Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in spring 2014, relations between Moscow and the European Union have been quite tense and are still affected by the sanctions policy, while awaiting resolution of Russia’s differences with Ukraine. Added to this are Russia’s active role alongside the Syrian government in the civil war that has ravaged that country for the last eight years, and other international positions adopted by Moscow, which Jean-François Drevet reminds us of here.
In this somewhat turbulent context, sizing up Russia’s international strategy, its aims, limits and perspectives, is an essential prerequisite for assessing how relations between Brussels and Moscow might evolve. This is what this column aims to do and, while it reminds us that Moscow is no longer the international giant of old, it also shows us the cards Russia still holds, particularly in Asia by dint of its geographical centrality, and, indeed, with regard to Washington. In both these cases, as in its relations with the EU, the return to constructive cooperation requires us not to underestimate Russia and to focus on reciprocal interests.