Russian Foreign Affairs – July, 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

Let’s Cut Them Off From Space’: How Russia Could Strike Back at U.S. Sanctions
There are several ways Russia could respond to the new US sanctions bill. At the same time, according to experts, the response should be cautious and well calculated.

Germany Urges EU Countermeasures Against U.S. Over Russia Sanctions
Germany’s foreign minister: “We consider this as being against international law, plain and simple… Of course we don’t want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures.”

Why Moscow’s Retaliation for U.S. Sanctions Is a Major Escalation
Russia has promised to move further if the new sanctions from the US are passed. What that may mean is still unclear, but the reaction is likely to be large-scale, in line with the nature of the new sanctions.

Opinion: Punishing Russia with Sanctions Will Not Stop the Kremlin
Interestingly, Russia seems to be about the only thing congressional Republicans and Democrats can agree on. Unfortunately, what is really needed is something sanctions cannot deliver: a U.S. policy that recognizes Russia as a major foreign policy challenge that cannot be resolved by escalation alone.

Russian Foreign Ministry’s Statement
On July 27, the US Congress passed a new bill on tougher anti-Russia sanctions. This measure is further proof of the Unites States’ extremely hostile foreign policy. Hiding behind its own “exceptionalism”, the United States arrogantly ignores the stances and interests of other countries.



How to Deter Russian Cyber Attacks
If the adversary believes the threat is illusory, he has little incentive to comply with his opponent’s demands. And if he believes he will be punished regardless of whether he complies, he might as well defy his opponent.

How Trump Got Putin Wrong on Cybersecurity
The idea that Russia and the U.S. work out the rules of engagement in cyberspace isn’t crazy.

How the Russian Government Plans to Protect the Country from the Coming Cyberwar
The policies, people, and institutions involved in Russian cyberdefense – an in-depth look from Meduza.


Russia and the US

With OPEC Weakening, World Energy Now Pits Russia Versus U.S.
This Bloomberg article says that, as natural gas exports rise, US-Russia relations will be more prone to rivalry.

Kremlin Hard-Liner Tapped as Next Russian Ambassador to U.S. Poses Challenges for Trump
US officials have confirmed that Russia will be replacing its ambassador to the US with someone with more of a reputation as a tough negotiator.

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.

Russian Foreign Minister’s Interview with NBC
“I believe that those who occupy any position of influence and importance in today’s world cannot get offended like children by issues which are absolutely incomparable to the issues which had to be discussed.” – Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Trump To Promote U.S. Natgas Exports in Russia’s Backyard
In recent years, Moscow has cut off gas shipments during pricing disputes with neighboring countries in winter months. Exports from the United States would help reduce their dependence on Russia.

Policy and Conflict Post SovietPutin, Trump Discussed Russian Adpotions, But No Mention of Ban Revision – Kremlin
“The meal was going toward dessert,’’ Trump said. “I went down just to say hello to Melania, and while I was there I said hello to Putin.”

54% of Americans Think Trump’s Dealings with Russia Were Unethical or Illegal
More than half of Americans say they don’t fully trust President Donald Trump’s dealings with Russia or Russian President Vladimir Putin, and 47 percent say the country’s hacking of the 2016 election poses a major threat to the United States.

Poll Finds Most Americans Aren’t Convinced Trump Colluded with Russia
Only 40 percent of Americans think that President Trump’s campaign worked with Russia to influence the election.

Throwing a Curveball at Intelligence Community Consensus on Russia
A January intelligence product has served as the basis for a series of Congressional hearings into the issue of Russian meddling into American elections—and has taken on a near canonical quality that precludes any critical questioning of either the authors or their findings. There is one major problem, however: the supposedly definitive assessment was not that which it proclaimed to be.

Do the U.S. and Russia Need Clearer Rules of Engagement?
Even as relations seethe, Washington and Moscow lack understanding of what is permissible in the diplomacy, cyber, and political spheres.

A Sober View of the Putin-Trump Bromance
Where the major differences in the foreign policies of the US and Russia currently lie.

Press Briefing on the President’s Meetings at the G20
How Russian newspapers reported the recent Putin-Trump meeting.

Intel Report: Kremlin Sees U.S. Urging Regime Change in Russia
While Trump’s campaign rhetoric was widely seen as sympathetic to Russia, ties have not improved in his first six months of his presidency.


Media Related

All Russians Are Spies
Are all Russians spies? What exactly is denouncing an entire nation of people as untrustworthy if not xenophobia?

The U.S. Media’s Murky Coverage of Putin and Trump
Russian reporters, including those critical of Putin, are often skeptical of stories they see coming from the US.

