Anders Aslund

  • Is Another Trump-Putin Meeting a Good Idea?

    US President Donald J. Trump is expected to meet his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Buenos Aires later this week. Is that a good idea in light of Russia’s latest aggression toward Ukraine and the somewhat stymied success of past meetings between the two leaders? In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump left open the possibility that he might, after all, cancel the meeting over the incident in the Kerch Strait. “Maybe I won’t even have the meeting,” he said.

    Daniel Fried, a distinguished fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and the Eurasia Center, said: “A meeting...

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  • Aslund Quoted in EU Observer on Azov Sea Conflict


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  • Q&A: Russia Attacks Ukraine Again. How Should Ukraine, NATO, and the West Respond?

    On November 25, Russia fired on the Ukrainian Navy in the Black Sea, injuring at least two Ukrainian sailors. Many experts have warned that Russia is opening a new front in its forgotten war in Ukraine on the Black and Azov Seas, illegally boarding commercial Ukrainian vessels and increasing its military presence to about 120 patrol boats and ships. The Russian MFA twitter feed is full of insinuations about a Ukrainian provocation. 

    We asked Atlantic Council experts and friends the following: How should Ukraine respond? How should NATO and the West react to this latest round of Russian aggression? What would it take to force the Kremlin to stop its menacing actions in Ukraine and around the world?

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  • Russia-Ukraine Conflict Heats Up the Sea of Azov: Echoes of Russia’s War with Georgia?

    Escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine in the Sea of Azov bear eerie echoes of Russian provocations that led to the war with Georgia in the summer of 2008.

    “For months, Russian forces have been working to make the Azov Sea an internal Russian body of water in order to both cut off Ukraine’s eastern ports and cement Moscow’s hold on Crimea,” said Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council.

    “Moscow’s incrementalist approach is like the ‘creeping annexation’ we witnessed in Georgia in 2008—any single move tends not to be dramatic, but in the aggregate Russia makes strategic gains. Today, the Russians escalated with the aim of intimidating Ukraine into backing off its own effort to assert its access to its own territorial waters and its own ports,” he added.

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  • Aslund in Politico Europe: In Ukraine, It's No Longer About Little Green Men


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  • Making Sense of Russia’s New Draconian Sanctions on Ukraine

    On November 1, the Russian government imposed severe economic sanctions on 322 Ukrainian individuals and 68 Ukrainian companies. These are the most extensive sanctions imposed by any country in the tit-for-tat confrontation between Russia and Western countries over Ukraine.

    Curiously, these sanctions are explicitly only economic, declaring that any assets on the territory of the Russian Federation belonging to these individuals and enterprises will be frozen, though one would presume that none of these people will be allowed to enter Russia and no trade with the sanctioned companies will be possible.

    The sanctions focus mainly on two groups, politicians and businessmen.

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  • Good News: Ukraine Finally Gets New IMF Agreement

    On October 19, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced that it had finally reached a staff-level agreement with Ukraine on renewed lending. Ukraine hasn’t received any IMF funds since April 2017. Experts had warned that without an IMF tranche, Ukraine’s economy might face a serious financial crisis this fall.
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  • Aslund Quoted in Forbes on Russian Billionaire


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  • A Strategy for Moldova

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    The Republic of Moldova, a sliver of land bordering the European Union (EU) and NATO’s eastern edge, finds itself at a critical crossroads twenty-seven years after gaining independence from the Soviet Union. Eager to forge closer ties with Brussels and Washington, the government has made concerted efforts to bring the country closer in line with the West’s expectations and conditions required for a strong ally and partner. Genuine progress has been made over the past couple of years and the country has achieved financial and economic stability with the support of its development partners; it has reached over 4...

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  • Follow the Money: How the United States Can Stop Helping Putin

    When a cache of secret documents detailing a global network of offshore assets, the so-called Panama Papers, was released to the public in 2016, the name of a St. Petersburg cellist, Sergei Roldugin, broke into the news. The documents revealed that Roldugin, a childhood friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had received more than $2 billion from the Russian state and oligarchs and was presumably holding that wealth for his friend.

    The tight-knit—and tight-lipped—network of Russian influencers and dark money connected to the Kremlin is the subject of a report, “How the United States Can Combat Russia’s Kleptocracy,” by Anders Åslund, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. Åslund details how Putin solidified his control over Russia by systematically dominating three circles of power: the state apparatus, including law enforcement agencies and...

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