• Putin and the US Senate

    On October 12, the U.S. Senate held a hearing to confirm National Security Council official Michael McFaul to be the next U.S. ambassador to Russia. McFaul used his testimony to defend the Obama administration’s “reset” policy, even though the policy has neither reversed the antagonism which marks the U.S.-Russian relationship nor improved U.S. national security. America’s Russia policy needs a reset, but not in public diplomacy. Rather, the White House, State Department, and the able McFaul should reset Washington’s willingness to accept Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as a force for stability rather than seek true reform.
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  • Nord Stream Winners and Losers

    The Nord Stream pipeline, a $10 billion venture that opened last month, will allow Russia to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas directly to Germany, bypassing the traditional transit countries in Eastern and Central Europe. This has the potential to destabilize political relationships in Europe by transforming Russia from a merely influential player to a power that dominates the region.

    The pipeline allows Russia to bypass traditional transit countries when delivering gas to Germany by running it through the Baltic Sea, decreasing the amount of transit fees paid to the traditional transit countries while allowing the Kremlin better accuracy in targeting those countries for strategic shut offs of gas delivered for domestic consumption.

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  • Russian Musical Chairs: A Country on the Stop

    President Dmitri Medvedev’s public dressing down and dismissal of his country’s deputy prime minister and finance minister, Alexei Kudrin, on September 26 has attracted widespread attention in Russia and abroad.
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  • Medvedev Thinks He's President of Russia

    The recent news that Vladimir Putin would be running for his old office as president of Russia was greeted by bemusement with many Western observers, myself included, who have been under the impression that Putin has been running the country from a different chair and that little would change. One person who seems not to share that view is President Dmitry Medvedev, who last week asserted his constitutional authority in a rather public dressing down of finance minister and deputy premier Alexei Kudrin. 
    Speaking in Washington the day after the announcement at the United Russia convention of the job swap, Kudrin told reporters that, "I do not see myself in a new government," adding, while "nobody has offered me the job, I think that the disagreements I have will not allow me to join this government."
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  • Caspian Natural Gas Inches Closer to Markets

    Earlier this month, two events occurred which are likely to significantly boost Europe’s hopes for diversifying its gas supply and help realize Caspian gas exporting countries’ aspirations for reaching global gas markets. 
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  • The Rebirth of President Putin

    Vladimir Putin announced on Sunday that he will trade places with current president Dmitry Medvedev next year, running for the presidency while Medvedev settles for the number two spot of prime minister. Under revisions to the Russian constitution, the presidency has been lengthened from a four-year to a six-year term, and presidents can run for re-election once. Twelve more years!
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  • Breakthrough or Just Broken? China and Russia’s UNGA Proposal on Cyber Norms

    China and Russia just dropped a surprising draft resolution at the United Nations General Assembly. 
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  • Third Annual Members' Conference - Russia 2012 and Beyond: Reset or Rewind?

    Summary of the town hall "Russia 2012 and Beyond: Reset or Rewind?" at the 2011 Annual Members' Conference.



    Alexander Vershbow,* Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, United States Department of Defense; former United States Ambassador to NATO and to the Russian Federation
    Moderated by Annette Heuser,** Executive Director, Bertelsmann Foundation

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  • Moscow Plans for a Post-NATO Afghanistan

    The looming withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan slated for 2014 poses for Moscow a serious geopolitical predicament. In spite of their conspicuous silence on the matter, Russian officials have been growing increasingly uneasy about the potential vacuum. Yet still some in the Russian leadership see this as a welcome opportunity to expand influence in Central Asia at the expanse of the West. Moreover, Moscow’s quest for a greater role in Afghanistan is intrinsically connected with its wider ambitions in the post-Soviet space.
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  • Russia and the West: Moving the Reset Forward?

    Rose Gottemoeler at ACUS

    On September 9, the Atlantic Council, the Institute for Security and Development Policy and the US Army War College hosted a conference that focused on the trilateral US-Europe-Russia relationship and the current status and future of the reset. The sessions identified the obstacles and challenges facing the reset and steps for U.S. and European governments to drive relations with Russia forward.

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