From the standpoint of peace prospects, the outcome of the end of the Cold War was quite acceptable for Russia. It is an entirely different matter as to how the opportunities for peaceful Russian-Western cooperation that opened up in the early 1990s were used and what has taken us to the crisis of 2014.
If the West really wants to build a new relationship, then it has to understand Russia much better than it does today. Here are a few recommendations on what to avoid when patching up relations with Moscow.
When trying to underscore the difficulty of predicting the Kremlin’s next steps, many Westerners like to cite Winston Churchill’s famous reference to Russia as “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Few however, recall the remainder of that 1939 adage: “But perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”
The latest live call-in show in which President Vladimir Putin answered questions from ordinary Russians did not have any sensational high points, but it was an important indicator of the leader's mood.
Pursuit of immediate goals can limit future foreign policy capabilities that can only exist if there is a strong economy and political ambitions are buttressed by financial and economic resources.
Diplomats can work without any doctrines or concepts in turbulent or revolutionary times. Admittedly, the contrast between foreign policy conceptual basis and practice in the Russian case looks outrageous at present.
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 South Stream project has been abandoned. Vladimir Putin made a statement to this effect during his recent state visit to Ankara, a visit in which he agreed to increase supplies to Turkey and, possibly, via the country to the European market
As far as I know, this year’s Assembly will focus on prospects for accelerating domestic growth in Russia
The speech that Vladimir Putin gave at the end of last week at the Valdai Club was judged to be very harsh by most commentators
For the first time in history, Russia, previously only as a military power, now has a chance to enter the Asia-Pacific region as a factor of peace. And this may make it a unique player, so much needed to balance Asia.
As long as the fundamental restructuring of the global system is not reflected in people’s outlook (and this will take decades), the vacuum in the inner sanctum of Russian national consciousness will continue to be filled by the West.
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.
The Ukrainian crisis is just ushering in a series of conflicts amid which a polycentric system of international relations will form. An effective multilateral mechanism must be created for preventing and settling crises in Europe and North Eurasia.
The ceasefire now in effect in the east of Ukraine is the first serious deal between the parties on a path towards a peaceful settlement
Increased terrorist activity in the Middle East has Russia rethink its foreign policy, and support the Arab League's intention of a "comprehensive treaty of collective security."
To talk of a “point of no return” is unconstructive and ignores the complex reality of international negotiations and conflict resolution
This year has brought the chilliest phase in relations between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.
France currently faces a dilemma in connection with a contract for the sale of four Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.
The Ukraine crisis was not an isolated spat or a tragic misunderstanding, but rather the last straw—for both sides. The failure to achieve an acceptable post–Cold War settlement produced an unanchored relationship between the West and Russia.
The election of Ashraf Ghani as the next Afghan president will be welcomed by Washington. He might also be able to cooperate effectively with Moscow. Yet his professionalism and skills will not decrease the high level of uncertainty in the country.
When Goldman Sachs’ economist James O'Neill invented the abbreviation BRIC(S) in 2002, he referred to promising investment markets. BRICS today can’t be treated narrowly as a set of emerging economies, the global economy’s "semi-periphery"?— those views are from the last decade.
President Vladimir Putin's request last week that the Federation Council revoke his right to use military force in Ukraine marks the end of the first phase of that county's international crisis.
The specter of Russian nationalism continues to haunt Europe and the U.S. Following Russia's annexation of Crimea, many in the West assumed that President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy was now driven by ethno-nationalist ideas, not state interests.
The United States should not expect much help from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia will have to deal with the effects of Crimea being part of an independent Ukraine for 23 years. A Crimean political and business elite has emerged with its own values, bonds, and relationships. Russia is not the motherland of an entire generation of Russian-speaking youth, but the motherland of their ancestors.
Until spring 2014, discussions about the new Russian national identity, including the Russian world concept, had little to do with Russia’s foreign policy and national security agenda. The revolution in Ukraine made it one of the issues critical for the survival of the Russian nation and statehood.
The values of naive liberalism of the 1990s have been replaced with ideas of realism and statism, and the vacuum in Russia’s foreign policy ideology filled with an idea of gathering the Russian World and giving priority to the protection of traditional Christian values.
The use of force is no longer legitimate like it was in the 19th and 20th centuries. Conservative-style action from the position of force cannot achieve anything in terms of boosting a country’s position even within the traditional zone of influence.
It is already becoming habitual: yet another turn in world politics – and a fondly prepared portfolio of materials has to be shelved, and new ones made in an emergency mode. Witnessing epoch-making events is fascinating, but it takes a lot of nerve…
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.