Russia's Determination to Revise the Post-Cold War Order

By Christopher Chivvis

Chris Chivvis is associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center and a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He specializes in national security issues in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, including NATO, military interventions, counter-terrorism, and deterrence. He is also an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The author of three scholarly books and several monographs and articles on U.S. foreign and security policy, Chivvis has worked on Eurasian security and NATO-Russia issues in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. He has also held research positions at the French Institute for International Relations (Ifri) in Paris and at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, and taught graduate courses at Johns Hopkins University, New York University, and Sciences Po in Paris. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Survival, TheWashington Quarterly, The Christian Science Monitor,, and other leading publications. Chivvis received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, SAIS.

The Russian economy has been in recession for nearly two years now, with GDP growth shrinking by 3.7 percent in 2015. However, as the recession continues and persistent low oil prices cut government revenues to the bone, military spending has remained almost immune to cuts, and the country has undertaken expensive foreign military interventions in Ukraine and Syria. The Cipher Brief asks Christopher Chivvis, Associate Director of the RAND Corporation’s International Security and Defense Policy Center to explain this behavior. 

The Cipher Brief: The Russian economy has been in recession for over 18 months now. Could you begin by laying out the sources of this downturn, and the effect it has had on the Russian budget, and the effect on ordinary Russians?

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