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A Cardinal Change in Russia's Foreign Policy
October 11, 2019 16:35

Bloomberg: Russian President decided to take a milder approach in Russia's foreign policy

Experts interviewed by Bloomberg gave comments on the Kremlin’s new strategy. Some of them say that Moscow has come to terms with the loss of influence in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, others that Russia does not give up its desire to revise the world order, formed mainly by the USA.

Experts  saw signs of a "thaw" in Putin's statements at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi.“ The president of Russia has chosen the mildest rhetoric in ten or more years and neglected several opportunities to attack the US and Europe on such issues as Ukraine,” Bloomberg writes. Putin said that he had no intention of destroying the world order, which was formed mainly by the United States, Russia intends to cooperate with Washington.   Putin spoke positively  about the US President Donald Trump and the French leader Emmanuel Macron.

"The beginning of the post-imperial period"

Some analysts interviewed by Bloomberg believe that Putin’s more restrained tone reflects the cardinal changes that are taking place in Russia's foreign policy. It will be less reactionary, less defensive and will rely less on brute military force, according to the agency’s interlocutors.

“This is the beginning of this post-imperial period. I feel the changes, even if they are not reflected in the rhetoric of Russian TV,” Fyodor Lukyanov, chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, comments. According to him, the Kremlin is now realizing that Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will not join NATO or the European Union in the near future, because they are not going to or are not ready to accept these countries. This means that Russia can relax and wait until events turn in its direction, Lukyanov said.

At the same time, Moscow has come to terms with the fact that its influence on Ukraine has become limited after 2014, and also does not intend to solve the problems of such states as Moldova, Lukyanov added. Therefore, Russia, together with the European Union, supported the new coalition government in Chisinau, led by ardent supporters of European integration, the expert noted.

“We can call this new foreign policy the consolidation of Russia's achievements,” Andrei Kortunov, director general of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs, created by decree of the president, commented.

"Russian president feels uncomfortable because of tension in relations with the West"

Other experts do not believe in the new mood of Moscow. The Kremlin still adheres to the revisionist approach to the US-built world order, but now it is consolidating the victory in Syria and adjusting to the loss of Ukraine, as Cliff Kapchan, the chairman of the consulting firm Eurasia Group, says.  

Putin feels more "uncomfortable" because of the level of tension in relations with the United States and the West, but he would not do anything to mitigate, as Robert Legvold, emeritus professor at Columbia University says.

Russia has made it impossible for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to join the West, and Putin will not risk changing the situation without unbreakable security guarantees, Vasily Kashin, senior researcher at the Higher School of Economics, commented.  “The West does not understand this. Russia's problem is not the desire for greatness, but the deep strategic paranoia, which goes deep into the [history] of the formation of the empire,” he says.

Asia may turn out to be more useful to Russia as part of its new approach, Timofei Bordachev, academic director of the program “International Relations: European and Asian Studies” supposes. Russia may occupy the niche of a neutral security partner for small Asian states, which are getting under the onslaught of Chinese and the US confrontation.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russia International     

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