Russia’s OSCE policy and the Ukraine crisis: renewed interest, enduring approach
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This report presents a detailed investigation of Russia’s behavior within and toward the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in order to determine whether the military crisis Ukraine beginning in late 2013 and the OSCE’s consequent “renewal” as a crisis management organization have altered Russia’s policy toward the organization. The study concludes that Russia’s policy toward the OSCE has not undergone a fundamental change as a result of the Ukraine crisis. While Russia has been willing to endorse an expanded role for the OSCE in Ukraine, Moscow’s approach to the organization remains selective and highly critical. A review of Russia’s rhetoric and actions with regard to the OSCE from late 2013 to early 2016 suggests a limited increase in Russia’s use of the OSCE as a foreign policy tool, but does not indicate that Russia’s assessment of the organization has improved. Unfortunately, because the OSCE’s fate is highly dependent on will of member states, the lack of change in Russia’s policy toward the organization indicates that hopes for a stronger OSCE are unlikely to be realized.