Brendan BOYLE (United States)
30 April 2021
Relations between Russia and West are currently at a new post-Soviet low and the prospects of a new reset of relations are bleak at best. While NATO’s prudent dual track approach to Russia is likely to be reaffirmed in the new Strategic Concept, should the Allies agree to draft one. However, it is timely to have a frank and in-depth discussion among the Allies on what the NATO-Russia relationship should entail in practice in the upcoming decade.
The preliminary draft report provides an update on Russia’s strategic challenge to NATO and its key partners, both in the military and non-kinetic domains. It notes that especially since the invasion of Ukraine in 2014, the Putin regime has become much more ideological, which has clear foreign policy implications and severely limits the possibility for a genuine rapprochement between Russia and the transatlantic community. The Rapporteur warns that the potential increase of Russian military adventurism in the near- to mid-term would not be surprising.
The Rapporteur also explores the growing strategic alignment between Russia and China and urges the Euro-Atlantic community to be consistent and committed to the rules-based order in their relations with Moscow and Beijing.
The report provides an overview of Russian destabilizing activities in its immediate neighborhood and in the broader MENA region. The Rapporteur urges the Allies to increase their support for Georgia’s and Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration and their transformation into success stories.
The report also discusses the growing repressive nature of the regime domestically, and calls for continuation of the policy of sanctions unless Moscow revisits its destabilizing behavior and human rights violations.
It concludes with a series of recommendations aiming to reassure Allies in the face of Russia’s military and hybrid threats and urges Allies to be realistic about the prospects of genuine dialogue with the current regime beyond maintaining channels of communication to prevent accidental escalation.
The preliminary draft report will be discussed by the Political Committee (PC) at the Spring Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.