For most of the post-Soviet years, Russia has been torn by a question that haunts its people and their rulers: Do Russians want their country to be an imperialist power feared by other nations or a land whose primary concern is its citizens’ well-being?
Moscow's interests in the region are unchanged, including collaboration with the United States on elimination of chemical weapons in Syria, despite the crisis over Ukraine.
The rupture in relations between Russia and the West is discussed as if Crimea’s accession, Ukraine’s future and sanctions are the core problem.
Sergey Karaganov breaks into a broad smile when asked why his two-decades-old ideas about Moscow “protecting” Russian speakers abroad are suddenly the centre of his country’s foreign policy.
Bureaucracy is the direct customer of the majority of projects for promoting a certain image of Russia in the world. The challenge is whether it will be able to conceptually separate its own image from the image of the nation, and then promote the latter.
Russia had to move its troops into Crimea. If we confine ourselves to addressing the initial tasks and do not rush ‘to take Vienna’, to borrow Bismarck’s words, the West is unlikely to impose tough sanctions against Russia.
The Ukraine crisis has exposed the failure of post-cold war policies
In the absence of a diplomatic settlement between the West and Russia over Ukraine, Moscow may seek to capitalize on recent gains in the Middle East at US expense.
A silver bullet to end the conflict remains elusive but Russia can help bring about a base for success in politics and security
Russia’s showing at the most recent Munich Security Conference shows that Russia still has a long way to go in developing soft power and improving its public diplomacy capacity.
The stakes are high for both the U.S. and Russia as Geneva II gets underway.
Moscow believes that Iran's role in the Middle East will only become more prominent in the future, prompting it to further boost relations at the expense of US regional influence.
Much has been written about the success of Russian diplomacy in 2013. And whether you greet it with glee or alarm, there is a sense that Russia is on the verge of something new.
The European bureaucracy, a new political force with interests and leverage of its own, is behind the emerging EU trend to politicize the ongoing integration. A constructive way out of the growing contradictions between the alternative integration processes in Eurasia would be to de-politicize them into mutually beneficial economic cooperation.
Russia will step into 2014 with stunning foreign policy achievements. It is impossible to deny the increase in its international influence over the past year.
The main reserves for Russia’s foreign policy and its influence in the next decade lie more than ever in internal development. And this is also where the main threats are, fraught with the risk of losing political weight in the international arena and the status of great power.
The year 2013 is considered to be a year of Russia’s foreign policy successes. A string of events – from the breakthrough in settling the chemical weapons issue in Syria and the hard line on the Snowden case to contribution to the settlement of the Iranian problem to the convincing explanation to Kiev as to why it should refrain from signing an association agreement with the EU – made the world speak of Moscow’s potent capability to achieve its goals.
The developments in the Middle East in 2013 had a number of common features, which I believe will continue into the new year.
The European family does not really care about Ukraine, nor does it care about Russia. Europe wants Ukraine to tear itself away from Russia at its own expense.
One can only marvel at how quickly things change. Just a short while ago, Russia seemed to be retreating on all diplomatic fronts.
Russia doesn’t deny Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy, on the contrary, Russia hugely contributed to that despite resistance and harsh criticism from the West.
Russian foreign policy in the region has benefited from a steady, non-ideological focus, as well as the missteps and neglect of other powers.
It seems that Iran and the United States, the main participants in the process, really want to change the atmosphere of their relationship, which has been hopelessly confrontational since the late 1970s.
The view on national development and foreign policy has been firmly mixed in the minds of Iranians with a skeptical, and one can even say ironical, perception of the West’s attempts to portray its way of life and values as the only “civilized system.”
The answer to this question with regard to the global economy and politics even a couple of years ago would be considered self-evident – of course, together. In the global world, where countries depend on each other in one way or another, success is possible only through ever deeper cooperation.
Russia needs to find a way to improve the situation in Central Asia without becoming directly involved.
The Russian geopolitical code is shifting from Western-centric to non-Western-centric, and from global to regional. The formation of a new center of power around Russia may not be smooth. It will inevitably face resistance from countries which Moscow considers to be part of its geopolitical space.
Tendencies will continue – a geopolitical shift towards Eurasia and the Asia Pacific Region; symbolic ‘sovereignization’ of Russia and its further distancing from the U.S. and Europe; and the erosion of a foreign policy consensus. The fourth edition of Putin’s foreign policy will most likely differ significantly from the previous three.
The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer.
Russia’s differences with Western countries and the US on the Syrian question, for example, are conceptual in 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.