Too often, we are told that Russia plays a weak hand well. But, perhaps the nation’s cards are better than we know.
Russia ranks significantly behind the U.S. and China by traditional measures of power: GDP, population size, over-all health, and military might. Yet 25 years removed from its mid-1990s nadir following the collapse of the USSR, Russia has become a supremely disruptive force in world politics. Kathryn Stoner assesses the resurrection of Russia and argues we should look beyond traditional measures of power to assess its strength in global affairs. Taking into account how Russian domestic politics under Vladimir Putin influences its foreign policy, Stoner explains how Russia has battled its way back to international prominence.
From Russia’s seizure of the Crimea from Ukraine to its military support for the Assad regime in Syria, the country has reasserted itself as a major global power. Stoner examines these developments and more in tackling the big questions surrounding Russia’s turnaround and future as an international actor. Stoner marshals data on Russia’s political, economic, and social development and offers insights that shed new light on its domestic politics. Russian people are wealthier than the Chinese, debt is low, and fiscal policy is well-managed despite sanctions and a volatile global economy. Putin’s autocratic regime faces virtually no organized domestic opposition. Yet, mindful of maintaining control at home, Russia under Putin also uses its varied power capacities to extend Russia’s influence abroad. While we often underestimate Russia’s global influence, the consequences are evident in the disruption of politics in the US, Syria, and Venezuela, to name a few countries. Russia Resurrected is an eye-opening re-assessment of the country, identifying the actual sources of its power in international politics and why it has been able to create so many problems for the West.
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Kathryn Stoner is the Deputy Director at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, and the Center on International Security and Cooperation at FSI. She teaches in the Department of Political Science at Stanford, and in the Program on International Relations, as well as in the Ford Dorsey Master's in International Policy Program. Prior to coming to Stanford in 2004, she was on the faculty at Princeton University for nine years, jointly appointed to the Department of Politics and the Woodrow Wilson School for International and Public Affairs. At Princeton she received the Ralph O. Glendinning Preceptorship awarded to outstanding junior faculty. She also served as a Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science at Columbia University, and an Assistant Professor of Political Science at McGill University. She has held fellowships at Harvard University as well as the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC.
In addition to many articles and book chapters on contemporary Russia, she is the author or co-editor of six books: "Transitions to Democracy: A Comparative Perspective," written and edited with Michael A. McFaul (Johns Hopkins 2013); "Autocracy and Democracy in the Post-Communist World," co-edited with Valerie Bunce and Michael A. McFaul (Cambridge, 2010); "Resisting the State: Reform and Retrenchment in Post-Soviet Russia" (Cambridge, 2006); "After the Collapse of Communism: Comparative Lessons of Transitions" (Cambridge, 2004), coedited with Michael McFaul; and "Local Heroes: The Political Economy of Russian Regional" Governance (Princeton, 1997). She is currently finishing a book project entitled "Russia Resurrected: Its Power and Purpose in a New Global Order" (Oxford University Press, forthcoming February 1, 2021).
She received a BA (1988) and MA (1989) in Political Science from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Government from Harvard University (1995). In 2016 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Iliad State University, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
The American Foreign and Military Policy research cluster is an initiative of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies at The Ohio State University. The cluster focuses on the study of US foreign relations, US defense policy, and international relations, diplomacy, and war as they affect US foreign policy and military affairs in contemporary and historical contexts. The cluster examines these elements of power from both American and foreign viewpoints in order to understand both the domestic drivers of policy and the impact of other nations on it. The cluster examines foreign and military affairs holistically, along with all elements of power – diplomatic, economic, military, informational, financial, intelligence, cultural, and legal – that have an impact on them.