Diplomats can work without any doctrines or concepts in turbulent or revolutionary times. Admittedly, the contrast between foreign policy conceptual basis and practice in the Russian case looks outrageous at present.
The BRICS can serve as a locomotive for Russia’s geopolitical rise in the 21st century. This development will not necessarily imply a deterioration of relations with the West, which would be almost inevitable if Moscow were to face it alone.
Pursuit of immediate goals can limit future foreign policy capabilities that can only exist if there is a strong economy and political ambitions are buttressed by financial and economic resources.
Even in the absence of attempts to isolate Russia politically and economically resulting from the events in Ukraine, the flight of investors from emerging markets as a class and a re-evaluation of risks in emerging markets generally have provoked a move to safe havens.
Possible formation of an EU energy union will create new conditions for Russia and require it to find out-of-the-box solutions in order to retain strong positions in negotiations with Brussels. Russia can open its gas transportation infrastructure to Central Asian and Azerbaijani gas.
Russia proposes an integration project that envisages the strengthening of external economic borders to stimulate re-industrialization. Central Asian states are interested in the Customs Union and Common Economic Space, but they do not want to impose tighter control on their external economic borders.
Germany will not become the main adversary of Russia in Europe but remains its main interlocutor on the continent – and Moscow is well advised to make proper use of that.
Observers have interpreted President Vladimir Putin's recent decision to lift the ban on shipping Russia's S-300 air defense systems to Iran as a sign that the Kremlin intends to immediately deliver those weapons.
This report was prepared following the conclusions of XI annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting.