Last Sunday Chechen police declared having registered 1.1 million people participating in the protest against the “genocide” of Muslims in Myanmar held in the center of Grozny (the capital of the Chechen republic). The number of participants may be overestimated, since the Republic's overall population is 1.3 million people, but the importance of this protest for Russia’s internal stability and international political agenda is hard to overestimate.
Involvement of international actors has been essential in resolving conflicts, rebuilding, and helping reconcile the Western Balkans in the last few decades. Throughout the 1990s, foreign intervention was meant to stop the bloodshed in the region after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, ending the wars in the region.
Last year’s events further exacerbated and focused global attention on the same uncertainties already weighing on the past decade: from Brexit, and the ensuing uncertainty about the future of the UK-EU relations, to the ever-growing success of populist and nationalist movements across Europe; from the unnerving paralysis of the international community on the war in Syria to the new wave of terrorist attacks in Europe; from renewed political and economic crises in pivot countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Turkey to Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, which may turn out to be a new and momentous source of uncertainty, also casting doubts on the remaining resilience of multilateral cooperation.
The 2017 ISPI report aims to analyze how such uncertainties are spreading from last year’s events, but also to try to fathom deeper trends. The first part of the Report will focus on the overall development of the international scenario, both from a political and an economic standpoint. The second part will shift the spotlight to Italy, where global uncertainties overlap with deep internal uncertainties and vulnerabilities.
The deadlocked conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains, as of Spring 2017, the most direct challenge to security in Europe and the most powerful driver of the confrontation between Russia and the West. This confrontation is significantly different from the essentially static posture of the Cold War, from the late 1940s to the late 1970s, and it is the unique nature of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that determines many of the differences.
This brief text addresses the question of how Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine – and elsewhere – have influenced debates and policies in the Nordic countries. The ambition here is to shed light on how these questions are addressed in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, the countries that for various reasons have had to redefine their policies towards Russia in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis in 2014.
Nowadays, the Mediterranean region’s balance of power is challenged by several conflicts and actors. Russia has taken advantage of this complex and fluid situation, becoming a key actor, expanding its military involvement, and building up political relationships. A key step in this process has been Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict since September 2015. While this was a surprising development, the paper argues that it is nonethless consistent with Russia’s regional interests and its renewed foreign policy.
After the 1969 revolution, Libya’s previously close links to the United States quickly deteriorated. At the same time Muammar al-Gaddafi sought closer links to the Soviet Union. The clear majority of the equipment of the “Armed Forces of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” originated from the Soviets or the Eastern Bloc. Many of the officers of all services were educated at military training facilities of the Soviet Armed Forces. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia remained as one of Libya’s key allies.
There is no doubt that the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign is an orchestrated strategy, delivering the same disinformation stories in as many languages as possible, through as many channels as possible, and as often as possible.
Attempts by Washington and Brussels to push Russia to the fringes of global politics because of the Ukrainian crisis seem to have failed. Thanks to its important role in mediating the Iranian nuclear agreement, and to its unexpected military intervention in Syria, Moscow proved once again to be a key player in international politics.
However, Russia’s recovered assertiveness may represents a challenge to the uncertain leadership of the West. This report aims to gauging Russia’s current role in the light of recent developments on the international stage. The overall Russian foreign policy strategy is examined by taking into account its most important issues: Ukraine and the relationship with the West; the Middle East (intervention in Syria, and ongoing relations with Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia); the development of the Eurasian Economic Union; the Russian pivot towards Asia, and China in particular. The volume also analyzes if and to what extent Moscow can fulfill its ambitions in a context of falling oil prices and international sanctions.