Russia as a neighbour
Hanna Smith (ed.) Russia as a neighbour. (Publication of the Committee for the Future 9/2014); Parliament of Finland: Helsinki.
The Committee for the Future has published a study dealing with Russia from year 2007 every four-year term. The first looked at Russia’s political development, the second focused on modernisation of the Russian economy and now the theme of the third is Russian foreign policy. The theme is approached from the perspective of a great power’s neighbours. In September 2013, when the steering group for the Committee of the Future’s Russia project was considering the thrust and objectives of the future project, almost the first matter to be brought up was the choice of heading, i.e. the angle of approach, for the project. There was a desire for a broad handling of the matter. There was a feeling that the project should be approached in broad terms. The final outcome was a principal theme labeled as ‘Russia in the Eyes of Neighbours’. Now, slightly over a year and a half later, it can only be noted that the angle of approach could not have been more apposite and topical. There is plenty of the renowned irony of fate in the situation. Events in the Crimea and Ukraine, Russia’s general change in behaviour as well as a broader return of geopolitics to the European and Nordic scenes have attracted unexpected additional interest in the project – and at the same time also challenges in its implementation. The most difficult thing during the final phase has been to decide when to wrap things up. What could happen in the time that it took to do the layout for the publication and print it? We were able in good time to ask leading experts in Russia’s neighbouring countries for their assessments of how Russia’s development looked in their eyes. Compiling their share was a challenging task, because it is difficult to picture a moving train. Also illustrative is the fact that no assessment could be obtained from Ukraine even by asking for it. The report is organized in three parts. Part I analyses the futures of Russia through scenarios. Part II looks at Russia through the eyes of its neighbours. Part III explores the past and future of Finnish-Russian relations.
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project report
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Committee for the Future of the Parliament of Finland (ComFuture)