After the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey, Russian intellectual Fyodor Lukyanov writes in an article, titled “People With Big Ambitions: What the Turkish Coup Means for Russia,” that Moscow has grounds for satisfaction with the current situation. Lukyanov believes that Turkish president Recep Erdogan now needs to find reliable foreign partners to support his regime. However, Erdogan’s “zigzag” policy has hardly gained him respect in any foreign capital, and Turkey might now regard Moscow as a possible strategic partner. Lukyanov writes that Turkey relations with the EU are worn down. The EU abandoned the idea of a common European home and if Turkey will reinstate the death penalty, as mooted after the failed coup, this would doom Turkey’s chances of joining the EU and force Ankara to leave the Council of Europe.
According to Lukyanov, the primary reason for the EU’s diminished desire to cooperate with Ankara is that the European countries never fully accepted Turkey as “one of their own.” Russia can sympathize with Turkey, as it as well has been treated by Europe as a “barbarian at the gate” notwithstanding the common cultural and historical heritage. Lukyanov views Erdogan’s need for new allies, as an opportunity for a Turkey-Russia partnership, for offsetting and even reducing Western geopolitical influence. Lukyanov writes: “Europe is no longer the center of the world. Earlier, if Europe sneezed, the whole world caught cold. Now, however, three-fourths of humanity is simply uninterested in what ails these strange people with their oversized ambitions and diminishing ability to implement them properly.” Continue reading
On April 12, 2016, the website of the pro-Kremlin think tank Valdai Discussion Club published an article by Fyodor Lukyanov, academic director of the Valdai Discussion Club, chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and editor-in-chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal. In his article, titled “The End of the G8 Era: Russia Does Not Need Western Hierarchy,” Lukyanov argues that there is no reason to revive the G8 after Russia’s 2014 suspension from it following the Russian annexation of Crimea. Noting that “the G8 reflected a certain period of history when Russia really wanted to be integrated into the so-called Extended West,” he adds that since Russia’s suspension from the G8, it has become clear that Russia does not “fit into the Western community.” Continue reading
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key, was enjoying some friendly banter with his Russian counterpart when they stumbled on to a distinctly unfriendly subject: nuclear war.
It was a lunch break at an international summit, as Key related to me earlier this year: “So we’re having this joke exchange and one point I said to him: ‘How long would it take a missile to get out from Moscow to NZ?’ ”
The Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, briefly consulted an aide, apparently without success, before turning back to the NZ leader. Key relates: “He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll let you know before it happens’.”
And since that exchange, the humour has drained away. Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has put his country’s 5000 nuclear warheads at the forefront. Three times in the past two months, he has raised the spectre of nuclear war as he confronts the West. Continue reading
Iranian Diplomacy’s exclusive interview with Fyodor Lukyanov, columnist for Al-Monitor and editor of the journal ‘Russia in Global Affairs’
– Many in Iran believe that Russia was the winner in Iran’s isolation and the sanctions against this country. Do you agree with such an assessment? With an improvement in relations with the West, do you predict that Tehran would distance itself from its look-to-the-East policy and prefer the European markets to Russia for its energy?
– Relationship based on inability of one of the partners to choose cannot be sustainable. Yes, Russia benefits from absence of Iranian oil and gas on certain markets, but it no strategy at all. Russia is facing huge challenges with the need to diversify its economy, to find new markets in the East, and there is not a right approach to rely on expectations that powerful competitors are removed from the market. Continue reading
Russia last month completed the first land link that North Korea’s Stalinist regime has allowed to the outside world since 2003. Running between Khasan in Russia’s southeastern corner and North Korea’s rebuilt port of Rajin, the 54-kilometer rail link is part of a project President Putin is pushing that would reunite the railway systems of the two Koreas and tie them to the Trans-Siberian Railway.
That would give Putin partial control over links to European train networks 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles) away. The route is as much as three times faster than shipping via Egypt’s Suez Canal, which handles 17,000 ships a year, accounts for about 8 percent of maritime trade — and is increasingly beset by pirates and political instability in Egypt and Syria. Continue reading