Is the West Thinking Strategically about Russia?

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This paper offers a summary of the main comments and conclusions from a bilateral workshop jointly held by RUSI and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) in November 2016.

The focus of the discussion was whether the UK and Germany align in their threat perception and strategic thinking towards Russia, based on their assessment of perceived challenges Russia poses to European security. During the discussion, the debate widened to assess Europe’s response to Russia’s foreign policy. This workshop brought together a small group of specialists and MPs from the UK and Germany to discuss these challenges.

Renewed assertiveness in Russia’s foreign policy has signalled a more decisive approach towards defending Moscow’s national interests as well as attempts to re-shape the world order as the Kremlin sees fit.

There has been much discussion about a ‘new Cold War’ between Russia and the West. Although there are certainly lessons to be learnt from history, this phrasing is not sufficient for framing the current rationale behind Kremlin decision-making and, more importantly, the changes in the context of how the West views and reacts to Russia’s actions.


Sarah Lain

Associate Fellow

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