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Russia seeks to exploit divisions in the West. But how big is the threat?
Most Russian citizens do not express a strong desire for sweeping change and do not have in mind a specific road map for reforms. And yet most Russians understand that the country cannot move forward, or even stay in place, without reforms.
Today, Moscow militates against the global order dominated by a single power – the United States of America.
Whatever changes 2018 and 2024 bring to Russia’s leadership, the broader political system will become increasingly depersonalized, making it—rather than the president—the source of stability.
Since February 2014, the Russian leadership has been in a de facto war mode with regard to the United States.
Russian banking system needs a supervisory authority independent of the central bank. Retail banks should be prohibited from investing in non-liquid assets, while the liquid securities market should be saved for investors
The establishment of independent Ukrainian and Belarusian statehood facilitates the development of Russia’s own national project, which is oriented towards the future, rather than towards the restoration of the past. Its key foreign policy feature is real sovereignty and the freedom of geopolitical maneuvering.
As it aspires to join the elite world club of equal sovereigns, Russia cannot but notice an important fact that no such club actually exists. The simple reason is that the club’s membership is conditioned on mutual transparency and permeability of sovereignties and correlation of sovereign actions with the values understood as the red lines in what one says and does.
Russia realizes that with the war waning and reconstruction looming, others will begin to step forward in Syria, including China, Europe, and Japan. Moscow will seek to partner with them to secure a piece of the lucrative reconstruction effort.
Setting aside the shortcomings of the Belt and Road concept, the “OBOR hype’ around the world points to a real and fundamental trend — the ascent of China as a truly global economic and military power.