Search

You searched for: Publishing Institution Finnish Institute of International Affairs Remove constraint Publishing Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs Political Geography Russia Remove constraint Political Geography: Russia Topic International Relations Remove constraint Topic: International Relations
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Kremlin has cast a cloud over the horizon for millions of Russian citizens. People do not perceive the forthcoming pension reform as a necessary measure for sustaining economic and social stability. Rather, it has ignited a collective sense of anger among the people that they have been cast adrift by the elite
  • Topic: International Relations, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Jyrki Kallio
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Although China's statements about the Ukrainian crisis have been weighed very carefully, there are concerns that China is drawing lessons such as 'might is right' and 'geopolitics is all that matters' from the crisis. The hawks in China have adopted a similar tone to that of the Kremlin, with both wishing to see a relatively diminished Western influence in the international arena. The Chinese Dream is all about national rejuvenation, which entails redressing past grievances. Nevertheless, the Dream need not turn into a nightmare for other powers. The increase in China's military budget does not indicate growing ambitions of a global power projection. China's primary concern remains stability both within and without its borders.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Ukraine, Asia
  • Author: Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia is not likely to resort to overt political pressure on Georgia in the run-up to Georgia's signing of the Association Agreement with the EU (27 June), and the NATO Summit in Wales (4-5 September). This is partly due to its weak levers and the fact that they cannot be strengthened within a short time span. Instead, Russia is likely to apply a dual strategy by strengthening its indirect 'influence tools' that are operating within Georgian society, as well as by continuing dialogue and pragmatic cooperation with the Georgian leadership - at least for the time being. Moscow is likely to stand firm on the issue of the breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In all likelihood, Russia will seek to increase its control over the territories, and to hamper any rapprochement between Georgia and the separatist territories. Despite the fact that the Russian intervention in Ukraine is likely to deter and delay substantial progress in the cooperation between Georgia and Russia, both sides seem to be willing to continue on the path of 'normalisation'. A practical compromise on the Georgian westward course seems to be emerging: in all likelihood Georgia will sign the Association Agreement with the EU without much Russian interference, but NATO will not offer Georgia a Membership Action Plan at the Summit.
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia
  • Author: Pavel K. Baev
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The self-assertive rhetoric of the Russian leadership, in which President Putin's Munich speech marked a shift towards a more aggressive style, has been translated into such demonstrative actions as the resumption of regular patrols by Long Range Aviation and the unilateral suspension of the CFE Treaty. Despite new funding and against confident self-assessments, Russia's strategic arsenal continues to shrink, and many key modernization projects, such as the Bulava missile for strategic submarines, have encountered setbacks. The need for brandishing the diminishing capabilities is driven by the desire to deter the perceived threat of a 'coloured revolution' sponsored by the West, the urge to assert a more solid status than just that of an 'energy super-power', and the complicated intrigues surrounding the on-going reconfiguration of the political leadership. Expanding demonstrations of the dilapidated strategic arsenal increase the risks of technical failures but fall far short of initiating a new confrontation of the Cold War type. The most worrisome point in Russia's ambivalent power policy is Georgia, which has been the target of choice for multiple propaganda attacks, but which now faces the challenge of an external intervention in its domestic crises since Moscow has built up usable military instruments in the North Caucasus. Russia's desire to secure higher international status does not amount to malicious revisionism; so over-reaction to its experiments with muscle-flexing could constitute a greater risk to the Western strategy of engagement than underestimating its ambitions.
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Vadim Kononenko
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Russia's current foreign policy should be understood as an element of the political regime that was built under Vladimir Putin's leadership. The major domestic impact on foreign policy seems to stem from the inclination among the elites and the power groups to maintain the power status quo in the country whilst profiting from the economic ties with the West. In this context the West becomes perceived as an unwanted external political factor on the one hand, and as a source of profits and financial stability for the Russian elites on the other. The current political system has given rise to a specific kind of foreign policy and diplomacy that both actively criticizes and challenges the West in rhetoric, while furthering economic ties between Europe and Russia's major business players. This contradiction is not self-evident as it is often couched in the assertive discourse of “strong state” and “national interest”. In reality, it is the “special interests” of Russia's state-private power groups and networks that lie behind the country's international standing. As long as the internal order in the country remains as it is, it is not feasible to expect any critical rethinking on foreign policy. The scope for public and expert debate has shrunk tremendously as foreign policy-making becomes increasingly bureaucratic and profit-driven. The prevailing climate of tense relations and diplomatic bickering in Russia-Western relations may linger despite the change of president. This does not mean that stabilization of relations or even engagement with Russia should be ruled out, however. Western actors should pay close attention to the domestic development in Russia, particularly the economic side. Further growth in the economy will push Russia towards a more intense (both in terms of cooperation and competition) interaction with the West. It is in the interests of the West to respond to this development in a consistent and constructive way by anchoring Russia in the rule-based economic environment.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Hiski Haukkala
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The post-Cold War EU–Russia relationship has been based on erroneous premises: Russia has not been willing to live up to its original aims of pursuing a western democratic and liberal path; nor have the European Union and its member states been able to develop a coherent policy line that would have consistently nudged Russia in that direction. The lack of a genuinely shared understanding concerning the relationship has resulted in chronic and growing political problems and crises between the parties. The increasingly fraught nature of the EU–Russia relationship has also played to Russia's strengths. It has enabled Russia to re-assert its sovereignty and walk away from the commonly agreed principles and objectives already codified in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement of 1994. The erosion of the original central aims of the partnership has not resulted in an atmosphere of working relations. Although Russia has been able to get its own way in most of the issues, a relationship worthy of the name “strategic partnership” is currently more elusive than ever. Instead of toning down its relations with Russia, the EU should seek to re-invigorate its approach to the country. It should also acknowledge that despite the current problems the EU's policy on Russia has, by and large, been based on sound principles. Democracy, the rule of law, good governance, respect for human and minority rights, and liberal market principles are all factors that are badly needed in order to ensure a stable and prosperous future for Russia. The EU should, through its own actions, also make it clear to Russia that it deserves respect and needs to be taken seriously. It would be prudent to proceed from the sector that seems to be the key to the current relationship: energy. By pursuing a unified internal energy market and subsequent common external energy policy, the EU might be able to make Russia take the Union level more seriously again. It would also deprive some of the main culprits – Russia and certain key member states alike – of the chance of exploiting the economic and political deals cut at the bilateral level to the detriment of the common EU approach to Russia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Sinikukka Saari
  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Duma election and its results reinforce the prevailing undemocratic trends in Russia. The changes in electoral laws, the election campaign and its biased coverage in the Russian media, the Russian authorities' hostile attitude towards international election observation and the so-called Putin's Plan leave very little hope of democratic pluralism developing in Russia anytime soon. Russia's political system has been built gradually over the years. The system aims at controlling the competition for power and securing the political elite's interests. The system is characterised by non-transparent and manipulated political processes, misleading doublespeak on democratic norms, and the misuse of soft and hard administrative resources. Putin's overwhelming popularity does not compensate for the lack of democratic accountability. Likewise, his possible premiership would not strengthen parliamentarism in Russia because the decision is driven by instrumentalism towards political institutions. Instead, it would create a dangerous precedent for an ad hoc separation of power. Western actors should be more aware that the stability that Putin is often praised for bringing about is not build on solid ground, and they should change their policies accordingly. Promoting democracy – and thus longterm stability – in Russia is in western actors' interests.
  • Topic: International Relations, Democratization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia