“Russia always was under the pressure of civilizations competing with the West and South, and this pressure is growing,” write the authors of the report “International threat-2016”, the aim of which is “inventory management”, which can in 2016 to pose a threat to the foreign policy interests of Russia. The document was prepared by the program Director of the Valdai club Andrew Sushentsov and his colleagues at the portal “Foreign policy” in January, but will be put on the discussion platform of the club on Tuesday.
According to the Deputy Director of the Center for political technologies Alexei Makarkin, in the framework of the Valdai club is run and the discussion of ideas that may be of interest to the expert community, however, view the club is not official. The Valdai club was established in 2004 and has United the Russian and Western experts on foreign policy since 2006 and its members traditionally meets Vladimir Putin.
Makarkin emphasized that even if about 30% of the sentences of a document expert later realized, it can already be considered a good result.
Now the challenges for the Russian position from the South are “dynamically developing Turkey, Iran and China,” which “making plans for the Caucasus and Central Asia”. From the West the threat is U.S. policy, which is conducted against Russia, “multidimensional warfare”, the report said. Its purpose is to weaken Russia and force Moscow to become a partner of America in containing China, which, according to the authors, was “the main project of the XXI century”.
According to experts, to achieve this goal, the US inside the country are trying to “create among the population [of Russia] a feeling of hopelessness, the inevitability of collapse, to provoke discontent with the authorities”. In the external dimension Washington supposedly wants to isolate Moscow, creating around “the corral of Pro-American regimes.”
Turkish Sunni threat and risk
One of the most serious risks for Russia in 2016, according to the authors, represents a further deterioration of relations with Turkey. Moscow has imposed on Ankara a number of sanctions after the end of November, Turkish military aircraft shot down in the skies over Syria, a Russian su-24 allegedly violating Turkish airspace.
In the short term, experts say, there is a risk of “dizziness from success” in Syria that could lead to direct military confrontation between Moscow and Ankara. Thus, according to the authors of the report, that is a possible scenario in which Russia and Turkey will not enter into an open armed conflict, but as targets for sabotage will use space satellites, Internet infrastructure and communications systems.
The main risk for Russia in the southern direction in foreign policy, according to the authors of the report, is the danger of a relapse into the Sunni-Shiite conflict on the side of Shiite Iran, which is opposed by the Sunni States led by Saudi Arabia. The report stresses that creates additional risks the fact that Russian Muslims belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. In addition, the involvement in the conflict of Shia and Sunnis complicate the understanding of Moscow and the Sunni opposition in Syria.
Terrorism at the borders
The authors of the report stress that even a victory over Islamists in Syria will not lead to the complete victory over terrorism. There is a risk that terrorist group jihadist will regroup and focus in one of the Central Asian republics. The report emphasizes the potential danger of the development of negative trends in Tajikistan, where the authorities believe the main opposition force, the Islamic revival Party of Tajikistan, the terrorist. Previously most exposed to risks of political instability Tajikistan called experts and Minchenko Consulting.
Experts emphasize that Russia has reduced resources to support its Central Asian neighbours (in particular, reduced investment program for Kyrgyzstan).
Ukraine is not worried
The escalation of the armed conflict in Ukraine was not included in the list of priority threats. “The scenario of a new full-scale war in Donbas cannot be called the most likely,” — stated in the report. According to its authors, from the resumption of active hostilities Kiev will hold the position of its West European partners, the “Normandy four” — France and Germany.
At the same time, according to the authors, it is obvious that in the first half of 2016 to the conflict or significant steps in this direction will not happen. The opposition in the Verkhovna Rada, experts say, will not allow President Petro Poroshenko to carry out the necessary to resolve the conflict the law on elections in the Donbass and the constitutional reform.
Previously, experts close to the Kremlin Center for political conjuncture also called scenario long-term freezing of the conflict in the Donbas the most likely.
“Playing away from his goal”
Sanctions of Western countries against Russia in 2016, according to the authors of the report, will not be cancelled — this will not happen because of the unresolved conflict in the Donbass. This effectively counteract Russia, as noted in the report, yet. Being in confrontation with the US a weaker side, Russia should strive “to translate the game to more distant from the gate field.”
In this strategy, and there is a “turn to the East”, the increased interaction with the BRICS countries and military intervention in Syria. The Syrian operation, the authors of the report believe the most effective and successful of these series. According to them, Russia thanks to the intervention will preserve a friendly regime in Damascus that will allow it to secure a naval base in the Mediterranean, and in the future is to become a leading player in the middle East, capable of conducting expeditionary military campaigns.