The Crimea referendum, in which the people of the region have massively voted to join Russia, marks a watershed in Russia’s foreign policy: Russia has stopped walking backward and has made a step forward. As for Ukraine, it will be for the foreseeable future a geopolitical battleground.
While a global crisis, provoked by the recent developments in Ukraine, has brought the world to the edge, the political and intellectual world has demonstrated how unprepared it is for the new challenges and how difficult it is to grasp the new reality.
The second round of negotiations between the Syrian opposition and the government failed. As of now, the resolution of the conflict almost entirely depends on the position adopted by the external actors, whose relations, however, are now getting more complicated.
The dispute between Moscow and Washington about Russia’s new missile allegedly breaching the INF Treaty might signify the rising risk of a breakdown of arms control arrangements between the United States and Russia.
The Sochi Olympics are more politicized than any other Games in recent history. A number of world leaders have announced that they would not attend the Games. However, the Kremlin uses foreign criticism as proof of the West's perennial desire to hold Russia back, and keep it weak.
Since the crisis in Ukraine is climaxing, the Munich Security Conference will have to deal with the Ukrainian question. The Munich event that was supposed to be devoted to security problems takes on a larger significance—it is supposed to raise the question of civilizational split.
In 2013 Russia’s foreign policy has finally assumed a new quality, something which will probably last. This foreign policy makes Russia much more of an international player than ever before in the last quarter-century.