The military pendulum soared higher than ever last week. But - as it should be in any series - after the Supreme Danger, Apotheosis and Salvation immediately appear. In any case, there is a chance that the Normandy format meeting can play such a role.
But the question is different.
Along with the "Normandy format" there was talk of some kind of "European meeting" to define the "security architecture of Europe." They even talk about Helsinki-2.
In this connection, naturally, the eternally burning question arises about relations between Russia and Europe.
I will not discuss the antagonistic, vital and absolutely irreconcilable differences between Russia and Western Europe. This is not worth discussing simply because there are NO such contradictions.
Hardly anyone would call Russia's political relations with Germany and Italy, France and Hungary, Spain and Belgium, Turkey and Greece, etc. "hostile". But this is the West, the main members of NATO. It is easier to list the NATO countries in Europe with which there really is serious tension: well, yes, England - Poland. For the past 200 years, relations with these countries have been "uneasy", and for the "Baltic states" that have joined them, the fight against the "bear" is the main state bond. But Ukraine and Georgia - in the closest republics of the USSR - are also now our "enemies", although not the West, they are not included in NATO ...
So there is no GENERAL political confrontation between Russia and Europe.
There is no general political confrontation between Russia and Europe
And even more so it is not necessary to speak about the economic or humanitarian. The EU (the same NATO states) is the main partner of the Russian Federation. Thus, according to Rosstat data for January-September 2021, the share of the EU in the foreign trade of the Russian Federation is 35.6%. For comparison: the share of China is 17.8%. Something like this is always the case - no matter what year you take. The EU is Russia's main humanitarian partner. You can scoff at Londongrad as much as you like, but not only the families of high-ranking officials, businessmen, journalists (including desperate "fighters against NATO") live in this city, but a good hundred thousand Russian citizens. The same applies to all major European cities. In total, these are already millions of people, and they go to NATO countries - for business, tourism, etc. - at least 10 million people. per year (in the "pre-Covid era"), and this is not counting Turkey, which alone accounts for 5-6 million. It is clear that nowhere is there a shadow of "discrimination" or "bad attitude" towards Russians, just as there is nothing similar in Russia in relation to visitors from any countries.
I won't go into history. Everyone knows that the influence of Europe on Russia - industry, science, culture, state institutions, ideology (including nationalism, Slavophilism!), language and customs - was HUGE, in a number of positions - simply decisive. And this is the absolute, the only possible NORM of interstate relations. True, Peter, who cut a window to Europe, is credited with the words "we must take everything from Europe - and turn our backs on it," but this program was not fulfilled. Even at the time of the thickest Iron Curtain (double - from here and from there) there were connections - autarky for Russia is absolutely impossible.
All the more strange cold war now. There are no territorial disputes with any EU-NATO country. There is no ideological confrontation with Europe either. J. Borrell (far from being the only one) calls Russia an "authoritarian regime." Peskov replied: "We do not think that the EU has the right to make such assessments." In any case, Russia has a market economy and an open country. It is important that states do not try to IMPOSE political models on each other, do not include the "political system" in the nomenclature of export goods. Well, ideological competition (for example, in the media) is not a reason to curtail, limit real relations.
Russia has the self-identification and ambitions of a Great Power. Such History, Culture. Russia is also "formally-legally" a member of this Club: one of the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. Nuclear parity with the United States, and in general, militarily, the Russian Federation is certainly one of the three most powerful states. Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of territory, Europe - in terms of population (145 million people, in Germany - the second largest - 83 million).
But in the 21st century, not only and not so much the territory and population determine the "rank of the country." And not even military power - after all, "besides massacre" there are many "miracles".
It is important that states do not try to IMPOSE political models on each otherRussia is a military-political colossus on rather strong economic (3% of world GDP at PPP, 2nd place in Europe) legs, but old-fashioned ones - raw materials, metals. But the economy of the XXI century is very weak. According to the World Bank, in 2010 Russia accounted for 0.3-0.5 of exports of high-tech products in the world. According to the Times Higher Education-2022 ranking, among the 200 best universities in there is 1 Russian one - Moscow State University, 158th. Germany has 22 universities on the list, France - 7, Italy and Spain - 3 each, even Finland - 1, but I generally keep quiet about England ... There are no Nobel laureates in science in the country, there are very few winners of other prestigious scientific awards . Finally, Russia has practically no global brands, except, perhaps, Kalashnikov. Russia's GDP per capita (2020) is $30,400. In Germany, it is $58,100; in France, $50,900;
A new Cold War may be flattering to some, but diverting resources to it, shrinking contacts with the West will drag us down any global scale. The absence of a Cold War is a completely insufficient condition, but just as necessary for the transition from stagnation to development.