Business Briefs

Focus on Russia

For the last hundred years Russia has been – at different times – the enemy of the West, or its uncomfortable ally. Since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Russia has been seeking to re-establish itself across all of its political and economic functions. The governing elites in Russia never accepted the notion that Russia had lost its great nation status, even when it was functionally bankrupt, unable to pay or maintain its military, and had lost its vast empire of satellite states to energetic independence movements. Similarly, this point was never grasped by Europe nor by the US, both of which took the opportunity to try and bring the Russian elites and political culture into line with western norms. This failure shored up some of the problems that exist in the relationship between the two blocs today. But these problems run wider than a simple difference between Russia and the West – in addition, these problems include a difference between the EU and US regarding how to deal with Russia.

The characterization of Russia as an uncomfortable ally to the West arises because Russia can be difficult to do business with, and because it is an awkward international partner across a range of issues, including the Iranian government’s acquisition of nuclear technologies. However, there are some areas in which the West could deal usefully with Russia, including counterterrorism.

  • The Gangster State?
  • Energy Blackmail
  • Iran and Nuclear Missiles
  • Missile Defense
  • Global Counterterrorism's Eastern Front
  • Conclusion


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