What drives Russia’s foreign policy in Vladimir Putin’s times? Why did the Kremlin decide to annex Crimea, occupy South Ossetia, intervene in Syria, or give its blessing to Nord Stream II?
When explaining Russia’s foreign policy, the consolidation of Putin’s autocratic tendencies and his apparent stability despite many economic and political challenges have contributed – at least in the West – to an excessive “Putin-centrism” and the relative neglect of other agents of domestic politics. As a result, many facets of the country’s foreign policy decisions are misunderstood or shrouded under a thin veil of vagueness and secrecy.
This Report attempts to fill this gap, exploring the evolving distribution of political and economic power under the surface of Putin’s leadership to assess the influence of different “lobbies” on Russia’s foreign policy. Who decides what in Moscow? The answer, unsurprisingly, is not always “Vladimir Putin”. All of the contributions in the volume underline the complexity of Russia’s decision-making process beneath the surface of a monolithic and increasingly personalistic government.
Paolo Magri, ISPI
1. Influential or Irrelevant? The Role of Foreign Policy Think Tanks in Russia
Alexander Graef (Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy)
2. Domestic Lobbyists and Conservatism in Russian Foreign Policy
Alicja Curanović (University of Warsaw)
3. The Liberals and Liberalism in Russia: Who is Dead, Who is Alive?
Andrei Kolesnikov (Carnegie Moscow Center)
4. The Czars of Russian Middle East Policies
Marianna Belenkaya (Kommersant), Polina Vasilenko (RIAC)
5. Russian “Alternative” in sub-Saharan Africa: A Challenge to Western Liberalism
Maxim Matusevich (Seton Hall University, New Jersey)
Aldo Ferrari, Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti (ISPI)