Russia is back and here to stay. Others had better accept it and learn to deal with it — without undue expectations, but also without inordinate fear.
Zelensky’s economic path has turned out to be as contradictory as his political path. Various promises ranging from libertarian reforms to classic social populism are hindering the implementation of any meaningful policy.
Russia’s suggestion that Belarus resurrect a 1999 agreement to get compensation for Russia’s oil tax maneuver looks fairly cynical to Minsk. After all, by joining the EEU, in which single markets—including for energy commodities—are supposed to be created between 2018 and 2024, Belarus has already paid for all of its tariff preferences.
We should never forget the benefits that Germany’s reunification brought to the world.
At a time when demand for diversified foreign policy in the South Caucasus is clear, Beijing is building political frameworks that are attractive to countries in the region. In addition, China’s reluctance to get involved in the region’s internal problems makes it a convenient partner for everyone.
Amid the uncertainty over what will happen when Putin steps down in 2024, everyone is striving to claim exclusive functions that could later be required by Putin during the implementation of his plan for the transition of power.
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.
China has always been considered a convenient partner for Central Asian countries, because it asked for virtually nothing in exchange for investment. But unlike with Western countries, which state the terms of cooperation in advance, with China there are unspoken rules, including a taboo on acknowledging any problems in the relationship.
As long as Serbia lacks a solution to the Kosovo dispute that it can sell both to its international partners and to people at home, and as long as Serbia is denied a clear path to EU integration, it will continue to keep the Russia card up its sleeve.
Russia can’t compete with China in terms of their influence in Africa, so Moscow’s attempts to make inroads there do not alarm Beijing. But as China asserts itself in the role of the major power in Africa, Moscow’s dual influence (such as selling weapons to different sides of a conflict in the same country) could become an impediment to stabilization.
Only the continuation of nuclear arms control can create the political and military conditions for eventual limitations of innovative weapons systems and technologies, as well as for a carefully thought through and phased shift to a multilateral format of nuclear disarmament.
The replacement of Russia’s Human Rights Council head Mikhail Fedotov, who was completely loyal to the authorities, with United Russia party member Valery Fadeyev, determines the council’s status once and for all. It is first and foremost a presidential council, and only then a human rights council.
By cooperating with China in the military sphere, Russia loses virtually nothing in terms of security, while making life difficult for the United States, strengthening its relationship with a key partner, and gaining an economic advantage.
Considering the prospects for trade, Washington shouldn’t yet be concerned by the growth of Russian influence in the Gulf. It’s obvious, however, that Arab countries are being increasingly proactive in diversifying their connections. Moscow is simply making use of this to gain economic and political advantages.
America’s withdrawal creates an opportunity and a challenge for Moscow.
There’s one thing the Kremlin wants even more than sowing chaos in the United States: Keeping Trump in the White House.
The purchase of a stake in Arctic LNG 2 by a Japanese consortium is certainly a significant step in the development of economic ties between Russia and Japan, but if the Russian government doesn’t quickly begin work on improving the country’s investment climate, this deal will not be the start of a torrent of Japanese investment, but rather a small island of success in a vast sea of missed opportunities.
Street protests in Ukraine and the threat of destabilization are working to strengthen the authoritarian tendencies of President Zelensky’s rule. He sees that everywhere he has not managed to install his power vertical and his people, the seed of chaos and sabotage is germinating.
Russia need not concern itself about a new security architecture in Europe: eventually, one will grow out of its ongoing confrontation with the United States, together with the combined impact of Moscow’s rapprochement with Beijing and the evolving rivalry between the United States and China.
Two things have become clear following the dismissal of the head of Ukraine’s Institute of National Memory. First, Ukraine’s history politics must become more inclusive, and move away from the extremes of revolutionary fervor and the principles of party affiliation. Second, if the institute cannot be closed down, then it must be radically reformed. Above all, it must not be allowed to be monopolized by representatives of a single political persuasion.