The Kremlin’s activist foreign policy is expanding Russian global influence at a time when the United States and other Western countries are increasingly divided or consumed by domestic problems. The Return of Global Russia project will examine the Kremlin’s ambitions to become a player in far-flung parts of the world where its influence has long been written off, the tools it is relying upon to challenge the liberal international order, and practical Western policy options for how and when to respond to this new challenge.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has been slow to land in Nigeria. To explain why Russia’s vaccine diplomacy fell short, these domestic factors in Nigeria need to be taken into account.
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 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.
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.
Russia has long struggled to overcome its inability to retain talent for homegrown innovation and R&D. As a result, Russia’s global activism leans heavily on tried-and-true tactics.
Russia has big Arctic plans, but how they will be realized is uncertain. For the United States this will likely mean the return to a Cold War–like environment rather than a new chapter in great-power competition in the Arctic.
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