Russian political analyst Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the magazine "Russia in Global Affairs," says chief foreign policy events of the autumn of 2009 until the summer of 2010. The article was published in the newspaper The Moscow Times.
The political season is from autumn 2009 until the summer of 2010 was rich in significant events. I have listed the top 10 events in Russian foreign policy at this time, which will have a strong influence on the further development of the situation.
The first coup in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan became the first former Soviet republic, which is almost officially been called the "unfulfilled state." Restraint of Russia and the indifference of other large states surprised observers who expected to see another geopolitical battle. The post-Soviet space has ceased to be a subject of general interest. Washington, Beijing and Brussels have recognized the political dominance of Moscow in this part of the world. But the "imperial instinct" Russia is reduced. Now Moscow is aware that he has no political, military and legal tools to act in such situations.
Second Kharkov agreement between Russia and Ukraine. The victory of Viktor Yanukovych in the presidential election in Ukraine, Moscow and Kiev has helped solve two problems — gas war and the future of Russia's Black Sea Fleet — which could lead to serious crises. Russia has high hopes for closer ties with Ukraine. Future relations between the two countries depends on their ability to negotiate. Yanukovych feels confident in his own country, but the traditional space of maneuvering between Russia and Europe is now limited to Kiev. The European Union is mired in internal problems and has no interest in Ukraine.
The third company is upgrading. "Alliances for Modernization" was a recurring theme in the foreign policy statements of President Dmitry Medvedev. But he did not give a clear explanation of what that means. Analysts interpreted this as a turn to the West, although the model of modernization, which is discussed in Russia, provides only limited cooperation with the West. According to this logic, once the political obstacles in relations with the West will be lifted in Russia will see an increase in investment and technology transfer.
The fourth decision of U.S. President Barack Obama's strategy to place elements of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe and the sanctions against Iran. These two steps should be read in tandem. White House's decision not to deploy missiles and radar in the Czech Republic and Poland was the real start of the "reset" of US-Russian relations. The administration of George W. Bush tried to put pressure on Moscow in any matter, and not to retreat a single step. Russia appreciates the changes that have occurred under Obama — above all, the willingness to discuss, not the custom for Moscow before the fact — and found it necessary to respond constructively. This is a fragile foundation, but a model of cooperation was found.
The fifth new treaty on strategic offensive arms. Although the agreement does not lead to a revolution in US-Russian relations, the two sides have closed the main themes that remain from the "Cold War." Further negotiations on this issue will no longer be the center of attention, and, secondly, they have little meaning without joining other nuclear states. However, this process has not been completed. If the Senate does not ratify the treaty, a "reset" will be on the verge of collapse, which could easily lead to failure in other areas of bilateral relations.
Sixth Customs Union. Thanks to the Herculean efforts of Moscow was signed a customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. But further its prospects are unclear, as the tension between Russia and Belarus continue to spoil relations. Moscow can be proud of their political success — its first initiative, which could develop into a real, not imitation integration project. But the flip side is, of course, is the fact that the customs union to prevent the chance of Russia joining the World Trade Organization.
Turning to face the seventh Asia. The Russian leadership has made the first priority of the development of Asian politics and participate in integration, which takes place in the Asia-Pacific region. One of the motivations — the gradual realization that as a result of the growing influence of China, Russia may finally lose its independence in Asia. Moscow is looking for ways to get rid of their dependence on the West, but at the same time uses the Western communication to achieve a strong position in Asia.
Eighth Lisbon treaty and the crisis in the EU. The threat of default in Greece — only a particular manifestation of conceptual crisis of European integration. Monetary Union came into sharp conflict with the political. The Lisbon Treaty, which entered into force in late 2009, did not turn the EU into a strong player in the international arena. On the contrary, it has already cut the EU's influence in the world and has resulted in the most active of the State party to a desire to set their own priorities in the foreign policy of their own. In this context, Moscow has stepped up bilateral relations with Berlin, Paris and other European capitals.
Ninth Celebrations in Katyn. They have become a breakthrough in relations not only between Russia and Poland. Apparently, the Russian government has decided to give up trying to use Stalinism as a political tool. Domestically, this tool is shared, and does not consolidate the society in foreign policy — provokes tensions, especially with Russia's neighbors. The visit of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Gdansk to attend the ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, participated in the ceremony in Katyn, adequate reaction of the Russian authorities to the crash of the Polish presidential plane opened up new opportunities for Russia in Europe.
Tenth deepening tensions with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. Minsk, which is seen as a close ally of Russia, was one of the most stubborn opponents. Economic and political conflicts have become fundamental confrontation over who will define the rules of integration projects in the post-Soviet space. In the end, Lukashenko made the wrong choice, as the Belarusian economy is highly dependent on Russia. In addition, the West would not on the side of Russia against Lukashenko.
Last year, Russia's foreign policy has been more reactive than active. However, Moscow understands that it is necessary to adopt new approaches.