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The Swedish Center for Russian Studies is dedicated to understanding Russian thinking
and the developments in Eastern Europe

SCRS

The Swedish Center for Russian Studies was established in 2016. SCRS is dedicated to providing insights and perspective on the developments in Russia, the Baltic region and Eastern Europe. By taking a Russian perspective, using Russian values and views, SCRS provides original analyses on a strategic level as well as in specific projects.

WHO WE ARE

SCRS draws competence from the Swedish business community, the academic community, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Armed Forces. Besides its own staff, SCRS brings together numerous other Swedish experts on Russia who contribute to SCRS’s quality research, analyses, and strategic recommendations on a full range of issues related to Russia.

WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT

We believe that understanding Russia requires taking a different perspective than the traditional western view. In doing so the inherent risk of misunderstanding and misinterpreting fundamental developments can be avoided. Our work is based on a continuous analysis of Russian values, interests and internal dynamics. To further deepen the understanding of Russian values, Russian thinking and a Russian perspective in our analyses, we continuously engage our vast network of stakeholders – decision makers as well as analysts – in Russia and its neighboring regions.

WORLD VALUE SURVEY

We find the WVS map a good starting point to understand the differences between Russia and other countries. WVS is the best and most experienced mapper of cultural, political and social values around the world. Their map is built around 10 questions representing values on two dimensions, but the data consists of more than 260 questions. Russia differs from most Western countries concerning emancipatory values. Russians put more emphasis on security and order than political freedoms, tolerance and trust in others. The data on the map are from around 2011, but we have analyzed the new data for Russia collected in December 2017. The more detailed analysis can be found in our report 18-08 “Recent trends of values in Russia”.

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19-03: After the Western sanctions targeting Russia, the country has had an increased interest in diversifying its economy. This report looks at nuclear power, an area in which Russia has a great export potential in that it has a long experience of dealing with nuclear technology while also being on the forefront concerning research in the area. The report examines where the Russian state corporation Rosatom is active in the world, both in terms of constructing nuclear power plants as well as relating to agreements on cooperation in the field of nuclear power, and what the nuclear industry is focusing upon in Russia.
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19-02: Since Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency in 2012, Russian cultural policies have become increasingly focused on promoting a patriotic and militarized image of Russia’s past. It has also changed the focus of today’s popular culture policies by advancing what the Culture Ministry and the country’s leadership regard as Russian values, which include a strong sense of patriotism. The report outlines the development of these policies and discussing them in relation to the state’s cultural program while also highlighting contemporary debates on culture in Russia.
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19-01: An increasing number of Russian actors are using financial technology, or fintech, through a higher level of interconnectedness between various types of technologies and business sectors. This focus has led to some Russian companies entering into new markets, often by acquiring companies active in those fields. The report examines the Russian digital economy and argues that Russia is advanced compared to many other developed countries in integrating various fintech solutions in Russia and the emergence of national champions leading this development.
RPT 19-10 Runet
18-10: For a long time, the Internet was substantially less regulated than other parts of Russian society. However, during Putin’s third term as president (2012-2018) this changed. This report intends to analyze Internet usage in Russia and illustrate the various measures that have been taken during the past six years by the Russian government to impose stricter control of the Internet, namely to:
RPT 19-09 Digitalization
18-09: In the summer of 2017, the Russian government released a national program for the digital economy to be fulfilled until 2024, when Vladimir Putin’s presidential term ends. The program, which was an outline rather than a definitive program, set a number of focus areas, highlighting several priorities and goals. In this report, we set out to look at several of the focus areas mentioned in the program to gauge their feasibility and see how Russia is faring at the moment concerning connectivity and the implementation of the measures discussed in the program.
RPT 18-08
18-08: World Values Survey have updated the Russian values since the last interviews in 2011. This report analyses the changes that have occurred in Russia during the past six years. Due to the rise of nationalistic rhetoric in 2014, the Russia annexation of Crimea and the ensuing harder climate in the relations between Russia and the West, we expected a shift towards more security-oriented values. This shift has happened, however, it was more limited than we foresaw and the shift of Russia’s position on the cultural map in this direction was counteracted by an increase in happiness, which bodes well for the future.
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18-07: This report highlights how domestic Russian factors affect the country’s foreign policy. Russia’s legacy together with its experiences from the 1900’s has had a strong impact on how the current leadership views the domestic arena, resulting in increased censorship and control over society as well as a focus on hard power. This results in Russia adopting bellicose rhetoric and an aggressive posture abroad to discourage foreign enemies to intervene in the country. What does the recent protests against the government’s pension reform mean for the country’s leadership and are the protests able to threaten Putin’s reign?
SCRS RPT 18-06
18-06: Blockchain technologies can be used both to circumvent sanctions and counter Western economic domination. In addition, Blockchain technologies may also provide a much-needed contribution to the effectiveness of the Russian financial systems. But it is also viewed as a potential threat by some people close to president Putin. Just as the Kremlin can use it to decrease US and Western control over the global economy, enemies of the Kremlin – the political opposition, terrorists and foreign agents – can use it to evade control within Russia.
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18-05: This report explains the apparent paradox between the weak Russian economy and the apparent growing military strength of Russia. How does the Kremlin manage to combine low economic growth with increasing military capacity and for how long can this continue? There are several factors that together explains this apparent contradiction. In general, it can be compared to the bumblebee that cannot fly. But since it does not know that, it flies anyway.
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18-04: The report explores Russian influence on elections in the West in general, and on the upcoming Swedish elections in September in particular. It describes the different tools used by Russian actors in influencing elections in other countries and analyzes the various situations for a number of Western countries which have held elections in the past two years. The report analyzes the narratives pertaining to Sweden in Russian news media and social media and evaluates the preconditions for Russian influence during the election campaign.
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18-03: The report illustrates the most common narratives used in three Russian state-owned news outlets during 2017. It also introduces a comprehensive classification system for narratives on Sweden in Russian media while also discussing the roles that some of these outlets have in reaching audiences.
RPT 18 02
18-02: This report describes the break-up of the Soviet Union and the developments in the new and open mass media market to Putin’s ascent to the presidency and the changes that occurred in this landscape during his subsequent presidencies and premiership. It also highlights the most watched evening TV-shows, most read newspapers and online sources in Russia today as well as the emergence of social media as a new medium to spread and share news.
RPT 18 01
18-01: The report begins with remarks about the deep-structure of Chinese security policy, followed by an analysis of Russia and China from each other’s perspectives. The report ends with a brief comment on Korea, from both a Chinese and a Russian perspective.
SCRS 17-09 Front
17-09: Describes how the Russian Military Thought has changed since Soviet times and how it currently is evolving in relation to the perceived antagonism with the West. Five key strands within Russian military thought are analyzed and their relation to Western thought is discussed. Thereafter, the findings are applied in an analysis on the Baltic Sea Region. This part seeks to concretize the theoretical part and improve the understanding of the rationale underlying Russian decision-making.
SCRS 17-08 Front
17-08: Takes a closer look at the Kaliningrad region and what Russia does to address the perceived weaknesses or vulnerabilities of the region. Russian measures have been accelerated lately, and are implemented in order to prevent the region from turning into a liability. The report covers the following domains: political stability, defense, energy, economy, transport and food security.
SCRS 17-07 Front
17-07: An analysis of the Russian narratives regarding Sweden’s possible membership in, and cooperation with, NATO during a three-year period. The aim of the report is to highlight the most common narratives occurring in the Russian media outlets as well as those disseminated by Russian officials while also looking at whether there is an overlap between the narratives existing in the official statements and those prevalent in the state-owned news outlets.
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17-06: Russian public diplomacy towards Sweden has been restrained during the months before and during Aurora 17. Russian state-controlled media have given Aurora 17 more attention and taken advantage of the event to promote familiar Russian narratives and messages. Nevertheless, we found no evidence of any systematic disinformation effort, although some articles contained misleading or false pieces of information.
Russian Disinformation
17-05: During the US presidential election in 2016, two Russian state-owned news outlets had a clear focus of depicting Hillary Clinton as corrupt in various ways. To a much less significant degree, the news outlets reported on Donald Trump, most often positively. Moreover, the outlets focused on other issues, such as the US being an aggressor, promoting the benefits of a multiple world order, and criticizing US hegemony.
Russian Economic Conflict
17-04: In the Russian understanding of modern war, the importance of non-military means is seen to be increasing in the relations to military ones. Economic means is a key element among these. This report analyses how they are perceived as a threat to Russia and how Russia can use them in monetary conflict, leveraging economic dependence and provoking a systemic disruption.
Russian Economy in Global Perspective
17-03: The Russian economy is only a fraction of the Soviet Union’s economic power and it continues to shrink (slowly) in a global comparison. The problems are rooted in internal structures and policies (e.g. import substitution), which are reinforced by the ongoing confrontation with the West and the relatively low oil price. The current Russian economic strategy and foreign policy will not remedy these problems.
Trump from Putin’s Perspective
17-02: The election of Donald Trump has the potential to significantly alter US-Russia relations. This paper analyzes the Russian perspective on a potential improvement in relations between Russia and the US. Firstly, it compares the values and worldviews of Trump and Vladimir Putin. Secondly it analyses what effect this has on Putin’s foreign and security policy.
Russian Values
17-01: This report analyzes the basic values of Russia at various levels. Significant differences between Russian and Western values are highlighted. Comparing values with opinion polls, official strategy papers and other policy documents makes it possible to put Russian policy in a new context. The analysis shows a consistency between the deeply rooted values among the Russian population, the policies of the Russian regime, and the values of president Putin.

CONTACT. For further information or other inquiries, please see contact details below.

Swedish Center for Russian Studies
info@scrs.se

Blasieholmsgatan 3
SE-111 48 Stockholm, Sweden
scrs.se