tv Kathryn Stoner Russia Resurrected CSPAN April 9, 2022 5:55pm-7:31pm EDT
revenge of power. now i have the great pleasure of introducing professor catherine stoner catherine stoner is the deputy director at the freeman smokeley institute for international studies at stanford university and a senior fellow at the center on democracy development and the rule of law and the center on international security and cooperation at the freeman spogli institute. she teaches in the department of political science at stanford. and in the program on international relations as well as in the masters and international policy program, she holds a ba in an ma in political science from the university of toronto and a phd in government from harvard and
in 2016. she was awarded an honorary doctorate from iliad state university in tbilisi, georgia, and i can only hope that that came with a lifetime supply of satvi and khachapuri and colleague we can hear about that in the q&a. in addition to many articles and book chapters on contemporary russia that she has written. she is the author or co-editor of six books. the most recent of course is the book about which she is going to be speaking to us today. russia resurrected its power and purpose in a new global order, which is hot off the oxford university presses. it's it's really i feel like we are we are very privileged to be amongst the first a groups of people to whom she will be speaking after the book has been published. we're thrilled that professor stoner has agreed to join us to share with us her work and her
ideas and without further ado. please join me in virtually welcoming. catherine stoner thanks so much jennifer. i'm hoping everyone can hear me. so let me know if you can't i'm going to share my screen and say thank you, especially to peter mansour for inviting me and jennifer for for hosting and kelly whitaker for setting this up. i wish i was there in person but but this is the world we live in for a little while longer anyway, so i'm gonna count on you all to tell me if you cannot see my screen. um, but assuming if i hear nothing then i assume you can. so as jennifer mentioned, this is a book that is actually almost still warm off the presses from oxford. it came out february 1st, and it is available on amazon in time for a lovely.
saint patrick's day present it's it is controversialy or provocatively i should say called russia resurrected. it's power and purpose in a new global order and i will warn you in advance to set your expectations. i'm going to try and speak for only 35 or 40 minutes. i fear i'll go over that and then and then we get to have questions and i believe we have an hour and a half. so, okay. so there's a paradox in the perceptions of russian power and and so on the one hand you have mr. putin saying these things over time that russia was never so strong as it wants to be and never so weak as it is thought to be in here. he's actually paraphrasing. winston churchill who is paraphrasing a lot of other people? and then putin in 2008 saying at last russia has returned to the world as a strong state a
country that others will heed and that can stand up for itself. he made that statement as as russia one the the right to hold olympics in 2014. and then this more recent statement in front of the russian parliament. saying that in just 30 years. we have undergone changes that have taken centuries in other countries. so boasting about the developmental path and speed of russia following the collapse of the soviet union in 1991. they're conflicting perceptions of russia in the united states as well. reduce this on the one hand the perception that russia is not a peer power that it is weak a gas station masquerading as oops. it should say country not entry there by john mccain in 2014 a gas station with newk's mitt romney paraphrasing mccain in
2015 and barack obama saying it's a regional power threatening its neighbors not out of strength, but out of weakness and this was a particularly not well received statement by by mr. putin himself on the other hand. we have the perception within the united states that russia is an existential threat here is bill breedlove the van the supreme commander of nato at actually at stanford at the time in 2015 at the same time as these other statements are being made saying russia is rewriting the cold war settlement using force. his colleagues in the military proclaiming russia as an existential threat to the united states in the same year and then most recently president biden when he was running for office last fall saying i think the biggest threat to america right now in terms of breaking up our our security and our alliances is russia. secondly, i think the biggest
competitor is china but here seeing russia as much more of a peer power. so there are these conflicting perceptions. and that is one of the one of the goals of the book and how i started this project is is thinking about well is russia strong or weak? and how would we know? and here we are in 2021 30 years after the collapse of the soviet union having this conversation. and as i as i will explain as the talk goes on it's a bit surprising to even be having this conversation giving this starting given the starting point of where russia was in in 1991. so is russia a global power now? and most people would probably say no. i'm going to try and convince you. otherwise by by relying on some of the data of where russia is around the world.
just a quick. review of russia's disruptions internationally really beginning since 2014 and the seizure of crimea from ukraine in this low boil war that continues on ukraine's border. it is the policy of the united states not to recognize crimea as part of russia, but still part of ukraine, but de facto it has become part of russia. in 2015 a very quick and effective mobilization on the part of the russian military into syria fundamentally changing the facts on the ground. and working with iran to maintain bashar al-assad in syria, 2016 us presidential election interference as well as interference with the brexit referendum later 2017 giving about seven million dollars to marine le pen in as she prepared for her bid for the french presidency continuous buzzing of
us warships. that's actually continuing right up until now with russian planes. in 2018-2019 the promotion of populism in eastern europe and and beyond and then even most recently in 2020 this so solar wind software hack where russia russian hackers working for the russian government appeared to plant into the software. of this very popularly used software used within the united states government and and fortune 500 companies. we don't know if it's still there and what they gained exactly yet from that so clearly very very disruptive. so here are just a few quick facts on russia has 146.7 million people that you read these rather than mind. just reciting it it is. if we if we don't count crimea,
it has about 144 and a half million people long-term. it's not grabbing countries is probably not the best strategy for increasing population until recently. russia's population growth was negative due to demographic issues, which i'll go into a bit later. but it has recovered pre-covid at least and and we'll see exactly how it comes out of the covid crisis. but of course we've all suffered from the covid crisis the us perhaps more than others, although it's not clear. um gdp per capita at purchasing power. parity. that's what ppp here means in 2019 was 20 just over 29,000. the important thing is that's about three times what it was in 1991, and it's roughly now if you want to think about purchasing power parity, it looks more like a grease or a spain the us is 56,000 just over that as you can see. it is it is an economy about 1.7
trillion dollars, which is roughly similar to canada's so just for perspective. here's the us. here's china and germany, so, you know, not the biggest economy obviously ours is much larger as is china's. it's still primarily commodity driven, but it's not exactly a gas station with nukes is romney said in 2020. russia was the world's still the world's second largest exporter of oil in an exchange is places with arabia on that. um, russia has exported about 11.4% of a global oil. it also is a huge natural gas exporter 18% of the world's exports and nickel also in large volumes and number two as i said producer of petroleum products actually behind the us in this case. so the us doesn't export our oil
but russia and saudi arabia are the biggest exporters. so number one wheat producer in the world, which russians are particularly proud of now, especially as they look back at the history of famines in the soviet period and where they were in 1991 when the soviet union collapsed it has become over time less dependent on revenue from oil exports. i don't want to over overstate that but there have been some attempts diversification to modest effect. um, but it has fallen as a percentage of revenue sometimes over time that has been a result of declining demand for these products, of course, but there is also the result of some diversification. okay. so are our quick facts. so in common comparisons, i think people like mitt romney and john mccain are thinking of these sorts of comparisons when when they dismiss russia as not a pure power. here's gdp just i put what i what i said earlier here in
chart form so you can see it easily in trillions of us dollars in terms of and you can see russia doesn't look like i'm using the united kingdom here as kind of a proxy for for europe in general, although they wouldn't want that anymore. i realized in terms of population also a fraction, of course, especially china's less than half of ours here in the united states and even you know bigger though than than the united kingdom. and in terms of military spending and other common thing we look at to or is commonly trotted out as a as a proxy for global power or influence. yeah in us dollars 2018 us dollars russia look spends about a tenth of what the us does about a quarter of what china does and about what united kingdom spends, um as we'll see later russia gets a little more
money a little more for its money though than the united kingdom even though spending an adjusted dollars is it roughly the same? and again just reviewing our whoops reviewing some of those those measures so if you know russia doesn't by these conventional sort of measures or rough estimates of power if we added these up and and arrange the world along these measures russia would not look particularly influential in the world and yet it's done all those things that i referred to earlier this particularly since mr. putin returns to the russian presidency in 2012. so often it said that that russia under mr. putin is just it's punching above its weight, right it he is some sort of strategic genius and and he uses
what little they have to great effect. and my book tries to offer some correctives on how we think about that and rather russia's punching above its weight or whether it's actually a heavyweight in some areas and this forces us hopefully to think a little bit more about state power in international relations. how will we measure it how we define it? and so one of the arguments is that we're thinking about power too narrowly and as a result, we overlook other capabilities. we need to look beyond those traditional measures. i just showed you of men military and and money. um population size doesn't necessarily translate into global influence. it might how much you spend on the military doesn't necessarily translate into global influence and having the world's largest economy would certainly be helpful in global global influence, but it alone doesn't doesn't seem to reflect relative power. otherwise, why would russia with
a relatively small economy be as disruptive as it has been so i argue that powers multi-dimensional it's relative and it's contextual a good hand for example in the game of bridge is a bad one at poker and here i'm using the so david baldwin's perception of power here. a country's power tools can be good enough to be very disruptive depending on the context and that is that is one of the main reasons. i think we underestimate russian power and influence and its capacity to disrupt global politics. the second corrective i make is that the characterization of russia as weak? and having nothing is outdated. russia has recovered and maintained some of the capacities that it had that the soviet union had more than we appreciate. it is modernized more than we appreciate. it has some new tools of international power that are not that expensive but extremely
disruptive. so if we're just counting up the number of soldiers in the military or the amount of spending on the military, we're missing some of those tools and in particular. those are those are so called soft and sharp power tools, but even hard power it's military has been reformed as we'll see since 2008. and then finally one of the things that enables russia to use what it has and these new tools is it's domestic political system and that russia's lack of international or institutional checks enable president putin to use the power tools that they have quickly and without much accountability at least for now. there's also a very high tolerance for risk and that's quite distinctive from how the soviet union functioned where there were institutions that could check the the general secretary of the communist party. khushab after all was kicked out
of power. there was a coup against gorbachev. there are no such institutions that really check mr. putin anymore. so one of the one of the underlying arguments too is that there's something specific about putinism and and the system that has developed. a well he has been empowered the last 20 years. okay. so what game is putin playing there's a common argument among realists in particular like like meersheimer saying that this is a great power doing what great powers do that is russia has always been a great power. gee it's geography is essentially. it's destiny. it covers essentially a continent and as a realist the argue his argument would be that the game they're playing is power maximization for its own sake and as i said, it implies that geography the relative size of the country. it's resource endowments determined its foreign policy
interests and winners and losers. so if that's true, then russian behavior should be immutable over time and across regime type shouldn't matter if it's a putin or a yeltsin or gorbachev or a it's our nicholas the second. um, it structurally determined russian foreign policy behavior. so by this reckoning russia is doomed to be against the west regardless of who is in power and but given that we have more of everything remember that chart i showed you russia really shouldn't be that much of a threat. it's trying but it's not much with it, but it is a significant threat recall what breedlove said about russia trying to rewrite the cold war settlement using force or or adierno saying it's an existential threat or joe biden saying that in terms of our national security. it's the biggest threat. so all of this sort of led me to
think as i was thinking about about how to think about russia relatively speaking was to look and see what has been written about power and international politics and surprisingly it's not that much since the 1950s are not that much new not that there isn't a lot written about it, but it's still you know that the the definition that bob dole tried it out in the 1950s is still pretty much the dominant definition and that's the one i use here and it's the ability of one state to get another to do something that it might not otherwise do and of course power is relative. so in the book, i look at power in in three dimensions first is the kind of traditional one of men and money that it means but i also moved to consider context of power to thinking about as david baldwin does in some of his work power over whom to do what and again a good handed bridge is a bad one at poker and you don't bring it a knife to a
gunfight right? so we need to also consider context and we need to consider things like geographic domain where and how many countries does russia actually exercise influence, which i use in interchangeably as power with power and we have to think about its policy scope and how weighty and actor it is in that policy area. how much does it matter and in what areas so for example in oil russia is a very weighty actor and since 80% of global energy still comes from carbon sources like oil and natural then, you know precious. waiting and i've really important part a policy area that would differentiate it from a state like north korea that has for example growing means and in terms of its nuclear capacity. we think but a pretty limited
geographic domain and it's policy scope and weight isn't important beyond the fact that it has those nuclear weapons and can really affect its neighbors with them and with with its activities in that area. so i produced this crude artistic rendering of what i'm talking about these in terms of these different dimensions of power and try to imagine that that these circles can get bigger or smaller so you could have a lot of means in terms of a strong economy, you know a healthy society well educated. a strong military and lots of push and pull influence, which i'll explain over other countries, but in a really narrow geographic area and you could have very limited policy scope if it's also only in one policy area like nuclear weapons. so these things can can independently vary as well, but i look along these different
dimensions. and so this is in a sense the way the book is is organized. um so is russia resurrected my argument is russia has the geographic domain policy scope and weight in certain policy important policy areas and in many areas the means that are sometimes overlooked. it has enough power beyond means alone that is that chart i showed you right of men military and money to be disruptive and sometimes decisive in international politics. so why or how has this happened? well, that's the second part of the argument and that looks more at domestic politics. most of my work has been in the domestic on russian domestic politics. so the argument here is that putin has the will to use what russia has now pretty much unconstrained as i mentioned. why is this well because the deployment of those power resources abroad is determined by politics in russia at home
and i think when we think about what russia is doing abroad, sometimes we forget about what what goes on in a home in russia has politics too. um, it's domestic politics really drive russian foreign policy as much are more than those fixed structural industry interests, like like geography for example and location. so the type of regime matters in determining russian foreign policy decisions in the deployment of its power resources and in terms of policy recommendations or outcomes for the united states. there's something about putinism at home and russia's exercise of its foreign policy tools. so one thing i do in the book is kind of run the counterfactual what if if putin wasn't in power what if if the regime was not an autocracy and in fact, there are historical counterfactuals to this. um, and i argue that russia at different times if we think back
to gorbachev between 1985 and 1991. we have russia actually having good relationships with the west right russia is negotiating at this period under gorbachev. whom i bet many of you still think of as kind of warm and snugly he just turned 90 by the way. there's a little little he's alive and kicking where we you know that their famous pictures of him walking with with reagan and george hw bush after, you know signing arms control agreements arms reduction agreements in the nuclear area that we had not seen before then in comes boris yelts and russia's first popularly elected president. when we had the bill had boris show with with bill clinton and yeltsin clinton russia join the eight, there were some rough spots in terms of nato
expansion, but also tremendous improvement also in being able to negotiate out of those disagreements. and then even in putin's first two terms between 2000 and 2008 the first one being 2000 2004 then 20048 putin is purportedly the first international leader to call george w bush in 2001 after 9/11 to to express his condolences on behalf of the russian people for our loss that day. putin by some accounts including angela stan to georgetown was disappointed that there was no he had thought at the time that there would be more coordination in terms of an international terrorism problem that russia also had this coming out of chechnya and had hoped that that he could work together more with the united states and in fact there were periods of working
strongly together remember that when putin's protege dimitri mediev was a russian president from 2008 to 12 putin was his prime minister and so during this period the so-called reset and in us american relations putin of course was involved, right? he approved these things that have cooperated on with with the united states and what were those things? well first the new start agreement that has just been renewed last month reducing or the number of strategic nuclear weapons that the united states and russia can have and it includes also a very sophisticated verification regime. another thing of course was the northern distribution network, which probably a lot of americans don't appreciate existed, but it was russia allowing us to to send nuclear
send military equipment through its territory on trains into bases in central asia that we were renting with russian approval at the time, even though there's a sovereign states russia has certain influence over them and enabling us to stage those weapons in those bases into afghanistan when pakistan was not as reliable a neighbor and then the final thing maybe i'd have did was he abstained on behalf of russia in or he gave orders to in the un security council? were nato's actions in libya to to i was mamar qaddafi or at least interviewed innocent in the civil war there? incomes putin though back into into the presidency in 2012 and it's at that point. we see the reset and relationships with with the west change radically and russian foreign policy become more aggressive. and so, you know a puzzle is
what is why why did that happen? and we'll the book touches on this as well? so oops didn't mean to do that. we got a little trigger happy with my mouse here. so there is a new geography of russian power and and as much as i agreed with barack obama in some areas in in calling russia regional power that was obviously wrong rushed and it certainly wrong today my it was maybe more correct in in 2014 when he or 2015 when he said it but it's certainly not the case today. now russia does have a geographic domain that it inherited from the soviet union and and the soviet union inherited much of that from the russian empire before it so, you know, it is the largest country in the world geographically speaking. it is spans both europe and asia in it. has the highest number of international borders of any other country in the world.
that is 14 the only other country. actually that does have the same numbers china. it borders with countries that used to be within the soviet union or the russian empire. and that i think has helped to perpetuate this idea of a zone of natural influence historical influence that can be reclaimed. but it since 2014 in particular it has built other areas of significant global influence. i think sometimes we underestimate what russia has gained in terms of its global influence and capabilities through its actions in syria. it's not a quagmire for russia because they don't the russian leadership doesn't think the same way about political power and international action or effectively occupation of a country as we do there's not as much pressure to fix it now that it's broken.
russia's also developed influence in iraq in iran as well as saudi arabia which has it in some difficult relationship with but but very cooperative in in terms of of opec, is now opec plus. it has new relationships with israel partly because of the huge russian diaspora there and it maintains relationships with these very difficulties in for example, the middle east or countries that have difficult relationships. pardon me with one another and and so no iran and iraq. don't get along particularly. well saudi arabia and iran don't get along particularly well, but russia deals with all of them. it also established relationships with individual countries and leaders who have kindred spirits or who have populations who may be receptive to a new kind of i wouldn't call it quite in an ideology but
beliefs conservative beliefs more traditional beliefs and so we can see this in the populace leaders who have emerged in hungry for example, victor or bond marina penn in front france, but among societies in in the middle east north africa and subscribe sub-saharan africa that you know, see this is an alternative to liberalism for example, and one of the one of the important things i think too to recognize is that you know, russia does not use ideology the way the soviet union did there's much more pragmatism. they're not trying to spread an ideology per se but they do have this sort of emphasis on traditional values. and also not not pressing hard on things like human rights. in their dealings with maybe a countries that would have unsavory sort of perception on the part of the united states or other western powers. so as i mentioned in terms of
influence abroad that that under putin russia has amassed in the last really since about 2012 13 to present. i mentioned that there's this increasing influence and sharper closer ties in eastern europe with countries like serbia and hungary as they as they take it turn more toward authoritarianism and toward russia has closer and closer ties. varied friends in the middle east which i mentioned western europe. russia is a very weighty and important actor in terms of oil supply and in particular natural gas and so right now we're having a little set too with germany over the nord stream 2 pipeline that goes from from just west of saint petersburg
into northern germany supplying supplying natural gas. that's absolutely vital to to germany, which is increasingly dependent on russia for its natural gas getting up, you know high into the 90 percent of its natural gas comes there. it comes from russia. what is that used for heating electricity effectively could shut down their economy if you shut down natural gas, so creative vulnerability. that's our concern in south america russia. basically now owns venezuelan oil. it has taken a ownership stake in venezuela national oil company closer ties to with argentina. i'm just doing it very quick tour but in chapter three of the book, it's a bigger tour thicker tour. russia's also developed a military presence in the arctic. it has it has the largest fleet in the world of icebreakers including nuclear icebreakers that we don't have or canada
doesn't have other two other big presents in the arctic and it's this is in in part for exploration of new oil and gas resources in the past american oil companies have partnered with russian oil and gas entities in order to explore that russia has been able now to replace because remember they're under sanctions over ukraine and they're hacking from us and from europe they've been able to replace western investors not completely but to a large degree with investment from the middle east. including saudi arabia and the uae as well as china and even india in terms of trying to do more exploration in the arctic and china's particularly interested in a new northern trade route through the arctic
in as as global warming opens up that as a possibility. so working with russia there russia's also been in the last three or four years particularly, sabi in terms of developing new markets for its products, which are not just oiling and gas but also selling a nuclear power facilities for domestic energy purposes infrastructure building materials and mining materials when you go into target and you don't see consumer products, for example that say that are stamped made in russia. that's because they don't really make a lot of great or high quality consumer products instead. they tend to focus more on heavy industry. but they've been relatively savvy in terms of forgiving loans in countries and sub-saharan africa who had gotten into debt in the soviet period and so those loans were probably bad. anyway, they weren't they weren't going to be repaid and
instead have received russian companies have received contracts for supplying material in and so in this way again finding new markets getting getting around western sanctions. well at the same time sometimes providing loans to these places, or as i said doing business. it's an alternative and there's some quotes in the book about this too the west where russia's willing to do business without a lot of strength attached. so they're not going to come down hard on human rights abuses in central african republic instead what they're going to do and what they did do is go in use mercenaries. provide a rough settlement to a civil war there and then help the market diamonds and take some money off the top the same is true with precious metals. in terms of russia and china, there's some juicy stuff in there, which is in a actually in a develop a new project on this because it's so interesting of russian chinese relations,
russia supplies china, of course with oil trying to get it from other places and has its own domestic oil industry, too, but it also provides sort of infrastructure products to help china with its own oil and gas infrastructures as well as supplying china with with military equipment that comes with long chains of servicing and it's hard to just you know, get rid of a jet you need someone to come in and help you with well as cooperating with china in military exercises, which have been largely russian-led and russian dominated the chinese not not taking a huge role in that so it can't be overstated. just quickly rush. it has also developed long a close-size with india. this is somewhat of a legacy of the soviet period but also a result of you know, russia looking at india seeing a huge
market there. that is an alternative to western markets that where russia is under sanction has been under sanctioned since 2014. they cooperate on pharmaceuticals for example, so sputnik v for victory. the russian covid vaccine is for example being manufactured in india some of it and in india has just registered and and so it'll go into into arms in india as well. by the way, i would take specific feet if it is perfectly reliable. i think russian leadership undermine perceptions of its reliability because because they didn't completely forthcoming when they first came up with it in in in terms of data, but over time we've seen that it appears to be just as efficacious. um and is actually part of russia's vaccine diplomacy now sort of soft power use of soft
power around the world. it's shipped or registered. pardon me. it's it's vaccine spotting v in about countries as of today. all right, so in terms of geography it's become and i just gave you a very quick and selective tour there in terms of geography. russia has has greatly expanded its spheres of influence in terms of its policy scope and weight in those policy areas. that is it's important as i mentioned earlier. it's increased and changed that significantly since the collapse of the soviet union. it's primarily based on economic interests and geoeconomic calculations. but there's really three main areas of policy that that russia is is interested in globally so first obviously oil and gas and energy more generally, but it isn't just the actual physical products of oil and gas where
russia is an important actor globally. it's in turn its pipelines and infrastructure transportation infrastructure control in particular. so one of the things that russia's gained out of the syrian conflict is control over pipelines in northern syria and increased support of pipeline infrastructure development in northern iraq as well where we we of course should blood and tears. i'm in money, um in terms of non-carbon trade rushes the world's second largest purveyor weaponry. we're number one. um, but also nuclear energy technology for domestic purposes. it has become become increasingly competent in terms of agriculture and one of the reasons i think we should sort of focus on that if you know russian geography, it's hard to grow things in many parts of that country probably most parts of it, but the fact that it you
know exports wheat, given historically how difficult it was even to feed their own people in the soviet period but unit times in the imperial period is is it notable accomplishment? there was an i really interesting article in new york times magazine a couple of months ago, but how russia will gain actually in some ways from climate change and one of them is increasing its arable land and being able to grow more and more things and then finally the third main area of policy, of course is national security protecting its borders. it's sovereignty and moving into the arctic and it is the predominant power now in the arctic so those are chat. those are chapters two and three chapter one, obviously an introduction and overview of the book chapter 4. five six and seven all look at the means of russian power and those are some of the more traditional measures first of all so looking at the economy is kind of an unsteady basis of
russian global influence. looking at society as well assessing it as a relative strength or weakness in sustaining global influence comparing military power and in particular the book provides an overview of russia's new look military reform that was begun initially in 2008 and has as well as providing direct comparisons to china and the united states and europe in that chapter on military power and capability. the conclusion. there is space is that russia is the most powerful in terms of military power hands down in europe and is it you know by many measures a pure power with the united states especially nuclear power and nuclear weapon resoury and then chapter 7 looks at soft. and so so called sharp power, which hopefully i'll have time to get into but that is that the
power of attraction to the russian perspective and then sharp power that sort of ability to use cyber and media means to disrupt and information environment in military speak. um so how things started and i think this is one of the things when we think about you know that and that quote that putin gave us back in 2002 where he was paraphrasing churchill's rushes never as as weak as thought and never as strong as it wants to be it was pretty weak at the time of the collapses soviet union. so looking first at the economy. recall that it was a complete collapse of the political structure and the economic structure that plan that planning system that had developed from from the mid 1920s onward falls apart and the economy it goes into extreme shortage and then hyperinflation.
and is dependent on loans in the international monetary fund they're even in the early 1990s 91 92 receiving food aid i actually was beneficiary. i'm not proud of this. i'm not sure why i'm telling you, but i was the benefit theory of usaid. food aid in on this on a street in moscow because it had made its way onto the black market. and so i had some frozen chicken paid for by the american taxpayer and with the with the price jacked up on the streets of moscow, but it was terrible economic catastrophe and it has been called by others underslund is one the worst economic catastrophe outside of wartime in in history, except now, i think for venezuela we could say so it really at the bottom of the barrel a recipient of loans from lenders of last resort.
unemployment something new for for posts of each citizens who had never faced this before. in terms of its gross domestic product comparing brazil, russia, india china and south africa is often included with the eu28 and the united states in this time period the first 25 years or so you can you can kind of see where where russia fits in in terms of its gdp here. it is comparatively speaking. here's china look at the look at the takeoff there. here's the european union 28. so this includes britain and i'm sorry here's yeah, i think i said, this is russia. this is india, of course. and this is the united states. um, russia is here. so you can see it's increasing. but it's traveling along with with brazil. um, and it not the rocket ship.
that china is in this period that's just gdp. that's not per per capita or per person here. it is per capita and if we look at that, it's not as bad looking. it actually does a lot. it's it's here in the brown in the middle brown here. so again, we have the united states up here. this is purchasing power parity. so if you went and bought the same basket of goods in one country versus the other what it would actually feel like relative to your to your income so you can see that that you know, russia's actually doing reasonably well here in in that sense at per capita at purchasing power. parity. here's china. per capita, right because it has a bigger population at purchasing power. parity. russia is actually richer country than china and and i think that sometimes is underappreciated people. just look at the gross chinese economy and not actually the
standard comparative standard of living obviously improving in china, but here's the european union and here's the united states. okay. there's been a recent decreased reliance in russia on carbon-based energy exports as i mentioned earlier part of this is that there's a drop in crisis, right? so they're not but even if you control for that, this is a percent of total exports, but even if you control for that you can see that there still is less revenue coming in there there's a separation here of gross domestic product and global crude oil prices in in russia. this happens around 2014 partly. it's yes, there's a dip in global oil prices here partly. it's some money that goes in to hold up the ruble but even still the russian economy recovers and grows. so there is this still this big decoupling why? here again. this is just a snapshot and want
to be careful not to overstate this but the structure of exports in 2013. that year and 2017. so here oil oil prices have recovered and the same has changed. 70% are carbon and energy. based exports and here it's 59% so it's dropped what's come up are metals and metal products a little bit has increased in terms of machinery in equipment. this would reflect some of the regression activities in the middle east picking up new contracts chemicals and robbers of fibraceuticals even look food and agriculture has has doubled so we're seeing some incremental changes in diversification that said the book goes into a lot of detail on how russia's understanding relative to other countries in terms of research and development, but but and
education more more generally in terms of having, you know high quality education as opposed to just the highest number in the world of engineers. it's what are those engineers trained to do? um in terms of society the book goes into in another chapter life expectancy, which is pretty low male life expectancy is particularly worrisome and the gap between female and male life expectancy is worrisome, but this has gotten better over time. so russians are now wealthier as i just mentioned then they've ever been living longer than they've ever been. now this is pre-covid and it's we're in the middle or hopefully at the end, but we don't know yet where we will be with covid. so they're there as as unhealthy as they are relative to others. they're getting better and they it's better relative where they've been. the medical the healthcare
system is improving, but it's not perfect yet. it is leading causes of death are preventable diseases cardiovascular disease. the problem is people die younger. that's the leading cause of death here in the united states too, but there has been there is some competency in the russian government. there's tremendous corruption, which the book talks about as well, but there's some competency in certain policy areas and one has been actually in getting people to drink less. i know what you're all thinking so russians drink still more leaders of vodka than the rest of europe, but it's closer in in terms of that amount russians are also the heaviest smokers in the world per capita, but they've also attacked that they were the heaviest smokers that is also come down. so it's not as though the russian state doesn't know this and putin understands this to be important. that is long. in life expectancy because it's also it's an economic issue
right people are dying in the primal life and where labor productivity should be highest and so you want to bring that down that population is relatively highly educated right and particularly in technical skills, but but one issue is whether whether whether or not you know, that those skills actually match what the market needs and so this is something they'll have to work on just a reminder. it's only 30 years that's from the complete collapse of the economy and this massive shift for society from a plan system to a form of market system corruption obviously is a tremendous problem and i talk about that in the book as well russian society on the one hand has some strengths as this slide shows but on the other hand it has these issues not the least of which is a brain. that is highly educated russian seeming to leave some have
called it the putin exodus and by 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 can talk about more in questions is young people indicating that they want to leave and of course young people being not on the streets protesting putin most recently over navalny, but even before that as well. comparatively. this is just where russia stands relative to others and you can see here. it was in the 1990s. we get a big dip in in life expectancy at birth, but then it starts to go up. still behind the european union the united states even even brazil in this area too. mortality rates are pretty this is the death rate. that's problematic for russia. it's getting it's getting better. but that is this is getting
flatter and closer to other countries. here's germany for example is a proxy for europe, but still problematic in terms of maintaining demographics that would be positive for the economy one. big challenge. societally is inequality and and the economy has gotten increasingly unequal in terms of income distribution, which is what this shows but perhaps more problematically wealth distribution. so here you can see the top 1% of the population owning. almost 45% or having almost 45% of the wealth. here's the bottom 50% of the population having are just below. 5% of the wealth that's very problematic. this is one reason you see people coming out on the streets. some of this is corruption. of course, maybe been a lot of it and the sort of crony capitalism that has has grown up under putin.
the book also then goes into and i don't want to talk to too much longer goes into comparisons of russian hard or military power soft power and sharp means of power just quick highlights here rush has a huge nuclear arsenal the the only country in the world that can deliver a an inner continental ballistic missile to the united states and under 30 minutes. it's as i mentioned earlier the military form new look has largely been completed. it's ended the russian military's reliance on conscription. there's still our conscripts, but it's a much smaller number part. this is because of the modernization of equipment that has also occurred so, you know, you need a certain level of knowledge in order to accumulated knowledge in order to work work that equipment and so so, you know, it's not practical anymore to have a
early conscript army as a result the spending that russia does on its military at purchasing power. parity puts it in the top three globally. it russia spends as i said earlier about what britain spends on in terms of dollar to dollar terms on its military, but russia produces everything inside and it's paying in rubles. so so once you once you change to purchasing power parity, actually you can explain why russia has been able to fund a huge military reform. whereas the uk has not yet. they seem to spend the same in budget terms in dollar terms. and undoubtedly the united states is still the biggest military in the world with the most capability in terms of conventional forces, but russia has become without a doubt the most capable military in europe period no question. um russia's in terms of russian
soft power russia is waging friendship with some countries, which is not what jonai actually talked to him about this couple of times because he has a fellowship at hoover's that comes out to see us every once in a while at stanford when when we're allowed to see one another russian russia wages friendship soft power for nias supposed to be a passive thing, right so think american movies and showing our lifestyle that is a passive power of attraction to the united states and to the freedom and political preferences where we're in values. we're supposed to represent states by the very nature of what it is don't control soft power. you don't have a soft power policy in nice rendering of what it is, but putin's russia has a soft power policy. it is an active policy and active force in one of their policy documents. it's described as a set of
instruments and methods used to achieve. foreign policy goals without using the military but instead changing the information environment and quote other instruments of influence. and it's a cultural power of attraction but to russian policymakers, it's intentional and instrumental. so some things you may not know about it has established cultural centers for teaching russian language in europe. it makes grants to to civil society organizations. it funds foreign students at russian universities just as the soviet union did but it funds the veldai conference, which is run by the presidential administration that is to basically explain russian policy positions. explain russia to experts so i've attended that probably some of you in the audience have as well. it has established these institutes on democracy and cooperation. um one of which still exists in in paris the one that existed in
new york monitored american democracy, it has this gorkachev public support fund that again funds non-governmental organizations, and of course things like the hosting of the sochi olympics the hosting of the world cup show russia to the world as a modern country that has transformed itself. so that's a that's a kind of more traditional kind of soft power. it has reached out to russian diaspora communities in the world israel in particular has a large russian diaspora community putin even paid pensions to those russian former russian or soviet citizens. who fought in the second world war and had they stayed in russia would have received them paid them in israel. this did a tremendous. you know it gave him a tremendous boost. he's the only russian leader to have visited all kinds of places and one of those is israel. the other is saudi arabia. he's been everywhere this promotion of social conservatism is is attractive to some societies and leaders in contrast to the to the overly
permissive west. an array they've employed an array of tools of goodwill including aid and emergency services in italy sending covid masks and whatnot when the europeans were not sharing these things last year in a big from russia with love campaign, and now they're under their undertaking vaccine diplomacy globally. sharp power. i'm almost at the end here is using a jab or push to get countries to do what they might not otherwise do. it's not my it's not my term. it's it's used by among others walker and ludwig. where soft power is supposed to be power of attraction sharp power kind of pushes and changes, you know information sources and the environment to a more favorable view of russia. so we see this in terms of the cyber attacks on energy networks of their neighbors even actually cutting off ukraines for example and and affecting europe as a result the denial of service
attacks that in estonia, but we've seen it elsewhere as two box controls used on social media to promote or blunt certain messages again changing the information environment in the us the 2016 elections, but there are other examples here too and 2020 with solar winds. i mentioned at the beginning of the talk. russia also uses things like our tea russia today, which is a slick network. it looks like cnn in terms of presentation, maybe even better and it has a presence in 100 countries across five continents claiming a hundred million is a weekly audience and they're in europe south africa. i mean africa middle east has also has its youtube channel and ironically it's it's slogan is questioned more that is question more outside of russia. don't question anything inside russia, but you could watch it. let's say in qatar and not even realize that this is the perspective of the russian government.
sputnik is the sort of little brother of our tea it broadcasts on the radio in english and other languages and has very active website. it has in the book. i give you some examples of where it's beaming in to the united states and it had been very pro-trump when he was president without of course people who are listening realizing that this is this is not just a regular radio program. program. it's the russian government's perspective. so finally, why does russia do all of this and then i find i promise i'll shut up. well, the purposes are structural. of course. there is some aspect of that every country wants to protect its borders and its sovereignty and it has of course economic interests that needs to sell things. we arms chemicals. but there is this interesting camera factual right would any russian leader behave this way and use its power. i'm the same way. what's the purpose? so my argument in the book is that there is something specific
about putinism. there's this patronal system that now requires russia expand not because of ideology as it was this case in the soviet union but to support the system itself. to maintain the status quo maintain stability within society and we have quotes of him saying exactly this he is a patron over this kind of cronyistic system. that is very closest childhood friends and colleagues that he worked with when he was a kgb officer have benefited the most so it's uncanny how much money you can make if you're a friend or an old friend of vladimir putin's in particular so he has to distribute rents to this network. his popularity is is a political resource and so he cares about it a lot if it dips is control over this network and his own skimming and money that may go to the kind of palace that navalny found for us and showed us in his documentary shortly after he was arrested. so social mobilization against
inequality has to be avoided at all costs. russia can develop. yes, but it has to be as putin said evolutionary not revolutionary and so you have to keep society down so that you can basically gain from the state and privatize what privatize any gains from from that are available from controlling the state but make make the costs of that public. so this russia under siege narrative, russia is a great power narrative that's coming out of russia helps keep that political resource of popularity high and this is might help explain also find a vowel me is a threat to putin. but also russian aggressiveness abroad is gaining it markets and it helps to maintain the regime stability without resorting to violence. so the domestic political model is is such that society not nato
is the biggest threat to to putin's regime and the longevity of its revival as a global power will be determined by society again. why go after someone like navalny was such seriousness. why be so aggressive in pushing back against protests? societies and service to the state in the state is in service to an elite that both wants to enrich itself while promoting individual and state interests and they are entwined in russia. so again society the biggest threat and it must be kept pacified or failing that openly repressed and this may explain why the worry about navalny as i said and putin's constitutional changes through a pandemic last summer. so does russia have a grand strategy if it does i would say this is what it is, but the question is is it a russian grand strategy, or is it a strategy in foreign policy that
is particular to this regime and to maintaining this regime as opposed to being the interest of any other political actor. i talk in the book about whether the different leader would behave a different way and i think the answer is is yes. this is this is we're not stuck in in this it is not inevitable that russia is against the west it has historically not always been the case and it is i think particular to to putin so i'm going to stop with that slide and i'm going to end with a big apology for going on so long. i can't see you. so i i'm gonna use zoom as my my excuse on that, but it's just my love of talking about russia. over to you jennifer. thank you so much catherine for that really interesting and if long packed so full with with a
really really fascinating insights information and and i'd like to thank you for for all of it. and of course there are lots of questions that have come in. i i want to remind everyone to make sure that you're posing your questions in the queue and a slot not the chat slot because i'm i'm looking at the q&a not at the chat. so please make sure that's for your questions. show up i'm going to actually resist the urge to take advantage of the host prerogative. i have a question. i'm dying to answer but i'm going to let someone else a few other people's questions get in there first because i recognize that that absolute power sometimes corrupts, and i don't want to be be corrupted in that way. i'm actually catherine. can you unshare your screen so that everyone can have a better look at at palo alto behind you and you're muted too. so if you can unmute yourself.
as well. yeah, that would be good. um, thanks. thanks so much. so our first question that i'm going to post from the from the q&a comes from jerry hudson who has read russia resurrected and is urging all of us the rest of us who have not yet read it. i've made it through about half of it, but i will agree with jerry that it's that it is extremely enjoyable and and i will i i second his recommendation, but jerry's question is jerry says that the book and part examines the link between regime type and foreign policy. he says you can tend that the more repressive the regime the more assertive the foreign policy using evolution the evolution of putin's policy to illustrate this proposition. assuming his understanding is correct. do you think that this
relationship holds generally when compared to soviet history and then to other nations that also have repressive regimes. so so i don't i don't know that it's a hunt that is a hundred percent true all of the time in all countries. um, but i think when they're under certain conditions, it's true and over time with with the soviet. with soviet history. there's probably something to that as well. we only have 70 years there, but we have you know, only 30 with with the russia posts so i you know you could make an argument in with world war one that that was partly what nicholas was doing too, right? but i'm not a historian. so i'm not jennifer. i'm not going to get into your your lane there. but yes, you have the argument basically. yeah, correct there jerry on
that on that point in terms of other other countries with repressive systems. well, i think you know when things are not going well at home. first of all, the talkracies have to have some some degree of domestic legitimacy or be seen that way right or because you can't kill everyone you can't shoot. everyone, i mean even look at what's happening in myanmar right now, right? so so some of them will turn outward for a narrative that shows them to be kind of, you know, defending by even though we're being repressive right now. we have to do this to defend the nation against this bigger outside problem. and and so i think it in you know, that's essentially the argument i'm making is that putin has to show himself in order to maintain this domestic political system and stability to be to you know, russia is
under siege. we can't have this kind of instability. you don't want what's happening next door in ukraine to happen here. and you know, that's the most important thing. so, yeah. well moving from russia turning outwards to to outwards pushing back our next question comes from dan's baby who asks how much of russian ascension as he calls it is due to their improving their working to improve their own position and improving themselves and how much of it comes as a result of a lack of pushback from other other states he says the west but right. yeah. no, that's good question it and i think it's that it's actually the as putin embarked upon this it was at a particularly i'm saying putin but you know, there is no i have a colleague here at stanford who always says it's not there's no mr. putin, but as there's no mr. russia, but as as the regime and sort of embarked
on what i see as a policy change in 2013-14. we're already seeing under obama this leading from behind policy, right and then it only gets sort of worse with america first as we begin to withdraw even more internationally and so we made it easy certainly for them to pursue this this sort of policy by withdrawing absolutely. i'm sorry. i'm trying to read the read the questions that are great job wearing in at the at the same time. the the i'm gonna actually group two questions together because they both are addressing. i think they both relate to what your points on russian hard power and questions of how much of a threat russia actually does pose the first of these two questions comes from john
mueller. who asks, do you think russia presents what you call a significant threat to us security. do you agree that it is capable of causing the us to cease to exist and i'm going to add into that john schechter's question which deals with russian work aggressive work as he calls it on new nuclear weapons and the way in which that disrupts would disrupt the power balance globally and trying to john's question specifically us security mm-hmm. yeah, so, okay. so this is a nuke's question. these are nukes questions basically in general. so, you know is is russia actually an existential threat. well, yes, but remember we're in existential threat to them too, right? so that was you know mutually assured destruction was was the doctrine that kept us. both safe, frankly, right and deterrence. so so, you know that that's
still in place. they the problem is in the book goes into this with russia and it could and it hopefully it's just bluffing but putin has a tendency right has developed the tendency to talk rather admiringly of russian nuclear capabilities, and they view their nuclear. this isn't just since putin but they view their nuclear weapons as a protecting their sovereignty and and so very fundamentally important to their survival of the country, but they have seemingly by some interpretations in the last four or five years altered their nuclear doctrine to seemingly make it okay to use nuclear weapons. either either short-range or long range if the i think the quote in the book is quoting their security doctor and they if the integrity of the fatherland is in danger. okay, so what does that mean? does that mean if we are nato
that is tried to help you craine get crimea back. would would russia then use a nuclear weapon to stop that? we don't know exactly, you know, probably not. um, but they've also developed some, you know weapons that i think one of the questions was alluding to like that, you know the poseidon torpedo, which is nuclear powered nuclear tipped, which allegedly if it actually worked and we don't know it would cause a the tsunami of above 1500 kilometers inland once it hits the shore of its of its target nation. so, you know, that'd be hugely problematic for the east coast to the united states. you guys are probably okay there. you know what ohio? i'm probably not okay here in palo alto. we have some mountains. um, so you know, that's all very worrisome. and so this is why you do have joe biden saying in terms of our
national security russia's the biggest threat in terms of being a competitor. maybe it's china. but yeah, so the other thing i think i didn't i may have ended with is time horizon the issue of time horizons, right is that they it putin's regime sees time quite differently. and so they probably don't you know, his policies are not thinking past five 10 15 years, and i think this is also important in terms of how we how we view or assess their? ability or desire to take risk and and it seems as though they're much more tolerant than they certainly in the soviet system. and ben lyman asks if putin is more 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, so i said evolutionary developments not expansion. yeah, so there's yeah so that that's an important difference because because he means evolutionary economic development which would have in which would which would you know, if you believe modernization theory which i think is the kind of thing he has in his head would mean that you know, you get a middle class that starts demanding more things. you have people out on the street and that's what he doesn't want. global expansion of global influence or disruption they have no problem with that being quick and i think we've seen pretty good evidence of that and and it is done, you know under institutionalized domestic political system. that doesn't stop him. you know, he doesn't have a parliament that's going to say you can't do that only we can declare war. that's not happening as it would happen in the united states that i'm not an advocate of dictatorship, which is essentially where we're going
