The CSIS/Peterson Institute/USRBC Russia Balance Sheet Project aspires to look at Russia with clarity and suggest how major factors may influence future developments to the year 2020.

The goal of the Russia Balance Sheet Project is twofold:

  1. To provide a clear, objective, and comprehensive assessment of the current situation in Russia, the country’s near-term challenges, and their implications for U.S. interests with Russia; and

  2. To identify and analyze the key drivers for Russia’s future in a rigorous manner. Sound U.S. policy towards Russia must be based on a firm, fact-based, and objective understanding of the current Russian reality. Our capacity for effective policy towards Russia in the future must be informed by a careful and open-minded calculation of the more likely, as well as the less likely, future Russian realities and how they may impact U.S. interests.

The Russia Balance Sheet Project intends to reproduce the past successes of the CSIS-Peterson Institute’s The China Balance Sheet Project. First, it should be a truly collaborative effort between the CSIS and the Peterson Institute. Second, it should establish the state of the Russian politics and economics as well as U.S.-Russia relations in a fashion that is relevant both to the Washington policy community and the U.S. business community. Third, it should be attractive to private business financing.  The U.S.-Russia Business Council will join the CSIS-Peterson Institute partnership to enhance the relevance of The Russia Balance Sheet Project to the private sector.

Phase I
Released in April 2009, the first deliverable of The Russia Balance Sheet Project included a short book similar to that of CSIS-Peterson Institute’s The China Balance Sheet. The two institutions seek to provide a similarly comprehensive analysis of Russia with particular attention focused on the impact of Vladimir Putin’s presidency over the past 8 years and the key challenges his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, will face in the coming years.  Like The China Balance Sheet Project, this effort will produce a set of one-page fact sheets on various aspects of Russian economic, political, and foreign policy developments valuable for policymakers, Congress, the business community, and media.

Phase II
The second component of The Russia Balance Sheet Project will entail rigorous analysis and projections of the key drivers of Russia’s future to the year 2020. We plan to establish small working groups to discuss a varied set of political, economic, and social drivers that will shape Russia’s potential future trajectory.  Each working group will meet regularly to shape their research agendas and produce working papers for more in-depth exploration of data and issues. The groups will produce policy briefs with an aim to provide shorter, easily accessible presentations of material for a broad audience including Russia exerts, government officials, the business community, and media.

The final product of the three-year project will be a book entitled Russia 2020 which will synthesize the findings of the working groups and present alternative scenarios of Russia’s development to the year 2020.