International relations between Russia and the rest of the world are now less stable and predictable than they were during the Cold War, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
"The country may be one of the biggest 'black swans' of political risk in 2018," Agathe Demarais, lead analyst for Russia and regional manager for Europe at the EIU, said in a report published Wednesday.
"The international situation is now less stable and predictable than during the Cold War."
Under Vladimir Putin's strongman leadership since 1999, Russia has asserted itself as a resurgent global superpower with political and economic influence. It is being closely watched by Europe, China and the U.S. for clues on where its foreign policy is headed.
Moscow's increasing assertiveness and provocative military actions in recent years have alarmed its neighbors in Europe and the wider West. In particular, Russia's annexation of Crimea in southern Ukraine in 2014 and role in a pro-Russian uprising in eastern Ukraine around the same time prompted an international outcry with economic sanctions imposed on the country that are still in place.
Russia is now in the spotlight for alleged meddling in the U.S. political system, accused of interfering in the run-up to the 2016 election. Last week, 13 Russian individuals and several business entities were charged, although the Russian state has denied involvement.