Maria Lipman – Journalist and Author
Josef Janning – Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR Berlin
ECFR Berlin and Stiftung Mercator started the event series “Europe seen from the outside” with the public debate “What does Russia think about Europe? And why?”. The aim of the series is to introduce non-european perspectives and opinions on Europe in order to stir up the current European policy debate.
Maria Lipman, Russian Journalist and Author, expressed her thoughts and gave insights on the Russian way of looking at Europe and the world. Lipman started by outlining the different stages of perception and development over time. Today, Russia finds itself in a condiion of confusion. While considering itself as a great civilisation with strong sovereignty, a national identiy is difficult to verbalise. If a nation struggles to conceptualise its identity, how can it build a coherent foreign policy? Other players like the EU are seen as non-sovereign actors, and therefore not exactly relevant in Russia's foreign policy.
Lipman considers Russia's idendity debate imensly crucial and sees necessity for it to continue. The conclusion she draws is that an improvement of external relations is difficult and a substantial shift in Russian policy concerns is required.