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.
If the West really wants to build a new relationship, then it has to understand Russia much better than it does today. Here are a few recommendations on what to avoid when patching up relations with Moscow.
When trying to underscore the difficulty of predicting the Kremlin’s next steps, many Westerners like to cite Winston Churchill’s famous reference to Russia as “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Few however, recall the remainder of that 1939 adage: “But perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.”
The latest live call-in show in which President Vladimir Putin answered questions from ordinary Russians did not have any sensational high points, but it was an important indicator of the leader's mood.
Observers have interpreted President Vladimir Putin's recent decision to lift the ban on shipping Russia's S-300 air defense systems to Iran as a sign that the Kremlin intends to immediately deliver those weapons.
Pursuit of immediate goals can limit future foreign policy capabilities that can only exist if there is a strong economy and political ambitions are buttressed by financial and economic resources.
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.
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.
Russian enterprises for years have ignored innovative potentialities of R&D and academic science and are now far behind their foreign counterparts. There is no lack of equipment, but – and this is much worse – the lagging behind has perpetuated existing organizational structures in management.
Even in the absence of attempts to isolate Russia politically and economically resulting from the events in Ukraine, the flight of investors from emerging markets as a class and a re-evaluation of risks in emerging markets generally have provoked a move to safe havens.
The BRICS can serve as a locomotive for Russia’s geopolitical rise in the 21st century. This development will not necessarily imply a deterioration of relations with the West, which would be almost inevitable if Moscow were to face it alone.
We need a substantial strategy of pricing policy and implementation mechanisms to avoid emotional shocks every time oil prices drop. The fuel market should be more controllable, balanced, and fair, as Russia’s national interests demand.
Can Turkey become another Ukraine for Russia? Such speculation would be premature at this point. Today the choice of Turkey as a transit country for the transportation of Russian hydrocarbons to Europe looks strategically sound.
A conviction formed over time that the United States was abusing the friendship offered by Russia. It was the position of the U.S. and its allies on Yugoslavia and NATO expansion that made both the general public in Russia and its elites take a critical view of Washington’s policy.
This report was prepared following the conclusions of XI annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting.
Russia should expect to come safely through this difficult storm in the coming months.
It is likely that, when describing the development of international relations in the second decade of the 21st century, future historians will refer to a kind of renaissance of geopolitics.
The world economy is evidently entering a lower growth period, after decades of prosperity unique from a historical point of view
Until Russia can come up with an idea that is attractive to some, if not all, countries, we will have to keep telling ourselves that we’re better off alone.
The United States should not expect much help from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The crisis in Russian-American relations is not only a result of conflicting interests in Ukraine, but also of a misunderstanding of the logic and intentions of the other side.
The World Ocean is a key space for international relations and military policies of the great powers. It depends only on Russia whether it becomes an active player in this space or a passive observer.
The U.S. should follow the British wise policy of the early 20th century which implies the accommodation and sharing of power with an adversary. Reality would impose this transition anyway.
The crisis in Ukraine has become a manifestation of conceptual and legal chaos in the international arena.
Unlike in Paris or Berlin, where migrants live in districts that they consider their own, and researchers define them as “urban ghetto,” we found no such places in Moscow. In Moscow, any district a migrant visits most often or where he lives can become “his place.”
One would think that proponents of the Eurasian choice would seek to build bridges between Russia and the Islamic world, but they often manifest biased attitudes towards the Muslim civilization as such.
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.
If Russia is to embark on the path of profound economic modernization in full seriousness, then there has to be a strategy of using WTO membership as the basis for modernization. It is crucial to determine the nature of our actions within the WTO for the long term.
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.