Russian Foreign Affairs – March, 2017

The US government has funded "Current Time," a new Russian-language news network that will target Russian speakers in Europe. The map here shows where the station will be available on TV. The station is already live online. Picture from Current Time.

Russian Foreign Affairs in the News
March, 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.


How to Think About Vladimir Putin
The editor of a conservative publication discusses Putin’s rise to power and current status within historical and political context. He frames current difficulties within the US-Russia relationship as part of a wider conflict between conservatives and progressives that is playing out worldwide, including in America itself.

Russia and the US

Jon Huntsman as Russian Ambassador is a Baffling Choice
Huntsman isn’t a Russia expert, or anything close.

Russian Pundits Praise Huntsman New Ambassador To Russia
The reasons for choosing Jon Huntsman go beyond the Trump administration’s internal policy considerations.

First Encounter Between Trump, Putin Likely to Come at G-20
The G-20 conference will be held July 7-8 in Germany.

150 Years After Sale of Alaska, Some Russians Have Second Thoughts
The anniversary was a day of mourning for some hard-right Russian nationalists who see the transaction as a gigantic blunder that reverberates as the major powers vie for influence over the Arctic and its natural riches.

Russian Experts Paint Sinister Picture of Russian Meddling
Russian experts told the Senate intelligence committee about fake news, cyber trolls, smear campaigns and even slayings they say “could have ties to the Kremlin.”

Russia: The Conspiracy Trap
Such is the nature of conspiracy thinking that facts can do nothing to change it.

Contacts with Russian Embassy
Jack Matlock, who was US Ambassador to the USSR under Reagan and Bush, discusses what it means for a presidential campaign to have contacts with a foreign embassy.

US and Russian Military Leaders Are Meeting Again
General-level meetings have been held twice in as many months after three years of no meetings.

New Triangular Diplomacy Emerges Amid Changing Global Political Landscape
Relations between Russia, China, and the US are changing – with global implications.

Russian Lawmakers Order Probe of RFE/RL, VOA, CNN
The move follows recent debates in the US on new legislation that would call for an investigation of RT in the US.

US Founds “Current Time” to Reach Russian-Speaking Audiances
In 2016, the US gave $160 million as part of a military spending bill to VOA and RFE/RL to refocus on Russia and China. The result is this – Current Time (Настоящее Время), which is “a 24-hour Russian-language television and digital news network aimed at audiences in Russia, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and around the world.”

Comey’s Haunting News on Trump and Russia
The acknowledgment by James Comey, the F.B.I. director, on Monday that the bureau is investigating possible connections between President Trump’s campaign and Russia’s efforts to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s chances is a breathtaking admission.

Notes from the House Select Intelligence Hearing on Russia
In one of the most anticipated congressional hearings in years, James Comey and Mike Rogers took turns saying nothing.

Angels and Demons in the Cold War and Today
A short history from the NY Times on America’s oversimplification of Russia.

Dermokratiya, USA
How America’s active and open role in the 1996 Russian elections affected US-Russia relations in the longterm.

Russian Military

Moscow Moves to Absorb the Military of a Breakaway Georgian Region
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday ordered his officials to seal an agreement which will, in effect, incorporate the armed forces of Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region into the Russian military’s command structure.

Why is Putin Expanding Russia’s Armed Forces to 1.9 Million?
Russia has about twice the territory of the US – and half the army.

Powerful Nuclear Attack Submarine Ever Is Almost Ready for Sea
It’s probably the most capable nuclear powered submarine out there fielded by a potential adversary.

Russia Has Its Own Deadly ‘Delta Force’
The force, according to The National Interest, is young, but played important roles in capturing the Crimean Parliament building before the peninsula was annexed and played an important role in the battle for Palmyra in Syria more recently.

Is Russia’s Defense Budget Crashing? Not So Fast
Russia’s military spending is falling, but it’s not as bad as previously reported.

Russia is Setting up Formidable Defenses Against Cyber Hackers
While U.S. federal agencies constantly complain they’re under hack attack from other countries, the Russian government has just as much reason to be concerned about cyberspies, especially homegrown ones.

Russian Softpower

Russia’s Space Program Is Struggling
Can Russia’s space program compete against new state and private space programs?

Russia Wants Immigrants the World Doesn’t
While Europe and the U.S. tighten border controls, former Soviet states are encouraged by Moscow to send their workers.

Russia’s International Student Strategy
About 283,000 international students studied at Russian universities last year, making it the sixth-largest market for globally mobile students.


Lessons for Today from a Revolution 100 Years Ago
Russians are showing a preference for stability over revolution. This is a preference grounded firmly in the experience of their own history.

Russia, China, and the Uncertain Future of the Collective West
An interview with Kevin Rudd, a former prime minister and foreign minister for Australia, a country with particularly deep interests in the direction Asia takes. Rudd also helped found the G-20.

Weaponizing Comedy
NATO has released an official report saying that Russia’s “official humour industry … is directly Kremlin-controlled” and being used for “strategic communication.” The analysis of that report here includes a link to the original report as well as to some examples of the comedy the report cites.

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.