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Russia Is A Marginal Power

The BriefGet Up To Speed

Disarming Syria. Asylum for Edward Snowden. Arming Iran. Deploying troops to Crimea. Is Vladimir Putin flexing his muscles, while our own president fades into the background of world politics, or is it all a global game of smoke and mirrors? Russia is one of the world'€™s largest oil producers and has the power of veto on the U.N. Security Council, but it remains an authoritarian state, rife with corruption and economic struggles. Is our toxic relationship something to worry about, or is Putin'€™s Russia fading in importance?


The recent economic news out of Russia has been unremittingly awful, and the longer-term future doesn’t look much brighter.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Brian Bremner

The heroic people of Ukraine’s <a href=" target="_blank">Euromaidan</a> protest movement, helped unwittingly by the EU and some eleventh-hour U.S. diplomacy, revealed Moscow’s real power status.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Jan Techau

The Kremlin evinces little interest in making progress on issues that are important to the White House, and Putin may find he does not matter much for Obama during his remaining time in office.

Monday, August 5, 2013
Steven Pifer

Don’t be fooled by Putin’s façade; the pillars of Russian power are steadily declining.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Zachary Keck

Russia will not cease to be important to U.S. policymakers and American geopolitical interests for a number of reasons.

Friday, March 1, 2013
John Parker and Michael Kofman

In 2014, Russia's first major foreign policy project since the breakup of the Soviet Union will take a decisive step toward realization: In the spring, a treaty on Eurasian Union (EAU) is due to be signed, with the union itself launched on January 1, 2015.

Sunday, February 16, 2014
Dimitri Trenin

Russia may not be in a position to directly challenge the United States—whose spending still far outstrips that of Moscow’s—but given other regional trends, especially in Europe, it is restoring its conventional capabilities to back up claims to great power status.

Friday, October 4, 2013
Nikolas K. Gvosdev

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia broke his silence over the Ukraine crisis on Tuesday for the first time since it boiled over into a possible armed confrontation, asserting that he saw no reason for Russian forces to intervene in eastern Ukraine at the moment but leaving open the possibility of military action.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Steven Lee Myers

Obama and his top foreign-policy aides are growing increasingly worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be preparing to use military force to deal Ukraine's new pro-Western government an embarrassing blow by engineering the secession of Crimea.

Friday, February 28, 2014
Colum Lynch and Elias Groll

Growing separatist tensions in the Ukrainian region mark the latest in centuries of conflicts.

Thursday, February 27, 2014
Stephen Fidler

Russia's power play for Ukraine's Crimea region is putting to flight foreign stock and bond investors, who are rattled by the Kremlin's overruling of the country's economic interests in favor of its military ambitions.

Monday, March 3, 2014
Sujata Rao

Syria is not witnessing a battle for democracy, but an armed conflict between government and opposition in a multireligious country.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Vladimir Putin

Both Russia and China have significant economic and military relations with Syria. As permanent members of the UN Security Council, the duo has vetoed three resolutions designed to isolate the Assad regime.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Zachary Laub and Jonathan Masters

A possible energy deal between Russia and Iran could torpedo U.S. nuclear talks with Iran.

Friday, January 10, 2014
Keith Johnson

Despite the nations' rocky relations in other areas, Moscow has given crucial support in the effort to curb Iran's nuclear program.

Saturday, October 26, 2013
Paul Richter and Sergei Loiko

Recent dialogue between the two governments is not a sign of nascent alliance, but rather a result of intersecting interests on different issues that are not equal in importance and priority for Moscow.

Friday, June 1, 2012
Nikolay Kozhanov
Eurasian Union

Putin now appears to have had a different agenda: to reconstruct what he could of the former empire but on a Russian model rather than Soviet.

Monday, March 3, 2014
Stephen Hadley and Damon Wilson

Ever since the break-up of the Soviet Union, various initiatives seeking to (re)integrate the newly independent republics into some kind of post-Soviet successor have been launched. The Eurasian Customs Union is the latest initiative.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Rilka Dragneva and Kataryna Wolczuk
Economy & Oil

With year-on-year GDP growth at just 1.2% last quarter and growth in investment and industrial production nearing zero, stagnation seems to be the most apt description of the Russian economy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013
The Economist

Russia faces two challenges that will affect its preeminence as an energy supplier and its ability to wield oil and gas as geostrategic tools. At stake are the stability of the regime — and perhaps even its survival.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Leon Aron
Russia & the West

In one of his many foreign-policy successes this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has used power politics and blackmail to bring Ukraine back into Russia's sphere of influence. But what is the Kremlin leader's secret to success?

Monday, December 16, 2013
Christian Neef and Matthias Schepp