A new Russia policy for post-Brexit Britain

The UK must abandon its delusions to deal effectively with Russia
Research paper Published 27 January 2022 Updated 28 January 2022 ISBN: 978 1 78413 284 2
A woman carrying a Russian flag parades in front of the Palace of Westminster

Ian Bond

Director of Foreign Policy, Centre for European Reform

The political relationship between the UK and Russia is broken. It is unlikely to recover significantly in the foreseeable future: the foundations of the relationship have long been fragile, primarily because the two countries lack shared values and interests. Meanwhile, the UK’s departure from the EU makes it more difficult for the UK (and the EU) to deal with Russia. Despite Brexit, however, the EU remains a vital security partner for the UK.

An effective post-Brexit Russia policy demands a realistic assessment of UK power and influence. It should prioritize the protection of UK territory, citizens and institutions, and security in the Euro-Atlantic space.

To defend and promote these core interests, the UK has various instruments at its disposal, the most important one being its alliances and partnerships with third countries, starting with its European partners. The UK should rebuild domestic resilience, concentrate resources on the Euro-Atlantic area, repair its reputation as a trusted and valued ally, and augment its soft power capabilities.