Russia in a Changing World
This book explores Russia’s efforts towards both adapting to and shaping a world in transformation. Russia has been largely marginalized in the post-Cold War era and has struggled to find its place in the world, which means that the chaotic changes in the world present Russia with both threats and opportunities. The rapid shift in the international distribution of power and emergence of a multipolar world disrupts the existing order, although it also enables Russia to diversify it partnerships and restore balance. Adapting to these changes involves restructuring its economy and evolving the foreign policy. The crises in liberalism, environmental degradation, and challenge to state sovereignty undermine political and economic stability while also widening Russia’s room for diplomatic maneuvering. This book analyzes how Russia interprets these developments and its ability to implement the appropriate responses.
Russia contributes to this transformation and pursues policies aimed at enhancing her foreign trade and economic security now and also to facilitate the development of a system where foreign nations will have no significant influence over the international currency system and world credit markets thus making economic dimensions of Russian overall power less vulnerable to manipulations from abroad.
The chapter 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.
The future of the Russian economy depends on several major factors: national institutions for development, human capital, technological and financial resources, and external environment. As a country with long-term ambitions, Russia is prioritizing the prosperity of its citizens, strategic security, and reviving the arts and sciences. Russia’s economic restructuring is unique in its complexity following the triple transition in the early 1990s: from the USSR to the Russian Federation, from a planned economy and state property to a market economy and private property, and from the socialist ideology to democracy. As the continental superpower with a long history of domestic and international political rivalries and conflicts, Russia has struggled to reach the current level of development. The deconstruction of global governance, as it was structured following World War II, is causing concerns to Russian political elites. In the twenty-first century, the ability of the Russian economy to retain a prominent place in the world will depend on our human capital, territory, resources, political influence, arts, and sciences. Due to the modest size of the Russian GDP, Russia will have to adapt to the world with a bigger China, the USA, India, and the European Union. Russia will stay in a group of countries with similar GDP but very different levels of development, such as Brazil, Japan, Germany, and Indonesia.
Was there a chance to establish the New World Order which would replace the confrontational stability of the Cold War? In alternative history—yes. It would require an utterly creative approach on all sides, but primarily from “winners” in the West. It did not happen. Prefabrication prevailed, but the prefab model predictably didn’t work in profoundly changed cir- cumstances. Rise of powers with different political cultures in the twenty- first century makes this prefabrication even theoretically impossible. And creation of a new order based on taking into account multiple views and interests, which didn’t start after the Cold War, will start now.
The author assesses the risks and opportunities for Russia as the world transitions to an increasingly green economy. The growing focus on developing a more sustainable greener world economy presents both risks and opportunities to Russia. The move towards green technologies undermines Russia’s economic model that has been excessively reliant on oil and gas, although opportunities also emerge due to the abundance of natural capital in Russia. Embracing the green wave could be a key driver for Russian technological development and modernization, and concurrently position Russia as a champion of global environmental security.