Russian Foreign Policy // Analysis

20 july 2016

The Inevitable, Weird World

Andrey Kortunov Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member


Any discussion of Russian foreign policy that has even a modicum of meaning inevitably begins with a question about the conditions and trends in the world as a whole. Our understanding of this world, our perception of the causal relations between events therein determine the way we position Russia, the way we see the most attractive opportunities or the direst dangers for our country.

19 may 2016

Russia’s Pivot to the East: To Asia or From Europe?

Anton Tsvetov Media and Government Relations Manager at the Russian International Affairs Council


Russia’s relations with the West painfully severed by the Ukraine crisis, Moscow has been bolstering the Eastern dimension of its foreign policy. It is building a closer partnership with China and demonstrating deeper interest in Asian affairs overall. This has spurred genuine concern in Europe as politicians and observers are wondering how permanent, decisive and final this pivot is and what should European leaders make of it. Asia asks these questions as well, wondering whether Russia’s current policy choices are for long.


25 february 2016

Is There a True Limit to “Soft Power”?

Dmitry Narkevsky Independent journalist


In his article “Soft Power: Reality and Myth”, Alexei Fenenko offers a discussion on the effectiveness of, and therefore the prospect for, Russia’s use of “soft power”. The term has become extremely fashionable of late, which makes you wonder about what it can really accomplish.


29 january 2016

Soft Power: Reality and Myth

Alexei Fenenko PhD in History, Leading research fellow at RAS Institute of International Security Problems, Associate Professor at School of world politics of MSU, RIAC expert


By the beginning of 2016, Russian experts came around to the opinion that Russia had not been applying enough effort to capitalize on information technology (including through public diplomacy) in order to promote its image abroad. Two solutions have been offered to the question of “what to do?” The first involves increased financing for relevant programs and funds. The second suggests learning to work not only with governments, but with civil society as well. I would venture to suggest a third possible solution.

12 january 2016

A New “Age of Politics”

Ivan Timofeev PhD in Political Science, Director of Programs at Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), RIAC Member, Head of "Contemporary State" program at Valdai Discussion Club


The main thrust of media coverage going into 2016 can be described with one single phrase – the situation is complicated, but it will get even worse. Such assessments are typical during times of rapid change. And foreign policy is no exception. The set of problems and challenges is without a doubt far reaching. But in current circumstances it is probably best not to get bogged down in illusory optimism or pessimism. We need to take stock of the achievements made and possible steps that can be taken in future.

25 november 2015

What the Second Chechen War tells us about Russia’s ‘War on Terror’ today

Hanna Notte Doctoral Candidate in International Relations, University of Oxford, Alfa Fellow at the Moscow Carnegie Center and Institute of Oriental Studies (Russian Academy of Sciences)


In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks claimed by IS in Beirut and Paris, Russia reiterated the counter-terrorist rhetoric it has been using to justify its intervention in Syria. That rhetoric echoes claims Russia made during the Second Chechen War, when it conflated Chechen fighters with international Islamist terrorists. At the time, Russia hoped its ‘war on terror’ would eventually yield strategic gains in the Russian-US relationship – to no avail. Its current counterterrorist claims on Syria are, again, unlikely to produce such gains in the long-term.

19 november 2015

Six Key Trends in Russian Foreign Policy, as Seen by the West

Michael Kofman Fellow at the Kennan Institute of the Wilson Center and an analyst at CNA Corporation


Heading into 2016, Russian foreign policy is arguably more unpredictable than at any time in the post-Cold War period. There are several key factors, though, that continue to influence the future trajectory of Russian diplomacy. One challenge is separating the old from the truly new, and the signal from the noise. That is, Russia's foreign policy today comes with an assortment of information packaging, symbolism, and features that make the actual decision-making process opaque.

22 october 2015

7 Trends for Russian Foreign Policy You Need to Know

Ivan Timofeev PhD in Political Science, Director of Programs at Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), RIAC Member, Head of "Contemporary State" program at Valdai Discussion Club


After the Ukraine crisis and military intervention in Syria, the key principles and ideas underpinning Russian foreign policy are becoming easier to understand.

Ivan Timofeev, who participated in the annual meeting of Valdai International Discussion Club is giving a talk on the outline of future Russian foreign policy.

30 september 2015

Russian Foreign Policy through the Eyes of a Sophisticated Critic

Igor Istomin PhD in Political Science, Senior Lecturer, Department of Applied International Analysis, MGIMO University, RIAC expert


The new book by prominent scholar Bobo Lo is a trenchant, hard-hitting study of Moscow’s foreign policy, with numerous distortions and obvious bias. As such, the work is unlikely to promote an adequate and balanced perception of Russian strategy in the West. Even so, it offers the Russian reader a chance to assess, without illusions and undue optimism, the country’s place on the world stage, as well as its vulnerabilities and prospects for the future. Such a critical view is the best antidote to dangerous complacency and conformism and is needed considering the growing tensions along Russian borders.

19 may 2015

Why Should We Talk About the National Interest?


We talked to Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs magazine, member of RIAC Presidium about the new project “National Interest” which focuses on the topic of national interests and external policy analyzed through the social prism, i.e. citizens’ demands, needs and perceptions.

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