Vitaly Vorobyov is a senior research fellow at the Center for East Asia and SCO Studies at the Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). He is also Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
It seems Washington wants to provoke China into muscle-flexing. If Beijing shows restraint and cold calculation in response, this may have a restrictive, if not sobering, effect on Washington. Russia is interested in preventing the South China Sea from becoming a proving ground for testing the strength of one’s nerves.
The Silk Road Belt philosophy is consonant with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s original ideas and practices. The idea of a New Silk Road cannot and should not be considered as an antagonist to the SCO.
All players expect explanation from China of its initiative to build a New Economic Silk Road. The faster it presents arguments and the clearer they are, the less room there will be for idle speculation and rumor. In any case, China is interested in a favorable response and support for its own foreign policy signals.
China is determined to have its voice clearly heard on Central Asian affairs and to keep the SCO’s attention focused on the region, not diluted. This is evidenced by China’s firm stance on a number of pressing issues.
Russia and China make up the backbone of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Equating the ongoing search for a positive balance of Russian and Chinese interests with an incessant tug of war for asserting one’s hegemony would be a biased conclusion that would be contrary to the way the SCO is organized and functions.
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.