Defining Dialogue: How to Manage Russia–UK Security Relations – Part 2

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Main Image Credit A Russian Bear bomber is escorted by a Royal Air Force Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon from RAF Lossiemouth. Courtesy of Ministry of Defence

Despite tensions and mistrust between the UK and Russia, there are still ways to manage security relations between the two countries. Policymakers on both sides should take note.

The Russian version of the report can be found here.

This report represents findings from the second round of the UK–Russia Track II (non-governmental) bilateral security dialogue, held by RUSI in collaboration with the Moscow-based Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC). The dialogue, held between April and December 2017, brought together experts and former government officials from the two countries to discuss and debate ways in which the UK’s and Russia’s bilateral security relationship can be better managed.

Initially conceived during a moment in relations when the UK and the Russian Federation appeared to be on a modestly upward trajectory, relations between the two countries worsened in March 2018 due to the poisoning by nerve agent of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia. The UK has blamed Moscow for the attack in Salisbury, and measures have been taken by both governments against each other.

Our discussions were completed before these events, and therefore did not take them into account. Nevertheless, the project context remains strong, and the case for continuing dialogue between non-governmental experts is even stronger now that official relations between our two countries are tense and opportunities for dialogue at official level are becoming more limited.

About the Authors

Malcolm Chalmers is Deputy Director-General of RUSI.

Andrey Kortunov is the Director General of RIAC.

Sarah Lain is an Associate Fellow at RUSI. She previously worked in private sector consultancy, examining business risks in Russia and post-Soviet countries.

Maria Smekalova is the Coordinator of Cybersecurity Programmes at RIAC.


Malcolm Chalmers

Deputy Director-General

Senior Management

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Sarah Lain

Associate Fellow

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