INSOR Russia: Institute of Contemporary Development
Updated April 18, 2019

Analytical Bulletin, Issue 1 (8), January 2013

January 24, 2013

The January issue of INSOR’s monthly analytical bulletin has been published. The main topics of this issue are: US foreign policy; the situation in Syria; soft power and public-private partnership; the Magnitsky Act; Afghanistan ahead of the ISAF withdrawal; and, the prospects for the Chinese economy.

The annotation of Analytical Bulletin No.1 (8) can be found below. The full text of the bulletin in Russian can be found here.

Igor Yurgens. In Lieu of an Introduction: Barack Obama’s second term foreign policy

“The nominees for secretary of state, secretary of defense and director of the CIA have a good chance of being confirmed by Congress. All of these people are well known both in the United States and beyond its borders. The fact that this troika was selected by Obama says a lot. Firstly, these three have a reputation as moderates. Secondly, in contrast to the first term, Obama selected these people not for the sake of smoothing out contradictions within the team but rather for the smooth work of a group of likeminded people.”

Igor Yurgens. On the Situation in Syria

“We can assume that given a lack of agreement on foreign intervention the civil war will continue until one of the sides is exhausted. Considering the money spent and the political wager of the Persian Gulf countries (not to mention Western support), the chances of Assad’s government do not seem to be very great.” But the support of the opposition on the part of the West and moderate Arab countries is apparently weakening. “In this situation intervention from without, preferably backed by a UN Security Council resolution, seems to be more realistic.”

Sergei Kulik. Russia’s Reputation Abroad and Public Private Partnership

Making use of the opportunities and advantages of NGOs is one of the key components of soft power policy. Even “given the limitations of the outlined priorities for forming and developing the country’s image, acute attention will have to be paid to public-private partnership… in contrast to other leading states whose experience is often referred to by officials, we have never implemented this principle to a comparable degree. Ignoring its role will inevitably slow the process of engaging in soft power policy.”

Sergei Kulik. The Magnitsky Act

“The initiative to adopt the Magnitsky Act in the United States began several years ago. Those signals were picked up in Moscow, which had ample time to prepare what would be declared ‘an adequate and asymmetrical response.’ And it did turn out to be asymmetrical. But in terms of adequacy, there is clearly inconsistency. Perhaps this was fed by expectations of a softer version of the law. One way or another, the repercussions for the country’s reputation will be ongoing and this may last for a considerable amount of time.”

Igor Yurgens. Afghanistan and Central Asia ahead of the ISAF’s Withdrawal

“The withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan in 2014 is giving rise to serious concerns among the international community on the whole, and Russia, China and Central Asian countries in particular, due to the predicted growth in the region of terrorism, drug trafficking and other related phenomena.” The need for coordinated international action has arisen. But the “West is demonstrating neither foresight nor a proactive stance. A number of important and specific initiatives of CSTO addressed to NATO have been ignored. The American ‘New Silk Road’ project could potentially invigorate the commercial and economic ties in the region, but it remains far from being made a reality. SCO is shifting back and forth due to incongruence in the interests of main members. All of this only heightens the need for a proactive, wise and calibrated Russian policy in the region.”

Nikita Maslennikov. The Multivariate Prospects of China’s Economy

The greatest challenge facing China is “the need to maintain in the upcoming years a rate of growth of no less than 7% while simultaneously and without delay replacing the old extensive resource-intensive economic model with a new one oriented toward domestic demand and intensive resource savings.” The process of institutional rebooting of China’s economy has approached the starting line. Is it possible without transformations in the political system? Convincing positive examples have not been observed in modern history… The structural problems of capitalism on steroids which have developed in China will going forward only develop into more serious limiting factors for the transition to a new qualitatively new situation for the global economy as a whole. Thus China needs to be looking not through rose-colored glasses but rather with sobriety and balance. The prospects of its development remain multivariate.”