Over the past decade, Russia has launched a diplomatic and symbolic offensive in the Arctic, supported by increased military activity, grandiose economic plans, and showy assertions of sovereignty.
The hackneyed saying “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” is as relevant today as never before, but there is no stopping to the audacious flight of imagination. Popular as it is, extrapolation of current trends to future periods does not work as something always gets in the way, while attempts to draw a completely different picture look like imaginative writing. And still we have taken the risk.
Cooperation between China and Russia in the Arctic does not envision military build-up in the region, rather it guarantees mutual benefits from neutralizing U.S. influence and reanimating Arctic economic activity, which slumped after the Ukrainian crisis.
The importance of the Northern Sea Route is not in trying to make it a new Suez Canal, but in giving a boost to the development of service industries (mainly high-tech industries) and adjacent regions, as well as in opening one more window of opportunity for Russia’s integration into the global world.
The Ukraine crisis was not an isolated spat or a tragic misunderstanding, but rather the last straw—for both sides. The failure to achieve an acceptable post–Cold War settlement produced an unanchored relationship between the West and Russia.
Russian diplomacy continues to use purely political mechanisms of cooperation with regional players (negotiations, consultations, work in international organizations) and appeals to the status of “great power” whenever possible. However, this is not enough today to carry out regional priorities, even the very basic ones.
The answer to this question with regard to the global economy and politics even a couple of years ago would be considered self-evident – of course, together. In the global world, where countries depend on each other in one way or another, success is possible only through ever deeper cooperation.
If Russia consistently pursues its policy of cooperation with Arctic countries on the basis of the Law of the Sea and with due regard for their common interests in the region, there will be no grounds for attempts to justify NATO’s more active involvement in Arctic affairs.
The treaty concerning maritime delimitation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean, which Russia and Norway signed in September 2010, is regarded by the officialdom as a great diplomatic success. However, the document disregards a whole range of vital legal aspects, which may be detrimental to the operation of Russian state companies in the region, including possible weighty losses due to discrepancies in tax treatment.
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.