Sergei Karaganov, Doctor of History, is Dean of the School of World Economics and International Relations at the National Research University–Higher School of Economics. He is also Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.
This year will see the 25th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s breakup and the emergence of new Russia on its ruins. Time is ripe for taking stocks and mapping a road into the future.
The disintegration of the Soviet Union created a decade-long illusion that the era of ideologies and ideological struggle was over and the world was moving towards a single system of values based on Western liberal democracy and capitalism. Europe and America fascinated the world with their freedom and winning political system...
Faced with a crisis, the Russian authorities are trying to convince their people that all of Russia’s troubles come from abroad, but its main battles are also won there.
The Russian elite have realized that the country will have to live in a new reality that differs from the past rosy dreams of integration with the West, while preserving its independence and sovereignty. Yet they have not yet used the confrontation and the growth of patriotism for an economic revival.
Russia has already made its turn towards Asia, and the important question now is how deep and successful it will be.
I have already written before that having emerged from the Cold War, Europe lost the post-war peace. The continent is on the verge of strategic degradation that may either become a caricature of military-political division into opposing blocs or a time of disquieting uncertainty. The military-political conflict over Ukraine can escalate as well.
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.
Today Russia is confronted by the West which is largely demoralized by its own blunders and no longer a source of moral supremacy and appeal for most people in the world. Sided with Moscow is the rising “non-West” that comprises the majority of countries and most dynamic economies.
For the United States, at stake is its leader’s declining reputation and the risk of yet another humiliating defeat. The stakes are high also because Russia stands as a symbol of a rising and increasingly anti-Western “non-West.”
The west is without direction and losing sight of moral convictions
The Malaysian Boeing crash in Ukraine – a predictable “black swan” regardless of which conflicting party downed the plane – can further worsen the international political crisis around Ukraine, yet it can also act as a spur to a way out.
Russia has given up hope for joining the West in the foreseeable future. But it has not yet made a choice in favor of anti-West, let alone, anti-Europeanism.
The rupture in relations between Russia and the West is discussed as if Crimea’s accession, Ukraine’s future and sanctions are the core problem.
Sergey Karaganov breaks into a broad smile when asked why his two-decades-old ideas about Moscow “protecting” Russian speakers abroad are suddenly the centre of his country’s foreign policy.
The Ukraine crisis has exposed the failure of post-cold war policies
In the past few years, many in Russia have realized that the rise of Asia is serious and for the long haul.
The main reserves for Russia’s foreign policy and its influence in the next decade lie more than ever in internal development. And this is also where the main threats are, fraught with the risk of losing political weight in the international arena and the status of great power.
The cooling in Russia-U.S. relations over recent years has led to the end of the reset. This has culminated in Barack Obama's refusal to go to Moscow after the G20 Summit to be held in St. Petersburg.
The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer.
How the European Union deliberately ruined the Cypriot banking system as a warning to other debtors.
The bankrupt Cypriot banks are worth nothing or less than nothing if they are not a part of the European financial system.
In the long term, Sino-Russian relations will depend largely on whether Russia overcomes its current stagnation.
Following the disintegration of communism in the early 1990s, there occurred what was then referred to as an unblocking of many conflicts.
With the global situation and Russia’s development vector as they are, the policy of military build-up is inevitable. The question is how and at what cost. It would be utterly wrong to spend lavishly, thereby ruining all development budgets.
A Contradiction Between the Globalization of the World and the Deglobalization of Governance Is Creating a Vacuum of Governability.
Russia has embarked on a military buildup path. The external military threat is record low. But this policy will be continued in this or other form.
Persistent downgrading of a country eventually produces a persistent image of a loser nation among its citizens – with the ensuing costs paid by future generations.
The European Union is adapting to a new reality – slowly but surely.
The macro changes in the world economy and politics, developments in the Greater Middle East, and actions (or inaction) by old great powers make further plunging of the region into conflicts almost inevitable.
If Peter the Great lived now, he would surely build the capital not in the Baltic region, but at the Pacific Ocean.
If there is anything the last two years should have taught us, it is that the unthinkable can happen — separatism, disintegration, even wars — and that it can happen very quickly.
They agree on key points. And no one wants to see the region in chaos or run by the Islamic State.
Islam is one of Russia’s four traditional religions – faiths with longstanding presence in the country. Unlike many European countries, where immigration contributes to the growth of the Muslim population, Russia’s Muslims are local people, long-established populations with ethnic traditions reaching centuries back.
The views and opinions expressed in this Paper are those of the author and do not represent the views of the Valdai Discussion Club, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
What are the prospects for Russian-North Korean relations today?
With the latest protracted nosedive in U.S.-Russia relations, when areas of cooperation have continued to shrink, it is beneficial to reflect on historically constructive joint endeavors, such as the cooperation between the two countries’ nuclear weapon laboratories (“lab-to-lab cooperation”).