Press Review: Putin-Trump Meeting Produces Syrian Truce and US Bows Out As Global Leader
How Russian newspapers reported the recent Putin-Trump meeting.

CNN is Imposing Strict New Rules on its Russia Coverage
The now-deleted story was published Thursday and cited a single, unnamed source who claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking into a “$10-billion Russian investment fund whose chief executive met with a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team four days before Trump’s inauguration.”

Russian Radio Takes Over Washington, DC Station
The Russian state-sponsored news outlet Sputnik is entering the Washington, D.C., radio market in an effort to push back against what it called “constant attacks” by U.S. media companies.

The Moscow Times Closes Print Edition
It’s official. Moscow has lost its last remaining English-language print newspaper.



Russia Military Power Report
An official US Defense Intelligence Agency report on Russia’s current military capabilities and development.

Russia’s Yury Dolgoruky Submarine Successfully Test-Fires Bulava ICBM
Russia apparently now has a nuclear missile capable of surviving a…. nuclear missile.

Russian MoD Declassifies Docs on Soviet Union’s Preparedness for 1941 Nazi Invasion
The ministry has declassified about a hundred of pages of archived documents. It says the memoirs may be somewhat subjective, but prove that the Soviet leadership objectively saw the German forces as superior to theirs in terms of experience and resources, and hoped to stall Moscow’s joining of World War II in order to better prepare for it.

Russia and EU

UK Calls for Investigation into Murder of Russian Politician Boris Nemtsov After Five Found Guilty
Russia is still on the hunt for Ruslan Mukhudinov, another Chechen man said to be behind the killing.

European Union Extends Russia Sanctions Until January 2018
Under the sanctions that were imposed in tandem with the United States, European companies are banned from doing business with or investing in Russia’s defense and energy industries, while financial ties are severely limited.

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.

Fearing Global Sanctions, Russia Speeds Up Turkish Stream Gas Pipeline
Gazprom’s pipe laying is a slightly risky endeavor because there has yet to be any agreement with the Turks as to the points of entry and inland infrastructure for the pipeline. Still, these are early miles out of Russia, just south of the Crimea peninsula. There is a long way to go before they get to Turkey.

Is U.S. Liquified Natural Gas A Game-Changer for Russia, Europe?
The normal way to transport natural gas is through pipelines, but pipelines aren’t considered economical for transoceanic shipments of natural gas. Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, has been cooled so that it can be shipped more efficiently as a liquid in specially designed cargo ships. Transporting natural gas this way requires specialized facilities at both ends of the voyage.

Central-Asia-StudiesCentral Asia

Are Tensions Likely for the Russian Diaspora in Kyrgyzstan?
Analysis by SRAS graduate and University of Pittsburgh double-major (Political Science and Russian and East European Studies) Cian Stryker. Part of his achieved was conducted while studying with SRAS in Kyrgyzstan.

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

Central Asia’s Silk Road Rivalries
China and Russia’s separate visions for Central Asia could transform the region’s political and economic landscape as well as relations between the two Eurasian giants. To the smaller, embryonic Central Asian nation states, the new geopolitical realities could offer both economic prosperity as well as worsening instability and conflict.

Karimova Is in Custody, Uzbek Prosecutor-General’s Office Says
The July 28 statement marked the first time authorities in the tightly controlled Central Asian country have revealed details about the status of Karimova, who has long been rumored to be under strict house arrest in the capital, Tashkent.

Trump for President of Kyrgyzstan?
An interesting classroom project at the American University of Central Asia shows Trump currently polling at 17.1% for President of Kyrgyzstan with another 33% of voters willing to consider voting for him.

Chinese City With a Russian Past Struggles to Preserve Its Legacy
Distressed by the destruction and empowered by social media, Mr. Bu, Ms. Gao and other residents have banded together to preserve what remains of Harbin’s Russian architecture, battered as it has been by waves of war, revolution and, now, urban redevelopment.

West Who? Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping Adopt a Four-Year Action Plan
Within the framework of the state visit, they are expected to sign about 40 documents in the field of trade, investment, energy, education and media. It is also planned that the companies of the two countries will conclude a series of agreements worth $ 10 billion.

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.


Can Kurt Volker Solve the Ukraine Crisis?
Kurt Volker, widely known as a tough-minded and accomplished diplomat, confronts his biggest challenge in working to implement the Minsk agreements.

Ukraine’s President Says Defense Deals with U.S. To Be Signed Soon
“Very important agreements will be signed, including agreements on defense cooperation, including an agreement on defense procurement, and an agreement on military-technical cooperation,” Poroshenko said.

About the Author

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.
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.