Expert Fyodor Lukyanov remembers the heady days after the fall of the Berlin Wall and reflects on what has happened in the 25 years since Mikhail Gorbachev hoped for a united Europe
China is still overall a global free-rider on a system whose original creators and beneficiaries cannot now afford to maintain without help. The question that cannot now be answered is what price the West and the U.S. in particular will be prepared to pay for help.
Kiev’s attempt to build an all-Ukrainian identity solely on the basis of the Ukrainian ethnos through political centralization, cultural unification, and forceful assimilation was a complete failure. Now, as part of the Russian Federation, which pursues an entirely different regional policy, Crimea has an opportunity to form its own regional identity.
Armenia, opting for self-restraint of its own accord, minimized its risks and losses. As to whether the Armenian-style Finlandization can be an example for other former Soviet republics would depend not only on their own choice.
Instead of chauvinism and chaos Russia needs a third alternative. And that is a combination of moderate patriotism and moderate liberalism manifesting itself in the commitment to freer life by law, without corruption, but with mature self-government.
The new post-Crimean risk for Russia’s political system is not so much in putting political participation on freeze as in forcing this participation, which might push the country onto the road to ideology-driven authoritarianism.
Until spring 2014, discussions about the new Russian national identity, including the Russian world concept, had little to do with Russia’s foreign policy and national security agenda. The revolution in Ukraine made it one of the issues critical for the survival of the Russian nation and statehood.
The use of force is no longer legitimate like it was in the 19th and 20th centuries. Conservative-style action from the position of force cannot achieve anything in terms of boosting a country’s position even within the traditional zone of influence.
It was not international diplomacy that has steered the situation over Ukraine into the condition of nearly systemic confrontation. The current state of affairs should be blamed squarely on the absence of diplomacy for nearly a quarter of a century.
For most of the post-Soviet years, Russia has been torn by a question that haunts its people and their rulers: Do Russians want their country to be an imperialist power feared by other nations or a land whose primary concern is its citizens’ well-being?
The crisis in Ukraine has demonstrated the weakness of post-Soviet states, which should not be forced into making “either-or” choices between one side or another. The only way for these states to forge a productive future is to engage with both the West and Russia on a path of compromise and dialogue.
Sergey Karaganov breaks into a broad smile when asked why his two-decades-old ideas about Moscow “protecting” Russian speakers abroad are suddenly the centre of his country’s foreign policy.
Russia has started a very big game. The risks are great, but the possible gains are enormous as well.
The Ukraine crisis has exposed the failure of post-cold war policies
Once again, the modern Afghan urban tradition is fighting for its life against a rural Islamist insurgency. Once again, the state is overwhelmingly dependent on aid from a foreign great power for its continued survival.
Russia and Ukraine’s future prosperity lies in developing European-style democracies. Integrating Ukraine’s economy may create a window for reform.
As in Soviet Russia, a reunification can be achieved by changing the incentives for all North Koreans, and by offering its leaders a safe, honorable and beneficial way out of the deteriorating situation. The Moscow model for Korean unification is a detailed proposal to secure this result.
The European bureaucracy, a new political force with interests and leverage of its own, is behind the emerging EU trend to politicize the ongoing integration. A constructive way out of the growing contradictions between the alternative integration processes in Eurasia would be to de-politicize them into mutually beneficial economic cooperation.
The main reserves for Russia’s foreign policy and its influence in the next decade lie more than ever in internal development. And this is also where the main threats are, fraught with the risk of losing political weight in the international arena and the status of great power.
The West has made “partnerships” with other post-Soviet countries such as Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, but none of them can be considered true democracies.
By excluding one another from initiatives promoting engagement and integration with post-Soviet states, the West and Russia have created an inadvertent and unnecessary rivalry.
One can only marvel at how quickly things change. Just a short while ago, Russia seemed to be retreating on all diplomatic fronts.
How will Kiev’s choice affect relations within the Russia – Ukraine – EU triangle? What is the future of the Eastern Partnership?
However, Ukraine only maintained its special relationship with Moscow because Russia allowed it. It was very difficult for Moscow to admit that Ukraine, which no one had ever considered separately from Russia, had become a foreign state.
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.
In addition to purely economic arguments, one needs some ideological basis for a Eurasian Union. The other factor is whether or not the integration policy will be continued after a new generation of the elites comes to power, and the nature of relationships between new leaders.
Proceeding from their current interests, more powerful countries often ignore the fact that, as a rule, there is no right or wrong party in domestic conflicts and civil wars; indeed, the responsibility often lies with both sides.
We have almost forgotten that politics should have a value component (the fascination with perestroika proved to be short-lived). The absence of value guidelines beyond accounts of benefits and costs turns politics into a nasty parody of itself and deprives it of power and functionality.
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.
Moscow’s policy with regard to its closest neighbors is becoming more and more pragmatic.
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.