China-Russia ties are at their best and will remain stable for a long time. Meanwhile, the Sino-American relationship will increasingly run into trouble. As the American leaders will hardly give up their hegemonic policy, the strategic partnership between Beijing and Moscow will remain a healthy check on Washington’s “unipolar folly.”
Why are Russian-Ukrainian relations, which had always been characterized as fraternal, now in this state?
Is the Russian leader in the Great Game as a strategic player or trying to be a Russian nationalist?
The participation of Donetsk representatives in the government corresponds to the “horizontal principle,” but domination does not. There will be neither real reform nor a modern and efficient state in Ukraine unless regions feel that they are equal.
When the historian Ernest Renan dreamed of a European Confederation that would supersede the nation-state, he could not yet envisage the challenge posed by micro-states and para-states.
Under the Romanovs, Russia played the same role in Eastern Europe as ancient Rome did in the Mediterranean and the United States in the Americas, argues historian Pavel Kuzenkov. It was the melting pot of Europe, bringing together Christians, Muslims and indigenous peoples.
While previously developments in the North Caucasus were primarily looked at from the viewpoint of inter-ethnic relations and regional policies, today this theme has expanded to a pan-Russian scale. It is not Chechnya, Ingushetia, or Dagestan per se that matter; rather, it is how the Russian heartland perceives those regions.
Some political scientists believe there is no common nation in Russia, precisely because of ethnic and cultural diversity. Those who deny the existence of identity in Russia point to the absence of civil society and democratic institutions and, consequently, of a civic nation.
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.
In ten to fifteen years from now the generation of the elites that grew in the Soviet Union and that shares the same culture codes and the ability to communicate with each other like people of one country, and not like foreigners, will begin to leave the stage.
Ethnic nationalism cannot be a strategic ally of the forces interested in Russia’s modernization. Realizing the impossibility of a purely elitist modernization, these forces will inevitably need mass support and national consolidation. Consequently, they will need nationalism, although of a different strain – the civic one.
Yerevan would have shown greater interest in the problems of security in Central Asia if it were certain that its Central Asian allies would take symmetrical and proportionate actions in the Karabakh conflict.
Normalizing relations with Georgia is simple for Russia, which only has to ease entry and import restrictions and to show that it is open to cooperation.
Political references to the past in the context of symbolic politics are aimed at (re)constructing the national idea of ‘We’ in Russian society. A reconsideration of the major narratives of the collective past is an important element in nation-building and it suggests a choice between different options for interpretation and evaluation.
Post-Soviet Russia largely emerged as a separatist project, although it had not used this kind of rhetoric for its legitimization. Separatism was, in fact, embedded in the foundation of the post-Soviet Russian statehood.
Notwithstanding Russia’s specificity, it is high time to remove religion from federal authority and include religious communities in the system of institutions that constitute civil society.
Russia can be deservedly proud that it achieved its main goals in 1992-1994. The methods employed were almost exclusively peaceful, despite attempts by both parties to drag Russia into the confrontation. By all standards, national reconciliation in Tajikistan remains a landmark event in the modern history of Russian diplomacy.
Russia’s foreign policy is largely bureaucratic. Moscow maintains contacts only with ruling regimes but not with counter-elites and societies – and this is especially fatal in the Middle East. This is why Moscow supports even doomed regimes to the uttermost.
The numerous crises of late modernity – of democratic involvement, the social state, education – erode national unity, as well as diminish the grounds of moral consensus and social solidarity in their denominator. This lays out the historical agenda for a new nationalism. Nationalism in its international dimension takes on the form of rightwing anti-globalism.
Closed borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey, as well as the absence of functional relations between Russian and Georgia, severely hamper the full potential of the region.
After gaining independence, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan have been plagued by wars and ethnic conflicts, they have lost transport links, and government agencies have collapsed. Yet the respective political regimes have had diverse fates: although the starting points and international situation were similar when they launched their policies, the outcome is fairly different.
The irony of history is that it was Lukashenko – a fighter against nationalism and a politician who promised to restore the Soviet Union – who became, in a sense, the founding father of the modern independent Belarusian state. Even within the framework of quasi-Soviet national ideology, pro-European attitudes in Belarus keep growing.
Much has been written about the Arab Spring of 2011 and rightly so: no other event in world politics had such wide-ranging effects both in the region and far beyond.
The geopolitical landscape of the Caucasus has recently been brushed over with new bright strokes.
There has been much talk over the past few years that Russia is losing the Caucasus by making one political mistake after another.
The developments in the Arab world in the winter and spring of 2011 caused analysts to take a new look at the situation in Iran.
The tragic events in Europe can be compared to those in the United States. There is a growing gap between the elite and the electorate whose sense of stability has been profoundly shaken.
On June 25, 1991, Slovenia and Croatia, two republics of the former Yugoslavia, declared independence.
The Georgian parliament has voted to recognize the 1864 genocide against the Circassian people in the Russian Empire.
Still, even though one can state a decline in the complicated dynamics of Armenian-Turkish normalization, it would be wrong to speak of a total standstill in this process. After all, peace processes practically always have a nonlinear development. The ideas of reconciliation with the neighbor have become part of the internal discourse in both Armenia and Turkey.
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.