Peter Duncan, Senior Lecturer in Russian Politics and Society, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London
The deterioration of relations between Russia and the NATO states since Putin’s annexation of Crimea cannot be considered the prelude to a new Cold War between two global blocs with opposing systems and ideologies. While the ultimate aim of the Soviet leaders until Gorbachev was the achievement of world Communism, Putin’s aims today are above all to maintain and strengthen his position in power and protect the wealth of himself and his allies.
His foreign policy is essentially reactive, responding to threats and opportunities, and sometimes unpredictable, reflecting the lack of long-term strategy. Putin’s attempts to manipulate ethnic Russian nationalism to increase his internal support have conflicted with his consistent promotion of the ideology of Russia as a sovereign, multinational great power. Similarly, the pursuit of the private interests of the regime conflict with the long-term interests of the Russian state in strengthening itself through a new settlement in Europe.
Peter Duncan is Senior Lecturer in Russian Politics and Society at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. His books include an edited volume, Convergence and Divergence: Russia and Eastern Europe into the Twenty-First Century (2007) and two monographs, The Soviet Union and India(1989) and Russian Messianism: Third Rome, Revolution, Communism and After (paperback edition, 2014).