Anders Aslund

  • Russians Charged with Meddling in 2016 US Election

    Thirteen Russians and three Russian entities have been indicted by a grand jury for interfering in the US presidential elections in 2016, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office said on February 16.

    The thirty-seven-page indictment alleges that Russians’ operations “included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump...and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” Trump’s Democratic opponent, according to the Guardian.

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  • Kremlin Report: A Missed Opportunity to Check Russian Aggression

    The US Treasury Department’s decision not to slap sanctions on Russian oligarchs and officials, some with ties to the Kremlin, is a missed opportunity to check Russian aggression, according to the Atlantic Council’s Daniel Fried.

    “I think the [Trump] administration missed an opportunity [on January 29] to extend the use of sanctions to Russia’s aggressive behavior,” Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and Eurasia Center, and formerly the State Department’s coordinator on sanctions policy, said in a phone briefing hosted by the Council on January 30.

    However, he said, if a classified Treasury list of Russian officials is “credible and strong” then “its existence may have some deterrent value, but the administration then needs to work on its messaging to make sure that this is understood.”

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  • Payback: President Trump Gets Revenge for Russian Sanctions

    On July 28, the US Senate voted 98-2 to adopt the new Combating America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). President Donald Trump had little choice and signed it into law on August 2, although the main aim of the law was to make sure that the president could not revoke the sanctions against Russia because of its military aggression in Ukraine on his own.
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  • Aslund and Fried Quoted in Quartz on Russian Oligarchs List

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  • Which Will Be Europe’s Poorest Country? Ukraine or Moldova

    A year ago, I expressed my hope that “2017 should be the year when Ukraine’s economy takes off.” It should have been, but it was not. In the last quarter of 2016, Ukraine’s GDP grew by 4.8 percent. Alas, in each of the ensuing four quarters, the growth rate declined and GDP grew by only 2 percent in 2017, slightly less than the cautious official projections. Ukraine is actually growing more slowly than the EU economy, and certainly slower than the global economy. Therefore, it is difficult to be optimistic about Ukraine’s economic growth in 2018.

    After a combined GDP fall of 17 percent in 2014-15, which was caused by Russian aggression, a swift recovery to 6-7 percent growth should have been natural. Instead, Ukraine is competing with Moldova for the title of Europe’s poorest country. In 2007, Ukraine’s GDP per capita in current US dollars was 160...

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  • Aslund and Fried in Politico Europe: The List That’s Freaking Out Everyone in Moscow

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  • Q&A: What Does Saakashvili's Detention Mean for Ukraine?

    Former Georgian President and Odesa oblast governor Mikheil Saakashvili was taken into custody in Kyiv on December 5. His supporters eventually freed him and he addressed a large crowd outside of the parliament. Later in the day, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko told parliament that Saakashvili accepted money from a fugitive oligarch to fund antigovernment protests that have waxed and waned since mid-October. The situation remains tense and ongoing. What does the detention of Saakashvili mean for Ukraine, its democratic prospects, and its relationship with the West? We asked our experts and a number of commentators and politicians to explain the significance of today’s events.

    Michael Carpenter, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and Senior Director at the Biden Center:
    The conflict between Saakashvili and the Ukrainian authorities only benefits Russia. Saakashvili entered Ukraine under dubious circumstances but his case needs to be...

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  • Does the EU Even Care about Eastern Europe Anymore?

    If you missed the European Union’s Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on November 24, you are not alone. It was a forgettable event, but it tells us quite a bit about the EU’s state of affairs in Eastern Europe.

    The proud start of the EU Eastern Partnership was the Prague summit in May 2009, instigated by Foreign Ministers Carl Bildt of Sweden and Radoslaw Sikorski of Poland. These heroes of East-West integration are out of office, and we feel their absence keenly.

    In 2009, the essence of the joint declaration between the six members of the Eastern Partnership, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, was “that the Eastern Partnership will be based on commitments to the principles of international law and to fundamental values, including democracy, the rule of law, and the respect...

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  • How to Identify the Kremlin Ruling Elite and its Agents

    Criteria for the US Administration’s “Kremlin Report”

    On August 2, 2017, US President Donald J. Trump signed H.R. 3364, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), into law. Section 241 of the Act calls on “the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State” to submit to Congress a detailed report—with the option of making part of it classified—including “identification of the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation, as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.” Section 241...

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  • What Manafort’s Indictment Means for the US and Ukraine

    The most surprising thing about the thirty-one-page indictment of Paul J. Manafort, Jr. and his business partner Richard W. Gates III by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is that it hardly contains anything that was not known to people who have observed Ukraine. Manafort was the all-dominant political advisor to former President Viktor Yanukovych from the spring of 2005 until his fall in February 2014. Afterward Manafort continued to work for his successor party, the Opposition Bloc.

    While Manafort worked in Ukraine, it was widely rumored that he earned $9 million a year. Now the indictment states that “more than $75 million flowed through [his] offshore accounts.” Earlier this year, Ukrainian MP Sergii Leshchenko unearthed a minor part of those payments from Yanukovych’s residence,...

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