Human rights advocacy has evolved into a legitimate foreign policy priority of the contemporary United States. The values and beliefs behind this concern are endorsed by a variety of American NGOs. The paper looks at American human rights advocacy and its impact on foreign policy decision-making. Human rights groups constitute a powerful independent lobby sector, whose success must be attributed to the unique nature of the American political culture. The article analyses the industrys specific characteristics and offers a classification of NGOs based on their mission, activities and lobbying profile.
In February 2012, the influence of the presidential elections in Russia, held on March 4, 2012, on Russian-American relations reached its climax. The election campaign of the Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made a special emphasis on the idea of the revival of Russia as a great power, the restoration of its military power and the strengthening of Russia’s foreign policy independence. In the eyes of most of Russia’s political elite, this primarily involves maintaining a strategic balance with the U.S. and a stiff opposition to Washington on issues not coinciding with Russia’s interests, including interference in the affairs of other states, Russia included.
The chapter explores the foreign policy priorities of China and Russia with regard to the following sub-questions: Are China and Russia driven by ideology or by pragmatism? How much weight does ‘hard power’ carry versus ‘soft power’ in the strategic policy formulation of both countries? How do they strive to uphold their insistence on respect for sovereignty while their economic power increasingly relies on international interdependence?
The Report looks at the future domestic foundations of Russian power and the future of Russian approaches towards the world around it. Thus the publication is divided into two parts: one dedicated to the domestic arena and focusing on the economic, military and political dimensions. The second part of the publication deals with future Russian approaches to and relations with the US, the Middle East, China, the post-Soviet space and the EU.
The Russian agenda for relations with the United States is very modest and largely retrospective. The agenda lacks new possible areas of cooperation (e.g. building closer security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region), which could make the relations between the two countries more sustainable. The same is true of the joint agenda for the next six months, as reflected in the joint statement made by President Putin and U.S. President Obama following their meeting in Los Cabos on June 18th. The word “partnership,” in view of relations between Russia and the U.S., was not mentioned at all.
The paper examines the structure, governance, and balance sheets of state-controlled banks in Russia, which accounted for over 55 percent of the total assets in the country's banking system in early 2012. The author offers a credible estimate of the size of the country's state banking sector by including banks that are indirectly owned by public organizations. Contrary to some predictions based on the theoretical literature on economic transition, he explains the relatively high profitability and efficiency of Russian state-controlled banks by pointing to their competitive position in such functions as acquisition and disposal of assets on behalf of the government. Also suggested in the paper is a different way of looking at market concentration in Russia (by consolidating the market shares of core state-controlled banks), which produces a picture of a more concentrated market than officially reported. Lastly, one of the author's interesting conclusions is that China provides a better benchmark than the formerly centrally planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe by which to assess the viability of state ownership of banks in Russia and to evaluate the country's banking sector.
The paper examines the principles for the supervision of financial conglomerates proposed by BCBS in the consultative document published in December 2011. Moreover, the article proposes a number of suggestions worked out by the authors within the HSE research team.