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Bruce McConnell

Global Vice President, EastWest Institute

Pavel Sharikov

PhD in Political Science, Director of the Applied Research Center, RAS Institute for U.S. and Canadian Studies

Maria Smekalova

Website Editor, Coordinator of Russia-U.S. Dialogue on Cybersecurity project

The current state of Russia–U.S. relations is marked by a high level of distrust. Tensions have been escalating for three years, both countries have imposed economic sanctions, disseminated propaganda, and exchanged accusations. The situation is unpredictable, the escalation may continue and destabilize the whole international system. The deterioration has touched all issues of Russia–U.S. relations, including cybersecurity.

Cooperation on cybersecurity is a relatively new problem, and probably has never been among the most prioritized, along with many other issues, including terrorism, Ukraine, Syria, economic sanctions, and many others.

While Russia and the U.S. feel the need to cooperate on settling pressing issues regarding cybersecurity, they seem to diverge over what should be done and over how international law could be applied.

In this context two parallel tracks should be promoted. The first one is cooperation on cybercrime prevention and counterterrorism measures. In part because they lack common terminology regarding cyberspace, Russia and the US fail to find common ground when talking about cybercrime prevention. What is more, the at times anonymous nature of cybercrime not only impedes the attribution process, but undermines the political stance in bilateral relations. The second track involves elaborating norms of behavior as well as protection of critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. Although work is being conducted by the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE), the most important issue has become how to make the norms actionable. Critical infrastructure, along with cybercrime, needs clear definition.

What is vital now is to continue dialogue and reach mutual understanding with the help of expert meetings and publications, technical cooperation, and balanced media participation and coverage, so that a more united approach may follow.

During the past year, Russian and U.S. experts in cybersecurity have been working together making important observations on existing problems in relations between the two countries in this area.

As a result of bilateral efforts, the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the EastWest Institute (EWI) are putting forward a number of challenges and proposals to promote cooperation in cyberspace between Russia and the United States.

The parties are hopeful that the suggested ideas, which appear at the end of this Policy Brief, will lay the groundwork for future cooperation. As a preface to those ideas, the brief provides contrasting perspectives from Russian and U.S. experts.

The current state of Russia–U.S. relations is marked by a high level of distrust. Tensions have been escalating for three years, both countries have imposed economic sanctions, disseminated propaganda, and exchanged accusations. The situation is unpredictable, the escalation may continue and destabilize the whole international system. The deterioration has touched all issues of Russia–U.S. relations, including cybersecurity.

Cooperation on cybersecurity is a relatively new problem, and probably has never been among the most prioritized, along with many other issues, including terrorism, Ukraine, Syria, economic sanctions, and many others.

While Russia and the U.S. feel the need to cooperate on settling pressing issues regarding cybersecurity, they seem to diverge over what should be done and over how international law could be applied.

In this context two parallel tracks should be promoted. The first one is cooperation on cybercrime prevention and counterterrorism measures. In part because they lack common terminology regarding cyberspace, Russia and the US fail to find common ground when talking about cybercrime prevention. What is more, the at times anonymous nature of cybercrime not only impedes the attribution process, but undermines the political stance in bilateral relations. The second track involves elaborating norms of behavior as well as protection of critical infrastructure from cyberattacks. Although work is being conducted by the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE), the most important issue has become how to make the norms actionable. Critical infrastructure, along with cybercrime, needs clear definition.

What is vital now is to continue dialogue and reach mutual understanding with the help of expert meetings and publications, technical cooperation, and balanced media participation and coverage, so that a more united approach may follow.

During the past year, Russian and U.S. experts in cybersecurity have been working together making important observations on existing problems in relations between the two countries in this area.

As a result of bilateral efforts, the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the EastWest Institute (EWI) are putting forward a number of challenges and proposals to promote cooperation in cyberspace between Russia and the United States.

The parties are hopeful that the suggested ideas, which appear at the end of this Policy Brief, will lay the groundwork for future cooperation. As a preface to those ideas, the brief provides contrasting perspectives from Russian and U.S. experts.

Suggestions on Russia-U.S. Cooperation in Cybersecurity, 1.02 Mb

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Poll conducted

  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
 
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