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.
Some crucial changes can pass almost unnoticed, as happened earlier this month, when it was decided to put off the EU-Russia summit from December to the end of January, or possibly even later.
It seems that Iran and the United States, the main participants in the process, really want to change the atmosphere of their relationship, which has been hopelessly confrontational since the late 1970s.
All ratings are constructs which reflect not so much the real state of affairs as their compilers’ perception of it.
However, Ukraine only maintained its special relationship with Moscow because Russia allowed it. It was very difficult for Moscow to admit that Ukraine, which no one had ever considered separately from Russia, had become a foreign state.
The answer to this question with regard to the global economy and politics even a couple of years ago would be considered self-evident – of course, together. In the global world, where countries depend on each other in one way or another, success is possible only through ever deeper cooperation.
It has been a long time since Ukraine received as much attention as it has in recent weeks.
The greatest strength of the European model in its heyday – the second half of the 20th century – was the ability to synthesize constructive energy and to avoid excesses.
Politicians, who are obliged to listen to the electorate, are changing their stance so as not to lose the public’s trust on other, more important, internal issues.
If you read Vladimir Putin’s Valdai speech carefully, it becomes clear that he’s offering a new philosophy of development.
Getting Syria to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and give up its chemical weapons gives new hope for a surge in US-Russian diplomacy to end the war in Syria.
The Americans are confused. They do not understand what to do, but they see the use of force as the solution to every problem, even when the consequences are unknown. Russia does not know how to work with such a partner.
When four years ago Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he dedicated his laureate speech to the subject of just and unjust wars.
Russian-Ukrainian relations are again at the center of attention. Attempts to improve cooperation have quickly ground to a halt.
Moscow’s policy with regard to its closest neighbors is becoming more and more pragmatic.
Russia and Georgia’s clash over South Ossetia happened five years ago, but today it feels like an age away. Much has changed since then in Georgia and Russia, as well in all the countries that were indirectly involved in the conflict.
Admittedly, in the last year and a half, despite a very complex palette of relations, Iran and Russia have found a strong cementing factor: Syria.
Russia needs to find a way to improve the situation in Central Asia without becoming directly involved.
The main event of the season – or, to be more precise, an interminable process – is the civil war in Syria, to which no end or limit is in sight.
Unlike the United States, Russia can walk away from the Middle East at any time.
A different kind of confrontation is brewing in the world. In the past, Edward Snowden would have brought his revelations to Moscow and offered his services to the Soviet intelligence service.
Changes are sweeping the world, denying opportunities for the countries to focus on anything in earnest. They have only time to react to new and unexpected twists and turns, but no time to contemplate and devise strategies.
Russia has been observing the unexpected events in Turkey idiosyncratically: through the prism of its own domestic policy.
The meeting between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a desert retreat near Palm Springs, California, last weekend caused hardly a stir in Russia.
At the Russia-EU summit, the talk turned again to Syria and the prospects for a settlement, but it made little sense to have a dialogue at this particular meeting.
It seems that all external players are aware that the upcoming peace conference on Syria will serve as a turning point. If a shift occurs in favor of a compromise between the warring parties, it will be a truly historic event, given the long-standing impasse.
Astana recently hosted a Customs Union summit. The integration project is taking shape on the fly, so each summit evokes a great deal of interest.
After a relative lull, a recent flurry of news suggests that the endgame in Syria is approaching.
With respect to Russian-American relations, the positive atmosphere is due to the fact that the agenda has become very narrow.
Russia’s differences with Western countries and the US on the Syrian question, for example, are conceptual in nature.
The presidential campaign in Iran got underway on April 21. No matter how events unfold in the Middle East, one thing is certain: Iran will remain at the center.
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.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
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.