As public protests continue throughout Russia, 2012 will be a decisive year in Russia’s domestic politics, with uncertain implications for the future of the US-Russia Reset. Against the backdrop of a US-Russia relationship in flux, the Atlantic Council released the issue brief, “Rethinking the Russia Reset,” which makes recommendations for US and Russian policymakers to refocus the Reset on areas with concrete benefits that speak to real interests in both countries
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While making clear that US officials should hold Russia to account for its actions in the former Soviet space and its human rights record, the brief recommends expanding US-Russia economic ties as a way to promote good governance and rule of law in Russia.

Authored by Fran Burwell, vice president and director of the Transatlantic Relations Program at the Atlantic Council and Svante Cornell, director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, “Rethinking the Russia Reset” stresses the need to expand beyond the arms control agenda that dominated the start of the Reset, by focusing on extending US-Russia economic ties. It also encourages the United States to bring in its European partners into a trilateral US-EU-Russia dialogue on a way forward. The report makes the following recommendations for US, Russian, and European policymakers:

  • Continue to assert the importance of developments in Russia’s human rights and democracy polices.
  • Collaborate with Europe to help Russia uphold its WTO obligations, and remove barriers to US granting of most-favored-nation status to Russia, including Jackson-Vanik.
  • Prioritize the creation of investment protection and anti-corruption standards in Russia.
  • Encourage Russia to focus on economic modernization and facilitate discussions on how the United States and the EU might assist.
  • Gradually reengage former Soviet states in an effort to enhance security and resolve regional conflicts, and promote economic growth, along with stronger transportation and communication links, in the former Soviet states.

The issue brief is part of the Council’s Transatlantic Dialogues on Russia, and reflects findings from the series’ latest workshop, which took place in September 2011 with support from the US Army War College.