RUSSIA’S ROLE IN THE WORLD
Russia has somehow recovered from its worst days of 2014, which saw President Putin being shunned at the G20 meeting in Brisbane by World Leaders, leading him to leave the summit earlier than planned. Russia has half buried the annexation of Crimea from the international agenda and has brought down its involvement in Ukraine from the top of the international agenda.
It has taken leadership in the Syrian civil war and the war on IS. It has worked with Iran to establish the Assad’s regime as the main power in the country. Russia has supported Erdogan during the failed Coup d’état last July which help restored their relations and enhance their cooperation in the Syrian conflict.
The Russian Economy is in the middle of serious struggle; its GDP has shrunk by more than 3.5% since 2014 and the Ruble value has fallen by more than 127%. Falling energy and commodity prices throughout have resulted in significant revenue deficit for Russia. The country’s isolation from international markets owing to sectoral financial sanctions has only worsened the impact of falling oil price prices. Heavy military spending has contributed to the economic downturn. In the medium and long run, if the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is not peacefully resolved and Western sanctions are not removed, the economic situation may worsen, but no collapse will occur. However, the World Bank estimated that the Russian Economy will recover in 2017 with an expected growth rate of over 2%.
With the election of Donald Trump as President of the United, the possible election of Francois Fillon as President of France and harsh Brexit negotiations; Russia is expected to have a rapprochement with the United States, France and the UK which will limit its international isolation. These developments may raise security concerns with the European Union, especially the Baltic States. However, these developments can present opportunities for more collaboration with Russia in resolving both the Ukraine and the Syrian conflicts because neglecting diplomatic efforts between Russia and the west at such a precarious point in time for international relations will have extremely serious consequences.