Twenty-five years have passed since the Cold War, but no stable international order has been created. The idea about a Western-centric unipolar world has failed, and a multipolar system is yet to emerge, though it’s hard to comment on how it may function properly.
Due to its size, geopolitical location, resource potential, great power tradition and aspirations Russia finds itself in the middle of the most important trends shaping the next world order. Global demand for a stable and balanced model is intertwined with Russia’s quest for its new international identity. Thus, re-assessment of the past quarter of a century is needed both internationally and nationally to pave a way to the future.
The article discusses the results of Russian foreign policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union against the background of major new global and regional international trends and the policy of other major world powers. The author argues that Russia should work for preventing a new structured confrontation in Europe, maintaining international stability, and keeping the world from sliding into a big war which seems to be more likely now than ever before in the last 50 years. At the same time it should join forces with China, India, Iran and other major non-Western players in building a community of cooperation, development and security for Greater Eurasia, open to the world and serving as one of the pillars of its stable and peaceful development. The world is changing incredibly fast and precariously. Russia must occupy a leading place in this world by moving towards economic growth and playing a key role in preventing a new world war, supporting global strategic stability and building or rebuilding international cooperation and security structures for the decade to come.
At the turn of the 21st century, the world entered a new period of development. The customary bipolar system that prevailed after World War II had collapsed following the self-destruction of one of its poles. Russia’s refusal to follow the Western course is only the first poignant sign of confrontation between the West’s united world project and the emerging multipolar world. So at this point, the post-bipolar world can be described as interim and transitional from the global dominance of the West after the end of the Cold War to a multipolar world, which is still forming (and no one knows if it can become a reality). In a multipolar world the influence of the Western centre of power will diminish, while that of the other centres (China, India, Brazil, etc.) will grow. New centres of power will try to create zones of influence around their borders by snatching influence there from the West
The article analyses the current Russian regime and its possible alternatives, both nationalist and pro-Western, from the viewpoint of various theoretical approaches. It argues that applying the criteria and terminology of political science, which are usually used in studies of modern Western societies, to define contemporary Russia’s social and economic system is just as pointless as describing its political system in terms of the modern Western political system. It further states that to achieve an economic breakthrough, the Russian leadership will have to move towards: developing state institutions that are governed by the rule of law; the separation of powers; the restoration of self-government; and the creation of favourable conditions for, primarily, small and medium-size businesses.
The current crisis and pause in development of the EU-Russia relations provide a unique chance to shed the burden of past problems and start new relations from scratch. Both sides shuld sort their values and get rid of the ballast generated ny the bureaucratic inertia or false understandings of partnership. Russia and Europe are unlikely to evolve a common vision for the future. Their future is not in unity but co-existing next to each other. It is time that Russia and the EU clearly formulate their real interests and try to make relations predictable. To achieve this, howeverm both sides nees to answer some basic questions.
The socio-economic history of Russia demonstrates that its ‘place’ in global economic relations has been subject to complex cyclical processes. The country entered the 20th century with a high growth rate and burgeoning industrialisation that included significant foreign capital. Historically exports primarily included raw materials such as grain and timber while imports consisted largely of machinery and consumer goods.The fast industrialisation and society changes involved large numbers of people in manufacturing, finally bringing success in many areas, especially education, nuclear and space studies, weaponry and health care. However, during the 20th century the general trend toward modernisation was interrupted by World War I, the Civil War, purges of the 1930s and World War II, which caused enormous loss to both the working population as a whole and, in particular, to its most creative members: the entrepreneurs and the intelligentsia. The collapse of the Soviet Union caused a further loss of industrial potential, a surge in emigration and the need to restructure socioeconomic institutions and launch a new wave of modernisation. At each such critical juncture, the country relied heavily on export of raw materials, struggled to restore human capital and defence capabilities, and was forced to import technologies and consumer goods, now and again as a century ago, while each time on a different level.
After the Ukrainian crisis and Russia’s actions in Crimea and Donbass, there is a growing lack of understanding about Russian interests in the post-Soviet space. Russian authorities have been accused of having a desire to expand its territory, trying to re-Sovietise the region, and using neo-imperial approaches of doing business with its neighbours. However, the genesis of Russian strategy towards post-Soviet space is much more complicated. It is based on the country’s long-term interests, such as economic cooperation, security, regional stability, cultural contacts, and preservation of historical influence. Studying these interests and their contribution to the foreign policy helps us better understand Russia’s strategy in the European post-Soviet countries.
While environmental issues attract growing interest all over the world Russia has kept aside from this trend for a long time. Its participation in international environmental cooperation has always been determined primarily by the external policy’s objectives. In Soviet times, participation in global environmental initiatives was a channel of collaboration with the West. In the 1990s, it was a means of integration into the international community and one of the major areas of cooperation with the US. In the 2000s, Russia used the environmental agenda for gaining trade-offs from Western partners along with attraction of foreign investment. At present, the understanding of possibilities to reap benefits from the country’s natural capital is strengthening among Russian political and business elites. As a result, Russia’s involvement in international environmental cooperation may stir up in the near future.
