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tv   Kathryn Stoner Russia Resurrected  CSPAN  June 29, 2021 10:22pm-11:52pm EDT

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>> the deputy director for the institute of nationals and us national studies that hanford and the center for democracy development and rule of law and center on national security and cooperation. she teaches in the department of political science at stanford and international
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relations as well as masters in international policy program at ba and ma political science university of toronto and phd in government from harvard and in 2016 awarded an honorary doctorate from georgia and i can only hope that came with a lifetime supply. but in addition to many articles of russia she is the author are coeditor of six books the most recent of what they will be speaking about today russia resurrected. hot off the oxford university press. i feel we are very privileged to be amongst the first people
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who will be speaking to after the book is published. we are thrilled she's agreed to join us to share her working ideas so please join me to virtually welcome catherine. >> thank you so much jennifer. i will share my screen and say thank you to peter for inviting me and setting this up i wish i was there in person but this is the world live in for a little bit longer so i will count on you all to tell me if you cannot see.
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so this is a book that is still warm off the presses. it is available on amazon in time for a st. patrick's day presence. it is provocatively called russia resurrected. and with those expectations i try to only speak for about 35 or 40 minutes. and then we get to have questions. i believe we have an hour and a half. so there is a paradox of perception of russian power someone one hand you have mr. putin saying these things over time that russia was never so strong as it wanted to be or to sexually
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paraphrase winston churchill and other people and in 2008 to say at last russia has returned to those that will stand up for itself. and made that statement with the olympics in 2014. and a more recent statement in front of the russian parliament to say in just 30 years with undergoing changes in other countries posting all developmental path and speed russia following the collapse in 1981. feels conflict in perceptions as well. so on the one hand the perception that russia is not a year power about a gas
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station from john mccain in 2014 and gas station on the paraphrasing not out of strength but out of weakness. and this was a particularly not well received statement by mr. ten that that russia is an existential threat to the supreme commander of nato at the time in 2015 at the same time the other statements are being made. russia is rewriting the statement. his colleagues in the military proclaim russia as an existential threat to the united states and then most recently president biden when he was running for office last
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fall saying i think the biggest threat to america right now in terms of breaking up our security and alliances is russia. seconded the biggest competitor with china. but here to see it is much more of a happy or power. there are these conflicting perceptions and how we started this project. is russia strong or weekend how would we know? so 30 years after the collapse of the soviet union for having this conversation and as i will explain it is a bit surprising to be having this conversation given the starting point of where russia was in 1991. is russia global power?
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most people would probably say no. i will try to convince you otherwise it is the policy of the united states not to recognize crimea as part of russia but part of the ukraine that defective it has become a part of russia business 2015 and effective mobilization on the part of the russian to fundamentally changing the facts on the ground and working with iran to work with assad in syria and 2016th us presidential election interference with the brexit
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referendum in $2,177,000,000 as she prepared for her bid for the presidency continuous buzzing of warships right up until now. with russian planes and in 2018 and 2019 the promotion of populism in eastern europe and beyond and most recently in 2020 the software hack russian hackers working for the russian government plant code into the software of this popularly used within the united states government and fortune 500 companies. we don't know if it still they are and what they gained exactly. so clearly disruptive. is a few quick facts on
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russia. if we don't count crimea, it has 144 million but long-term if not the best strategy for increasing population to grab countries but until recently the russia population growth was negative due to demographic issues that i will go into later but it is pre- covid at least and you will see how it comes out of the covid crisis we've also heard from the covid crisis. >> purchasing power parity that's what ppp means in 2019 it was just over $29000 but that is three times 1991. so roughly now think about purchasing power parity the us
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is 56000. just over that. it is an economy of one.$7 trillion which is roughly similar to canada for perspective there is the us, china and germany. not the biggest economy obviously. hours is much larger. it is still primarily commodity driven but not exactly a gas station with nukes but in 2020 russia was still the world's second-largest exporter of oil and also is a huge natural gas exporter of the world's
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exports number one producer of petroleum products in this case so it doesn't export oil so number one wheat producer russians are particularly proud of now looking back at the history of famine in the soviet period and where they were in 1991 when the soviet union collapsed. over time it has become less dependent on revenue from oil exports. i don't want to overstate that but they are having diversification to modest effect. that affects as a percentage of revenue over time has been a result people like mitt romney and john mccain think
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of the source the comparisons when they dismiss russia is not appear power. and with gdp in trillions of us dollars and it is a proxy for europe in general only when they wouldn't want that anymore. but in terms of population especially of china is less than half and in the united kingdom that with military spending another common thing that we looked at is a proxy for global power influence in us dollars, 2018. russia is one tenth of what
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the west does. one quarter of what china does and what united kingdom spends. so russia gets more for its money even though spending and adjusted dollars it looks roughly the same that - - but reviewing some of those measures. if by these conventional measures that are rough estimates arranging the world along these measures russia where not look influential in the world the idea has done those things we referred to earlier particularly since mr. putin returned to the russian president has 20 on - - in 2012. so under mr. putin it is above
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its weight and strategic genius and he uses what little they have to great effect. and in my book tries to offer correctives what we think about that if russia is punching above its weight or if it is a heavyweight. this forces us to think more about state power how we measure and define it. one of the arguments is be think of power to nearly and overlook other capabilities. we need to look beyond those traditional measures of men and military and might. that doesn't necessarily translate into global influence. it might. how much you spend on military doesn't translate into global influence and having the world's largest economy would
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certainly be helpful but not alone doesn't seem to reflect relative power otherwise would russia with a relatively small economy be as disruptive as it has been? power is multi- a dimensional and contextual so a good game in bridges bad in poker so with the perception of power countries power tools can be good enough to be very disruptive depending on the context and that is one of the main reasons we underestimate russian power and the second characterization as week and having nothing is outdated. russia has recovered and maintained some of the
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capacities and then it has modernized more than we appreciate was so new tool of international power that is not that expensive but extremely disruptive so if we count up the military and the amount of spending and in particular the soft and sharp power tools. and then one of the things that enables russia with these new tools is a political system and with the institutional checks to allow putin to use the power tools that they have quickly and without much accountability there is a very high tolerance for risk and how the soviet
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union functioned where there were institutions of the general secretary of the communist party. he was kicked out of power than there was a coup against gorbachev there are no such institutions that check mr. putin anymore. but there is something specific from putin and that system that has developed while he has been in power the last 20 years. >> there's a common argument to say this is a great power doing with great powers do. russia has always been geography is destiny and covers the continent. and as a realist and with that
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power maximization. and with that policy interest. it should be immutable over time. it is structurally determined and then russia is doomed to be against the west regardless of who was in power with that chart that i showed you russia should not be that much of a threat. it is a significant threat.
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and with our government using force to say it is the existential threat that is the biggest threat. that has led me to think about how to think about russia relatively speaking looking into what has been written about power and international politics. and there isn't that much but the definition from the fifties is still pretty much the dominant definition and that's what i use here are the ability of one state that might not otherwise do and power is relative so i looked at power in three dimensions of men and military and money but also a move to consider context of power.
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to think about as david baldwin does power over whom to do white and a good hand in bridges bad in poker. you don't bring a knife to a gunfight. so we have to consider context and geographic domains where and how many countries does russia exercise influence? and the policy scope and how much does it matter in what area quick so for example in oil, russia is a weighty actor incidents 80 percent of global energy comes from carbon sources like oil and natural gas, then that is an
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important part of the policy area to differentiate from north korea that has for example growing needs of the nuclear capacity but it is limited geographically in the policy scope and weight is important beyond the nuclear weapons to affect its neighbors and activities in that area. i have this crude artistic rendering from the different dimensions of power and try to imagine the circles can get bigger or smaller. you can have a lot of means in terms of a strong economy and a healthy society, well educated and a lot of push and pull influence which i will explain over other countries but in a really narrow geographic area. you can have very limited
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policy scope if it's only in one policy area like nuclear weapons these can independently very as well. so this is the way it is organized. 's russia resurrected? and has the geographic domain policy scope and weight important policy areas and that means that is overlooked that is the chart that i showed you to be disruptive and sometimes divisive of international policies a wire how has this happened? that's a second part of the argument with domestic politics. so the argument here is putin has the well to use what
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russia has unconstrained as i mentioned because the deployment of the power resources abroad is determined by politics in russia at home we think what russia is doing abroad we forget what's going on at home but domestic politics drive policy a little more than the interests like geography so that type of regime matters and the decline of the power resources and in terms of policy recommendation are outcomes for the united states there is something about putin's them and exercise a form policy tools so i run a counterfactual what if putin was not empower if
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the regime is not the autocracy but in fact there are historical counterfactual's? i argue russia at different times if we think back to gorbachev we have russia having good relationships with the west. it is negotiating in your gorbachev many think of him as warm and friendly. he just turned 90 by the way. he is alive and kicking. with reagan and h.w. bush with the arms-control agreements in the nuclear area that we had not seen before. and then incomes boris yeltsin when we had the show on bill
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clinton and then to help russia joining the g8 and there were some rough spots in the nato expansion but also tremendous improvement to be able to negotiate out of those disagreements. even in the first two terms between 2,002,008 the first in 2004. he is purportedly the first international leader to call george w. bush in 2001 after 9/11 to express his condolences for our loss that day. putin by some accounts was disappointed that he thought at the time there would be more coordination of international terrorism
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problem that russia had this coming out of chechnya and in that hope they can work together more with the united states and there were periods of working strongly together. remember when putin's protégé that he was his prime minister so during this period of the reset of us american relations of course he was involved that medvedev cooperated on with the united states and what were those things? the new start agreement that was just we knew last month reducing capping the number of strategic nuclear weapons the united states and russia can have and includes very sophisticated regimes. another was the northern distribution network a lot of americans don't think
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appreciate that russia was allowing us to send military equipment through its territory to bases of central asia we were renting at the time even though they are sovereign states russia has influence over them. and enabling us to stage those into afghanistan and pakistan was not as able but then he abstained with the un security council of those native actions of libya or qaddafi. so here comes putin back into the presidency in 2012 and at
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that point relationships with the west change radically in russian form policy becomes more aggressive. so the book touches on this as well. there is a new geography of russian power and is much as i agree with barack obama in some areas to call russia a regional power, that was obviously wrong and it is wrong today maybe it was more correct in 2014 or 2015 when he said it is not the case today. does have a geographic domain it inherited from the soviet union from the russian empire before it so it is the largest country in the world
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geographically speaking it spans europe and asia and has the highest number of international borders of any other country in the world young the other country that does have the same number as china and those that use to be within the soviet union or the russian empire and that has helped to perpetuate this idea as a zone of national historical influence that can be reclaimed. but since 2014 in particular it has built other areas of significant global influence sometimes we underestimate what russia has gained in terms of its capabilities through actions in syria. it's not a quagmire for russia because the russian leadership doesn't think the same way
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about political power for the occupation of a country as we do or there's not enough to fix that now that it's broken but russia has developed influence in iraq as well as saudi arabia which is difficult but cooperative in terms of opec plus with new relationships with israel partly because of the huge russian diaspora and it maintains relationships with the countries that have difficult relationships partnering with one another so iran and iraq don't get along particularly well saudi arabia and iran but russia deals with all of them. it also establish relationships with those who
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have kindred spirits or populations who may be receptive i wouldn't call that the ideology but a conservative belief. so we can see this in the populist leaders been among societies in the middle east and north africa and sub-saharan africa that see this as an alternative to liberalism. one of the important things to recognize russia did not use ideology the way soviet union did it was much more pragmatism but they do have an fss on traditional values and not pressing hard on things like human rights.
