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Russia in the short term - where further?

Russia in the short term - where further?


Member of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy of the Russian Federation, political scientist, dean of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics of the Higher School of Economics

Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council of the Federation for Foreign and Defense Policy (Council on Foreign and Defense Policy of the Russian Federation) Sergey Karaganov in his article "2014: preliminary results", Published last week in "Rossiyskaya Gazeta", gave a prognostic assessment of the current foreign policy and foreign economic policy of the Russian Federation:

- Russia is still opposed by the powerful and trying to go into a counter-offensive, but fundamentally weakened to a large extent by the West, demoralized by its mistakes, which lost for the majority of humanity moral superiority and attractiveness.

On the side of Russia is the rising "not the West", which is the majority of humanity, and the most dynamic economies. Financial means, alternative technologies, albeit less effective, will not be difficult to find. The world has changed dramatically, increasing the freedom of economic and political action for all countries.

Russian politics began to change rapidly. First of all, its eastern direction. In 2014, Russian-Chinese relations reached unprecedented confidence. So far, this is not about replacing, but about complementing a past, one-sided European economic orientation.

It grows and new economic and transport configuration, based on the integration of land beginning of the Chinese economic Silk Road with the Russian Trans-Siberian and BAM, the Northern Sea Route. Apparently, around SCO, with its probable extension to India, Pakistan, in the long term - Iran, a new grouping with the growing Eurasian security component.

There are no more illusions about partners, there is a huge experience of survival, which happened, as it seems to many, and I, almost by a miracle, have no ideological blinders. There is an understanding that attempts to persuade do not lead to anything except stirring up appetites. What we are talking about again is the survival of not only the ruling regime, but also the country that they are trying to weaken, if not collapse. The rates are several times higher than those of western partners. Under these conditions, failure is possible, but unlikely. As wrote in "War and Peace" L.N. Tolstoy "The battle is won by the one who decided to win it." And it seems that the majority in Russia have decided.

Nobody knows what kind of medium- and long-term damage sanctions can inflict on the Russian economy. At the same time, the economies of a number of European countries are already suffering and because of the reduction in exports, and because of the decline in confidence in business in a situation of stagnant stagnation.

So there are grounds for finding a compromise with the Europeans in the medium term. Although it is impossible not to take into account the above described deep reason for the rejection by European, especially German, elites of the rigid behavior of Russia. In the direction of continuing the confrontation, the Americans interested in it will also crush. And the situation in Ukraine will constantly add fuel to the fire.

And most importantly - formed a clear impression that the economic weakness pedaling Russia, attempts to aggravate it, indicate the absence of a viable and long-term strategy is a key element of Western strategy in the current crisis. If the Russian elite, the leadership and the president are not ready for decisive economic reforms - even in the mobilization option, this strategy can be successful.

Where to go?

The crisis of such depth, which is based on the fundamental interests of its main participants, is unlikely to end in the medium term.

I do not see yet the possibility of serious concessions to Moscow. I still hope that confrontation and sanctions will awaken the Russian leadership, the elite and society from the lazy enjoyment of the long-awaited after 100 years of deprivation of wealth or modest consumerism. Historically, the Russians almost never woke up while "the cock did not peck". Sanctions are aimed at its weakness. But they, like the finger of God, point to the need for shock efforts to compensate and overcome these weaknesses. If Russia does not listen to this "voice of God", it does not show shock economic modernization, the luck that has accompanied the country for the last 14 years will turn its back on it.

So the success of 2014’s foreign policy will be developed or dispersed in economic policy. Russia is like a boxer with a beautiful head, a reaction, strong hands, but weak legs. If we do not strengthen them, the battle will very likely be lost.       

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