Europe // Analysis

12 december 2016

Britain Seeks Closer Links with China in a Post-Brexit World

Donald Gasper Councillor, Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society


It was Lord Palmerston, the Victorian-era British Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, who said that nations had no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. (The same man in 1841 famously dismissed Hong Kong as “a barren rock”.) It is these “permanent interests” which seem to have triumphed in Sino-British relations after a minor hiccup which followed the Brexit referendum in the summer.

08 december 2016

Italian Referendum Result: A Headache for Rome, or for Brussels?

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


From the dim and distant days of the early Republic up to the era of the late Empire, the bright red standards of the Roman legions always bore four big letters embroidered in gold — SPQR. Historians still disagree over what this abbreviation means, but the majority share the view that SPQR stands for Senatus Populus Quiritium Romanus or Senatus Populusque Romanus — the Senate and Citizens of Rome or the Senate and People of Rome. It is significant that both these phrases start not with “the people” or “the citizens” but with “the Senate” in the sense of the chief symbol and foundation of Roman statehood. It was against the Senate — to be precise, the Italian Senate rather than the Roman one of old — that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi pitted himself in the 4 December referendum.

23 november 2016

Russia and the European Union in the Baltic Sea Region

Vladislav Vorotnikov North European and Baltic Studies Center at the MGIMO University

Igor Yurgens President of the All-Russian Insurers Association, Member of the Board of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs

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

Sergey Kulik INSOR Director for International Development


Expert assessments of Russia’s cooperation with the countries in the Baltic Sea Region, and with the Baltic States in particular, traditionally focus on bilateral relations. At the same time, they tend to overlook the membership of these countries in the European Union, with all the attendant obligations in terms of implementing common decisions. In analysing the interaction of these countries with Russia, experts usually mention the European Union within the context of energy policy, with a recent emphasis on the sanctions regime and on Russia’s countermeasures. The fact that the political voice of the countries in the Baltic Sea Region in forming and implementing the common EU policy has noticeably strengthened on the back of the Ukrainian crisis, while at the same time taking on undertones that are unfavourable to Moscow, is worth taking into consideration.

22 november 2016

Sanctions on Russia: the Risk of a Divided Europe

Daniele Fattibene International Affairs Institute (IAI) in Rome


The latest European Council meeting has showed (once again) that relations with the Russian Federation are still a dividing element within the European Union (EU). Different threat assessments and interests among Member States risk to hamper the efforts to build up a common approach towards Moscow which has emerged with the sanctions over Ukraine. The decision not to impose new “restrictive measures” against Russia for “attacking the civilians in Aleppo” very well epitomizes this internal cleavage. This step has been the result of a strong opposition of several countries, leaded by the Italian Prime Minister Renzi.

11 november 2016

The Right-Wing Primaries: November 2016

Eugenia Obichkina Doctor of History, Professor at MGIMO-University, RIAC expert


November 20 and 27, France’s right-wing republicans will hold their primaries intended both to determine the single candidate capable of winning the first elections round defeating the left-wing candidate, and to define the principal features of the candidate’s program that would address the sentiments of the greater part of the voters. Currently, France’s former prime minister Alain Juppé is ahead of the former president Nicolas Sarkozy.

07 november 2016

Renewing Mechanisms for Russia-EU Cooperation

Andrey Zagorsky RIAC member, Department Head at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Wolfgang Zellner PhD. in Political Science, Deputy Director of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg (IFSH) and Head of the IFSH’s Centre for OSCE Research (CORE)


In the context of the Ukraine crisis, the EU has completely suspended the functioning of all mechanisms of dialogue with Russia. At the same time, both sides realize that the sanctions and the suspension of political dialogue cannot last forever. Sooner or later, relations between Russia and the EU will have to be normalized. However, there is little doubt that this relationship is unlikely to return to “business as usual”. Based on the critical assessment of the performance of mechanisms of cooperation between Russia and the EU in the period before the present crisis, this report seeks to explore what could be the appropriate design of such mechanisms after relations between Russia and the EU enter the normalization phase.

01 november 2016

Russia and the West: What Does “Equality” Mean?

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


Russian-Western relations, almost three decades after the end of the Cold War, have been tightly packed with unjustified expectations, misperceptions, misunderstandings and self-delusions on both sides. The Ukrainian crisis revealed a deep gap in how the Kremlin and its Western interlocutors understood some of the very fundamental principles of the East-West relationship and the international relations at large. One of these fundamental and controversial principles is the principle of “equality”. In their official rhetoric, both sides have always stood for “equality” when dealing with each other. Nevertheless, their interpretations of “equality” have never been the same.

26 october 2016

Russia and Europe: Escalated Alienation?


The document reflects the main results of the 162nd Bergedorf Round Table (Bergedorfer Gesprächkreis), held in Moscow by the German Kurt Körber Foundation (Körber Stiftung) and the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) on July 10-12, 2016.

24 october 2016

Germany's European Leadership: Hegemony against One's Will?

Alexander Kamkin PhD in Philology, Leading Researcher at the German Studies Center of the RAS Institute for European Studies


In recent years, Europe and beyond have been increasingly more vocal about Germany regaining its leadership in the Old World. The discussion appeared especially heated in connection with the debt crisis of Greece, as it was Berlin which happened to come out as the key driver and architect of the scheme for its restructuring, and in return faced charges of a new hegemonic wave. In addition, it was Berlin which launched the open door policy for refugees only to cause a most painful response from many European countries.

23 october 2016

Hungarian Uprising. 60 years on

Viktor Katona Oil Supply Specialist at MOL Group, RIAC expert


Sunday, October 23rd, 2016, marks the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising. The confrontation between the socialist and capitalist blocs may be past history, but popular discontent has not gone away, it merely took on a modern form. Witness the case of Ukraine where, against the background of economic growth, the people organized an unprecedented protest movement, and uprisings or coups happening in countries with democratically elected governments.

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