The Russian security services are not the elite body they were in Soviet times. They see themselves engaged in a struggle with their Western adversaries to fight off recruitment efforts, whatever the cost may be to Russia’s global image.
Washington thinks punitive measures will change Moscow’s calculus, but the Russian economy is doing just fine.
On September 25, the Carnegie Moscow Center held a discussion on the future of the U.S.-Russia relationship featuring Ivo H. Daalder from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Lev Gudkov from Levada Center.
Conventional wisdom in Washington ignores the degree to which shortsighted U.S. policies are pushing Russia and China closer together. Now would be a good time for U.S. policymakers to rethink a policy that antagonizes both of the United States’ principal geopolitical rivals and to think more creatively about how to manage a new era of increased competition among great powers.
Moscow is realizing that even if Trump survives the many scandals that surround him, he won’t be able to deliver major improvements in U.S.-Russian ties.
Vladimir Putin is widely viewed as the winner of the Helsinki summit. But reality may be more complicated. Despite optics in Putin’s favor, the Russian government is unsure how to further relate to Trump: should it view him as a full-fledged partner who can normalize relations between Russia and the United States, or should it use him as a tool for disrupting U.S. foreign policy?
Having publicly entered internal U.S. politics, Russia must be prepared for various unpleasant surprises.
The first détente in the hybrid war between Russia and the West was nipped in the bud by Trump’s behavior and the vehemence of his domestic critics. So be it.
Vladimir Putin achieved his goal of embarrassing the United States. But Russians are already bracing for the backlash.
Any agreement that results in rapprochement with the West may provide some economic growth from sanctions relief, but it may also shift balance of power within the Russian political establishment from the powerful hawks to the system’s liberals.