“The West Wants to Eliminate Our Country as a Significant Geopolitical Competitor”
S. Lavrov

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Keywords: confrontation between Russia and the West, Ukraine as a US puppet, Russia-Africa summit, path to cooperation with the EAEU and the CSTO

International Affairs: The world has entered a period of confrontation between global development concepts, with the positions of Russia, China, and the non-Western powers in general opposing the policy of Western dominance. Was this inevitable due to the differences in civilizations, approaches to the use of force and international law, and the understanding of the role of international institutions? In the context of current challenges, in your view, what is Russia’s role and mission?…

VIEWPOINT

Incivility in Diplomacy as a Reflection of the Crisis in Foreign Policy Culture
V. Chumakov

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The American response is all but a model of diplomatic manners compared to NATO’s document. NATO sent us such an ideologically motivated answer, it is so permeated with its exceptional role and special mission, that I even felt a bit embarrassed for whoever wrote these texts.1

THE 2020s have been characterized by a profound crisis of confidence in international relations and world politics manifested in the use of political, psychological, and rhetorical methods and techniques that are atypical of traditional diplomatic practices and do not correspond to generally recognized norms of diplomatic protocol. Such manifestations include, for example, the use of unverified information and disinformation, the dissemination of deliberately false information (“fake news”), the unilateral disclosure of confidential face-to-face or telephone conversations to the media, and the publication of diplomatic correspondence not only as an unofficial translation but also as direct copies of informational documents (notes, letters, telegrams, and attachments to them). We also see the use of undiplomatic expressions (accusations, insults, name-calling, threats, blackmail, jokes) against counterpart or senior foreign or international officials, albeit primarily behind their backs, as well personal correspondence between such individuals on publicly available electronic mail services, instant messengers, and social networks…

WORLD ISSUES

Emerging Contours of a New, Just World (FREE content!)
B. Gryzlov, P. Frolov, V. Vanke

Strategies Race Between Russia and the West: An Adaptability Test?
A. Kramarenko

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That’s the main trouble with them. They never understand jokes. They will never understand jokes. Their souls are dry – flat and dry …

THERE is no longer any doubt that the Western blitzkrieg in Ukraine has failed phenomenally. The seven-year rearmament of Ukraine, comparable to the appeasement policy toward Nazi Germany (in order to provide it with sufficient military resources for an attack on the USSR), combined with a sharp increase in sanctions-based pressure on Moscow (all its impact came from the initial sanctions packages) could not bring down the Russian economy in the first 18 to 24 months of the SMO [Special Military Operation]. Thus, they were unable to destabilize the domestic political situation in the country or create conditions for “regime change” and the subsequent dismemberment of the country as a form of the “final solution” to the Russian question. Inflicting a “battlefield defeat” on Russia last summer and autumn also proved impossible. Even though we employed a clearly small number of people, we were able to mount an effective defense by adopting a long-term, stable, and almost industrialized format…

Analytics in International Relations
Y. Sayamov

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THE concept of “analytics,” which has recently become fashionable, has appeared in the Russian active sociopolitical, scientific, and cultural lexicon relatively recently. Analytics is actually a combination of analysis, synthesis, generalization, and prediction, and acts as a link between data evaluation and decision-making.1 It is a creative intellectual activity of extracting new relevant knowledge from the totality of collected information2 and can be considered a special type of such activity aimed at preparing and making decisions.3

There are different varieties of analytics depending on the field of human activity. The popularity of analytics is growing. More and more people wish to become (or at least call themselves) analysts, and describe their work as analytical, although in essence it often is not. Business and international relations are becoming especially attractive fields. Those wishing to become professional international analysts can do so today at 89 Russian institutions of higher education that offer 137 training programs in this specialization.4

Hypersonic Weapons: Strategic Breakthrough or Strategic Challenge?
G. Mashkov

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Keywords: hypersonic weapons, hypersonics, missiles, missile defense, ICBM, Yars, Avangard, Kinzhal, Zircon, LRHW, C-HGB, ARRW, HACM, HAWC, Fattah, DF-17, DF-27, BrahMos, Hycore

IN RECENT years, hypersonic weapons have become a central topic of discussion around new military technologies affecting international security. Hypersonics are becoming apriority area of military-technological development that some states are using to restore their strategic stability and provide a real deterrence mechanism and others are using to pursue the goal of global dominance. Vast financial, scientific, and technical resources are being invested in the development of missile programs…

Artificial Intelligence as a Source of International Security Threats
A. Smirnov, T. Isayeva

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THE world is gripped by unprecedented interest in artificial intelligence (AI). Articles, books, conferences, and seminars on AI are multiplying exponentially. More importantly, so are AI-based machines, mechanisms, and tools, which are used in practically every industry.

AI FIRST became the subject of a large-scale research program back in the 1950s. This program was based on symbolic logic, and programmers encoded data for processing by AI. As a result, AI was of little practical value.1

The NATO Summit in Vilnius: Words and Deeds
S. Filatov

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THE NATO summit that took place in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis aroused heightened interest. After all, it seemed as if the Western countries were ready to discuss key issues of war and peace. And now we have results from this two-day meeting of the self-described “strongest alliance in history.” Let’s take a closer look at the cast of characters and their decisions.

The author’s overall assessment of this gathering turns out to be a little paradoxical. On one hand, there is an ongoing military conflict in Europe into which practically all nations of the North Atlantic alliance have been dragged, so far playing the role of meeting the military needs of the Kiev regime – and this is what NATO was created for: to fight, fight, fight, as it has been doing for more than 70 years now since its creation in 1949. On the other hand, at the podium of the summit, so many words were uttered about defense that it gave the definite impression that no matter how much NATO continues to strut, these days it does not want to go to war alone and is stepping back toward strategic defense, realizing what is happening on the Ukrainian battlefield. To the indignation of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky, who was present at the event, the NATO summit did not even come close to discussing whether to accept Ukraine among its ranks. But NATO had its own rationale in this regard…

A Summit of Self-Determination
V. Kozhemyakin

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THE NATO Vilnius summit, which took place on July 11-12, 2023, became a summit of the alliance’s self-determination in the sense that the alliance effectively embarked on a clear anti-Russian course. In their final communique, NATO members described Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.” Alliance members also issued several statements of support for the Kiev regime.

Nevertheless, on the second day of the summit, it already became clear that the alliance is unwilling for further escalation and the 2023 Vilnius summit will not go down in history as an event where a new crusade against Russia was declared. Moreover, there were clear signs that alliance members are not so opposed to negotiations with Moscow, which would reduce the risk of a direct military confrontation between nuclear powers…

COMMENTARIES AND ESSAYS

Japan’s Cybersecurity Policy: Past and Present Developments
P. Kuznetsov

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Keywords: Japan, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), National Information Security Center (NISC), cybersecurity strategy, preemptive cyberattack

CYBERSECURITY1 as a component of information security and, more broadly, an element of the safe use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is an area where Japan has not made as much progress as one would have expected from such a technologically advanced country. For comparison, while Russia adopted its first information security doctrine in 2000 [3], Japan during that time dealt with information security and cybersecurity in separate documents that did not directly comprise a single strategic system. Those documents were the Basic Act on the Formation of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society [4], the e-Japan Strategy [5], and the e-Japan Strategy II [6]…

Prospects for Expanding Russia’s Cooperation With ASEAN Countries in the New Geopolitical Reality: A Case Study of Myanmar
Ye. Martynova

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MYANMAR (called Burma until 1989) is the largest country in the Indochinese Peninsula and the second largest ASEAN member state (after Indonesia). The country has an area of 678,500 square kilometers and a population of more than 50 million. It is rich in natural resources, including natural gas (estimated reserves of around 2.5 trillion cubic meters, including proven reserves of 509.4 billion cubic meters), oil (reserves of around 3.2 billion [metric] tons),1 ores and minerals (gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc, tungsten, rubies, sapphires), significant water resources, abundant timber reserves, and fertile lands.2

MYANMAR has a unique geopolitical position, as it is located between two economic giants, India and China, and in effect at the intersection of key trade routes, acting as a bridge between East, South, and Southeast Asia…

The Impact of China-India Economic Cooperation on Bilateral Political Tension
D. Bochkov

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Keywords: Chinese-Indian trade, economic cooperation, New Development Bank (NDB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Indo-Pacific, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

RELATIONS between China and India are affected by a combination of economic and political factors. On one hand, trade between the two countries is marked by positive dynamics, and they interact successfully on issues of global development and multilateral international cooperation. On the other hand, they are military and political rivals and compete for regional economic leadership. Former Indian national security adviser Shivshankar Menon considers Indian-Chinese relations a combination of cooperation and rivalry…

Information and Analytical Support for the Islamic Vector of Russia’s Foreign Policy
S. Magomedova

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Keywords: Islamic world, OIC, Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the OIC, information and analytical work

THE principles of modern Russia’s foreign policy are laid down primarily in the Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation,1 the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation,2 and the Concept of Russia’s Humanitarian Policy Abroad.3 These documents outline the main ideas, strategic goals, and objectives of the formation and implementation of the foreign policy of the Russian Federation, including with regard to Muslim countries. The 2023 Policy Concept says: “The states of friendly Islamic civilization are becoming increasingly desirable and reliable partners of Russia in ensuring security and stability, as well as in solving economic problems at the global and regional levels.”…

The Spiritual-Moral Values of Orthodox Christianity and Islam Confront the Degradation of Modern Society
F. Mukhametshin

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THE Russia-Islamic World Strategic Vision Group (RIW SVG) worked up gradually toward its May 19, 2023 meeting in Kazan1 by holding a number of other events, conferences and forums, including meetings abroad.

Among these we should mention the group’s meeting in Jeddah (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) in 2021, titled “Russia-Islamic World: Dialogue and Prospects for Cooperation,” which was well organized with rich intellectual content and an open and constructive atmosphere.2

The Political Landscape of Iraq: The Rise and Fall of Muqtada al-Sadr
R. Moustafin

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IRAQ has entered a very complicated period of its history: a change of ideologies, the collapse of previous state structures, and the emergence of new forms of government. The 20-year American occupation turned the country’s political landscape upside down. Today in Iraq there are multiple views on the country’s future development, about where to go next: Should the country move toward the Arab world and Iran or try to rebuild the collapsed bridges with the West? Should it remain a secular state or rely on orthodox Islam? China is gaining weight in the region, yet the main element of suspense in Iraq’s political life is the emergence of serious disagreements, if not a split, between the Shia parties and groups in the country, where Shia Muslims constitute a clear but not overwhelming majority of the population.

ON OCTOBER 10, 2021, Iraq held snap parliamentary elections, the fifth since Saddam Hussein’s downfall in 2003. The patriotic Sairoon Alliance, led by influential Shia imam Muqtada al-Sadr, won 73 of the 329 seats, which is 19 more seats than in the 2018 elections. Turnout was a record low of about 41%…

The US in Central Asia: “Non-Soft Power” Policies
Ye. Kozhokin

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THE rich and beautiful valleys of Wyoming are destined for the occupancy and sustenance of the Anglo-Saxon race. The wealth that for untold ages has lain hidden beneath the snow-capped summits of our mountains has been placed there by Providence to reward the brave spirits whose lot it is to compose the advance-guard of civilization. The Indians must stand aside or be overwhelmed by the ever advancing and ever-increasing tide of emigration. The destiny of the aborigines is written in characters not to be mistaken. The same inscrutable Arbiter that decreed the downfall of Rome has pronounced the doom of extinction upon the red men of America [2:180].

The above quote is from a newspaper published in the American wild West; it was nothing out of the ordinary – something that goes without saying. Do our American contemporaries think the same about other peoples? Regrettably, the answer is “Yes.” This superpower does not cherish the lives of others as it cherishes American lives. Driven by the cult of technological modernization to a much greater extent than other nations, the American nation never stops moving forward, while certain of its existential ideas and attitudes remain the same for decades or even centuries. Americans are a missionary people; the American establishment and most of its citizens are convinced that theirs is a special mission of teaching others the principles of freedom and democracy. All other peoples must either follow the US leadership or else historical progress will (with the help of the Americans) remove them as it removed the “red men”…

Kazakhstan: Foreign Policy Dilemmas
D. Malysheva

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THE multivector principle, which forms the basis of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, remains the republic’s calling card of sorts. This envisions “fostering friendly, equal, and mutually beneficial relations with all states, interstate associations, and international organizations that are of practical interest to Kazakhstan.”1

Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s multivector trends are often determined by the interests of political, energy, trade, and financial elites that to a large extent depend on international investors. After all, it is no secret that foreign capital has an extensive presence in Kazakhstan’s economic system, which largely relies on export revenues from energy and other resources. Another significant influence on Kazakhstan’s foreign policy comes from numerous technically nonstate entities, which are mostly of Western origin and promote the political goals of the countries they represent; they have been active in the country since the 1990s.2

A New Right-Wing Italy and Prospects for Italian Populism
S. Gavrilova

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Keywords: Italian Republic, populism, political parties, protest voting, transformation of the party-political space, elections, Brothers of Italy

IN THE last few years, the party and political landscape of Europe has changed significantly. In some countries, new parties and movements have moved to the fore. They represent a so-called “political alternative” frequently defined as “new populism” – a sign that the broad masses of the European electorate are dissatisfied with developments within national borders and at the supranational level. Europeans are dissatisfied with migration problems, economic instability, and a host of social issues. This can be found in the platforms of parties that represent what is called the “political alternative,” which is a key to their considerable success at the national level and in elections to the European Parliament. In the last decade, the “political alternative” has become an inalienable part of the European party and political landscape,1 yet few of their politicians have reached the highest echelons of power…

RUSSIA-AFRICA SUMMIT

Russia and Africa: Old Friends and New Opportunities
G. Sidorova

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Keywords: Russia, Africa, African continent, Western countries, diplomacy, stability, Ukrainian crisis, cooperation

