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Understanding and Mitigating the Kremlin's Acts of Economic Aggression

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

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Former Soviet and Russian economies are interdependent. The Kremlin uses economic aggression tools to maintain this interdependency and retain these countries as buffer states with the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO. If the US government understands these interdependencies, it can reduce the impact of the Kremlins economic aggression on targeted countries and, subsequently, lower their political and economic risk of standing firm against the Kremlin. Therefore, this research examined three phenomena 1 how the Kremlin exploited economic independency to coerce its buffer states 2 how the US government reacted to the Kremlins economic aggression broadly and in Moldova and 3 if and how US government foreign assistance helped Moldova to decrease its economic dependence on Russia from 2003 to 2019. It found that the Kremlin primarily used four geoeconomic tools to coerce its buffer states economic aid, trade policy, energy supplies, and migrant labor policy. The most effective tool was economic aid provided to frozen conflicts within its buffer states, which prevented them from joining NATO and the European Union. In the Moldovan case, the Kremlin used these four geoeconomic tools in an attempt to stop Moldova from aligning with the West. Subsequently, the US government took policy actions and provided foreign assistance to counter the Kremlins economic aggression in Moldova from 2003 to 2019. Through the US Agency for International Development, the US government helped Moldovan citizens to decrease their economic dependence on Russia, most significantly in the areas of export markets and seasonal labor migration.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]