Alexei Portansky is a professor at the School of World Economics and World Politics at the National Research University–Higher School of Economics; senior researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences.
The mega-regional trade agreements do not mean undermining the WTO, as some believe—there are no serious players in the world that would have such plans. The problem’s solution lies in gradual harmonization of the multilateral (WTO) format and regional/preferential and mega-regional (TPP and TTIP) formats.
Creating substituting production capacities, operating a semi-isolated financial system, spending resources to overcome trade barriers and looking for new markets will require enormous and unjustified expenditures, which will inevitably affect the competitiveness of Russia’s national economy and lead to the impoverishment of the population.
If Russia is to embark on the path of profound economic modernization in full seriousness, then there has to be a strategy of using WTO membership as the basis for modernization. It is crucial to determine the nature of our actions within the WTO for the long term.
Many Russians today, as they try to assess the role and place of their country in the international community, often proceed not from the global realities of the 21st century, but rather from nostalgia for that “once-mighty power, the Soviet Union,” a country “everyone feared and respected.”
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.
After experiencing many ups and downs in their relationship, China and Russia have forged a strategic partnership since the advent of the 21st century. While Russia's relations with the United States and the European Union have hit a rough patch, its ties with China are on an upward trend.
Some form of power-sharing arrangement could pave the way to reconciling the conflict in the Ukraine and in relations between the EU and Russia is a valid one.
The migration corridor that has formed between the countries of Central Asia and Russia is one of the largest and most stable in Eurasia and the world.
The Ukraine conflict reinforced the desire of Kremlin policymakers to establish connections with a range of anti-status-quo groups in Europe.
Two principal and emotional points of history have again been placed on the national stage: the Great Patriotic War (a unifying memory) and the era of Joseph Stalin (a point of contention).