoanEnd?Guardian,May29,2015,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/28/belarus-
russia-brotherly-love-ukraine-crisis.

141KitGillet,OppositionGroupsinMoldovaUnitetoProtestNewGovernment,NewYorkTimes,January25,

2016,http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/world/europe/oppositions-groups-in-moldova-unite-to-protest-new-
government.html.

142PersonalRemittances,Received(%ofGDP),database,WorldBank,

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.TRF.PWKR.DT.GD.ZS.

143MoldovanMigrantsDeniedRe-EntrytoRussia,DeutscheWelle,December21,2014,
http://www.dw.com/en/moldovan-migrants-denied-re-entry-to-russia/a-18144394.

144JeffreyMankoff,WhyRussiaandTurkeyFight:AHistoryofAntagonism,ForeignAffairs,February24,2016,

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2016-02-24/why-russia-and-turkey-fight.

145SelinGirit,TurkeyFacesBigLossesasRussiaSanctionsBite,BBC,January2,2016,

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35209987.

146IshaanTharoor,HowRussiasPutinandTurkeysErdoganWereMadeforEachOther,WashingtonPost,

December2,2014,http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/12/02/how-russias-putin-and-
turkeys-erdogan-were-made-for-each-other/.

147Cengizandar,PutinSupportsErdoganinTurkey,butNotinSyria,Al-Monitor,September24,2015,
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/09/turkey-russia-putin-not-supports-erdogan-in-syria.htmlNews
ConferenceFollowingStateVisittoTurkey,OfficialInternetResourcesofthePresidentofRussia,December1,
2014,http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/47126.

148Mankoff,WhyRussiaandTurkeyFightTurkeysDowningofRussianWarplaneWhatWeKnow,BBC,

December1,2015,http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34912581.

149AndreyBiryukov,PutinSaysTurkishStabinBackCausedRussianWarplaneCrash,Bloomberg,November

24,2015,http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-24/putin-says-turkish-stab-in-back-caused-russian-
warplane-crash.

150RaziyeAkkocandRolandOliphant,VladimirPutinRefusestoSpeaktoTurkishPresidentOverAnkarasLackof

Apology,Telegraph,November27,2015,
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/12020980/Vladimir-Putin-refuses-to-speak-to-Turkish-
president-over-Ankaras-lack-of-apology.html.

151WorstinDecades,NoWaytoImproveforNowKremlinonRussia-TurkeyRelations,RT,February9,2016,

http://www.rt.com/news/331878-russia-turkey-relations-worst/.
152AzerbaijansEconomyinDireStraitsasOilPricesKeepTanking,Oilprice.com,January14,2016,

http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Azerbaijans-Economy-In-Dire-Straits-As-Oil-Prices-Keep-
Tanking.html.

153JackFarchy,BakuSeeksAlternativesasAzerbaijanOilProductionDeclines,FinancialTimes,March12,

2015,http://next.ft.com/content/b86cb5b4-be99-11e4-8036-00144feab7deAzerbaijancountryreport,U.S.Energy
InformationAdministration,http://www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis.cfm?iso=AZE.

154RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty,AzerbaijanForcedtoCutBreadTaxesAfterWidespreadProtests,

Guardian,January15,2016,http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/15/azerbaijan-forced-to-cut-bread-taxes-
after-widespread-protests.

155AzerbaijanCancelsEUDelegationVisitAfterCriticismofRightsRecord,Reuters,September11,2015,

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-azerbaijan-europe-idUSKCN0RB1U920150911U.S.CriticizesAzerbaijan
Crackdown,RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty,December2,2014,http://www.rferl.org/content/journalists-in-
trouble-us-criticizes-azerbaijan-crackdown/26720682.html.

156Formoreonthis,seeEugeneRumer,RichardSokolsky,andPaulStronski,U.S.PolicyTowardCentralAsia

3.0,CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace,January25,2016.http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/01/25/u.s.-
policy-toward-central-asia-3.0/it2s.

157Ibid.

158SydneyJ.FreedbergJr.,RussiansinSyriaBuildingA2/ADBubbleOverRegion:Breedlove,Breaking

Defense,September28,2015,http://breakingdefense.com/2015/09/russians-in-syria-building-a2ad-bubble-over-
region-breedlove/StevenPifer,RussianNukesinCrimea?ABetterWaytoRespond,BrookingsInstitution,
February2,2015,http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2015/02/02-russia-nuclear-weapons-crimea-better-
us-response-piferStevenErlanger,NATORatchetsUpMissileDefenseDespiteRussianCriticism,NewYork
Times,May5,2016,http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/world/europe/nato-russia-poland.html.
From: RobertOtto<robertotto25@gmail.com>
Senttime: 06/30/201602:30:39AM
To: AndrewWood<andrewood40@gmail.com>
Cc: kramer<david.j.kramer@asu.edu>
Subject: FriendsWithBenefits?Russian-ChineseRelationsAftertheUkraineCrisis-CarnegieMoscowCenter-CarnegieEndowmentforInternationalPeace

http://carnegie.ru/2016/06/29/friends-with-benefits-russian-chinese-relations-after-ukraine-crisis/j2m2

FriendsWithBenefits?Russian-ChineseRelations
AftertheUkraineCrisis
FacingsanctionsfromtheWestaftertheannexationofCrimea,RussiahasreorienteditseconomytowardChina.Inmaking
thepivot,itsoughttobreakitsdiplomaticisolation,secureamarketforitsenergyresources,andgaingreateraccessto
Chinesecreditandtechnology.Theresultsoftheshiftaremixed,butiftrendscontinue,Moscowislikelytodriftfurtherinto
Beijingsembrace.Anasymmetricalinterdependenceisemerging,withglobalimplications.

AnIncreasinglyUnbalancedRelationship

RussiaseconomicoutreachtoChinapredatesitsannexationofCrimeaandtheimpositionofWesternsanctions,butit
hasintensifiedfollowingtheUkrainecrisis.

Intryingtoreorientitseconomyquickly,MoscowhaseasedinformalbarrierstoChineseinvestment.

TherewasasharpdeclineintradebetweenChinaandRussiain2015anddifficultiesinnegotiatingnewmegadeals.Still,
therapprochementhasacceleratedprojectsthathavebeenunderdiscussionfordecades,resultinginagreementsona
naturalgaspipelineandcross-borderinfrastructure,amongotherdeals.

ChinesefinancialinstitutionsarereluctanttoignoreWesternsanctions,butMoscowandBeijingaredevelopingparallel
financialinfrastructurethatwillbeimmunetosanctions.

Newdealsintherailwayandtelecommunicationssectorsmaysetimportantprecedentsforbilateralrelations.These
projectscouldreduceRussiastechnologicallinkswiththeWestandincreaseitsdependenceonChina.

TheRussian-Chineserelationshipisincreasinglyunequal,withRussiatheneedierpartner.Withoutviablealternatives,
Moscowmaybewillingtoaccepttheimbalance.

LessonsforWesternLeaders

RussiaandChinaarenotenteringintoananti-Westernalliance.BeijingdoesnotwanttoconfronttheWestoverissuesit
seesasalowpriority,suchasUkraine.MoscowprefersnottobedraggedintogrowingU.S.-Chinarivalryorterritorial
disputesintheAsia-Pacific.

Still,MoscowsgrowingdependenceonChinaanditstendencytoseeconflictthroughananti-Americanlensisforcing
ittosupportBeijinginsomedisputesitwouldprefertoavoid.

Russiasmilitary-industrialcomplexisopeningupmoretotheChinesemarket.Thisshiftmayaffectthestrategic
balanceinTaiwan,theEastChinaSea,andtheSouthChinaSeaastheChinesemilitarygainsaccesstoadvanced
equipment.

CentralAsiaisapotentialarenaforrivalrybetweenMoscowandBeijing.Attemptstocoordinatethecountriesregional
economicintegrationprojectshavebeenunsuccessful.YetMoscowhopesitcanserveasregionalsecurityprovider
whileChinapresidesovereconomicdevelopmentadeparturefromapreviouscollisioncourse.

MoscowandBeijingarelearningfromeachothersexperiencelimitingWesterninfluence,providingexamplesforother
authoritariancountries.

RussiaEmbracesChina:TurningFearsIntoHopes
WhenthecrisisinUkraineeruptedin2014,nooneintheKremlinwasexpectingaprolongedconfrontation.Butassoonas
sanctionswerementionedforthefirsttimeintheWest,theRussiangovernmentorganizedaseriesofbrainstormingsessions
toanalyzehowdifferentscenariosmighthurttheRussianeconomy.Theconclusionwasclear:RussiasAchillesheelwasits
near-totaldependenceonWesternmarketsforitshydrocarbonexports,capital,andtechnology.1Thehistoricalcasesof
sanctionsregimespresentedbyRussiananalystsatthesediscussions,rangingfromNorthKoreatoIran,suggestedthatin
ordertowithstandWesternpressureacountryneededastrongexternalpartner.2Theonlyobviouscandidatethatfitthebill
wasChinathelargesteconomythatdidnotplantoimposesanctionsonRussia.

Thiswasthecontextinwhich,inMay2014,theRussianleadershipembarkedonanewandmoreambitiouspivottoChina.
ThestrategicgoalwasnotonlytodeepenthepoliticalrelationshipbutalsotoreorienttheRussianeconomytowardtheEast.It
washopedthatChinawouldbecomeamajorbuyerofSiberianhydrocarbons,ShanghaiandHongKongwouldbecomethe
newLondonandNewYorkforRussiancompaniesseekingcapital,andChineseinvestorswouldflocktobuyRussianassets,
providingbadlyneededcash,upgradingthecountrysaginginfrastructure,andsharingtechnology.3Putsimply,thenewpivot
wouldkeeptheRussianeconomyafloatandspurnewsourcesofgrowth.

Foritspart,ChinaneithersupportedRussiasactionsinUkrainenordirectlycriticizedthem.ButitwelcomedMoscowspolicy
ofgoingEast.TherupturebetweenRussiaandtheWestoverUkrainewasseenassomethingthatwouldhelpChinatosecure
aRussiamoreaccommodatingtoBeijingscommercialdemandsandmorewillingtogiveuponambitionsofdeepintegration
withtheWestanightmarescenarioforChinesestrategists.

Withsomeexceptions,4thisnewapparentrapprochementwasgreetedwithconsiderableskepticismintheWest.5The
dominantviewinWesterncapitalswasthatrelationsbetweenMoscowandBeijingwouldalwaysremainanaxisof
convenience.6RelationswiththeWestandwiththeUnitedStatesinparticular,itwasargued,aremoreimportantforChina
thanitstiestoRussia,giventhatU.S.-ChinesetradevolumesweresixtimesgreaterthanRussian-Chinesetradeflowsin2014
andtentimesgreaterin2015.Moreimportantly,Westernanalystspredictedthatdeepmistrustbetweenthecountrieselites,
historicalterritorialdisputes,anunbalancedstructureoftrade,theChineseeconomicanddemographicthreattoSiberiaandthe
FarEast,competitionforinfluenceinCentralAsia,andtheoverallgrowinginequalitybetweenthetwocountrieswould
precludeanymeaningfulpartnership.

TwoyearsafterMoscowbeganitsChinapivot,somedevelopmentsconfirmthisskepticalview.Westerncommentarieshave
oftenadoptedamockingtoneabouttheexaggeratedhopesthatMoscowhasplacedonBeijing.Mr.Putinmayhopethatsuch
arrangements[withChina]canhelpshieldRussiafromwesternsanctions.Yet,inhisheartofhearts,hemustknowthatBeijing
isnotgoingtodoMoscowanyfavours,arguedaMay2015editorialintheFinancialTimes. 7ThomasS.EderandMikko
HuotarifromtheBerlin-basedMercatorInstituteforChinaStudieswroteinForeignAffairsthat

WhatonefindstimeandagainwithSinoRussiancooperationareloftyannouncementsthatfailtocorrespondwiththereality
ofalessthanrobustrelationship.Asaresult,thecurrentstateofSinoRussianrelationsdo[sic]littletoprovideMoscowwith
anygeopoliticalleverageagainstEurope.Infact,itistheotherwayaround.Europehasbeenmoresuccessfulatplayingthe
diversificationgame,aswellasattractinginvestmentsandincreasingtradewithChina.8

Yet,thenewRussian-Chineserapprochementmaybemoreseriousthanthislineofreasoningsuggests.Inthewakeofthe
Ukrainecrisis,theRussianleadershiptookafreshlookatmanyissuesthathadbeenblockingcooperationwithBeijingfor
years.Thisprocessresultedintheremovalofthreekeyinformalbarriers.First,Moscowdecidedithadbeentooreticentabout
sellingadvancedweaponrytoChina.Second,MoscowchosetoreviewadefactobanonChineseparticipationinlarge
infrastructureandnatural-resourceprojects.Third,theKremlinreassesseditsrelationshipwithChinainCentralAsia,which
hadhithertobeendefinedaslargelycompetitivewithverylimitedopportunitiesforcollaboration.

ThenewapproachthattheKremlinadoptedyieldedfewsuccessesin2014and2015.Butthedealsconcludedorunder
discussionmaypresagemoremeaningfuldevelopmentsinthefuture,puttingRussiaonapathwhereitendsupacceptingthe
roleofajuniorpartnerinanincreasinglyasymmetricalrelationship.Moscowmayendupprovidingcrucialresourcesthat
Beijingneeds(suchasmilitarytechnology,naturalresources,andaccesstonewmarkets)toboostthelattersambitiontobe
thenextglobalsuperpowerinexchangeforaneconomicandfinanciallifeline.

OneofthecentralfactorsthatispropellingthenewRussian-Chineserelationshipisthepersonalconnectionbetweenthetwo
countriesleaders,VladimirPutinandXiJinping.

BorisYeltsinsrelationshipwithhisChinesecounterpart,JiangZemin,wasgood.TheyspokeinRussian,whichfacilitated
directconversation,buttheRussianpresidentnevercalledhisChinesecolleaguefriend,asheaddressedformerU.S.
presidentBillClintonandformerJapaneseprimeministerRyutaroHashimoto.PutinsexperiencewithJiangwasfruitfulbut
brief.Bothleadersmanagedtosignthe2001FriendshipTreaty,whichpavedthewayforthesettlementofRussian-Chinese
borderdisputes.JiangssuccessorHuJintaowastenyearsolderthanPutinandunemotional.VariousinterlocutorsdescribeHu
aswearingthesameinscrutablefaceinallsituations.

Xihasbeenverydifferentfrombothhispredecessors.JustsixmonthsyoungerthanPutin,Xicouldbedescribedasthe
Russianpresidentssoulmateastrongleaderwithavisionofhiscountrybecomingagreatpoweragain.Xisremarksin
Mexicoin2009aboutsomeforeignerswithfullbelliesandnothingbettertodo[than]engageinfinger-pointingatusdidnot
gounnoticedinMoscow.9ExtendedprofilesofhimbearalotofsimilaritiestowhatispubliclyknownaboutPutin.10Thetwo
menhavedevelopeddeeppersonaltiesdespitethelanguagebarrier,accordingtothosewhohaveobservedtherelationshipup
close.

ThefirstpersonalmeetingbetweenthetwotookplaceinMarch2010inMoscow,whenPutinwasprimeministerandXiwas
vicepresidentofthePeoplesRepublicofChina(PRC).11ButitwasonOctober7,2013,thattherelationshipbecametruly
personal.ThetwoleadersmetonthesidelinesoftheAsia-PacificEconomicCooperation(APEC)summitinBaliitwas
Putinsbirthdayandthelastmeetingofthedayforbothleaders.Negotiationsturnedintoaprivatebirthdaypartywithveryfew
peoplepresentandmanycelebratorytoasts,whichhelpedcementthebondbetweenthem.GiventheimportancePutinattaches
topersonaldiplomacy,thisnewlevelofcontactwiththeChineseleaderwasanimportantfactorbehindMoscowschanged
approach.

In2014,followinginternaldeliberations,theKremlindecidedtoreachouttoChinatofosteraneconomicpartnershipinamore
directfashionthanbefore.InformalpoliticalbarrierslimitingChineseinvestmentinRussiawereeased.AttheKrasnoyarsk
EconomicForuminFebruary2015,DeputyPrimeMinisterArkadyDvorkovichannouncedthatChinesecompanieswould
nowbewelcometobuyassetsinthenatural-resourcesector.Theyalsowerepermittedtobidoninfrastructurecontractsin
sensitiveindustrieslikeroadsandrailways,whichforadecadehadbeencarefullyprotectedfromcompetitionbypowerful
Russianlobbies.ChinesefinancialinstitutionswereinformallyencouragedtoexpandtheirpresenceintheRussianmarkettofill
agapvacatedbyWesternfirms.High-levelRussianofficialsdeliveredthesemessagesthroughaseriesofunannouncedvisits
toAsianfinancialcapitals,whiletheywereexploringopportunitiesforRussiandebtandequitylistings.12

MoscowalsosignificantlyupgradeditsmechanismsforcommunicatingwithBeijing.WhileWashingtonhasmaintainedvarious
channelsofcorrespondencewithChineseelitesandpoliticalleadersformanyyears,Russiaslinkshadremainedprimitive.
Nowinadditiontotheexistingintergovernmentalcommissionforpreparingprimeministersmeetings(co-chairedbyRussian
DeputyPrimeMinisterDmitriRogozinandChineseVicePremierWangYang)andanalready-establishedstrategicdialogueon
energyissues(co-chairedbyDeputyPrimeMinisterDvorkovichandChinashighest-rankingvicepremier,ZhangGaoli),a
newintergovernmentalcommissionwasformed.Thenewcommissionisco-chairedbyRussianFirstDeputyPrimeMinister
IgorShuvalov,Putinspowerfulpointmanforeconomictroubleshooting,andZhang,whoisalsooneofsevenmembersofthe
ChineseCommunistPartys(CCP)powerfulPolitburoStandingCommittee.Shuvalovscommissionhasbecomethekey
institutionfornegotiatinglarge-scalebilateralprojects.Inadditiontothesebodies,PutinappointedhislongtimefriendGennady
TimchenkotochairtheRussian-ChineseBusinessCouncil.13TimchenkoranksfifthontheForbeslistofwealthiestRussian
citizens,14andwasaddedtotheU.S.TreasuryDepartmentsanctionslistaftertheannexationofCrimea.Byputtinginplacea
capablebureaucratandapersonalfriendwithdirectaccesstotheRussianleaderhimself,Putinhasmovedthebilateral
businessagendatoanewlevel.

Asidefromthesepragmaticbusinessmatters,anattemptbytheKremlintoforgeemotionalbondswithChineseelitesonthe
basisofacommonworldoutlookconstitutedakindofgrouppsychotherapyfortheRussianleadershipafterthetraumaofthe
Ukrainecrisis.AnuneasysenseofisolationandfeelingsofrageaboutwhatwasviewedasbetrayalbytheWestwascombined
withthesenseofbelongingtoaresurgentgreatpoweraftertheincorporationofCrimeaintoRussia,andthiscreatedastrong
needforinternationalsoulmates.15PressurefromtheWest,itwasbelieved,wouldbringRussianandChineseelitesmuch
closertogetherthanbefore.Anation-buildingnarrativecenteredonprideandtherevivalofthegloriouspasthasbeenstrongin
Chinasinceapatrioticeducationcampaignwaslaunchedinthe1990s.16ThisnationalstorybecamedominantinChinaafterXi
accededtopowerandpromotedhisambiguousChinaDreamconcept.Asimilarnarrativebecameincreasinglyimportantinthe
Russiancontext,particularlyafterthetakeoverofCrimea.17

Bothregimeshaveinvestedalotincommemoratinghistoricevents,especiallythevictoryinWorldWarII.FormodernRussia,
thevictoryinwhatitcallstheGreatPatrioticWarformsthemoralfoundationofmanyRussiansidentity.FortheCCP,
memoriesofthewaragainstJapan,itsenormoushumancost,andtheroleoftheCommunistsinthenationalresistancestill
formoneofthepillarsofthepartyslegitimacy.AttemptstoquestionordownplaytheroleofeithercountryduringWorldWar
IIareviewedinMoscowandBeijingasattacksontheirprestigeandonthecoreideologicalfoundationsoftheregimes.18But
thispatriotismismorethanjustcold-bloodedcalculation:ithasdeeprootsinthegenuinepersonalemotionsoftheleaders.
Afterall,Xisfather,XiZhongxun(19132002),tookpartinthewaragainstJapan,andPutinsfather,VladimirSpiridonovich
Putin(19111999),foughtinthewaragainstGermany.

