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.
If the sanctions against Russia persist for a long time, the Russian defense industry may again seek full autarky (with the exception of cooperation with companies of Israel, China, South Korea, and some other countries), which would have a negative impact on its innovative potential in the long term.
A “free agent” in the present world may be any influential actor in international processes. To effectively use the “free agent” concept, it is necessary to renounce zero-sum thinking where the West’s gain is necessarily perceived as Russia’s loss, and vice versa.
The assistance of great powers is a major resource in the struggle against the growing threat of radical Islamism in Central Asia. In this context special credit goes to Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization as the main mechanism for protecting the region against possible invasions from Afghanistan and potential ISIS expansion.
Today post-Soviet Central Asian countries are facing problems caused by old security challenges and the emergence of completely new threats. These threats may influence the prospects of secular statehood in the region. This is a serious obstacle to modernization.
EEU is a young integration association, that was formed to help participating countries unlock their economic potential, boost economic ties within the region, and create conditions for improving the countries’ global competitiveness.
Russia will have to deal with the effects of Crimea being part of an independent Ukraine for 23 years. A Crimean political and business elite has emerged with its own values, bonds, and relationships. Russia is not the motherland of an entire generation of Russian-speaking youth, but the motherland of their ancestors.
Ukraine will experiment on itself and all the other countries in the post-Soviet space are looking forward to watching how it ends. Whether the ensuing economic or institutional changes over rapprochement with the EU appear tangible and positive will determine Russia’s own conduct and the conduct of countries that still rely on it.
The idea of the North – a philosophy of the unity of Northern Eurasian peoples – is a cementing and goal-setting force and also the natural and organic basis for building a continental Eurasian association. This philosophy occupies the next tier after the ideas of united Europe and Russian Eurasianism.
Astana recently hosted a Customs Union summit. The integration project is taking shape on the fly, so each summit evokes a great deal of interest.
Georgia has entered a new political era that will show how much the “rose revolutionaries” have managed to achieve. Have they laid the foundation for new developments that will endure in a new social environment or is their activity mere labeling and blowing bubbles? In any case, the experience will be instructive.
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.
Direct benefits from participation in integration projects with Russia most often outweigh “birds in the bush,” promised “at the end of a long journey,” after the aspirant has fulfilled an endless and arbitrarily changed list of conditions.
Sooner or later the international agenda will include the possibility for re-orienting Russian foreign policy from servicing the interests of the state to lobbying for the positions of specific economic and political players.
The issues of integration in the post-Soviet space are likely to be at the top of the political agenda this season.
In the medium term, the Common Economic Space will face the dilemma of either “enlargement” or “intensification,” which is well known to Europeans. One of the main reasons behind the Customs Union’s success is that it has focused on a clear and rather narrow objective.
Ukraine is always said to be at a “crossroads.” It has so many existential dilemmas of national identity and foreign policy direction. But this time its partners are demanding answers and its options really are narrowing. It is in danger of becoming a dysfunctional semi-autocracy and a double periphery rather than a mutual neighborhood.
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.
Entire generations of people born in the former Soviet Union would wholeheartedly support unification, but a logical question arises: With whom are we going to unite? A country that has assimilated the worst from Western capitalism, rampant with xenophobia and domestic racism, and which is suffering from a demographic and technological decline? A country whose economy is controlled by the mafia and oligarchs?
At this point the ambitious Eurasian project promising to unite Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus into a single economic space is not so much an attempt to generate an original economic model and, consequently, an economic strategy, but rather is an attempt to integrate into an intensive exchange of commodities between the EU and Asia by offering a shorter route for cargo shipments.
Russia should rethink what it has inherited from the Soviet Union in nuclear matters, the role of nuclear weapons, and their relevance in the future. Furthermore, Russia should consider how it can best use to its own advantage the opportunities offered by the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and how this regime can be modified to meet the realities of the new century.
In assessing Russia’s policy towards Russians living abroad, the respondents think that Russia is not doing enough. Such an opinion was voiced by every second individual polled in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. A quarter of the Russian communities in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan feel no support from Russia.
It goes without saying that the “game” being played in the post-Soviet space remains a priority for the Russian Federation in building up its international influence and foreign policy strategy in general. Creation of Russian soft power resources through consolidation and organization of the Russian diasporas is an indispensable condition for effective work on this foreign-policy track.
Ten years ago, when the 1990s were coming to an end, many politicians were making plans for the future, trying to predict what the world would be like in 10 years.
The outgoing year witnessed a number of shocks in post-Soviet countries.
In 2010 Russia made a psychological break with its past and its former status as an empire.
The CIS countries will correlate their integration efforts among themselves and with the European Union. In the long run, this will help create conditions for preparing a general agreement on the principles of free trade in the vast area from the Pacific to the Atlantic. After that, this construct could be proposed to the Asia-Pacific region, where trade policy issues are discussed very actively.
Until only recently, the territory of the former Soviet Union appeared to be a vast geopolitical battlefield on which major world powers fought it out for the choicest "trophies".
The normalization of Russian relations with neighbors is rather a steady trend, than a string of casual diplomatic successes. The question is what this normalization is all about “technologically,” so to say, and not from the standpoint of content. Is there a reason to say that this successful experience may furnish a solid basis for an overall strategy of building relations with neighbors west of the Russian border?
The recent revolution in Kyrgyzstan – the second in five years – and the bloodshed in the south of the country that followed it have cast doubts over the country’s viability as an independent state. There is yet another important factor: an outwardly solid authoritarian regime, one among many in the territory of the former Soviet Union, collapsed within a few days. This raises a more general question: Is this an exceptional case or does it open a new chapter in post-Soviet history?
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.