The April 2013 issue of Diplomaatia focuses on Russia.
The issue kicks off with an interview with Fyodor Lukyanov, a renowned Russian foreign policy expert and editor-in-chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs who was recently appointed chairman of the Presidium of the Russian Council on Foreign and Defence Policy. According to Lukyanov, we are currently witnessing the disintegration of the old world order, but it is still too early to predict the characteristics of the new emerging one.
“Whatever happens in the world, it is clear that a new identity will be constructed for Russia, although so far it is unclear what it will be like. The Soviet tradition has exhausted itself (the whole period was an anomaly); all things pre-Soviet have been irretrievably destroyed—they can be imitated at best, which is actually what they are currently doing,” says Lukyanov.
Richard Weitz, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, discusses Russia-NATO relations and their differences regarding missile defence. Russian officials complain that NATO’s preeminent role in European security harms their national security since they have little influence on Alliance decisions, writes Weitz. “The most serious dispute is still over NATO’s missile defence programme, which Russians claim threatens their nuclear deterrent.”
Diplomat Kaupo Känd tracks President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to set up a Eurasian Union. According to Känd, the European Union has so far failed to speak with one voice on the other union. Is it just a one-man, meaning Putin’s, crusade, a collective though unrealisable dream for several states or today’s reality? “It is obvious that if Putin manages to pull off the Eurasian Union project, it will affect global developments for several decades to come. The EU will have to adjust its relations accordingly with the states under the Eurasian Union’s umbrella,” claims Känd.
ICDS intern Benjamin Priddy reviews the latest developments in Russia’s oil and gas industry. Priddy states that Gazprom’s position as the national energy champion is coming under threat. Russian oil major Rosneft has announced plans to enter the Russian gas market. In addition, Novatek, Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer, is also challenging Gazprom. Furthermore, production from Gazprom’s existing and planned fields is expected to decline through 2020.
In the book review section, Kadri Liik, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, introduces a new publication on Putin’s psychology—Fiona Hill’s and Clifford G. Gaddy’s book, Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.
In Liik’s opinion, this is probably one of the best books ever written (and published) about Putin. “After all, we all know Putin. Who would have thought there is something new to say about him? As it turns out, there is and plenty,” writes Liik. The recently published book by Hill and Gaddy essentially claims that although there is not a pithy and unambiguous answer to the question of ‘Who is Mr. Putin?’ He is not an enigma or chameleon either, thinks Liik. “Putin has many identities—the authors define six core ones. Each has its own background; each has its own development story. Their intermingling mix has played a role in who and where Putin is today.”
The In Memoriam section includes a tribute by foreign policy expert Erkki Bahovski to the Grand Old Man of Finnish foreign policy, Max Jakobson (1923–2013), who left us on March 9, and an article by Tony Lawrence, a senior research fellow at ICDS, on the controversial reactions to the passing of the long-serving British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013) on April 8.