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Russia’s Age of Uncertainty

Think tank alert!  Dmitri Trenin and Sam Greene have published a brand new 8-page policy analysis paper entitled (Re)Engaging Russia in an Era of Uncertainty.  The authors debate how the economic crisis has distracted the attention of the Russian leadership from international relations toward fixing domestic problems, while they open up a choice facing the Americans:  do they take the “Obama approach” (soft) or the “Biden approach” (hard).  Below are the key conclusions:

  • As the Kremlin centralized power, leaders cut themselves off from public feedback, leading to a disconnect between realities on-the-ground and several disastrous policy initiatives.
     
  • While the Kremlin is slowly beginning to open itself to outside opinions, it must rebuild trust and goodwill among public officials and nongovernmental experts if it is to revive a truly constructive dialogue.
     
  • Russia has failed to engage on key global issues–including financial regulation, climate change, and the “responsibility to protect”–and risks further marginalization. When it has made proposals, they are so far out of synch with global thinking that they fail to elicit a productive response.