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.”
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.