The longer-term consequences of the coronavirus will include the further intensification of U.S.-Chinese rivalry, and the emerging Sino-American bipolarity. Russia’s top priority should be to carefully maintain equilibrium—though not equidistance—between the United States and China.
While broadly perceived as a blow to the EU and its values, Brexit will actually benefit a future democratic Russia. Britain’s exit will create a new model of Europeanness, in which a country can strive to achieve European standards without EU membership. That is a niche Russia can fill.
Many Brits continue to believe that Russia interfered in the Brexit referendum campaign by financing and promoting the Leave campaign. In addition, the legacy of the poisoning of the Skripals will impact bilateral relations for years to come, with no mutually acceptable resolution in sight.
The world is probably entering a period of new bipolarity, in which the main players will be the United States and China. The situation will prompt various states to address the question of how they relate to the new central axis of global rivalry, this time between Washington and Beijing.
Macron is right about the need to see relations with Russia in the context of a changing international system. At the same time, there must be a sober assessment of what is and is not possible between the EU and Russia.
The political framework for cooperation was agreed at the Russia-Africa summit, and with heads of state in attendance and a declaration signed, it was undoubtedly a success for Russia’s Foreign Ministry. As for an institutional economic framework for what is being billed as “Russia’s return to Africa,” it’s still early days.