Trade and Globalisation

Reports and papers

The New East-West Discord: Russian Objectives, Western Interests

22 Dec 2015 - 10:04
Source: Flickr/Vicente Villamon

This report looks at the motives of the Kremlin to engage in revisionist and aggressive policies towards the West and the “countries in between”. Russia has framed western policies as a civilisational challenge to the present regime in the Kremlin. Reviving Russia’s great power status (especially in the post-soviet space, but also in the Middle East) is central to the regime’s hold on power.

The author indicates some fundamental changes in Russian policies, challenging the rules of the postCold War security order. Furthermore, he notices a change in the means of Russian policies, including a willingness to use force and implement policies from a “whole of government”-perspective: securitising business, trade and energy relations and engaging in information warfare, difficult for the West to deal with. More specifically, the author focuses on the Ukraine crisis and the challenges posed to the wider Eastern Neighbourhood and to the Baltic states.

He also analyses the challenges for the West, as Russia tries to play on divisions between western countries and within western societies. He then recommends for the West to stay united, not give in on principles, and wait for a critical mass of Russia’s elite to change course. Strategic patience and containment remain crucial.