Fyodor Lukyanov is Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs, Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and Research Director of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
The main geopolitical tools of the 20th century — nuclear weapons and ideology — are losing their former value. The new priority is to maintain a complex balance between multiple states. But it is first necessary to understand the interests that drive numerous regional conflicts.
U.S. President Barack Obama's visit next week to Moscow is generating more interest in U.S.-Russian relations than we have seen in a long time. A dozen or so presummit conferences sponsored by leading think tanks dedicated to future relations between the two countries have been held recently in Moscow and Washington.
Moscow's decision to halt negotiations on joining the World Trade Organization and to focus instead on a joint bid through a customs union with Kazakhstan and Belarus appears to be politically motivated. It is a step toward establishing an independent identity on the world arena. Such a policy is conceptually based on several propositions.
The global economic crisis remains the focus of everyone’s attention, but the panic of late last year has given way to a sober analysis. The world has not been turned upside down and the problems caused by the crisis have only become catalysts of processes that had begun to take shape long before the autumn of 2008.
Last week, President Dmitry Medvedev signed Russia's national security strategy to 2020. The document reflects the uncertainty in the minds of Russia's leaders regarding the path of the country's development in the 21st century. As before, Russia is in a state of transition, but we are not sure exactly where it is transiting to.
The situation in Iran will likely become the center of global tensions in the months and years ahead. Tehran's desire to establish its status as a regional power will surely clash with Washington's desire to solidify its own global leadership role. And Russia, which has one foot in both camps, will find itself in an increasingly difficult position.
The promise by U.S. President Barack Obama's administration to "press the reset button" in its relations with Russia holds promise for rapid progress in the near future as well as for dealing with serious problems down the line.
The economic crisis is obviously having a strong impact on global politics, but nobody is venturing to predict what the new alignment of forces will be. Most likely, all countries will have to economize, rein in their ambitions and set more realistic priorities.
Despite living separately for the last 17 years, Russia and Ukraine are still inextricably intertwined. Events in one country inevitably have an impact on the other. In fact, two of Vladimir Putin's greatest foreign policy failures were linked to Ukraine.
Many observers have written that the change in leadership in the United States will open up new opportunities for U.S.-Russian relations. It is hard to argue with this for the simple reason that bilateral relations could hardly get worse than they are now.
The year 2008 will receive a special mention the history books of Russia's foreign policy. The Georgia war in August brought a host of consequences demanding attention, and the convulsions of the global financial markets in September and October redefined the boundaries of what Russia could realistically achieve.
In the two weeks since he was elected president, Barack Obama has received conflicting signals from Moscow. Aside from a threat to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, the Kremlin has made some conciliatory statements. Whether we see a new chapter in U.S.-Russian relations will become clear only ...
Two crises have occurred one after the other in the past few months that have had a significant impact on Russian foreign policy. The Russian-Georgian war in August and the upheavals on global financial markets in September and October are not related. Yet both events, each in its own way, have contributed to the formulation by Russia of its national interests. One can say that the two crises have set a conceptual framework of interests, defining a vector for the indispensable and boundaries for the possible.
Sir Roderic Lyne not only knows a great deal about Russia, he understands her as well. I think I probably don't have to explain that this is not always one and the same thing. When events in a country are examined in the wider context - both geographical and historical - many things appear in a different light and, more importantly, become a great deal clearer.
The financial crisis has pushed the Russia question to the back burner during the U.S. presidential election campaign. No matter what might have happened in Georgia -- or any other former Soviet republic -- U.S. citizens are far more worried about the safety of their bank accounts and retirement savings.
The cliche, currently in vogue, to describe events in our times as "the return of history" is a staggering example of western arrogance. Taken literally, it means everything that took place in the 1990s was not history: the tragic breakup of multinational states, accompanied by civil wars and millions of broken lives ...
Following the tumultuous events in the Caucasus, the struggle for influence in the former Soviet republics has turned into an open confrontation. Moscow has clearly articulated its policy toward its neighbors, calling those regions Russia's exclusive sphere of influence. By trying to create its own geographical sphere of influence, Moscow is ...
The fighting between Georgia and Russia has resulted in a serious political crisis in U.S.-Russian relations. It seems as if both sides have gone back to the sharp Cold War rhetoric of the early 1980s. But apart from the combative tone, the current conflict has nothing in common with the Cold War standoffs because the ideological element is absent in both Russian and U.S. foreign policies today...
There is an anticipation of change in the world today, although no one can say exactly how things will change. This anticipation stems from the handover of power – already accomplished in Russia and which will soon take place in the United States; from new internal turbulence in the European Union; from the marked growth of China’s presence on the global stage; and from ever new signs of a crisis in various international institutions.
The arrest of Radovan Karadzic, who bears a significant portion of responsibility for the horrors of the civil war in Bosnia, is an appropriate ending to his political career. There are no grounds to portray the former president of Bosnian Serb republic as a victim of circumstances; he is getting what he deserves.
President Dmitry Medvedev has made a number of foreign policy statements since taking office. His speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum has drawn the most attention, although it was lacking something new in content. But his June 5 speech in Berlin was remarkable, especially in the context of the rejection a week later of the Treaty of Lisbon, a document that represented a watered-down version of the failed European Constitution.
Russia’s gradual but irreversible return to the global economy and politics opened up new opportunities – and simultaneously set new requirements and structural restrictions to the national foreign policy. Russia emerged a full-fledged player in global politics in the first years of this century and displayed a conduct completely proportionate to that politics.
The U.S. presidential election campaign is entering its decisive phase. The candidates for the rival parties seem to have been determined, and now the real struggle begins. U.S. President George W. Bush is suffering record-low approval ratings, and his exit is eagerly awaited both at home and abroad. Europeans are especially looking forward to a change in the White House...
President Vladimir Putin's participation in the NATO summit in Bucharest and his talks with U.S. President George W. Bush in Sochi marked the final foreign policy episode in his two terms. Putin's legacy is worthy of serious study and impartial analysis, but this is not possible right now.
At his first news conference following his election victory, President-elect Dmitry Medvedev touched upon only one foreign relations topic. He said Moscow's priority was the Commonwealth of Independent States, and he promised that his first state visit would be to one of the CIS countries.
Russia in Global Affairs is celebrating a small anniversary: five years ago – in January 2003 – the first regular issue of our journal appeared in print. Five years is a short period of time in historical dimensions, but the pace and substance of the current changes make one recall the practice of calculating one’s length of service in the Soviet Union. At that time, a year of work under harsh climatic conditions or a year of performing a hazardous job was counted as two.
Kosovo's proclamation of independence has sparked a storm of debate. The main topic of discussion is how Kosovo's decision will influence other regional conflicts. More interesting, though, is what role the events in the Balkans will play in the overall weakening of international institutions.
Relations between Russia and the European Union are still described officially as a "strategic partnership" with a shared goal of "integration". In practice, however, neither side makes any attempt to hide their irritation at the other. The illusion that Moscow would follow the European model of development began to fade back in the days of Boris Yeltsin. Under President Vladimir Putin, it has become clear that Russia is, in fact, heading in a very different direction.
The U.S. presidential election campaign has attracted the world's attention, but it has been a long time since we have seen one so straightforward. The careers of individual politicians and the prestige of their parties are riding in the balance now.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.