here in russia, but it's pretty in the long run. we don't know how that long it is. but in the long run, that's an unstable way to govern especially a country like that witnessed the bolshevik revolution, but in the in the short run and as i mentioned time horizons five to 15 years, maybe are it's it it's allows them to do these these things and to take huge risks. i'm going to move us away for i think probably not the rest of our time but for a short period from questions about hard power and and security threats to a question from brian pollins who asks you to comment on the development of putin's development of ties to erdogan and turkey and also given the
context of turkey is yeah a part of nato you talked about. this is my commentary, of course, we had russia and india and russia china and you you did not have turkey on your list of i was selective. yeah, i should have yeah. is that the question you're dying to ask jennifer? that was not the question. i was okay. okay. yeah. no, i mean i got that. turkey is kind of a frenemy of russia's historically in a frenemy currently. they had that little awkward issue of shooting down a russian jet of course in 20. i think that was 2016 and and they were they were sanctions against turkey and then and then they made up after the coup attempts against air to one and you know putin back there to want so why i think that has a lot to do with syria, but it also has a lot to do with
pipelines. going through turkey in and supplying oil in that and natural gas into europe. so this has been a way to get around ukraine and takes any leverage ukraine that the ukrainian government has over russia by by circumventing ukraine as a path for oil and gas in into europe. so turkey is important to russia for that and russia is important and turkey's important to rush because yes as you mentioned someone mentioned in the questions, it's a member of nato so far what has has turkey done? well, it's taking missiles. it bought missiles and anti-listic missile system from russia and that as i mentioned earlier when you buy a system like that, you're also buying russian engineers and and maintenance that will go years decades potentially into the
future. is problematic because those questions who are doing it in a nato country. what else are they gaining access to and so turkey had had been brought into a program to develop jets with nato in the united states. it's now been taken out of that program as a result. so meaning increasingly unreliable ally for the united states. we can call it that yet, but the relationship, you know the frenemy relationship with russia is right now stabilized, but i think it's going on. like any good frenemy right? ben trotter is asking us to look domestically for a little while and he he would like to know if the domestic opposition to putin claim to differ from him in terms of terms of foreign policy goals or methods. well, so, okay. well first of all, there isn't a huge domestic organized opposition point one. prize to who thought the whole
crimea thing was a great idea or who backed it, you know retro retroactively one of those guys is named gorbachev. and another one's named navalny. so so, you know, there's that in terms of you know opposition that has existed in the past. well sure there are people who are opposed to russia having gone into syria as as opposed to you know, focusing on infrastructure at home or research and development or improving the educational system. those people don't win elections. in russia, in fact the only surprising thing about elections in russia, is that they take place not not who wins at this point, but it's taking more and more effort on the part of the regime to and this is why navalny is such a threat is it was really his smart voter. what he was doing with the smart voter system to get people to vote for anyone but united russia across russia.
and it and some what successfully but not very to be honest relative to the amount of attention. the regime has given him and the other thing i think the biggest concern is is that resonates with so many people and is a threat to the regime is his pounding uncorruption again, and again and again, i mean people experience it every day there and so, you know showing a two-hour video of a palace allegedly built by putin and/or his cronies that hits people where they live so, you know, i think think that's really been bigger issue. um, i think we probably have time for one more question. i'm trying to decide i i apologize to all those whose questions won't get asked because there are a whole slew of really interesting questions here, but allison goldman has asked how can the west and more specifically the united states break down the against the west attitude or how can we approach that in terms of diplomacy?
okay, i got some ideas there. so, you know one of the one of the things that was quite successful in the in the 2008 to 12 period was, you know opening up more person to person exchanges or i don't think that the the current regime in russia is going to want to to do that because in an official capacity, but if if it is true in terms of what this some surveys are indicating that 18 to 24 year olds in russia. it's not like 53% of them in the fall of 2019 indicated. they intended to immigrate to leave that's a super bad sign for the longevity of putin's system right domestically because if you're young people want to go then where's your future as a country? so let's make an easier for them to come to the united states or to western europe. i mean, that's something you just make it easier to immigrate or just spend two or three or five years here.
look at the activity that russian immigrates have brought to the us in the past. i'm sitting in silicon valley. think about google right? that family came here and we have google russia doesn't have google we do. so why not make that easier in terms of immigration policy and capture those folks who want to come here and if they go back to russia fine, they'll go back with understandings of how hopefully the us system functions when it does function and and you know new ideas that they may not be exposed to in russia and they'll take those home long term, you know, that's good for us and and that's good for them, too. so that's one of many many things we can do but i think making it easier to have some sort of work visa to come here and also to go to germany even for apprenticeships there is a whole gender in this i can finish on there's a they're you know, one of the big threats to the regime and why it was so worrisome with navalny that it
was particularly young on the streets. there are older folks too, but there were a lot of young people who had been quite passive until about 2016-17. why well, they're frustrated that they can't get into a university because they don't have the right. connections not that that doesn't happen here, but but you know there it's even harder because there's no transparency. there's nothing you can do about it. right and and this is very problematic for putin. he's they don't know any other leader and they 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? 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. well catherine, thank you. sorry, that's my siri for some reason. this to me all the time. we usually when i say words like curious and things like that, but thank you so much catherine
seriously or for all of your insights. i wish we could have gone through all of the questions that remain in the q&a but on behalf of everyone i think we had more than 100 people at one point. i would like to thank you for for this wonderful talk. i'm sure that everyone who hasn't already gone out and bought the book. well is is scarring over there. however, they their books my mind don't walk right already. so um and jeff an alert to everybody there are lots of events coming up some of which have been organized by the american foreign and military policy research cluster. our next event is a discussion with dr. cynthia burak on us support for lgbti rights abroad from obama. trump that's on march 25th at 4 pm. there's a wonderful conference that the cluster has co-sponsored along with the east asian study center. the cluster is supporting this
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