May 7, 2014
Center on Global Interests, 10th Floor, 1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, DC

Click here to read Emma Ashford’s working paper: The Weakness of Institutions: How the Kremlin’s Energy Dependence Undermines Foreign Policy Decisions

Following her presentation at CGI, international political economy scholar Emma Ashford has finalized her working paper, “The Weakness of Institutions: How the Kremlin’s Energy Dependence Undermines Foreign Policy,” to share as part of CGI’s Rising Experts Task Force (RETF). Ashford uses resource-curse theory to argue that oil and gas revenues have had a direct impact on the Kremlin’s demonstrably disadvantageous foreign policy decisions, and examines its effect on the current crisis in Ukraine. However, instead of focusing on the effect of the resource curse on Russia’s external behavior, she analyzed its role in weakening critical foreign policy institutions within the Russian government.

Ashford concludes her piece with several recommendations for Western governments for effectively working with the Russia: “As the situation in Crimea continues to unfold, it will be critical for policymakers to mitigate as much as possible the effects of Russia’s weak foreign policy apparatus.” Most importantly, the U.S. must accurately assess and target those actors that truly influential in foreign policy decisions, regardless of their formal positions. The personalization of policy making means that, “implementing sanctions on individuals will only work if these people are targeted specifically.” For her full analysis and case studies on the Second Chechen War and the 2008 Georgian War, read her full report above!