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in their dealings with countries that have unsavory perceptions on other western powers. >> as i mentioned with influence abroad under putin russia in the last the increasing influence with the third is an russia had developed closer ties those in the middle east which i mentioned in western europe russian is very weighty and important actor in terms of oil supply and in particular natural gas so right now with
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germany over the pipeline that goes from west of st. petersburg into northern germany but that is absolutely vital to germany which is increasingly dependent on russia for natural gas to get high into the 90 percent coming from russia what is that use for it could effectively shut down the economy if you shut down natural gas so now russia basically owns venezuelan oil it has taken ownership stake in their oil company and closer ties to argentina but in chapter three but russia
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developed military presence in the arctic and has the largest fleet in the world of icebreakers that we don't have our canada doesn't have those are two other big presence in the arctic. and this is in part for exploration of new oil and gas resources and those that have partnered with russian oil and gas entities to explore that. russia has now been able to replace they are under sanctions over ukraine so they had been able to replace western investors to a large degree from investments including saudi arabia and uae as well as china and india in
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terms of trying to do more exploration in the arctic. china is particularly interested in the new trade route through the arctic as global warming open set up as a possibility. so russia has been savvy to develop new markets for its products which are not just oil and gas but also selling nuclear power facilities and building materials and mining materials and with those that are made in russia because they don't make a lot of great high quality consumer products they focus more on heavy
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industry but they have been savvy in terms of forgiving loans in countries of sub-saharan africa who had gotten into debt during the soviet period. those loans are bad anyway and would not be repaid but instead russian companies have received contracts for supplying material. so finding new markets and getting around western sanctions while at the same time sometimes providing loans to these places and it is and alternative where russia is willing to do business but they will not come down hard on human rights abuses instead what they did do was use mercenaries and then help them market diamonds and take the money off the top and the same
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is true of precious metals. with russia and china there is to see stuff in there. that is so interesting russia supplies china with oil. china has its own domestic oil industry gets it from other places but also for infrastructure products to help with its own infrastructures as well as supplying with military equipment. that comes a servicing and that's hard to get bed of the jets and then cooperating with military exercises that have been largely russian that in dominated. the chinese are not taking a huge role in that. it cannot be overstated.
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also developing close ties with india it was a close to the result of russia looking at india to see a huge market there that is an alternative to western markets where russia has been under sanction since 2014. they cooperate on pharmaceuticals. and the russian covid vaccine is manufactured in india. some of it. . . . . but over time we've seen that it appears
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to be just as efficacious and is actually part of russia's vaccine diplomacy now for its soft power, use of soft power around the world. it's registered its vaccine in about 48 countries today. >> so, in terms of geography i will give you a quick and selective tour. in geography, russia has greatly expanded. in its scope and those policy areas it is important as i mentioned earlier to change that since the collapse of the soviet union. it is primarily based on economic interests and geoeconomics calculations but there are three main areas
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russia is interested in globally. first obviously oil and gas but it isn't just the actual physical products where russia is an important factor globally. it's pipeline in infrastructure, transportation infrastructure control in particular so one of the things russia has gained is control over northern syria and increased support of the development in northern iraq as well where we shed our own blood and tears and money. in terms of noncarbon trade, russia is the second largest surveyor of weaponry. we are number one. but also nuclear energy technology for domestic purposes. it has become increasingly competent in terms of agriculture and one of the
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reasons we should focus on that if you no russian geography it's hard to grow things in that part of the country. but the fact that it now exports wheat given historically how difficult it was in the soviet period but even in the imperial period it is a notable accomplishment. there was an interesting article a couple of months ago about how russia will gain from climate change and one of them is increasing its arable land and being able to grow more and more things and finally, as a third main area is national security, protecting its borders and it is the predominant power now so those are chapters two and three. chapter four, five, six and
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seven all look at the means of russian power and those are some of the traditional measures, looking at the economy as an unsteady basis of russian global influence looking at society as well as relative strengths and weakness and sustaining global influence. comparing military power in particular the book provides an overview of russia's military reform that was began in 2008 and as well as providing direct comparisons to china and the united states and europe on military power and capability. the conclusion is russia is the most powerful hands down in europe and by many measures a power with the united states
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especially nuclear power, nuclear weaponry. chapter seven looks at soft power which hopefully i will have time to get into but that is the power of attraction to the russian perspective and then sharp power is the ability to use to disrupt the information environment and military speak. so, how things started, and this is one of the things in that quote in 2002 where he's paraphrasing churchill it was pretty weak at the time of the collapse so looking first at the economy, recalling it was a complete collapse of the political structure and the economic structure.
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the planning and the economy goes into an extreme shortage and the hyperinflation and it is dependent on the international monetary fund and even in 91 and 92 i'm not proud of this and i'm not sure why i was telling you this but i was with usaid because it had made its way onto the black market so i kept some frozen chicken paid for by the american taxpayer with the price jacked up on the streets of moscow but it was terrible economic catastrophe and it has been called one of the worst economic catastrophes outside of war time in history except now i think for venezuela we could
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say. so really at the bottom of the barrel. a recipient of loans from lenders of last resort. unemployment, something new from those that never tasted before. in terms of its gross domestic product comparing brazil, russia, india, china and south africa with the eu 28 and the united states and this time period the first 25 years or so, you can kind of see where russia fits in in terms of its gdp comparatively speaking. here's china. look at the takeoff here, the european union so this includes britain. this is india of course and this is the united states.
