Policy Memos

The Challenge of an Undemocratic Russia

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As weakened as it has been by its prolonged and poorly executed transition from central planning to a market economy, Russia remains a key player in international security. Geographically, Russia lies astride Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, and plays an important role in every region of critical strategic importance. Russia remains the most potent military power in the center of Eurasia, a region where weakness and instability generate the greatest potential for civil and international conflict. Russia is a major player in the international oil market and an important exporter of cut-rate military equipment; it remains the country that poses the greatest danger of becoming a major exporter of WMD. Furthermore, Russia is emerging from its long slide, and appears poised to gradually rebuild its economic and military strength. Russia looks much as it did eighty years ago in 1924: its empire shattered, its economy weakened, but firmly on the road to rebuilding itself as a world power. In the 1920s the United States failed to devise a strategy that took into account the role Russia would play in the world in twenty years, and it wo uld be wise to avoid repeating that mistake. [...]

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About the author

Professor, Director of the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies, Director of the Peter D. Watson Center for Conflict and Cooperation, Department of Political Science
University of Rochester