Faced with a crisis, the Russian authorities are trying to convince their people that all of Russia’s troubles come from abroad, but its main battles are also won there.
A scenario similar to the Euromaidan protests may again take place and threaten to turn into an international crisis. It is in our common interest to stop making Ukraine a battlefield between Russia and the West, and encourage it to become a bridge between them.
A new system of political economy is emerging in Russia in which greater control is exerted over key industries to help generate the economic basis to compete in what its leaders perceive to be an increasingly hostile geopolitical environment.
Russia is seeking to consolidate itself and enhance resilience in preparation to defend its interests. This is not a traditional form of mobilization—that of a “nation in arms,” which is no longer politically sustainable—but represents more a “nation armed” to face the problems of the 21st century.
There can be no return to the status quo ante. “Militant Russia” is here to stay. The U.S., EU and other powers will have little choice, regardless of current attitudes towards Putin and the regime, but to work towards a new modus vivendi with a stronger, more self-assured and demanding Russia.
Valdai Discussion Club Report
The year 2015 has demonstrated a severe imbalance in the world order and the impossibility of returning to interaction governed by old principles. As global players strive for a return to their individual perception of a “golden age,” Fyodor Lukyanov considers which geopolitical model appears the most likely in the near future.
Russia is ready for dialogue with the EU on a fundamentally new basis. A return to the relations we had three years ago is pointless and impossible. We must create a new format.
One can find too much proof of Russophobia in mainstream Western media that prevents straight thinking. It is not about the winning the war on terror or containing the climate change, it is about the winning the war against Russia.
National historical narratives describing the grandeur of “our” nation and its struggle for good against evil are the intrinsic ailment of history. But there are also historians who take such narratives with a grain of salt. If society prosecutes historians who lay the groundwork for critical public dialogue about the past, it will lose the only effective remedy for national narcissism.
Russia entered 2015 burdened by a confrontation with Ukraine and the Western countries, which had thrown their weight behind Kiev. Western hostility took the form of painful economic sanctions against Moscow.
The Ukrainian region and city of Odessa, situated on the Black Sea adjacent to Romania and Moldova, was a major focal point during the Euromaidan, the annexation of Crimea, and Russia’s further intervention in Ukraine.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea and subsequent support for separatists in eastern Ukraine gave rise to fears that this scenario could be repeated elsewhere. Especially worrisome is the fact that the intervention was justified by the alleged need to protect ethnic Russians.
After the Ukraine crisis and military intervention in Syria, the key principles and ideas underpinning Russian foreign policy are becoming easier to understand.
Civil society actors have become key players in conflicts, especially in intra-state ones. This has been facilitated by the transformation of conflicts, increasingly characterized by high- intensity intra-border ethno-religious tensions and strong international influence by proxy.
Those who argue that the rising power of the international public opinion is the strong argument against the preservation of the veto power are in fact wrong.
The Russian military campaign in Syria is a political landmark comparable to Crimea’s reunification with Russia or the conflict in Donbass.
The Russian operation in Syria is an indisputable milestone in the country's political development. For the first time in over a quarter of a century, the Kremlin is officially conducting a high-scale military operation abroad, motivated not by peacekeeping and "peace enforcement", but by strategic reasons.
Russia has nothing to gain and nothing to lose in Europe. By contrast, Russia has much to gain and everything to lose in Asia. Asia is dynamic and growing. But to realize its potential Russia must focus on internal development, not external posturing. And the obvious place for it to focus first is the Far East.
The mistakes in Russia’s policy in Ukraine did not allow it to make use of its huge “historical advantage” over the West; namely, fraternal bonds with the majority of the Ukrainian population. A situation similar to that in Ukraine may occur in other post-Soviet countries with which Russia is now trying to build integration associations.
A nineteenth-century imperial policy is an anachronism in the modern world. Objectively speaking, post-Soviet Russia has returned to the nineteenth century, and it thinks that Western powers conduct the same policy. It is not able to understand why it may not do what others do.
The emergence of the new Atlanticism represents a shift in the meaning of ‘the West’. The traditional pluralism and capaciousness of the concept is now narrowed into a transdemocratic combination of security and normative concerns.
Assessing the possible foreign policy consequences of America’s turn toward the right requires a multi-layered approach built around key questions: What happened in the November 2014 mid-term elections — and why? How will America’s political system and government institutions adjust to reflect the election outcome and shifting opinion?
The conflict in Ukraine poses a complex problem for Western policy-makers. Responses have included sanctions on Russia, the suspension of institutional formats for relations between the West and Russia, and a diplomatic effort resulting in the Minsk agreements.
Strategic forecasting is that portion of intelligence that focuses on events that have broad and fundamental effects on the international system.
The time may have come to rethink our views on diplomatic and political initiatives
One of the global security consequences of the current Ukrainian crisis is the visibly raising ‘nuclear fears’ in both political elites and wider public opinion among the world. There are various dimensions of such fears.
The documents that President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed in May form the basis of a truly strategic partnership, writes columnist Fyodor Lukyanov.
BRICS offers Russia a chance to steer clear of the whirlpool of economic and political problems with self-respect intact and international weight increased thanks to the solution of global challenges. BRICS’ field of activity is enormous.
In the next three to five years, Ukraine’s political system will most likely be a mosaic of virtually independent autonomous territories nominally united in a single state. Such a compromise would be acceptable to all the main actors – Moscow, the West, and the central Ukrainian government.
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.
Contemporary international relations are experiencing a period of turbulence and transition from a unipolar world to a world with multiple centers of power with strengthened role of regionalization. In these circumstances relatively small states try to maximize the resource of geopolitical identity to conduct their foreign policies.
In the old days coal miners took a caged canary down into mines. If the canary suddenly dropped dead, that meant that the deadly gas, carbon monoxide, was slowly seeping into the shaft... An order of magnitude increase in killing rampages in America over the last several decades is like canaries suddenly starting to drop dead all around us. It is an early indicator of much worse troubles to come.
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.