Russian Foreign Affairs – August, 2017

Russian Foreign Affairs in the News
July, 2017

SSI-banner Russian foreign policy and foreign policies concerning Russia have been of particular interest to those following world affairs lately. With Russia’s more assertive stance on the world stage, Russia’s absorption of Crimea, and resulting sanctions, arms buildups, and global geopolitical restructuring and repositioning, keeping a close eye on this part of the world is especially important to understanding global security and international politics.

This free resource serves to track and analyze these issues as they develop in Eurasia.

Sanctions Escalations

Full Text: Countering Russian Influence Act
The full text of “Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017” Act by the US legislature.

What Do The Escalations in US-Russian Sanctions Mean?
The recent round of sanctions may prove, in the end, to be more sound and less fury.

Russian Reporting: US Visa Suspension
Russian television news (NTV) has reported that the US is suspending non-immigrant visa operations in Russia (leaving off the fact that it will be reopened in Moscow within a week).

Moscow Responds to US Visa Freeze with Accusations of Political Meddling
Top Russian Foreign Ministry officials have stated that Russia will not reciprocate restrictions on visas in response to US actions.

How Russian State Media Invented ‘Huge’ Lines Outside the US Embassy
Russia’s Foreign Ministry is not retaliating but the Russian press is… doing what modern journalism tends to do.

Moscow ‘Preparing Inevitable Response’ as US Hits Russians with New Sanctions over N. Korea
The US is expanding sanctions on Russia again – this time over North Korea.

US Orders Russia to Close Consulate and Annexes in Diplomatic Reprisal
US State Department: “With this action both countries will remain with three consulates each. While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes, we have chosen to allow the Russian Government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship.”

US

Space, Nuclear Security, Polar Bears: Russia and the US Still Agree on Some Things
“Although both sides agree that relations are at a post-Cold War low, several U.S.-Russian ventures continue, ranging from the pedestrian to the cosmic to a cluster of pacts and projects that could determine humanity’s survival.”

Here’s a Breakdown of Russia’s Foreign Policy Goals
Moscow has broken a post–Cold War U.S. monopoly on the global use of force and has staged a spectacular geopolitical comeback in a region it had abandoned in the waning years of the Soviet Union.

US Troops Train in Eastern Europe to Echoes of the Cold War
America is shifting its war fighting capabilities back to the Central / Eastern European region. Turns out, fighting there is very different. NY Times covers the shift in considerable detail here.

On Trump’s New Man in Russia, Jon Huntsman, Moscow Says ‘Wait and See’
The proposal of reported ‘hardliner’ Jon Huntsman as US Ambassador to Russia met with mixed reactions in Moscow.

Central-Asia-StudiesCentral Asia

Central Asia’s Silk Road Rivalries
They have divergent goals, but Russia and China have committed to cooperate politically and economically. Their initiatives offer investments and enhanced cooperation in a region beset by economic and political challenges. Poorly handled, however, these initiatives could encourage and entrench local behaviour that risks generating instability and conflict.

Russia’s Evolving Grand Eurasia Strategy: Will It Work?
A credible strategy would focus on China while crafting agreement among China, India, and Russia.

Donald Trump Is the Odd Man Out with Putin and Xi
Russian and Chinese national interests tend to coincide precisely in areas where they oppose those of the west.

Uncertain Continuity: Central Asia and the Trump Administration
As China and Russia ramp up efforts and investments in Central Asia, the US seems to be ramping down.

Foreigners Will Be Able to Obtain Visas to Kyrgyzstan Via the Internet
As an American, you can already visit Kyrgyzstan for 60 days visa free. If you want more, now there’s this!

Uzbek Chefs Hope to Enter Record Books with Mammoth Plov
Proof you can never have too much plov.

Europe

An Ideal Conflict on the Dniester
The 25th anniversary of the Transnistrian war was recently marked – that conflict created one of Eurasia’s “places that don’t exist” – countries that effectively broke away from former soviet republics, but which remain unrecognized by the larger international community. This is a run-down of where Transnistria-Moldovan relations currently stand.

Polish Jews Are Alive and Well
Hitler nearly eradicated Poland’s Jewish population. Today, they are enjoying a revival.

Russia Remains EU’s Top Gas Supplier, Covers 41% of Gas Supplies in Q1 of 2017
Russian market share is up from the 39 percent share recorded in the same period of 2016.

Lithuania Builds Border Fence with Kaliningrad
Eimutis Misiūnas, Lithuania’s minister of the interior, told the Guardian the fence was primarily to deal with alcohol and tobacco smuggling and prevent illegal border crossings, but conceded that was not all.

Military

Security of Macro Regions?
China-Russia military cooperation is moving outside Russia and China; a new approach is needed to Eurasian security.

Russia to Start Training Female Military Pilots
“Considering the number of applications received… we cannot ignore these requests.” – Russian Defense Minister Shoigu

As Syrian War Tightens, US and Russia Military Hotlines Humming
The US and Russia are still cooperating in Syria.

Policy and Conflict Post SovietUkraine

Ukraine Has Removed All 1,320 Statues of Lenin
Monuments to the Bolshevik leader have been dismantled in every town, village and city controlled by the Kiev-based government.

We Still Don’t Know How Trump’s Administration Will Handle Ukraine
It’s been said that a particular danger the new Trump administration would face in the national security field would be the problem of senior figures issuing “contradictory statements” about U.S. policy, especially in the absence of “effective direction” from the White House.

For the US, Arming Ukraine Could Be a Deadly Mistake
The United States is walking into a proxy war with Moscow — one that it is unprepared to win.

Global

Warming Arctic Spurs Battles for Riches, Shipping Routes
As the ice pushes farther north each year, it spurs talk of a gold rush for natural resources and shipping routes.

The World Fears the US More Than Russia or China
Those who think that power wielded by individual countries is a “top 2 concern:” US=35%; Russia=31%; China=31%.

About the Author

Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson is the Assistant Director for The School of Russian and Asian Studies (SRAS) and Communications Director for Alinga Consulting Group. In those capacities, he has been managing publications and informative websites covering geopolitics, history, business, economy, and politics in Eurasia since 2003. He is based in Moscow, Russia. For SRAS, he also assists in program development and leads the Home and Abroad Programs.
Katheryn Weaver
Katheryn Weaver is a student of rhetoric and history at the University of Texas, Austin. Her primary areas of investigation include revolution and the rhetorical justification of violence against individuals, state, and society. She is currently studying Russian as a Second Language with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship.