Events of 2015 only confirmed importance of Russkii vopros or Russian question. Russia remained during last year one of key world newsmakers. Experts on foreign affairs could observe on-line President Putin’s not too successful attempts to break the isolation where he had led Russia due to his adventurous and impetuous foreign policy. Maybe these vain attempts cause nervousness of Russian high representatives. The article Lavrov’s Geometry by Yaroslav Shimov analyses this possible relation.
Some aspects of another problematic step made by Putin’s foreign policy, maybe not too visible yet, confrontation with Turkey are discussed in two contributions placed in the section Russia and Turkey. Interview with Azerbaijani historian Musa Musa Qasımlı presents various historical ups and downs in Russia-Turkey relations whereas article by Emin Daniş is focused on sphere of energy particularly Turkish possibilities to compensate Russia as resource of energy supplies.
Economists did not also come short. They could, e.g., notice numerous admirable statements by Russian leaders and responsible persons explaining current condition of Russian economy. One of them, statement of chairwoman of National bank of Russia, the section Apropos comments in broader context. No wonder, if Russia has such specialists in high positions that it faces so crucial problems.
However, Russian President in his last performances – Address to the Federal Assembly and annual press-conference– accused one and only main culprit: falling prices of oil. It would be interesting to hear Mr. Putin’s answer to the question what he personally did during his fifteen-year rule to release Russia from the dependence on prices of raw materials. But domestic meetings with journalists are not place for asking indecent questions therefore we could not learn Putin’s explanation. Pity because it could be really interesting.
Journal as usually pays attention to the development in countries neighbouring with Russia. This time our authors analyse situation after election in three countries: Belarus (after presidential elections), Moldova (after elections in Transnistria) and Ukraine (after local elections).
Re-elected Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko feels a bit uneasy in closeness of his unpredictable Russian colleague and tries to re-establish ties with the European Union. Such game can be a bit risky because Kremlin has a lot leverages how to eliminate emancipative attempts of its Western neighbour. Belarusian President knows very well that Russia does not offer too attractive model of integration and also Ukrainian case is warning but on the other hand way towards necessary modernization leads to the West. Classic question: What to do? in this situation will very strongly nag Belarusian President in 2016.
One of our leading experts Victor Chirilla analyses results of the “parliamentary” election in the separatist region of Moldova – Transnistria. However, party backed by Transnistrian leader Yevgeny Shevchuk was beaten; there is no reason to think that pro-Russian orientation of Tiraspol could be changed. Russian political interests as well as commercial interests of Russian politicians and entrepreneurs in the region will not be jeopardized even by elections of new Transnistrian leader in 2016. Separatist region will preserve its policy. Local establishment has its position facilitated by situation in Moldova which has not proposed to people living in Transnistria better perspective yet.
Ukrainian local elections were mentioned by Vladimir Putin during his press-conference. His advisors did not prepare for him fully correct information. President announced victory of Opposite bloc in Eastern Ukraine but reality was a bit different and Russian leader only confirmed validity of an old slogan the wish is father to the thought. The article by Victor Zamyatin (Razumkov Centre, Kyiv) brings rather more exact information on the election. In any case local elections occurred and Ukraine, having new regional leaderships, should accelerate its transformational effort which should bring EU standards to the country. The more its system will not be compatible with Russian one, the better for it.
President Petro Poroshenko is completely clear about this matter. His Facebook profile published at the end of year 2015 picture from the front page of the weekly Economist where head of Vladimir Putin among world leaders was substituted for picture of Ukrainian President. Above heads of political leaders year 2017 flies. Where Ukraine will be at that time in reality, year 2016 can indicate a lot.
Dear readers, beside, we hope, interesting reading editorial board wish you Happy New Year 2016.
If you did not find new issue of Russkii vopros оn this place in 2016; it will mean that all is ok on the territory of former U.S.S.R. So see you soon, dear friends.