ItthereforecameasnosurprisewhenXiJinpingwastheguestofhonoratthe2015VictoryDayparadeinMoscow,anevent
boycottedbyU.S.PresidentBarackObamaandotherWesternleaders.Putinreturnedthefavorandwastheguestofhonor
duringthecelebrationsinBeijingonSeptember3,2015,thefirstparadeinPRChistorytocommemoratethevictoryover
Japan.ThedecisionofWesternleaderstoskipboththeseimportanteventsinprotestofRussiasannexationofCrimeaand
growingChineseassertivenessintheSouthChinaSeawasperceivedinMoscowandBeijingasacoordinatedplottodenyboth
countriestheirrightfulplaceinhistory.
Throughout2014and2015,attemptsweremadetobringbothsocietiesclosertogetherandtoovercomelingeringmistrust
throughthecarefuluseofbothgovernmentpropagandaandstate-controlledmedia.Since2006,Russianstate-runtelevision
channelshaveobservedaninformalbanonnegativecoverageofChina.ThereisgrowingevidencethatXihasauthorizedthe
samepolicyvis--visRussia.TheCCPPropagandaDepartmenttellseditorsatChinesestate-controllednewsagencieslike
XinhuaandtelevisionchannelslikeChinaCentralTelevision(CCTV)tobecarefulinhowtheycoverRussiaingeneralandto
avoidcriticizingPutinpersonally.ThisstancewasevidentduringthecoverageofthePanamaPapersscandal,whenmainland
ChinesemediaavoidedmentioningbothChineseandRussianleadersthatwereimplicated.Searchresultswerealsoerased
fromWeibo,Chinasmostpopularmicrobloggingplatform.

Theseeffortshaveyieldedresults,atleastinRussia.AccordingtopollsconductedbytheindependentLevadaCenter,19
RussianspositiveattitudestowardChinapeakedinMay2014,with77percentofrespondentsviewingChinapositivelyand
only15percentseeingitinanegativelight(seefigure1).Thisisastarkcontrastnotonlytothefiguresoftwodecadesago
(48percentpositiveand21percentnegative,respectively,inMarch1995)butalsotothefiguresfromjustayearbeforethe
Ukrainecrisis.InNovember2013,only55percentofrespondentsviewedChinapositivelyand31percentsawitnegatively.

Thespeedandintensityofthesemoodswingsdemonstratetheconsiderableinfluenceofmassmediaandtheknock-onimpact
ofaverageRussiansangertowardmajorWesternpowersasaresultoftheUkrainecrisis.SomeWesterncommentatorscite
conventionalwisdomthataverageRussiansharbornegativefeelingstowardChina,20butempiricalevidencethatsupportssuch
assertionsishardtocomeby.Russianeliteslong-standingcautiousattitudestowardChinaareaseparatematter,butthis
mind-sethasundergonesignificantchangesasadirectresultoftheUkrainecrisis.

ChinasRussiaGambit:AnyTakers?
Beijingspre-2014RussiapolicywasmadesignificantlymorecomplicatedbytheUkrainecrisis.PolicydebatesinBeijingabout
thecrisis,Russiaseastwarddrift,andthedramaticchangesintheglobalstrategicenvironmentcreatedbythesedevelopments
unfoldedquickly,astheChineseleadershipwatchedthesuddendepartureofUkrainesthenpresidentViktorYanukovych,and
thenPutinsboldstepofannexingCrimeaoutright.Theseevents,accordingtoChineseforeignpolicyexpertsadvisingthe
countrystopofficialsinZhongnanhai,caughtChinasleadersoffguardjustastheydidWesternleaders.Themajorchallenge
forBeijingintheinitialstageofthecrisiswastocarefullynavigateasensitiveissue,whichinvolvedmanyofChinasimportant
politicalandeconomicpartners,eventhoughitdidnotaffectChinadirectly.

ThepublicstancethatBeijingtookwaspredictableenough.TheChineseMinistryofForeignAffairsstucktoitsusualmantra
aboutrespectforinternationallawandresolvingtheconflictbypeacefulmeans.Yanukovychsabruptdepartureafter
demonstrationsontheMaidanturnedviolentalarmedBeijing,stirringupChinesesuspicionsaboutU.S.involvementinsupport
ofcolorrevolutionsaroundtheworld.RussiasaggressiveresponsetowhatwasviewedasWesternintrusiongarnered
sympathyamongsomeChineseelites.EarlycommentsbyaChineseMinistryofForeignAffairsspokesperson,HongLei,
followingthetopplingofYanukovych,reflectedthispointofview.21

AsMoscowlatermovedtoannexCrimea,thesituationbecamedecidedlymorecomplicatedforBeijing.Chinahasanegative
viewoftheveryideaofoutsideforcessupportingseparatismonethnicgroundsinlightoflingeringethnictensionsinthe
countryswesternregionsofTibetandXinjiangnottomentiontheTaiwanissue.Chinaspropagandadepartmentissueda
warningtodomesticmediathattheymaynotconnectthe...[Crimeaissue]toourowncountrysissueswithTaiwan,Tibet,
orXinjiang.22BeijingsstanceonUkraineduringthisperiodamountedtocarefulmaneuveringandaconcertedeffortnotto
takesidesintheconflict.ChinaabstainedfromvotingonaWestern-backedUNSecurityCouncilresolutionthatcondemned
theCrimeareferendum,supportedUkrainesterritorialintegrity,andcalledforthenon-useofforce.23Atthesametime,
ChineseofficialswerecarefultoavoiddirectcriticismofRussiawhileconsistentlycondemningtheWestssanctionspolicy.

InternaldiscussionsontheconsequencesforChinaofRussiasrupturewiththeWestweremoreintense,accordingtoopen-
sourceinformationandconversationswithChineseofficialsandexperts.ThedominantviewintheChineseleadershipwasthat
theUkrainecrisispresentedbothchallengesandopportunities.ChineseleadersweresurprisedbythedegreeoftheKremlins
unpredictability.ThedecisiontoannexCrimeaandtodirectlychallengetheU.S.-ledinternationalorderandtopayahuge
economicpricefordoingsowas,inBeijingsview,irrationalandagainstRussiaslong-terminterests.ConcernsthatRussia
wasworryinglyunpredictablewerelaterconfirmedbyMoscowsdirectinvolvementinSyriaandtherapidescalationof
tensionswithTurkey,neitherofwhichChineseexpertsanticipated.AnotherriskwasthatthetensionsbetweenRussiaandthe
WestwouldescalateandputgreaterpressureonChinatotakesides.

However,itwastheopportunitiessideoftheledgerthatwasreportedlyhighlightedduringtheCCPsForeignAffairsLeading
SmallGroupmeetingsinApril2014.IsolatedfromtheWest,RussiawasexpectedtoreachouttoBeijingandbecomemore
eagertoopenupitseconomytoChinesecompanies.Also,itwashopedthatWashingtonspreoccupationwiththeRussia
challengewouldshiftU.S.attentionawayfromitsownpivottoAsiaandgiveBeijingadditionalbreathingroom.Thisviewwas
particularlystronginthemilitary,ascouldbeseenfrompubliccommentsbyPeoplesLiberationArmy(PLA)Major-General
WangHaiyun,aformerdefenseattachinMoscow.24InfluentialscholarslikeYanXuetongofTsinghuaUniversity,retired
generalslikeWang,andevenretiredseniordiplomatspubliclycalledontheChineseleadershiptousethesituationtoforgea
closerquasi-alliancewithMoscow.25Wang,oneofthemostvocaladvocatesofacloserpartnership,calledforthetwo
countriestopooltheireconomicandforeignpolicyresourcesandtakeadvantageoftheirinherentcomplementarity.Russiais
amasterinboxing,whileChinaisskilledintaichi,hewroteinaChinese-languageop-edfortheGlobalTimes. 26

Thetopleadershipformulatedamorecautiousposition.AccordingtoseveralChineseinterlocutors,beforePutinsvisitto
ShanghaiinMay2014,XigavepersonalinstructionstokeymembersoftheStateCouncilandthetopmanagersofkeystate-
ownedenterprises(SOEs).HismainmessagewasthatcorporateplayersshouldactivelyseeknewopportunitiesinRussiabut
avoidovertlyexploitingRussiasdifficultsituationorseekingone-sideddealsatknockdownprices.InBeijingsview,the
oversizedappetitesandaggressivenessofChineseinvestorscouldcontributetoundesirabletensionsinthefutureand
eventuallyencourageRussiatomakeanotherU-turninordertomendrelationswiththeWest.Atthesametime,SOEswere
toldthattheyshouldnotengageinprojectsthatmadenoeconomicsense.

ThiscautionaryadvicefromZhongnanhaicamejustasthelargestChineseSOEswerebeginningtofeeltheaftermathofthree
simultaneousshocks.ChinasongoinganticorruptioncampaignwhichbeganasaninvestigationintoZhouYongkang,a
formermemberofthePolitburoStandingCommitteeandChinasenergyczareventuallywipedoutmanyofthetopmanagers
ofleadingenergycompanies.Theirreplacementsneededtimetocatchuponthedetailsofwhathadalreadybeendiscussed
withtheirRussiancounterparts.Theanticorruptioncampaignsooneliminatedanyincentivesforproactiveinitiativeonthepart
ofmanagersandbureaucratsintimesofbigpurges,passivityisobviouslythesafeststrategy.New,stricterrequirementsfor
SOEefficiency,establishedattheCCPCentralCommitteesThirdPlenummeetinginNovember2013,presentedanadditional
obstacletogreaterinvolvementinRussia.TheslowdownoftheChineseeconomyfurthercomplicatedmatters.Thescaleof
ChinaseconomicchallengeswasnotwidelyapparentduringtheinitialstageofRussiaspivottoAsiainmid-2014.Yetwithina
fewmonths,theslackeningdemandfornaturalresourcesandsharppricedeclinesinmajorglobalcommoditiesmarketspulled
therugoutfromunderpotentialprojects,includingintheenergysector,whichhistoricallyhasbeenthemostcrucialsphere
forbilateraleconomiccooperation.27

FuelingtheDragon
EnergyformsthebackboneofRussian-Chinesetrade,butattemptstoradicallyincreasethevolumeofenergytradebetween
thetwocountriesoverthepasttwoyearshavehadmixedresults.Energyexports,ofcourse,areofvitalimportancefor
sustainingPutinsregimeandRussiasoveralleconomicprospects.Directandindirectearningsfromhydrocarbonsaccount
forupwardof70percentofRussiasbudgetrevenue,accordingtosomeestimates.28Chinabecameanetimporterofoilin
1994,andthecountryhasworkedassiduouslytosecureaccesstonewenergysourcestopoweritseconomicgrowth,
preferringtodosothroughland-basedpipelines.29Priortotheeconomicslowdown,accesstoRussiannaturalgasbecame
increasinglyimportantamidprojectionsofincreasedChinesedomesticdemand,attemptstoreducedependenceoncoal,and
mountingpoliticalconcernsaboutpollutioninbigcitiesaswellasotherilleffectsofChinasrapidmodernization.

Gas

Inthegassector,therearetentativesignsofprogress,butthesituationisstillfarfromrosy.Thetwosidesmanagedtosigna
long-awaitedgasdealduringPutinsvisittoShanghaiinMay2014.Thegaswillbedeliveredfromtwoas-yetundeveloped
fieldsinEasternSiberia,KovyktaandChayanda,viathenewPowerofSiberia(orSilaSibiri)pipeline,whichwillpump38
billioncubicmetersofgasannuallyuntil2030.WhilethepartiesdidnotdisclosethepriceatwhichRussiawillbesellingthis
gas,thereportedtotalvalueofthecontractwas$400billion.Atthetimethedealwassigned,thepriceofoilwasover$109
perbarrel.TodaythepricefortheBrentcrudeoilbenchmarkislessthanhalfthat,whichmattersgreatlygiventheuseofoil-
indexpricinginthecontract.AlexeyMiller,thechiefexecutiveofficer(CEO)ofthemajorRussiannatural-gasfirmGazprom,
expressedhispleasurewiththedeal,declaringattheSeptember2014SochiInternationalInvestmentForumthatinjustone
dayouresteemedChinesepartnerscamenearGermany,ourmajorgasconsumer.30

Twoyearslater,thisprojectisfacingmajorchallenges.TheChinesesidehasrefusedtoprovideaplanned$25billionloan
neededforpipelineconstruction,andRussianofficialshavecomplainedthattheconditionsonofferfromBeijingrequiringthe
participationofChinesecompaniesintheconstructionphaseareunacceptable.31SeveralGazpromtendersforthepipeline
werecanceledin2015attherequestofRussiasFederalAntimonopolyService.32Moreimportantly,thosefamiliarwith
GazpromsfinancingmodelsforthePowerofSiberiapipelinesaythattheprojectmayremainunprofitableiftheoilpricedoes
notincreasesignificantlyinthenextfifteenyears33thepipelinecouldbeusedforanothercontractafter2030,allowing
Gazpromtoactuallyturnaprofit.TheSovietUnionfollowedthesamelogicin1970whenitsignedagas-for-pipesagreement
withWestGermany.Thefirstcontractwasusedtofinancetheconstructionofexpensiveinfrastructure,whichallowedthe
SovietUniontoearnhardcurrencylateron,aftertheconstructioncostshadbeenfullypaidoff.34

Allthesame,officialsonbothsidesremainconfidentthatthepipelinewillbebuilt,thoughperhapswithdelays.Construction
hasbegunonbothRussianandChineseterritory.35ThefactthatthemaincontractorsontheRussiansideincludecompanies
ownedbyGennadyTimchenko(Stroytransgaz)andArkadyRotenberg(Stroygazmontazh),membersofPutinsinnercircle,
hasfurtherboostedconfidenceintheproject.36AfterGazpromabandoneditsmassiveSouthStreamandTurkishStream
projectsinEurope,freed-upcashflowscouldbedivertedtothePowerofSiberiapipeline,whichwillreceiveactive
governmentsupportintheformoftaxexemptionsandotherincentives.However,whilesomeChinesesourcesarecertainthat
thepipelinewilleventuallybecommissioned,thereisstillnoclarityonthematteroftheChineseloan.Ifcreditisneededand
Chinacontinuestodemandtheinvolvementofitsconstructioncompanies,itispossiblethatRotenbergsandTimchenkos
firmsmayultimatelybeforcedtoformconsortiumswithChinesecompanies.37

Fornow,prospectsforotherGazpromprojectstargetedattheChinesemarketremainbleak.Moscowofferedtobuilda
pipelineacrosstheAltaiMountainstoXinjiang(theso-calledWesternRouteorthePowerofSiberiaIIpipeline),whichwould
haveacapacityof30billioncubicmetersofgasperyear.UnlikethefirstPowerofSiberia,thispipelinecouldbebuilton
existinginfrastructure,requiringlessconstructionwork,andwouldallowGazpromtopumpgastoChinafromexistingfields
inWesternSiberia.MoscowseekstopititsWesternandEasterncustomersagainsteachotherwhilesupplyinggasfromthe
samefieldstobothsides.Followingyearsofnegotiations,adetailedframeworkagreementwassignedduringXisMay2015
visittoMoscow,38butacommercialcontractbetweenGazpromandtheChinaNationalPetroleumCorporation(CNPC)setting
apricefortheprojectsgasdoesnotappeartobeimminent.

Themainreasonforthedelayisadisagreementovertheprice:RussiaandChinaareusingdifferentbenchmarks.Gazpromis
basingitsdesiredpriceonitsexistingcontractswithGermanyorpossiblythePowerofSiberiapriceitsettledonwithChina.
ButfortheCNPC,thepreferredbenchmarkisfarcheaperTurkmengaspumpedintoXinjiangthroughapipelinecommissioned
in2010.RussiangaswouldrequireexpensiveinfrastructuretocarryitfromanentrypointinXinjiangtomajorconsumption
hubsinChinaseasternprovinces.Giventheabundanceofimportedliquefiednaturalgas(LNG)andthescaling-backof
projecteddemandforimportedgasduetotheeconomicslowdownandmoreefficientcoalusebyanewgenerationofChinese
powerplants,thewesternroutenowappearstobeanonstarter,asdoGazpromsplanstobuildathirdpipelineforSakhalin
gastoChinaviaVladivostok.AlthoughthecompanysignedamemorandumofunderstandingwiththeCNPC,andan8-billion-
cubic-meterpipelinebetweenSakhalinandVladivostok,whichwasbuiltbeforethe2012APECsummit,isalreadyoperational,
therearelingeringproblemswiththeresourcebase.39

Oil

TheRussiansectorthatmadethemostsignificantgainsintheChinesemarketin2014and2015wasoil,despitethecollapsein
prices.Thefoundationsforapartnershipwereestablishedin2005,whenRussiasstate-ownedRosneftbegansupplyingoilto
ChinaviarailwaytoservicecrucialChineseloans,whichhadenabledthefirmtobuyYuganskneftegaz,akeypartofanother
Russianoilcompany,Yukos,whichwasnationalizedfollowingthejailingoffallenoligarchMikhailKhodorkovsky.(Western
bankshadrefusedtoprovideloanstocoverthetransactionamidfearsthatYukossshareholderswouldusethecourtstopress
theirclaimtotheirformerassets.)

The2009pipelinedealpavedthewayforamassiveincreaseinRussianoilexportstoChina,despitepricedisputesbetween
RosneftandtheCNPC,whichresultedina$3billionlossinrevenuefortheRussiancompany.Moreover,in2013,Igor
Sechin,thepowerfulchairofRosneftandacloseallyofPresidentPutin,agreedtoaccept$60billioninloansfromChinese
companiesaspartofwhatwastermedaprepaymentschemebackedbyfutureoildeliveries.Themoneywasthenusedfor
Rosneftsdomesticexpansion,includingitslandmarkpurchaseofRussiasthirdlargestproducer,TNK-BP,in2013.Now,with
oilprices50percentbelow2013levels,Rosneftisstrugglingfinanciallytocontendwiththesechallengingnewrealitiesevenas
itfulfillsitsobligationsanddeliversthepromisedoiltotheChinese.InadditiontoincreasingthecapacityoftheSkovorodino-
Mohepipeline,RosnefthasbegunsellingoiloutoftheKozminoportonthePacificCoastwith60percentofitnowgoingto
China40aswellasthroughKazakhstan,41whichhasincreasedRussiasshareofChineseoilimports(seefigures2and3).At
variouspointsin2015and2016,RussiaactuallysurpassedSaudiArabiaasChinasleadsupplier.42

Increaseddeliveriesnotwithstanding,theRussianoilindustrywasdealtahugeblowwhenoilpricesplummetedin2015.The
collapsewasimmediatelyreflectedintheoveralltradevolumebetweenChinaandRussiajustasthesurgeinglobaloilprices
inthe2000splayedasignificantroleinarapidtradeexpansion.Between2003and2012,tradebetweenthetwocountriesgrew
atanaverageof26.4percentperyear.In2011,thenpresidentsDmitryMedvedevandHuJintaoannouncedtheirgoalsof
achieving$100billioninbilateraltradeby2015and$200billionby2020.Initially,thesetargetsseemedattainable.In2014,
tradegrewby6.8percent,reachingatotalof$95.3billion,butin2015itcollapsedby28.6percent,totalingjust$68billion.
RussiadroppedfrombeingChinasninth-largesttradepartnerin2014tosixteenthplacein2015.Thedeclinewasnot
attributedsolelytothedropincommoditypricesthedropintradewithChinasothercommoditysuppliers,suchasAustralia
andBrazil,wasnotnearlyassteep.43ThekeyfactorappearstohavebeentheeconomicdeclineinRussiathatsameyear,as
GDPdecreasedby3.4percent,andthesubsequentlowpurchasingpowerofRussiancompaniesandhouseholdsseeninthe
sharpdropinRussianimportsfromChina.TheonlysilverliningforRussiawastheeffectivedisappearanceofanimbalance
betweenitsexportstoandimportsfromChina(seefigure4).

Theplungeinoilpricesin2015alsocreatednewobstaclesforcooperationoninvestmentprojects.RosneftofferedtheCNPC
a10percentstakeinitsflagshipoilfield,Vankor,themajorresourcebasefortheEasternSiberiaPacificOcean(ESPO)
pipeline.InNovember2014,theRussianMinisterofEnergyAlexanderNovaksuggestedthatRosneftmightacceptpayment
forthestakeinChineserenminbi.44Meanwhile,PutintoldtheTASSnewsagencythatRussiawasreadytoswitchtradein
VankoroilfromU.S.dollarstonationalcurrencies.45However,theRussiansappearedtohaveunrealisticexpectationsaboutthe
potentialpricefortheminoritystakeinVankor,andtheChineseeventuallysuspendednegotiations.TheOilandNaturalGas
CorporationLimited,anIndiancompany,isasofmid-2016intheprocessofacquiringthestakeinVankor,provoking
additionaldissatisfactionfromBeijing.ChineseinvestorshavealsoexpressedinterestinstakesinotherRussianoilcompanies,
accordingtoRussianFinanceMinisterAntonSiluanov.46TherehavebeenunconfirmedsuggestionsinChineseanalytical
circlesthatRussiamightultimatelysellalargestakeinRosnefttoaChineseoilcompanyorfinancialinstitutionforasymbolic
price,andthatsuchapurchasemightprovideRosneftwithahelpfulwrite-downofitsdebtundertheprepaymentagreement
andotherloanarrangements.TheRussiangovernmentcurrentlyisdiscussingthesaleofa19.7percentstakeinRosneftto
variousforeigninvestors,includingthepossibilitythattheCNPCmaypurchase7percentofit.AccordingtoCNPCFirstVice
PresidentWangZhongcai,thecompanyisactivelylookingintothedealandhasformedastudygrouptoexplorethe
opportunity.47

Thoughthepracticesarestillintheirinfancy,theuseofChinesetechnologyinoffshoredrillingandrenminbi-denominatedoil
contractsrepresenttwoimportantrecentdevelopmentsintheoilsector.ThefirstexperimentinthisareawasRosnefts
September2015contractwithChinaOilfieldServicesLimited,asubsidiaryoftheChinaNationalOffshoreOilCompany,
involvingthedrillingoftwooilwellsintheSeaofOkhotsk.48Atthedrillingsite,theseahasadepthofonly150meters
(around500feet),whichmeansitdoesnotqualifyasdeep-seadrillingundertheprovisionsofU.S.-andEU-ledsanctions.As
manyinternationaloil-servicecompanieshavebecomecautiousaboutRussianprojectsintheareascoveredbysanctions,the
introductionofadvancedChinesetechnologiescouldincreaseRussianoilcompaniesrelianceonChinaintheoil-servicesector,
whichisalreadydominatedbyChineseproducersinsomesubsectorssuchasdrillingplatforms.ThedependenceonChina,
however,isexpectedtoremainlimited,giventhattheRussianoil-serviceindustryisdominatedbylocalchampionslikeEurasia
Drillingandthesubsidiariesofmajorinternationalenergyfirms.Forthetimebeing,Chineseservicecompaniesclearlycannot
matchthetechnologiesorcapabilitiesofmajorglobaloilcompaniesorleadingoil-servicefirmssuchasHalliburtonand
Schlumberger.

Thesecond,morepromising,experimentwaslaunchedbyGazprom-Neft,Gazpromsoilsubsidiary,whichannouncedthatit
willselloilfromtheESPOpipelinetoChinesecustomersforrenminbi.49Despitethehypedclaimthatthistransactionwill
underminetheglobaldominanceofdollar-basedtransactions,thepricingofoilisstilltiedtothedollar-denominatedBrent
benchmark.AccordingtointerviewswithmanagersofRussianoilcompanies,thelogicbehindthismoveisthattheuseof
renminbitopurchaseChineseequipmentwillpreventconversionlossesandhedgeagainstcurrencyrisks,thussavingRussians
about5to7percentofthecontractprice,aswellasmovepaymentsoutoftheorbitoftheU.S.bankingsystem.Ifthis
schemebecomeswidespread,itcouldhelpimmunizetheRussian-Chineseoiltradeagainstrisksassociatedwithpossiblefuture
Westernsanctions.

AnyMarketforaBear?
AcentralgoalofMoscowspivottoChinawasgreateraccesstoChinesecredit.Hopesthatthisobjectivewouldbeobtained
werefueledbyBeijingscriticalstancetowardtheU.S.-andEU-ledsanctionsregime.ChineseVicePremierZhangGaolitold
PresidentPutinonSeptember1,2014,thathewant[ed]tomakeitclearthatChinacategoricallyopposesthesanctionsthe
UnitedStatesandWesterncountrieshavetakenagainstRussia.50However,Russiancompaniesquicklydiscoveredthat
ChinesefinancialinstitutionscouldbeasstrictasorevenstricterthansomeWesternbanksaboutcompliancewiththe
sanctionsregime.

