How to understand Russia’s foreign policy?

Russia is currently cooperating with the West on Syria and fighting it in its immediate neighborhood. What are the factors and thinking that guide these policies?  


Fyodor Lukyanov, Chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy (Russia)

Chaired by

Kadri Liik, Head of the Wider Europe Programme, ECFR

After years of rebuffing the West's attempts to cooperate with Moscow in search of a diplomatic solution in Syria, Moscow has suddenly  proposed a deal on chemical weapons and invested a great deal of energy as well as prestige into diplomatic process. Why? How sustainable is this new approach? What are Moscow's hopes and fears in the context of the Middle East?  

Closer to home, Russia has been exerting considerable economic and political  pressure on the countries of the Eastern Europe, particularly those which are on the verge of signing or initialing association agreements with the European Union. At the same time, Moscow is trying to advance its own integrationist project, the Eurasian Union.  What are the prospects of this endeavour? How should Europe react to the actions and rhetoric of the Kremlin? 

Fyodor Lukyanov is the chairman of Russia's Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, the prestigious network of foreign policy thinkers in Russia. He is also the editor-in-chief of the magazine Russia in Global Affairs ( 

Kadri Liik is a senior policy fellow and head of the Wider Europe Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations.