As part of our 'Reinvention of Europe' project, ECFR co-organised* a conference in Prague to examine how Europe is seen by other important global powers. Six eminent academics and thinkers gave their thoughts from the viewpoint of China, Turkey, India, Brazil, Japan and Russia. I recorded interviews with all six, which are being published as podcasts, and also gathering up the abstracts of the papers that each one presented in this short series of blog posts.
In the fifth of the series we hear from Sergei Utkin, from the Institute of World Economy and International Affairs in Moscow. Here's the podcast interview with him, and here's a short introduction to his thoughts:
When looking at Europe, Russia first of all focuses upon its own place in the continent’s international landscape. The country’s political elite, as well as the population at large have a complex of being marginalised from European politics. Russia finds itself excluded from decision-making, and this frustration is fed by Russia's perception of itself as a European country. This discrepancy between Russia’s self-image and the existing European political architecture has deep-rooted historical origins, but it is also strongly affected by the ongoing dynamics of overall Russia’s relations with the West.
The EU is the biggest economic partner of Russia. This creates a solid basis for relations between them, and provides a kind of a guarantee against politically motivated volatility and uncertainty. Domestic standards are becoming increasingly EU-oriented or inspired in various areas (covering production, trade, institutions, norm building and so on). While Russians do not separate themselves from the European culture that forms the core of their own historical and educational background, they have various opinions on whether this commonality could or should be transformed into a political one and how. Russia’s attitude towards the European Union is generally positive. Economically, the EU is regarded as a success story; politically, it is perceived as a model of organising relations between states on a new basis allowing to minimise traditional rivalries and prioritise common interests. The EU as a model is quite often referred to when discussing the organisation of Russia’s relations with post-Soviet states and building multilateral institutional patterns such as Customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.
However, it is also possible to draw a traditional division between ‘Euro-sceptics’ and ‘Euro-optimists’ in Russian views. A certain ambiguity could be also seen in Russia’s attitudes towards the overall relations with the EU. On the one hand, it is assumed that cooperation between Russia and the EU could make both more competitive in a globalised world. Furthermore, the joint potential of the EU and Russia is regarded as essential in building sustainable alternatives to scenarios of Europe’s inevitable decline in the international arena. On the other hand, the EU may operate as a rival undermining certain Russia’s international prospects.
While in Russian eyes the EU certainly represents a serious economic and political figure, numerous (and perhaps most) concrete issues are addressed, negotiated and implemented on a bilateral level – that is, by Russia and the EU member-states countries (not the EU as such). This creates a problem of maintaining a balance between the EU-oriented relations, on the one hand, and Russia’s predominant focus upon individual relationships with France, Germany and others.
The EU’s intentions to establish a common foreign and security policy ignite interest in Russia. This area is seen as yet nascent and promising in terms of possible EU-Russia cooperation. The idea of an EU-Russia Committee on foreign and security policy, proposed by Angela Merkel and Dmitry Medvedev, deserves serious consideration.
Click here for China's view of Europe with Zhimin Chen - "over the past few years, the Chinese have begun to realise that their views of the EU have also involved wishful thinking."
Click here for India's view, with Rajendra K Jain - "Unlike in the past, India is determined to play an active interest in the framing of new rules so that they reflect and protect the needs and aspirations of one sixth of humanity"
Click for Turkey's view with Atila Eralp - "Has Turkey’s relationship with the EU departed from being seen as a normative goal or strategic vision, into a framework for a useful but ‘just another’ partnership in international relations?"
Click here for Japan's view, with Ryo Oshiba - "In Japan there is the notion of 'the lost two decades', and a debate on whether Japan is a global player or a middle power. A similar debate applies to Europe."
* Thanks are due to the other co-organisers of the conference in Prague, the Insitute of International Relations, Prague, and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
28th July 2012 at 07:07am
Russia communism came from the trehoy of Marxism. (Where history proceeded slowly and naturally through the stages with the ultimate result and success being them arriving in communism)When the communists first took over Russia, Lenin was the leader of the party. The communists wanted a permenant world revolution. After they originally took power in Russia they believed the working class in other countries would also rise up and take power, so communism would happen in other countries too.However, It did not happen naturally in the 1920 s so the communists pushed it in the 40s when Stalin was in charge.
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