Conference e-mail

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Dr. Tatiana Romanova (Saint Petersburg State University, Russia)

Russia's Relations with the West: What's Next?

Russian foreign policy is not simply a function of world affairs but also a substitute for domestic reforms. Sovereignty is the buzzword. However, Russia is not sovereign today because it is not properly integrated in production chains, it has limited soft power attractiveness and substitutes domestic problems with foreign policy and discussions about the decay in the West.

Russia is a challenge to today's liberal world order but mostly because it reveals inherent problems of this order: sovereignty vs intervention, pluralism vs universality, hegemony vs equality. The key dilemma is what should come first. Internal respect for human rights, rule of law and democracy underpin the liberal world order. But integration in the order and security guarantees are prerequisites for domestic reforms.

Indisputably, civil society is the key force behind any sustainable change today. Discussions on soft power and resilience, the fight against fake news and foreign finance of NGOs are signs of the acute competition for civil societies. One way to overcome the dilemma of internal / external at present is to foster various types of cooperation between societies.