Russia

  • The RUSAL Deal: A Good Outcome?

    The Trump administration’s long-awaited decision to delist aluminum giant RUSAL finally became public on December 19. The deal that RUSAL’s holding company EN+ has struck with the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sure to draw the ire of those who want to see RUSAL continue under sanctions as a means to punish the Russian economy. The deeper view, however, is that sanctions targeting RUSAL’s founder and now indirect minority shareholder, Oleg Deripaska, worked exactly the way they are supposed to and that Deripaska’s fate should frighten other Russian oligarchs who cooperate with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s misadventures abroad or are part of his corrupt circle. OFAC was also smart to pair the delisting with additional designations to demonstrate a continued stance against the Kremlin’s aggressions.


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  • Brookie Quoted in The Washington Post on Russian Disinformation Campaign's Targeting of Mueller


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  • How to Speak about Ukraine’s Future and Tymoshenko in the West

    My recent article “What Would a Tymoshenko Presidency Mean?” caused indignation among numerous experts and journalists in Ukraine and indigestion among some in Washington. Obviously, there are a number of problems with Yulia Tymoshenko and her presidential bid, such as her leftish populist slogans and the financial sources behind her expensive campaign. Yet, the fact remains that the real choice in Ukraine’s 2019 presidential elections will likely be between incumbent President Petro Poroshenko and Tymoshenko, not a young reformer and a representative of the Kuchma-period elite.

    Given these realities, I argued that the West should start establishing a constructive relationship with Tymoshenko as the most likely future leader.


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  • Opposition to Nord Stream 2 Gathers Steam on Both Sides of the Atlantic

    Natural gas pipeline would connect Russia to Europe

    Opposition to Nord Stream 2—a pipeline that will transport natural gas from Russia to Germany while bypassing Ukraine—is building on both sides of the Atlantic.

    On December 11, the US House of Representatives passed a bipartisan resolution expressing opposition to Nord Stream 2. The nonbinding resolution calls on European governments to reject the pipeline and expresses support for US sanctions on entities involved with the project.


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  • Is Russia About to Invade Ukraine?

    Vladimir Putin must be kicking himself. Four years ago, he could have invaded and seized most of Ukraine in a few weeks. Believing that Ukrainians were an "artificial" nation led by "fascists," however, he figured an invasion was unnecessary and the state would collapse on its own. Now, Ukrainians are daily demonstrating their desire to leave the Russian zone of influence forever. An invasion may be the only thing that could postpone the inevitable, but it's an extremely risky undertaking that could result in Russia's collapse.

    So, what's Putin to do? He's caught between a rock and a hard place. Although war—whether big or small—would serve no Russian interests, it is all the more likely as Putin grasps at straws to sustain his declining legitimacy.

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  • The Negative Consequences of Putin’s Strategy

    It has become an accepted line of thought that Russian President Vladimir Putin is playing chess on the international stage while the majority of Western leaders play checkers. His high-profile appearances among other world leaders at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires and the centenary of the end of World War I in Paris were noted by some as more evidence Putin had brought Russia back to superpower status. Through land grabs in neighboring Ukraine and Georgia, a major military intervention in Syria, and disinformation campaigns throughout the Western world, the ex-KGB strongman has certainly returned his country to international significance. Recent developments in the Sea of Azov seem to signify another tactical victory with major potential consequences. And yet, have these moves had their intended strategic outcomes? Is Putin really a master strategist taking advantage of hapless European and American leaders?

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  • Why Pro-Russian Candidates Won’t Win Ukraine’s 2019 Elections

    Those who believe Ukraine has not fundamentally changed since the launch of Russia’s military aggression are dead wrong. In fact, the 2019 elections will clearly illustrate that pro-Russian candidates have not only lost significant support, they will barely win any national offices.

    Pro-Russian candidates are hampered from achieving success in the 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections by four factors.

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  • How to Weaken Putin’s Hand (The Answer Isn't What You Think)

    Ukraine is making international headlines again. Conflict in the Black Sea, war in eastern Ukraine, new anti-corruption institutions, and the imminent independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church have been widely reported and hotly discussed. But one important topic has gone largely unnoticed in the West—Ukraine’s ongoing local governance reform. The transformation of Ukraine’s administrative structure may seem dull, but it has become one of the most consequential post-Euromaidan reform efforts.
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  • Sultoon Quoted in Bloomberg on US Penalties against Viktor Vekselberg


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  • It's Time to Stop Appeasing Putin – Here's How to Deter the Emboldened Russian President

    MUNICH – There are few better places in the world than here to reflect on the need to end Western appeasement of Vladimir Putin and his growing list of international crimes. The latest was last Sunday’s Russian attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea -- and its purpose of asserting Kremlin control over its still-sovereign neighbor.  

    This Bavarian city of beer halls and baroque beauty has another claim to fame it would rather shake, one that made its name synonymous with appeasement. On September 30th, 1938, beyond a date when one could have doubted Adolf Hitler’s perils, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, French Premier Edouard Daladier, and Italian leader Benito Mussolini signed the Munich Pact, which handed Nazi Germany large parts of Czechoslovakia in the name of peace.

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