The round table was held on January 26, 2006 and had a target-setting character and was the first scheduled by the aforesaid Centres within the framework of research project "Analysis of Geoeconomic and Geopolitical Factors in Choice of Strategic Lines for Russia’s Participation in Global and Regional Development Processes" (application for federal grant was submitted for the project implementation).
The list of participants of the Round table included Dr. (Hist.), prof. Boris A. Shmelyov, Dr. (Econ.), Head of the Centre for CIS and Baltics Leonid B. Vardomsky, leading research officer, Ph.D (Econ.) Lydia S. Kosikova, Dr. (Econ.) Prof. Leon Z. Zevin, Dr. (Econ.) A.N. Bykov, Dr. (Econ.), Prof. Alexey Kuprianov, leading researcher, Ph.D (Econ.) Alexey B. Shurubovich, prof. V. Tatarintsev (head of Department, Diplomatic Academy for MFI RF), Deputy Head of the Centre for Integration Problems,Ph.D (Econ.) Mikhail Yu. Golovnin and many others.
In opening address prof. Shmelyov pointed out that “failure of the pre-conceived CIS model stands for failed Russia’s preceding policy in the post-Soviet space”. So, that policy should be undoubtedly altered and adjusted in view of new realities in the post-Soviet space”. The latter include different forms of strained relations between Russia and the Newly-Independent States. Research of conflict proneness in these relations and possible options of its resolution facilitate development and implementation of science-based policy in the post-Soviet space so that it might satisfy Russia’s interests and potencies and, accordingly, allow the country attaining of necessary goals with the least possible losses. The development of new Russian policy in the post-Soviet space requires answers to the following principally important questions, submitted for the participants’ discussion:
1. Political, economic and other interests of Russia and Newly-Independent States: comparative analysis of their structure.
2. What’s the significance of post-Soviet space for the Russian political and economic development?
3. What political and economic after-effects will challenge Russia in case of its losing geopolitical influence in the region?
4. Are there real potencies in Russia to hold its influence over the countries in the region?
5. Why Russian geopolitical influence in the Post-Soviet space is diminished?
6. Does Russia have real potencies to influence internal political processes in Newly-Independent States?
7. Can the political elites in Newly-Independent States succeed in building of state systems in the context of confrontation with Russia?
8. What’s the probability of an inter-state conflict in the post-Soviet space and what forms may it acquire?
9. Can the post-Soviet space exist in a split form? That is to say - in the form of numerous formally independent but virtually failed states? Or is the post-Soviet space enduring transition period with all its chaos and uncontrollability, upon completion of which it can be transformed in some new geopolitical structure based on new principles?
The organizers stipulate to hold the subsequent round tables every three months. The results of studies will be generalized in research papers, materials of research conferences, monographs, in analytical reports for policy-making authorities, in courses of lectures and training manuals for students.
Boris A. Shmelyov
Statement at the Round-table
Russia is getting involved in global economic ties primarily on the regional and subregional levels. Its economic interests are realized with its inclusion into the global differentiation of labor. In view of the country’s economic opportunities today, its industrial, scientific and technical potential, one can single out several regions, the development of economic cooperation with which is vital for the Russian Federation. These include Europe, CIS, North- Eastern Asia, South-Eastern Asia, Southern Asia, the Near and Middle East.
Considering the limited capacity of Russian domestic market, export deliveries from Russia to these regions contribute to loading of the production facilities in this country, to obtaining foreign currency the country requires, to satisfying the demand in food supplies, industrial equipment, consumer goods. Exchange of goods, industrial equipment and capital stocks between countries in these regions has a significant impact on the molding structure of Russia’s national economy and determinates strategic lines of its economic development.
The results of Russia’s involvement in global economic relations for the last 15 years show that though having solved a number of its internal economic and social problems with the help of these relations, the country has not reached the primary objective of its reforms with their aid. So, it has not created sustainable economic preconditions for the transition to post-industrial phase of its development.
The country has virtually become raw material supplier and, primarily – the supplier of energy resources to the markets of aforesaid regions and the consumer of science-intensive products. The pretension to make Russia the key energy supplier for Europe, with Russia acting as the most essential element to ensure the global energy security virtually stands for the archaic structure of its national economy complex and abandoning its policy of transfer to the post-industrial development phase. There exist illusory hopes of turning oil and gas industries into a peculiar locomotive able to bring out the whole national-economic complex of the country onto the brand-new level of development.
Though Russia possesses vast raw material resources, material and intellectual assets and by now – financial resources, it’s not yet self-sufficient from the viewpoint that it cannot develop independently of global and regional tendencies, being inherent to the world economy. That is why integration processes on the regional level are especially important for Russia in this respect. In fact, Russia faces the historically critical challenge at present and its future will depend on the way it responds now. Russia can choose between several responding options. In the first place, it can join some integration grouping, in the second place – take the lead of an integration grouping and, in the third place – to advance using its own forces and potentials. Each of these options presupposes a relevant model of foreign economic and external policy and, accordingly, its own complex of geo-economic and geopolitical interests. The effects of any chosen option will tell on its medium-term and long-term prospects, i.e. in the range of 25-30 years or, probably, more. Therefore, the after-effects of responding options to the challenges facing Russia require profound, comprehensive scientific study. Apparently, one should clearly conceive the following aspects of this problem:
1. Is Russia able to create and lead any integration grouping?
2. Is it possible for Russia to join current integration groupings? On what terms is it possible and what’s the outcome in this case?
3. Is the turn to Asian integration groupings expedient for Russia?
4. Impact of European and Asian integration processes on Russian internal policy development.
5. Russia’s ability to influence European and Asian integration processes.
6. What model of economic development is most efficient for Russia when following the policy of joining different integration groupings?
7. After-effects of Russian self-relying policy.
The most essential aspect of this problem involves study of correlation between Russian geopolitical and geo-economic interests. The Russian-Ukrainian gas conflict is another convincing evidence of close relationship between geopolitics and geoeconomics.
Most obviously, Russia won’t be able to realize its geoeconomic interests without having its geopolitical influence in several regions of the world, being essential for Russia. The past 15 years since the emergence of CIS indicate that the CIS has been a peculiar form of divorcement between the former Soviet republics. The Newly-Independent States developed their own national political elites which treat preservation of independence as the top-priority objective and subordinates all other activities to its achievement.
This calls forth a number of questions, the answers to which are indispensable for the efficient and target-oriented foreign policy.
1. What actual resources and potentials are available in Russia so that to strengthen its geopolitical influence in world regions, being of geoeconomic interest for Russia?
2. Is Russia able to realize its geo-economic interests in these regions without its geopolitical influence available there?
3. What potencies are there in Russia to carry out competitive struggle with other global centers of forces for geopolitical influence?
Thereby, the present subject is essential to determine the key parameters of the country’s internal and foreign policy and may have a substantial effect for its national economy.
The Institute possesses a number of research papers on this subject, which substantiate availability of prerequisites for its successful completion.
The results of scientific studies on this subject will be realized in form of research conferences, papers, monographs, with analytic studies submitted to policy-making authorities and included in courses of lectures and training manuals for students.