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so, russia is here so you can see it's increasing but it's traveling along with brazil and it is not the rocketship that china is in this period. that's just gdp. that's not per capita. here it is per capita. and if we look at that, it's not as bad. it actually does a lot here in the middle ground. so we have the united states here. so if you went and bought the same basket of goods in one country versus the other what it would feel like relative to your income so you can see that russia is doing reasonably well here in that sense per capita and purchasing capital. here is china per capita so it has a larger population.
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russia is a richer country than china and i think sometimes that is underappreciated. people look at the chinese economy and not the comparative standards of living obviously improving in china but here's the european union and here's the united states. okay there's been a recent decrease in russia on carbon-based energy as i mentioned earlier. part of it is the drop in prices but even if you control for that, you can see that there still is less revenue coming in. there's a separation of the gross domestic product and this happens around 2014 partly there is a dip in global oil prices and partly it is the money that goes in but still the russian
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economy recovers and grows, so there is why. here again this is just a snapshot and want to be careful not to overstate this but the structure in 2013 that year and 2017 so the oil prices have recovered and above the same have changed. 70% are carbon and energy based and here it drops. a little bit has increased in terms of machinery and equipment. this would reflect some of the activities in the middle east picking up chemicals and rubbers and even food and agriculture has doubled so we have seen
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incremental changes. the book goes into a lot of detail in terms of research and development and education more generally. the male life expectancy is particularly worrisome and the gap between female and male is worrisome. but this has gotten better over time. so russians are now wealthier as i just mentioned than they have ever been, living longer than they have ever. now we are in the middle or hopefully the end but we don't know yet where we will be with
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covid. it's relative to where they've been. the healthcare system is improving but it is not perfect yet. leading causes of death, cardiovascular disease, the problem is people die younger. but there has been competency in the russian government. there's tremendous corruption, which the book talks about as well but in a certain policy areas one has been getting people to drink less. i know what you're thinking. so, russians drink still more liters of vodka than the rest of europe, but it's closer in terms of that amount. russians are also the heaviest smokers in the world per capita but they've also they were the heaviest smokers and that has come down so it's not as though
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they don't know this and putin understands this to be important because it's also an economic issue. people are dying and labor productivity should be highest so you want to bring that down. the population is highly educated and particularly in technical skills, but one issue is whether or not the skills match the market so this is something they have to work on. it's only 30 years from the complete collapse of the economy and the massive shift for societies to a form of market systems. corruption obviously is a tremendous problem and i talk about that in the book as well. the society on the one hand has
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some strength as the slideshows but on the other hand it has these issues not the least of which is a brain drain that is highly as some have called it the putin exodus. but population growth is at least now flat, hovering around flat to slightly negative but it's not where it was in the '90s. one ongoing problem we could talk about more in questions is the young people indicating they want to leave and being out on the streets protesting but even before that as well. comparatively this is where russia stands relative to others. you can see here we get a big dip in life expectancy at first but then it starts to go up. still behind the european union the united states even brazil in this area. mortality rates are -- this is
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the death rate that is problematic for russia. it's getting better but this is getting flatter and closer to other countries. germany for example is a proxy for europe but still problematic in terms of maintaining the demographics that would be positive to the economy. one big challenge is inequality. the economy has gotten increasingly unequal in income distribution which is what this shows but perhaps more problematically, wealth distribution so here you see the top 1% of the population owning almost 45% or having almost 45% of the wealth. it's very problematic and this
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is one reason people coming out on the streets. some of this is corruption of course. they are crony capitalism that has grown up under putin. the book also then goes into it and i don't want to talk for too much longer goes into comparisons of russians hard or military power, soft power and sharp power. a quick highlight, a huge nuclear arsenal the only country in the world that can deliver an intercontinental ballistic missile to the united states in under 30 minutes. as i mentioned earlier, the military book has largely been completed and it's ended the reliance. there still are concepts but it's a much smaller number. in part this is because of the modernization of equipment that has also occurred.
