Sergey Markedonov, Ph.D. (History), is assistant professor at the Regional Studies and Foreign Policy department of the Russian State University for Humanities.
Last year’s incident with the Russian Su-24 jet instantly changed the very nature of Russia-Turkey relations. What used to be viewed by the leaders of the two countries as a strategic partnership was replaced with harsh confrontation.
The “Minsk process” has created a chance for Donbass to become a new proving ground for unrecognized statehood. Different options, ranging from Chechnya and Serbian Krajina to the Transnistrian experience, may be possible. Or the region may build a unique Donbass model.
The crisis in Ukraine has demonstrated the weakness of post-Soviet states, which should not be forced into making “either-or” choices between one side or another. The only way for these states to forge a productive future is to engage with both the West and Russia on a path of compromise and dialogue.
Moscow has made the largest progress in Eurasian integration with Armenia. It has had no integration plans (given numerous constraints) with regard to Azerbaijan or Georgia. Yet Russia’s victory cannot be regarded complete or unequivocal.
While previously developments in the North Caucasus were primarily looked at from the viewpoint of inter-ethnic relations and regional policies, today this theme has expanded to a pan-Russian scale. It is not Chechnya, Ingushetia, or Dagestan per se that matter; rather, it is how the Russian heartland perceives those regions.
The West has made “partnerships” with other post-Soviet countries such as Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, but none of them can be considered true democracies.
Migration policies and xenophobia in Russia are at the forefront of political discussion in the wake of the riots in Biryulyovo.
Post-Soviet Russia largely emerged as a separatist project, although it had not used this kind of rhetoric for its legitimization. Separatism was, in fact, embedded in the foundation of the post-Soviet Russian statehood.
The geopolitical landscape of the Caucasus has recently been brushed over with new bright strokes.
Still, even though one can state a decline in the complicated dynamics of Armenian-Turkish normalization, it would be wrong to speak of a total standstill in this process. After all, peace processes practically always have a nonlinear development. The ideas of reconciliation with the neighbor have become part of the internal discourse in both Armenia and Turkey.
The territory of the former Soviet Union changed on August 26, 2008 with the creation of a precedent in redrawing the borders of former Soviet republics. The groundwork of the post-Soviet world, functional since 1991, has collapsed.
Azerbaijan has received greater international interest due to its hydrocarbon resources and the increased importance of the Caspian region at large as an alternative source of energy for the European market. Located at an intersection of interests of various countries, Azerbaijan has to conduct an accurate and flexible foreign policy.
The overriding priority for Moscow today is not to acquire new territories. Russia has to show to the Georgian elite, as well as to the international community, that rejection of Russian peacekeepers is bound to revive conflicts, jeopardizing the security of Russia’s North Caucasus.
The formation of Russia’s new national policy is taking place amidst the broadening global crisis concerning the concept of the nation-state, which is instigated by the confrontation between globalization and ethnic separatism. Russia has a unique opportunity to reconsider and reformulate particular values of the nation-state.
The problem of unrecognized states is often reduced to the formal, legal format. But unrecognized states as a phenomenon cannot be studied and understood exclusively in terms of formal jurisprudence. The very creation of those entities are facts of emotional, symbolic, social and cultural nature.
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.