Russia’s conduct toward Ukraine and other formerly Soviet states in Eurasia reflects the lack of a cohesive grand strategy on the Kremlin’s part. A critical flaw is that the logic of confrontation inherent in its doctrine of protecting Russian-speakers living abroad contradicts President Vladimir Putin’s intention to forge Eurasia’s economic integration.
In his 2013 work, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid documents the fate of an ambitious emerging market youngster as he rises from rags to riches and moves from countryside to city, surrounding himself with ever-greater comfort as he grows more affluent.
Russia’s ambitions for territorial expansion these days are not limited to Crimea and eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin and Canada are maneuvering to gain control of potentially lucrative areas of the Arctic.
On June 26, Russia plays Algeria in a World Cup Group H match that should determine which of the two teams moves on from group play to the round of 16. Beyond Russia’s borders, in other formerly Soviet states, there are plenty of football fans cheering for the Russian national team to win.
Aside from a famously bland brand of diplomatic rhetoric, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization represents the only major Eurasian club that caters to both Russian and Chinese interests. Yet with Moscow and Beijing presenting visibly divergent visions for economic cooperation in Central Asia, it is unclear how those competing views can be reconciled.