While Russia remains a powerful actor in the region, it is facing a growing number of challenges. Externally, increased U.S. and NATO military presence close to the country’s borders, as well as a pro-Western government in Ukraine, are posing threats to Russian strategy. Internally, the country is experiencing severe economic challenges as it struggles to adjust to lower oil prices and a growing demographic crisis. Despite increased constraints, the Russian regime remains in a relatively strong position domestically. Geopolitically, Russia has options, but they are increasingly limited. While the country is still involved in the Syrian conflict, its strategic priorities rest in Europe, and especially in Ukraine. For the Kremlin, Ukraine must become, at the very least, militarily neutral. Russia is not seeking a direct confrontation with the U.S. and NATO, but it can use lower-cost
Net Assessment of Russia
April 14, 2016 Russia is facing a number of challenges, most notably increasing Western influence along its western periphery and declining prices for oil and gas, which are key sources of revenue for the Kremlin. How the country deals with these issues will determine its future path.