PubliccomplaintsaboutChinesepartnersambiguouspositionregardingRussianbanksinthewakeofUSandEUsanctions,
asRussianbankerYuriSolovievputit,begantobevoicedinthesummerof2015,ayearafterPutinstriumphantvisitto
Shanghai.51Soloviev,thefirstdeputypresidentandchairmanofthesecond-largestbankinRussiastate-ownedJSCVTB
Bankusedthefollowingwords,inaJune16,2015,op-edinFinanceAsia:MostChinesebankswillcurrentlynotexecute
interbanktransactionswiththeirRussianpeers.Inaddition,Chinesebankshavesignificantlycurtailedtheirinvolvementin
interbankforeigntradedeals,suchasprovidingtradefinance.52Later,inSeptember2015,SolovievscolleagueVasilyTitov
complainedthatChinesebanksweretoorigorousinobservingWesternsanctionsandthatittooktwoweekstoclear
paymentsthroughChinesebankswhenithadtakenjustthreedaysbeforethesanctionswereintroduced.53

Publiclyavailabledataindicatethatsanctionshaveindeedhadanegativeeffect.In2014and2015,noRussiancompanies
managedtoissuedebtorequityonChinesestockexchangesincludingHongKong.Localregulatorsandfinancialinstitutions
appeartoharborbadmemoriesofRusalsill-starredinitialpublicoffering.Inaddition,thisnegativesentimentwasreportedly
strengthenedbyfriendlywordsofcautionfromU.S.TreasuryandStateDepartmentofficials.54Russianinvestorswerealso
waryofShanghaiaftertheequityroutthatbeganinthesummerof2015.Creditlinesamountingto9billionrenminbithat
RussiasSberbank,theJSCVTBBank,andChineselenderssignedinMayarebarelybeingusedbecausethereisnodemandin
Russiaforloansinrenminbi,accordingtoMaximPoletaev,thefirstdeputychairmanofSberbanksexecutiveboard.55Atthe
sametime,Chinesebankshavebeenreluctanttoprovideloansinmuch-neededU.S.dollarsoreuros.Inrarecaseswhen
ChinesecredithasbeenextendedtoRussiancompanies,thesetransactionshavelargelybeensyndicatedloansinvolving
Chinasfourlargestbanksworkingincoordinationwithotherinternationalplayers.Thisfundingisofferedonlytowell-
regardedcorporateborrowerslikeNovolipetskSteel,56whicharenotundersanctionsandcontinuetoenjoyaccesstoWestern
credit.57Otherraresuccessstoriesincludethe$2billioncreditlinethattheLondonsubsidiaryoftheBankofChinaprovided
toGazprom.58ThisdealappearstobeagoodwillgestureconnectedtothePowerofSiberiapipelineconstructionaheadof
PutinsvisittoChinainJune2016.DatafromtheCentralBankofRussiashowthatthenumberofloansoriginatingfromChina
rosethroughout2014and2015fromaverylowbaseline,butthetotalamountissmallandcaninnowayreplaceprevious
flowsofcreditfromWesternfinancialinstitutions(seefigure5).59

Broadlyspeaking,therearethreemainreasonsforChinesebankersreticenceabouttheRussianmarket.

First,thereisnooverlookingthefactthatWesternmarketsarefarmoredevelopedandattractivetoChinesebanksevenwhen
thosebanksarepresentedwithfavorabletermstotapintotheRussianmarketmoredeeply.In2015,Chinastradeingoods
withtheUnitedStateswas$598billion,60whileChinesetradewithEuropeingoodsforthesameyeartotaled520.9billion
euros(about$583.4billion).61Chinesestate-ownedbankswerealsorecentlyallowedtobuystakesinU.S.andEuropean
banksafteryearsofsuspicionandlong-standingbans.InRussia,Chinasfourlargestbankshaveneverbeenallowedtobuy
localplayers,andtheformersexpansionintotheretailsectorwassubjecttoadditionallevelsofscrutinyatatimewhen
investmentbyFrench,British,andItaliancompetitorswasencouraged.Moreover,Beijinghasrecentlyembarkedonaquestto
promotetherenminbiasaglobalcurrency,andChinasfourmajorbanksaretryingtocarveoutsignificantrolesintermsof
clearingpaymentsandmakingmarketsinEuropeandtheUnitedStates.Thechoicebetweenjeopardizingrelationswiththe
regulatorsoflarge,profitableprospectivemarketsandenteringtherelativelytiny,risky,andoverregulatedRussianmarketwas
aneasyoneformajorChinesefinancialplayers.

Second,ChinasbankingsectorlacksexpertiseonRussia.WhileChinesebankshavecapableteamsonthegroundinMoscow
andtheFarEast,thesearenomatchforthepoolofRussiaexpertsthatEuropeanandU.S.bankshaveattheirdisposal.Asrisk
compliancegrowsincreasinglysynonymouswithnavigatingtheU.S.andEUsanctionsregimeandcircumventingwhatcould
betermedtoxicgrayareas,thecostofoperatinginRussiaisprohibitiveformanyChinesebanks.Thefirstbankstocutback
onbusinesswithRussiaweresmalleronessuchasPingAnBank,theBankofCommunications,andChinaMerchantsBank,
whichwereservicingtheaccountsofcompaniesfromoffshorejurisdictionsusedtoclearpaymentswithRussia.Thebanks
haveaskedsomecustomerstoclosetheiraccountsbecausetheywereengagedinsomeactivitieswithRussia,accordingto
aRosbaltnewsreport.62RussianandChinesebankingrepresentativesindicateprivatelythatthesamesituationhastakenhold
inHongKong,wherelocalbankshavebecomeextremelyreticentaboutopeningbankaccountsforRussianaswellas
Ukrainiancitizens.

Lastbutnotleast,thepoliticalenvironmentinwhichstate-ownedbanksarenowoperatinginthewakeoftheanticorruption
campaigndoesnotencouragetakingadditionalrisksinRussia.

WiththelionsshareofChinesecommercialbanksmaintainingacautiousstancetowardRussia,theonlytwoChinesefinancial
institutionsthathavebeenaggressivelysigningagreementswithRussianpartnersarethetwopoliticalbankstheChina
DevelopmentBank(CDB)andtheExport-ImportBankofChina(orChinaEximBank).63Thesebankswhichserveasthe
politicalpocketsoftheChinesegovernment,sotospeakarelessconnectedtotheinternationalfinancialsystem,andthuscan
takegreaterrisksintermsoftheirexposuretotheRussianmarket.64BothbankshavebeenactiveinRussiandealsthatrange
frombuildingsteelplantstoprovidingcreditlinesforRussiassanctionedstate-ownedbanks.65Themostrecentexampleof
theirinvolvementintheRussianeconomywasthelate-April2016announcementthattheCDBandtheChinaEximBankwill
providemuch-neededloansfortheYamalLNGprojecttotaling$12billionoverfifteenyears,whichmeansthattheprojecthas
lockedinalltheexternalfinancingitneeds($27billionintotal).ThedealisalandmarknotonlybecauseYamalLNGisakey
partofRussiasbroaderstrategyintheArcticandaflagshipLNGprojectbutalsobecauseNovatek(alongwithmajor
shareholderGennadyTimchenko)isatargetofU.S.andEUsanctions.Total,aFrenchnatural-gasproducerandaYamal
shareholder,hastriedtosecureEuropeanandJapanesefinancingfortheproject,accordingto