Multipolar World // Analysis

16 february 2017

The UN: Changes Are Long Due

Dmitriy Kiku PhD in Political Science, RIAC Expert


It is safe to assume that António Guterres, who assumed the office of the UN Secretary-General on January 1, 2017, will be able to bring positive momentum to the activities of the global organization. One can say this because during his ten-year tenure as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (2005–2015), he was extremely successful in cutting down the excessive bureaucracy at the agency he fronted in Geneva. Guterres visited conflict zones, which inspired his staff members to venture out of their cosy offices and work “in the field,” as their mandate indeed requires. This approach is also strikingly different from that of Guterres’ predecessor, Ban Ki-Moon, who, as we know, refrained from participating personally in conflict resolution.

18 january 2017

2017 Foreign Policy Outlook

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


Most foreign policy forecasts open with statements about the uncertainty of the international situation. This is a convenient starting point, as it allows the analyst to hide behind and avoid taking responsibility for his or her forecasts. But if we really want to get an idea about what might await us in the future, we have to understand the “corridors of certainty”, which are visible for 2017. They are far from rosy and speak about the necessity to develop fundamentally new solutions to the accumulated problems.

11 january 2017

2016 – Contours of the New Reality

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 year 2016 is important for understanding the changes in the international arena that started two years before. It was in 2016 that we began to see the new reality – the more or less clear contours of the future – take shape. Let’s analyze the contours of this new reality.

05 december 2016

Are Norms Liberal?

Ilya Ivanov Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, RIAC expert


In his extremely interesting and thought-provoking article, Andrey Kortunov identifies the three main components of the “liberal world order”: rationality, normativity and openness. While in my opinion, not a single manifestation of human activity, especially one as complicated and intricate as international relations, can be reduced to one or two ‘overarching theories,’ whether it be liberalism, realism or the Big Mac Index, one question in particular arises upon reading Mr. Kortunov’s article: What makes normativity inherent to liberalism? Are norms liberal?

09 november 2016

Where Is BRICS Headed? On the Results of the Goa Summit

Georgy Toloraya Doctor of Economics, Professor of Oriental Studies, Director of the Asian strategy center at the Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Recently, western media and some Russian academics have stepped up their criticism of BRICS and expressed doubts regarding the association’s prospects. Experts claimed that the Goa Summit would be a routine one, and the Five itself would lose steam, and its influence on the global arena would fizzle. In fact, the leaders of the five countries confirmed their intentions to expand their interaction within BRICS and to promote its further strengthening, especially in the political area, which is of particular significance for Russia given the conflict with the West.

25 october 2016

From Authoritarianism to Democracy? The Future of Political Regimes

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


Authoritarianism vs. democracy has long been established as part of modern Western discourse, with political transitions supposed to move linearly from one to the other. The problem is that authoritarian regimes proper – rationally organized secular autocracies – are increasingly scarce and giving way to crisis-ridden governments or fundamentalist regimes. The “bench” of countries capable of instituting a democratic transition is dwindling rapidly. The “old democracies” are facing mounting dilemmas, and prospects for regimes in major powers like China or Russia are vague.

05 october 2016

The New UN Secretary-General


It is very likely that on October 6 we will find out the name of the new UN Secretary General. Preliminary estimates grant victory to Antonio Guterres, Portugal’s former Prime Minister. RIAC editing team suggests you take a look at the candidate’s basic proposals on conflict prevention and peace operations, human rights, sustainable development and the UN revitalization.

25 july 2016

Towards the election of the UN Secretary-General: "The service? Good. Servility? Disgusting"

Dmitriy Kiku PhD in Political Science, RIAC Expert


The end of Ban Ki-moon's term as UN Secretary-General in 2016 and the forthcoming elections of his successor provide an occasion for the international community not only to choose a candidate who they feel would best serve everyone’s interests, but also to reflect on further transformations of the global Organisation's system. On July 21, the UN Security Council held the first round of voting as part of the procedure for electing the UN Secretary-General. There are currently 12 contenders for the post of UN Secretary-General. The pre-election process is taking place amid mounting criticism of the UN over the falling prestige and effectiveness of its Security Council. How justified are these claims and what baggage is Ban Ki-moon leaving behind for his successor?

25 july 2016

Where Europe Meets Asia

Victoria Panova PhD in History, Director, Oriental Studies Institute – School or Regional and International Studies; Far Easter Federal University


In spite of constant assertions by officials that Russia is a Eurasian power, recent years have seen growing references to Russia's pivot towards the East and commitment to interaction priority with Asia. Often the sharp turn towards the Asia-Pacific Region is mentioned in the context of Russia's deteriorating relations with Western countries, which make it necessary to compensate for the losses caused by geopolitical confrontation and sanctions imposed against Russia in 2014.

16 june 2016

Rashid Alimov: Kill both Symptoms and the Root of the Evil


In 2016, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Currently, the organization seems to be going through a most critical stage of its development, expanding and at the same time searching for responses to new threats to peace and security. To discuss these and other matters, we met with SCO Secretary General Rashid Alimov on the sidelines of the conference "Russia-China: toward a New Quality of Bilateral Relations."

All tags