Samuel Charap of the Center for American Progress argues in a July 23 Washington Post op-ed (“U.S. Needs to Carefully Plot Engagement with Russia”) that civil society “still plays a role in public life” in Russia and that the Obama administration’s “major expansion of government-to-government engagement (the ‘reset’)” could positively influence Russian domestic developments. Charap’s point about civil society concerns the passage of a new Russian law strenthening the powers of the FSB (internal security service). “As bad as it is,” Charap argues, the law was stripped of some of its most onerous clauses were stripped following objections by human rights groups. Setting aside assessment of the reset’s international impact, Charap argues that it can exert three positive influences on internal developments in Russia. First, it enables the U.S. to talk with Russia about internal developments without discussion “devolving into a shouting match,” something more likely to lead to a backlash. Second, it prevents the Russian government from using an image of the U.S. as an enemy to justify tighter political controls, particularly against U.S.-supported civil society organizations. Finally, if the reset provides benefits to Russia, its government will have greater incentive to “think twice” about taking measures that could threaten the reset.