Russia's integration with Western institutions is proceeding along several different fronts. US media and policy analysts have emphasized two aspects of this process: the economic (increasingly dense ties between Russian domestic and global markets) and the security (NATO partnership; security cooperation). While perhaps understandable, these foci overlook an equally important element: Russian integration with Western human rights practices and institutions.
This memo examines the latter, and makes two arguments. Integration with human rights institutions, in contrast with that in the economic and security spheres, is empowering a different and broader set of Russian domestic actors. Moreover, this integration process is currently being driven forward by unexpected stimuli–NATO expansion and the regionalization of the Russian political space. […]