Russia is one of the two most influential nondemocratic countries in the world. While chances for a successful transition to democracy in the near future are low, the benefits of such a future course would be high. The key is to promote democracy without the appearance of interference in Russia’s internal affairs, since that would be counterproductive. Our common interests include:

  • The two countries still have a common interest in cooperating against terrorism. The Boston Marathon bombings show that such cooperation is in the interest of the United States as much as it is in Russia’s.
  • Russia continues to play an important role in providing the U.S. military with access to Afghanistan. While this is a short-term common interest, after the NATO withdrawal is complete, Russia will become the most important player in ensuring that potential instability in Afghanistan does not spread north.
  • Russia remains an important player in world energy markets.
  • Russia remains the United States’ only peer competitor in terms of nuclear weapons.

Dmitry Gorenburg is a Senior Analyst at CNAAnalysis and Solutions and a Center Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University.

This post is part of the Perspectives on Peace and Security: Rebuilding the U.S.–Russia Relationship project produced by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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