Navalny’s return to Russia on January 17 has created a prominent link between Germany/the EU and Russian domestic politics—the geopoliticization of domestic politics—which neither side will be able to ignore in the future.
Russia and the European Union need to imagine a more realistic goal for their relationship: a model of neighborliness, in which the inevitable disagreements will be managed in order to prevent disruptive conflicts and damaging collisions.
The main thrust of U.S. policy toward Russia has not changed much with the advent of a new administration. U.S.-Russian interaction on strategic stability issues will go hand-in-hand with persistent condemnation and retribution for what Biden calls Russia’s determination to damage and disrupt American democracy.
Without Moscow’s participation, the treaty loses its rationale. NATO members could start conducting flights over each other’s territory or shift their flight quotas to non-NATO state parties, but in both cases, the treaty would be reduced to a symbolic function.
The Baltic countries and Russia need to talk to each other. A lack of communication could cause incidents to escalate and lead to a military confrontation. For this reason, dialogue on military risk reduction with Russia and Belarus is crucial.
This is not a call for a reset or a new partnership, but rather for a responsible, less hostile relationship between rivals bitterly divided by visions of world order, geopolitical interests, and values.
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