THE holding of the second Russia-Africa Summit in July 2023 in St. Petersburg amid the tough confrontation between the West and Russia was a true feat of Russian diplomacy. The preparation of such a large-scale and significant event required a lot of effort from Russian foreign policy officials. Consistently and convincingly explaining, without typical Anglo-Saxon hysteria and fabrications, Russia’s position on international issues, including the Ukraine crisis, and winning African countries over to Russia, which is extending a helping hand to the continent that is home to almost 1.5 billion people, is painstaking and at times exhausting work that remains behind the scenes against the backdrop of positive changes…

Dignity as a Key Word at the Second Russia-Africa Summit
I. Abramova

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International Affairs: Irina Olegovna [Abramova], the second Russia-Africa Summit, which has clearly become historic, has come to an end. The Western press was rife with speculation about the level of attendance of African guests. Who in fact came to visit us?

Irina Abramova: We are well aware that all these speculations are related to the enormous political pressure that Western countries have exerted on African states. There are also purely technical difficulties, when some heads of state were simply not allowed to pass through the territory of some countries or were forced to switch to trains. In other words, everything was done to prevent anyone from reaching us…

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF INTERVIEWS

“Miraculously, Over the Past 30 Years, 40,000 Churches Have Been Restored”
Metropolitan Ferapont

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Keywords: Kostroma Kremlin, restoration of churches, Feodorovskaya Icon of the Mother of God, priests in the Special Military Operation zone

Armen Oganesyan, Editor-in-Chief, International Affairs: Bishop, your diocese has a long history, as does all of Kostroma Province. But if you look back just 10 years, what were the main problems you faced?…

“Art Creates the State and Makes It Civilized”
N. Safronov

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Armen Oganesyan, Editor-in-Chief, International Affairs: Nikas Stepanovich [Safronov], you once quoted from Ilya Ehrenburg’s People, Years, Life: “In the past, eternal ideas were written down with goose quills, and today, goose ideas are written down with eternal quills. ” What if we were to talk about brushes instead of quills? How would you assess today’s level of artistic development?

Nikas Safronov: Since the 1990s, under American influence, we have had a huge number of installation and performance artists whose work is very questionable. But, of course, good performances and installation art also exist today…

HISTORY AND MEMOIRS

Following the Routes of Russian 19th-Century Explorers in the Southern Ocean
V. Lukin, K. Timokin

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Keywords: Antarctic, expedition, Bellingshausen, Lazarev, whaling, Aleut, Slava, Sovetskaya Ukraina, Sovetskaya Rossiya, Yury Dolgoruky, research, negotiations, moratorium on whaling

THE Russian Empire significantly strengthened its positions in the early 19th century by defeating Napoleonic France and playing a key role in the Congress of Vienna – a series of meetings in 1814-1815 that repaired monarchical regimes undermined by the Great French Revolution of 1789-1799 and established a new political and legal order for Europe…

A.G. Yakovlev: Consul General of Russia in the Holy Land
F. Georgi

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Keywords: Russian Empire, Holy Land, Jerusalem, St. Sergius compound, Israel, Siam, consulate, consul general, digital diplomacy, online exhibition

THE Embassy of Russia in Israel has prepared an online exhibition, “A.G. Yakovlev: 10 Years of Service as Russian Imperial Consul General in the Holy Land,” to honor the memory of outstanding diplomat and Orientalist Alexander Yakovlev (https://yakovlev-jerusalem.ru). The website has desktop and mobile versions. His biography, digitized archival materials, documents, and photos (some of them never before published) serve as an excellent illustration of the history of Russia’s presence in the Holy Land in the latter half of the 19th century…

BOOK REVIEWS

Ye.S. Zinovyeva and S.V. Shitkov. Digital International Relations
A. Avetisyan

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Digital International Relations * a textbook for higher education institutions edited by Yelena Zinovyeva and Sergey Shitkov, is a comprehensive study of the role of global digital transformation in key world political trends. In accessible form, it explains key impacts of the digital transition on international relations.

The book is written by a team of leading specialists in international relations, security, and the world economy who examine digitalization from various scholarly and practical diplomatic viewpoints…

A.V. Yakovenko. The Geopolitical Turning Point and Russia: What the New Foreign Policy Concept Says
A. Kramarenko

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Keywords: Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, world majority, Special Military Operation, Russia, the West, NATO

IT SEEMS difficult to overestimate the importance of the work under review,* which has rightly been recommended as a textbook for students and trainees of the Diplomatic Academy. Its main merit is that it has overcome the key cognitive constraints of our political science – not only recent ones, but also those of the Soviet and earlier periods. In fact, the same can be said of the current Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation, a truly innovative concept that meets the demands of the times and addresses the task of Russia’s effective international positioning in a situation that bears all the hallmarks of a geopolitical revolution…