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.
Russia’s use of soft power in Georgia has become an obligatory talking point in discussion of the two countries’ relations.
The norms regarding international responsibility are now reduced to defining the responsibility of states for internationally wrongful acts. Yet the main problem lies in the non-binding nature of the majority of decisions made by bodies of international justice and the incompetence of most of them.
Opinion polls show the fragility and inconsistency of many attitudes towards war. Currently, it is tentative catastrophism or, using the terminology of Shlapentokh, catastrophism of judgments but not action. It is hard to predict what will happen next.
Russia and Georgia’s clash over South Ossetia happened five years ago, but today it feels like an age away. Much has changed since then in Georgia and Russia, as well in all the countries that were indirectly involved in the conflict.
Merely two years have passed since the Five-Day War, but it seems much longer, because the international situation has changed dramatically over these years.
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.