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you need a certain knowledge in order to work that equipment and so it isn't practical anymore to have a conscript army. on the spending that russia does in its parody. with the most capability in terms of conventional forces but
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russia has become without a doubt the most capable military in europe, period no questions. in terms of russian soft power, russia is waging friendship with some countries which isn't what the joe and i talked about a couple of times. he has a fellowship at hoover to so he comes to c.s. every once in a while when we are allowed to see one another. russia wages friendship. soft power is supposed to be a passive thing. thank american movies and showing our lifestyle that is a passive power of attraction to the united states and to this freedom and political preferences we are supposed to represent faced by the nature of what it is don't control soft power. you don't have a soft power policy and the rendering of what it is but putin's russia has a
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soft power policy. it is an active policy. in one of the posse documents it described a set of methods used to achieve foreign policy goals without using the military. but instead, changing the information environment and, quote, other instruments of influence. it is a cultural power of attraction but it is intentional and instrumental so those things you may not know about. it has established cultural centers for teaching the russian language in europe. it makes the grants to civil society organizations. it funds foreign students at the russian universities but it's done by the presidential administration and that is to basically explain the positions to experts so i've attended that as some of you in the audience
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probably have as well. it's established the institutes and cooperation one of which still exists in paris. the one that existed in new york monitored american democracy and it has this public support fund that again funds nongovernmental organizations and things like the hosting of the world cup show russia to the world is a as amodern country that has transformed itself so that's that kind of more traditional soft power. it has reached out to the russian diaspora in the world israel in particular have a large russian diaspora community and putin even paid pensions to those former russian or soviet citizens who fought in the second world war and he is the only one to have visited all kinds of places and one of them
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is israel. this conservatism is attractive to some societies and leaders and contractors to the overly permissive last and it's quite an array of tools and agency services in italy sending masks and whatnot when the europeans were not sharing these things last year and now they are undertaking vaccines and diplomacy globally. i'm almost at the end here using a job or push to get the country to do what they might not otherwise do. it's not my term it's used by among others where soft power is supposed to be soft power of attraction that kind of pushes.
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affecting europe as a result of the denial of the service attacks that we have seen elsewhere to to promote a changing information environment and there are other examples. and 2020 with solar winds that i mentioned at the beginning of the talk. russia also uses things like rt, russia today it's across five continents claiming 100 million as a weekly audience, and in europe, south africa, africa, the middle east and also has a youtube channel and ironically it's slogan is question more but
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it's outside of russia, not inside russia but you could watch it and not even realize that this is the perspective of the russian government. sputnik is that sort of little brother broadcast in other languages and has a very active website. in the book i give you some examples of where it is feeding into the united states and it had been very pro trump without people realizing that this is not just a regular radio program but it's the russian government. >> finally why does russia do this and then i promise i will shut up. the purposes are structural of course. there is an aspect of that every country wants to protect its borders and it has of course economic interest would any
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russian leader behave this way, what's the purpose. so my argument is the book there is something specific. there's this system that now requires russia expand not because of ideology but to support and maintain the status quo and stability within society. we have quotes of him saying exactly this. he is a patron over this kind of system that is very close to childhood friends and colleagues that he worked with so it is uncanny how much you can make if you are an old friend of vladimir putin in particular so he has to distribute rents to the network. his popularity as a political resource and so he cares about it a lot.
