From Primers on How to Manage Relationship with Russia to Lessons of Karabakh War: RM’s Most Read of 2020

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Russia Matters – – RM Staff – Dec. 28, 2020)

From the U.S. and Russia’s contributions to subduing ISIS and the agreements that keep the two nuclear superpowers from stumbling into war, to the reverberations of conflicts in Russia’s near abroad and why U.S. policy toward Moscow should not create incentives for closer Russia-China ties, Russia Matters’ most popular reads of 2020 address a variety of challenging geopolitical questions. Check them out below.

Top 10 of 2020

1. Who ‘Defeated’ ISIS? An Analysis of US and Russian Contributions

by Domitilla Sagramoso

There can be little doubt that the U.S. and its allies played a much bigger role in subduing the terror group than Russia. But ISIS has plenty of life in it yet and any alleged victory is fragile.

2. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Russia

by RM Staff

What have the president-elect and vice president-elect said on the U.S. policies they advocate on key Russia-related issues, as well as their views on Russia itself?

3. Armenia-Azerbaijan War: Military Dimensions of the Conflict

by Michael Kofman

This large scale conventional war between the two countries is likely to upend the status quo of territorial control in the region.

4. A Look at the Military Lessons of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

by Michael Kofman

The implications of the conflict continue to reverberate well outside the region given its potential significance for regional and great powers alike, while further spurring debates on the character of modern warfare.

5. What Stops U.S. and Russia From Stumbling Into War?

by Simon Saradzhyan

Other than the fear of mutually assured destruction, what keeps the U.S. and Russia from stumbling into a war? Part of the answer lies in the bilateral and multilateral agreements specifically designed to prevent incidents that could escalate into a war.

6. 5 Years Since Russia’s Intervention in Ukraine: Has Putin’s Gamble Paid Off?

by Simon Saradzhyan

The author analyzes the costs and benefits for Russia, finding that the intervention advanced one vital national interest and damaged several others. The costs have been manageable so far, but may eventually become prohibitive.

7. Is Ukraine a Hub for International White Supremacist Fighters?

by Huseyn Aliyev

Has Ukraine become a training hub for white supremacists on either side of the conflict?

8. Russia and US National Interests: Maintaining a Balance of Power in Europe and Asia

by Nikolas K. Gvosdev

In this primer, the first in an exclusive series designed to facilitate a review of U.S. domestic and foreign policies, Nikolas K. Gvosdev argues that U.S. policy toward Moscow should not create incentives for closer Russia-China ties.

9. Beyond Arms Embargo, Obstacles Remain to Iran’s Acquisition of Russian Weapons

by Nicole Grajewski

On Oct. 18, the U.N. conventional arms embargo on Iran will expire despite Washington’s attempts to extend it. However, Russia’s opposition to the extension should not be mistaken as an indication that Moscow will rush to sell weapons to Tehran.

10. Blog: Russian Population Decline in Spotlight Again

by Daniel Shapiro and Natasha Yefimova-Trilling

Russian President Vladimir Putin has lamented the population decline in the country’s Far East, saying it falls in an “alarming, red zone.” While this region, which borders China, may raise particularly acute demographic concerns for the Kremlin, the country’s population decline more broadly is once again vexing the Russian leadership.

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