Ivan Safranchuk is an associate professor at the Department of Global Political Processes of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). He holds a Doctorate in Political Science.
Central Asian countries will have to adjust their old stakes, which have failed, and make new ones. They will largely depend on the positions external partners will take. But countries in the region want economic cooperation without a geopolitical “burden.”
In the American discourse concerning relations with Russia the realists’ calls for interaction with it run counter to the alarmists’ stubborn mantra that Russia’s attempts to question U.S. omnipotence should not be left without a harsh response.
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.
Although Moscow has no reasons to be proactive in Afghan affairs, it will probably need to step up its efforts. Ultimately, the Afghans should be given the opportunity to build up a steady balance of forces at home, and then use these forces as a basis for political compromise.
Russia by no means is interested in a defeat of the international forces in Afghanistan, as it would create new security problems. But Moscow does not see prospects for a military victory. And if these prospects appeared, they would give a green light to “Greater Central Asia” infrastructure projects that would be economically disadvantageous for Russia.
Relations between Russia and the United States are acquiring a new quality. Moscow and Washington can cooperate on certain individual issues, but strategically they are now on their own – certainly not in the same boat.
The talk about the SCO’s anti-American stance did not spring out of nothing. The organization openly pursues the goal of doing without the U.S. in resolving all challenges facing Central Asia. While it does not seek to oppose Washington either globally or regionally, the SCO does not want any links with Washington either. This means it wants to get along without the U.S., but not go against it.
A country seeking to return to the global stage as a major actor must find a well-planned solution to the problem of providing its foreign policy with sufficient resources. The volatility of foreign policy spending reveals the main problem: political decisions in Russia are poorly translated into budgetary categories and specific plans with a particular price tag.
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.