The article discusses the changes in Russia’s policy towards Asia, arguing that Russia’s pivot to Asia is a reality, one that is motivated by both political and economic interests. And although that shift is not progressing as quickly as some might want and occasionally encounters difficulties, the process has definitely begun and is in all likelihood irreversible. Only a small, marginal segment of Russian society continues to dream of unity with Europe—which itself has entered a period of severe crisis. Most of the Russian elite as well as the majority of Russian citizens understand that nobody is waiting for them with open arms. Therefore, not wanting a confrontation and in an effort to maintain working relations, Russia—under any leader—is unlikely to seek a relationship based on a common outlook. That will move Russia ever closer to the non-Western world, primarily the Asian giants.
The article discusses two major trends in contemporary world politics—the disintegration of the nation-state and supranational integration—and analyses their nature, causes and significance. The author concludes that these processes have a different character within and outside Europe and that the multidirectional trends in different parts of the world, on the one hand, complicate Russia’s foreign policy-making and implementation, but, on the other, widen Russia’s room for diplomatic manoeuvring and increase the opportunities to exploit the contradictions between old and new actors in international relations.
This article analyses modern Western society from the standpoint of the concept of ‘ideocracy’. The author suggests that the development of mass societies and mass ideologies—noted by a number of theorists and philosophers since the end of the 19th century—led to a qualitatively new level of social development in the second half of the 20th century. The globalisation of the economy and mass communications has led to the globalisation of the masses, beyond the confines of national borders. That, in turn, has served as the basis for the appearance of a new social structure: the international ideocracy. This article describes the primary features of that structure, the path of its likely development and its interaction with the non-ideological world—as defined by the notion of ‘normalcy’. It also examines Russia’s possible path of development as a state that finds itself on the borders of ideological societies.
This article contributes to the rich body of literature on Russian security perceptions and analyses how Russian security thinking evolved over the last 20 years. The focus of the article is on how Russian security perspective shifted from the goal of assuring Russian security by integration and cooperation with the West to the idea of Russia’s own separate geo-economic project and the goal of reducing the country’s dependencies on the West. Security in this article is understood both as a military-political and as an economic phenomenon
This article examines the difficult search for identity in modern Russia amid debate over its future development. It explores practices in such countries as China and Germany, which have successfully adapted national identity to the need for modernisation and effective development in a new historical environment. The article analyses the risks that stem from Russia’s inclination towards focusing on the past and absolutising the factor of space. Finally, the piece offers suggestions on how to forge Russia’s new identity.
Key ideas associated with Eurasianism were developed in the 19th century. The narrative of classical Eurasianism in the 1920s was developed to explain that Western civilisation was not superior to other civilisations. Eurasia is the middle continent between other parts of Europe and Asia. There are historical, geographical, and cultural impetuses here which push nations to different forms of association. However, the dissolution of the USSR gave birth to new ideologies and political theories of Eurasianism. The most positive one was extensively developed by the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev. Today, we witness the fourth stage of the development of Eurasianism.
Abstract The term “hybrid warfare” has been used by American military experts for more than a decade already. However, until recently, there was no officially accepted definition of the term, and, thus, an ambiguity existed over its meaning. As per the analysis of recent local conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine by the US political and military elite, hybrid warfare is a conflict where actors blend techniques, capabilities, and resources to achieve their objectives. Such “hybrid” conflicts may consist of military forces assuming a non-state identity, as Russia did in Crimea, or may involve violent extremist organisations fielding rudimentary combined arms capabilities, as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has demonstrated in Iraq and Syria.
Although the US-Russia relations are hardly the central axis of contemporary International Relations, the systemic confrontation between Moscow and Washington, which began in 2014, will become a decisive factor for the emerging international order. This confrontation was caused by factors much deeper than a mere clash of national interests in Ukraine or Syria. It became a result of their fundamental disagreement about the basic rules and norms of international relations and a clash of the visions of international order, which Moscow and Washington have been promoting since the end of the Cold War. Moreover, this confrontation is a part – and currently the epicenter - of a broader rift between the US and major non-Western centers of power about the nature of a post-hegemonic international order. It put an end to the post-Cold War period of the International System development, and reflects unwillingness of the non-Western power centers to accept the US global leadership, and US attempts to restore it. Since none of the sides is ready for one way compromise and bets on weakening of the opponent, continuation of the US-Russia confrontation will deepen the split in the Atlantic and Pacific, and intensify the general tendency of global governance bifurcation and emergence of global divide into two major political and economic communities