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.
How long can the degradation of the Soviet empire, which started in 1962, continue? Pulling through hardships with minimal losses while avoiding making the same mistakes, is the immediate task that Russia is facing and with which it is able to cope.
The Russian elite have realized that the country will have to live in a new reality that differs from the past rosy dreams of integration with the West, while preserving its independence and sovereignty. Yet they have not yet used the confrontation and the growth of patriotism for an economic revival.
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.
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.
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.
The Turkish Air Force’s attack on a Russian aircraft flying over Syria has jeopardized development prospects for Russia-Turkey cooperation in the gas sector.
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.
In the early 1990s, scholars, journalists, and political observers predicted that the new Central Asian states would descend into chaos and break apart. More than 20 years later, Central Asia’s states seem relatively stable, both at their political centers and outlying territories, including states like Tajikistan that were once embroiled in civil war.
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.
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.
As Russian ships and planes continue to deposit additional personnel and equipment in Syria, here are five geopolitical messages Russian president Vladimir Putin is sending to the world.
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.
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.
Russian foreign policy in the Putin era has drawn particular attention, and even praise, from the realist school of international relations scholars. John J. Mearsheimer, for example, has written that “Putin and his compatriots have been thinking and acting according to realist dictates” in their policy towards Ukraine.
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.
Mounting economic problems will exacerbate Ukrainians’ ressentiment towards the West as well as mistrust and even hatred towards their own political elites. Russia should make use of Ukrainian society’s disappointment with Ukrainian nationalism and pro-European liberalism.
Russia has already lost Ukraine – not now but years ago, for good or at least for long. Yet it is very likely that very soon the loss of Ukraine will no longer seem very important. Indeed, an ability to find and use one’s chance is much more important than emotions over phantom losses.
The year 2014 has gone down in history as a time of the collapse of the previous model of relations between Russia and the rest of the world. The year 2015 will most likely show that the changes are irreversible and have gone beyond the point of return. We can draw a line under the bygone era, but we still cannot say what the new one will be like.
I have already written before that having emerged from the Cold War, Europe lost the post-war peace. The continent is on the verge of strategic degradation that may either become a caricature of military-political division into opposing blocs or a time of disquieting uncertainty. The military-political conflict over Ukraine can escalate as well.
Some observers have concluded that the recent Moscow visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland signals a warming in U.S.-Russian relations. However, not all communications between states have the goal of reaching agreement on something.
The combined BRICS market is enough to develop any defense or civilian technology and keep it competitive. The BRICS’ Technological Alliance can ensure the “scale effect” – the main condition for developing technologies.
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 unity of opinion displayed by Russians when identifying the country’s friends and foes declines as they try to understand a common strategy, and vanishes completely when it comes to determining concrete actions Russia should take with regard to the Ukraine conflict.
The takeover of Crimea has put a definitive end to the Soviet state.
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.