Operating as public-private partnerships, the firms offer Russia a cheap, low-risk front to carry out its activist foreign policy.
A blend of new threats and opportunities is causing Moscow to take greater risks and embrace more flamboyant policies in Europe. The Kremlin’s relationships with Italy and Austria shine a spotlight on how Europe’s domestic troubles have opened many doors for Moscow.
Putin’s foreign policy goal has been Russia’s return as a world power. The UN is a positive platform for this, but Russia’s rejection of external norms has paralyzed the institution.
Over the past two decades, and especially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, the Kremlin has intensified its engagement with international institutions.
Russia squandered close ties with the South African government by overplaying its hand and getting caught up in a corrupt nuclear energy pact.
So long as Serbia does not formally recognize Kosovo’s independence, it must rely on Russia’s veto power in the UN Security Council. That dependency gives Russia a nontrivial degree of influence, both in the region and within Serbia itself.