Zapad-2021 was the largest Russian military exercise in the country’s most important strategic theater in recent memory. But the security challenges the country is facing from the Baltic to the Black Sea are even bigger, and no amount of military drills can fix them.
The challenge for Western policymakers is to avoid viewing Russian activism in the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa through an exclusively zero-sum lens. The region’s political disarray, complexities, and especially the unpredictability of local rulers all present built-in buffers to Russian influence—as they do to all external players.
Russia has been eying the departure of U.S. troops from Afghanistan with schadenfreude. But the Kremlin does not relish the prospect of an unstable Afghanistan.
Experts from throughout Carnegie’s global network assess the stark humanitarian toll, the regional ramifications, and the diplomatic challenges posed by the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
The ongoing withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is transforming diplomatic and security dynamics in Central Asia, creating opportunities for Russia and China to enhance their engagement with increasingly anxious governments in the region.
Russian scientists rolled out the country’s COVID-19 vaccine last summer, beating Western vaccine producers to the finish line. But scarce data, broken promises, and corruption have led the vaccine to lose its luster.
Russia has returned as a major actor in the Mediterranean. Yet a closer look at its economic tool kit in this region suggests concerns about Russian economic capabilities are likely overstated.
Getting Russia right—assessing its capabilities and intentions, the long-term drivers of its policy and threat perceptions, as well as its accomplishments—is essential because the alternative of misreading them is a recipe for wasted resources, distorted national priorities, and increased risk of confrontation.
Russia’s assertiveness in the Eastern Mediterranean is part of its broader strategy for undermining the cohesion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union and thus complicating the Western alliance’s ability to operate, plan, and formulate policy.
The traditional geopolitical boundaries that have defined the South Caucasus in the post-Cold War era are shifting as the region becomes increasingly connected to the eastern Mediterranean and wider Middle East.