The last twenty-five years have largely been wasted. The world has become a more dangerous place, Europe is about to split up and become weaker or even slide into a large-scale war. Unless Europe works out a new ambitious and unifying idea, the Ukrainian crisis and its demons will continue spreading.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A majority of people in the Middle East either share extremely conservative views regarding democracy and women’s rights, or feel the need for political and social reform and call such aspirations “democracy,” while real knowledge of how democracy works is still rudimentary.
This report was prepared following the conclusions of XI annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting.