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Mark Galeotti, a research fellow at the IIR in Prague, met with RMSSP students to discuss Russian foreign and security policy

01.03.2017

On February 28, RMSSP students welcomed Mark Galeotti, research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague.

The deliberation started with brief overview of Russian foreign and security policy. It was pointed out that the domestic conditions play important role in the formulation of foreign policy. Therefore the functional dynamics of current Russian political system was presented at the first place. According to Mr. Galeotti the general goal of President Vladimir Putin and its close associates is to gain and maintain power. However there is no “big strategy” for achieving this goal and spontaneous actions and activities of middle-ranking regime supporters are desired and welcomed.    

Russian ambitions and Western perception of universal world order are incompatible, which leads to confrontation that is likely to be long-lasting. Russia uses wide scale of undercover tools (such as propaganda, corruption, support of anti-establishment movements) during this confrontation. Its strategy does not have to lead to military confrontation, that is often wrongly expected by Western thinkers who are too fixed to the case of Crimea. Despite strong rhetoric are Russian sources very limited and it is a question how long it could continue with a campaign of such scale.

The following discussion was focused on several subjects. Great attention was dedicated to the activities of Russian security services in Europe. It was mentioned that security services are eager to use every possibility to enforce its goals (including collaboration with the organized crime) and its actions are often carried out without knowledge of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Prague embassy was also discussed in connection with this subject. Mr. Galeotti also spoke about disinformation campaign and "fake news" phenomena and recalled that the variety of opinions is a fundament of the democratic order which should not be forgotten.

Another discussed topic was Russian policy in specific regions. Mr. Galotti presented its views on Russian role in the Middle East (mainly in Syria), perspectives of further relations with China, prospects for Central Asia and situation in the Arctic.

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