The program covers a broad spectrum of foreign policy and security issues, including Russia’s relations with the U.S. and Western Europe, the creation of a common Euro-Atlantic security system, Russia’s cooperation with its neighbors, the evolving relationship with Central and Eastern Europe, and the development of ties with China, Japan and other Asian powers.
Today it makes sense to examine Putin’s legacy in practical regard, through the prism of certain questions: What is of abiding importance and should be preserved for the next generation of Russian leaders? What needs to be changed and developed? What should be best avoided in the future?
Russia’s brand of exceptionalism is not messianic. It is rooted in the isolation of an Orthodox country and its belief that it possesses the gift of a true religious faith. It has been strengthened by Russia’s successful—if costly—defense of its state sovereignty, and confirmed by Russia’s status as a major global player that refuses to take orders from anyone.
Russian history is a controversial and hotly debated subject, both at home and abroad. Distilling its lessons is difficult, but worthwhile, as many themes from Russia’s past are likely to endure well into its post-Putin future.
China and Russia have learned lessons from history: great powers lead or abstain, they don’t jump on the bandwagons of others, and in bilateral relations, great powers seek to maintain equilibrium-they may come close to each other if interests or circumstances demand, but not so close as to become followers.
It will be a long time before the U.S. and Russia will reach a new normal in their relationship. The most important thing is that they keep their current confrontation cold, just as they managed with the previous one.
Moscow and Beijing will continue to have their differences, and they are not entirely free from reciprocal phobias, but the chances of a China–Russia collision over those differences are being minimised by the US policy of dual containment.
A broad public discussion on Moscow’s foreign policy goals and objectives is long overdue. International issues are affecting the interests of Russian society as a whole more and more, making it necessary for private citizens to take a greater interest in their country’s conduct abroad, especially in the single continental space that is Greater Eurasia.