Russia and India: How Not to Fall Under the Grindstone of Others’ Rivalries (Valdai Discussion Club)

On May 15, the Valdai Discussion Club, in partnership with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), hosted a webinar on Russian-Indian relations. Timofei Bordachev, programme director of the Valdai Club and moderator of the event, defined its task as an honest dialogue on the most pressing issues between experts from two countries that have always been distinguished by their good relationship, which will allow the parties to better understand each other’ s interests and intentions during the on-going global crisis.


The Chinese View of Western-Russia Competition (BESA Center)

The ongoing competition between Russia and the West is likely to continue unabated for years to come. Beijing will endeavor to widen that gulf by supporting Moscow in its efforts to implement China’s signature Belt and Road Initiative in the Middle East and Eurasia.


A contest of extremes: Biden’s and Trump’s opposing positions on Russia (ECFR)

The 2020 election will likely determine whether America seeks a deal with Russia to carve up Europe into spheres of influence or launches a new, ideological cold war against the country.

Jeremy Shapiro

Moscow’s War in Syria (CSIS)

This report examines Russia’s military and diplomatic campaign in Syria, the largest and most significant Russian out-of-area operation since the end of the Cold War. Russia’s experience in Syria will shape its military thinking, influence promotion and personnel decisions, impact research and development for its arms industry, and expand its influence in the Middle East and beyond for the foreseeable future. Yet despite the importance of Russia’s involvement in Syria—especially as the United States competes with countries such as Russia and China—there has been little systematic analysis of Russia’s campaign in Syria. This research aims to help fill the gap and provides some new analysis and data. It conducts a broad assessment of the Russian campaign—including political objectives, diplomatic initiatives, and civilian targeting—which places the military campaign in a wider context. In addition, it compiles a data set of Russia’s civilian targeting and analyzes satellite imagery of Russian activity.

Will the Pandemic Weaken Russia’s ‘Deep State’—or Make It Stronger Still? (CFR)

As Putin tries to manage Russia’s coronavirus outbreak, the national security bureaucracy faces challenges and opportunities of its own.

Victory Day and Russia’s Politics of History (Wilson Center)

Seventy five years after the end of World War II, Victory Day has become Russia’s most prominent national holiday and a cornerstone of the Kremlin’s politics of memory. Built around the glorification of Russia’s military successes and the Russian people’s heroism and victimhood, the official May 9 commemorations are meant to symbolize a resurgent Russia. But Victory Day is also a point of confluence for unofficial and deeply held personal and family memories as well as the memory of Stalin’s terror. Professors Larisa Deriglazova, Nina Tumarkin, and Nikolay Koposov will discuss the upcoming commemorations – this year significantly tamped down because of the coronavirus pandemic – and the politics of memory associated with the day.

Larisa Deriglazova, Nina Tumarkin,

Nikolay Koposov, Izabella Tabarovsky


Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the US: A Slippery Oil Triangle (BESA Center)

Oil relationships are as unstable and volatile as romantic ones. Following a deadlocked OPEC summit in February, Moscow and Riyadh announced they would ramp up production, sending already low prices tumbling. Since both countries’ budgets are almost entirely dependent on energy exports, this suggests they have decided geopolitical interests trump purely economic ones.


Putin’s Religious Soft Power Hits Jerusalem (BESA Center)

The recent “backpacker deal,” the Crimean Peninsula annexation, and Russia’s Sochi Olympic Games are all examples of Vladimir Putin’s global “smart power” strategy, which combines soft and hard power. In winning Russian sovereignty over the Jerusalem complex near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, he scored a significant soft power win.