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Forging deeper dialogue between Russian and British experts.

Since 2016, RUSI has coordinated a UK-Russia Security Dialogue co-hosted with the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), a think tank based in Moscow. As relations between our two countries have faced an ever harder barrier, the Dialogue format provides a forum experts, academics, and opinion formers to discuss sensitive security questions in an open way, and think through realistic ideas for deeper policy engagement at an official level.

Already complicated, UK-Russia diplomatic relations fell to a new low in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, the subsequent military intervention in eastern Ukraine and the rounds of western sanctions against Russia. This already tense situation was exacerbated by the Skripal incident in the UK in March 2018, prompting a downturn in bilateral relations which have remained in deep freeze ever since. Despite this political environment, the UK and Russia have numerous mutual security concerns which will require joint consideration, or at the very least, joint coordination. The project attempts to create a venue where ideas on mutual security threats can be discussed to attempt to provide ideas for how to mitigate the collapse in formal government security relations.

As part of this project, RUSI and RIAC hold regular roundtable events in Moscow and London where participants from a range of non-governmental institutions debate  important security questions thinking through what ideas might be possible for our respective governments to consider in their formal deliberations. The first roundtable discussion was held in October on the INF treaty with future events on terrorism and organised crime, cyber security and the Middle East to be held in London and Moscow over the next few months.

Following on from each event, RUSI and RIAC aim to publish the ideas generated in each session in short co-signed articles, and the project will conclude with a joint report. This will build on the work done in the previous two iterations of this project. 

This project is now in its third year, and its continuation is a testament to the importance of maintaining a connection with the Russian expert community, notwithstanding persistent tensions at a political level.


Emily Ferris
Research Fellow, Russia and Eurasia