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with money that may go to the kind of problems that shows in the documentary shortly after he was arrested. so, social mobilization against has to be avoided at all cost. russia can develop, yes but it has to be evolutionary, not revolutionary. so, you have to keep society down so that you can basically gain from the state and privatize that are available from the state but make the cost of that public. so this narrative is the great power narrative coming out of russia that helped keep that political resource and this might help explain also why it is such a threat but also it is gaining its markets so the
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domestic circle model is in the society to putin's regime and the long jevity will be determined by society again why go after someone like this with the seriousness, why be aggressive in pushing back against the protests. societies for the state while promoting individual and state interest so again it must be kept pacified and this may explain why it changes through a pandemic. but does russia have a grand strategy and if it does i would
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say this is what it is but the question is it a russian grand strategy or is it a strategy in foreign policy that is particular to this regime and maintaining this regime as opposed to being the interest of any other political actor. i talk in the book about whether a different leader would behave a different way and i think the answer is yes. it's not inevitable that russia is against the west. it hasn't always been the case and i think it is particular so i'm going to stop with that and end with a big apology for going on for so long. i can't see you. it's my love of talking about
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russia. >> thank you so much for that interesting and packed full of really fascinating insight and information and i would like to thank you for all of it and there are lots of questions that have come in i'm looking at the q and a. i have a question i am dying to ask but i will let a few others get in their first because i recognize absolute power sometimes is corrupt and i don't want to be corrupted in that
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way. can you share your screen so that everyone can have a better look at palo alto behind you and you are muted so if you could unmute yourself. >> thank you so much. so the first question that i'm going to pose comes from gary hudson who has read russia resurrected and is urging all of us. i would agree that it is extremely enjoyable. the book in part examines the link between the regime type and foreign policy and contend is ce more oppressive the regime using the evolution of putin's policy to illustrate the proposition.
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assuming his understanding is correct, do you think that this relationship holds generally and then to other nations that also have repressive regimes? >> so, i don't know that that is 100% true all the time in all countries but under certain conditions it is true with soviet history with russia post-soviet history you could make an argument with world war i. i'm not a historian so i'm not going to get in there.
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but yes you have the argument on that point. with others i think when things are not going well at home, first of all there has to be some degree of domestic legitimacy because you can't kill everyone. you can't shoot everyone. look what is happening in myanmar right now. so, some of them will turn outward for a narrative that shows them to be defending even though we are repressive we have to do this right now because then it is the nation against this bigger outside problem so i think that is essentially making that argument that putin has to
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show himself in order to maintain this political system and stability to be under siege, you can't have this kind of instability and you don't want what is happening next-door in ukraine to happen here. that is the most important thing. >> moving from russia turning outward to outward pushing back, the next question asks how much of russian ascension as he calls it is due to their own position and how much of it comes at the lack of pushback from other states. he says the west. >> as putin and embarked upon
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this, i say putin but my colleague always says there is no mr. russia but as the regime embarked on what i see is a policy change then it only gets worse with america first as we begin to withdraw even more internationally so we made it easy certainly for them to pursue this sort of policy by withdrawing absolutely.
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>> will john mueller asks do you think russia presents what we call a significant threat to u.s. security and do you agree that it's capable of causing the u.s. to cease to exist and i'm going to add into that. is russia actually an existential threat? remember we are an existential threat to them. it was mutually assured that
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kept us most safe quite frankly and deterrent. so, that's still in place. the problem is, and the book goes into this with russia and hopefully it is just bluffing, but putin has a tendency to talk rather admiringly of russian nuclear capability, and they view their nuclear weapons as protecting their sovereignty and so very fundamentally important to the survival but not four or five years after the nuclear doctrine to seemingly make it okay to use nuclear weapons neither short-range nor long-range if it's a security
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doctrine if the integrity is in danger. okay so what does that mean? that means if we, nato, tried to help ukraine get crimea back, would russia then view the nuclear weapon? >> we don't know. probably not. like the torpedo that allegedly if it actually worked, and we don't know, it would cause a tsunami of about 1500 kilometers once it meets the shore of its party.
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so in palo alto you know, that's all very worrisome russia is the biggest threat in terms of being a competitor, maybe it's a china the regime is quite different they are not thinking past five, ten, 15 years it's how we view the ability and desire to take risks and it seems as though they are much more tolerant and certainly in the soviet system. >> then asks if putin is more
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interested in evolutionary expansion and domestic stability, is the united states wrong to be so concerned about russia as a hard power conventional military threat? >> i said evolutionary development, not expansion. that's an important difference because he needs evolutionary development which would if you believe modernization which is the kind of thing he has in his head. you get a middle class that starts demanding more things. expansion of global influence or disruption, no problem with that and i think we have seen pretty good evidence of that. it's an under institutionalized domestic system that doesn't stop him. he doesn't have a parliament that doesn't say you can't do
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that only we can declare war. that's not happening as it would happen in the united states. i'm not an advocate of dictatorship which is where we are going here but in the long run that is an unstable way to govern especially in a country like that with the bolshevik revolution before a short period from questions about hard power and security threats to a question from brian who asks you
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to comment on the development to turkey and also given the context as a part of nato. you talk about, and this is my commentary with india and russia and china you did not have turkey on your list. is that the question you are dying to ask? >> there's that little issue of shooting down a russian jet of course i think in 2016 and they were sanctions against turkey and then they made up after the
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attempt against erawan and putin backed so wide. a lot of that has to do with syria but also a lot with pipeline with turkey and the natural gas into europe so this has been a way to get around ukraine and take any leverage the ukrainian government has over russia by the circumventing of ukraine as a path for oil and gas so turkey is important to russia for that and turkey is important to russia because yes as mentioned, someone mentioned in the questions a member of nato so far what has turkey
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done? when you buy a system like that you're also buying russian engineers and that will go near decades into the future. this is problematic because there are russians doing it in a nato country. what else are they gaining access to and so turkey has been brought into a program to develop nato and the united states and now will be taken out of that as a result but increasingly unreliable ally for the united states if we can call it that yet. but the relationship with russia right now is stabilized. >> like any good friend enemy. ben is asking us to look domestically and would like to know if the domestic opposition to putin claim to differ in terms of foreign policy goals or
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methods. >> so there is a big domestic -- you would be surprised the whole crimea thing was a great idea or who acted retroactively one of those guys named gorbachev and another [inaudible] so there's that. in terms of the number of opposition in the past, sure there are people opposed but haven't gone into syria as opposed to focusing on infrastructure at home or research and development and improving its system. those people don't when. the only surprising thing is that they take place not who wins but it's taking more and more effort on the part of the regime and this is why it is such a threat it was a smart
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voter to get people to vote for anyone but united russia somewhat successfully but not really with the amount of attention the regime has given. people experience it every day. and so, you know, showing a two hour video built by putin and/or his cronies, that hits people so i think that's really the bigger issue. >> i think we have time for one more question. i apologize to those whose questions won't get asked allison has asked how can the
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left or the united states break down against the attitude or how can we approach that in terms of diplomacy one thing that was successful was opening up more person-to-person exchanges i don't think it is going to want to do that because in an official capacity but if it is true in terms of what some of the surveys are indicating that 18-24-year-olds, in the fall of 2019 indicated.
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look at the creativity that the russian emigrants have brought in the past in silicon valley. think about google. as that family came here and russia doesn't have google, we do so why not make that easier into observe immigration policy and if they go back to russia, signed they will go back with understanding of how hopefully the u.s. system functions when it does function. and new ideas they may not be opposed to. long-term that's good for us and good for them so that is one of many things we can do but i think making it easier to have a work visa to come here and also go to germany even for
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apprenticeships one of the threats to the regime and why it was worrisome they are older folks but there were a lot of younger that have been quite passive until they can't get into a university because they don't have the right connections but there it is even harder because there's no transparencyy and nothing you can do about it they don't know any other leader and increasingly if they don't see opportunity in their own country, why don't they have another leader? why don't they have these choices and why isn't it easier to gain access to the rest of the world? so i think that is worrisome and problematic with the generational change.
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>> sorry, that was my siri for some reason. >> that happens to me all the time. thank you so much seriously. [laughter] for all of your insights. i wish we could have gone through all the questions that remain in the q-and-a but i think we had more than 100 people and at one point, i would like to thank you for this wonderful talk and i'm sure several have already bought the book and it is [inaudible] [laughter] and alert to everybody, there are lots of events coming up some which have been organized by the american military policy research.
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at 4 p.m. there's a wonderful conference that they've cosponsored this conference on april 14th a divided america divided korea, u.s. korean relations during and after the trump years and we have many more things after that. but it is after 5 p.m. so i will wrap things up but again thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us and your insights on russia resurrect.
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♪♪ ♪♪ good afternoon. welcome to the aspen institute's lecture series. my name is michael and i'm the senior research fellow at the institute and i'm delighted to have his as our guest speaker the louise callan scholar and resident at the university of dallas and classical education and humanities graduate program. the author of three books giving the devil his due and the brothers which received the 2018 christianity today book of the year award. also the author of walker percy,


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