Evolution of Russia’s Foreign Policy

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EVENT TRANSCRIPT: “Evolution of Russia’s Foreign Policy”

DATE: 13:00-14:00, 6 February 2019

VENUE: Committee Room 14, House Of Commons

SPEAKER: Sir Andrew Wood

EVENT CHAIR: Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP

 

 

(Inaudible)

Sir Michael Fallon: Alright so can I, on behalf of the Henry Jackson Society, welcome you all to our meeting today. It’s great to see such a good turnout. As you will have spotted from the people in front of you we are still are waiting for Sir Andrew Wood who is caught in the queue getting into the House Of Commons but I hope he will be joining us very shortly. We have today a very distinguished panel, Sir Andrew himself of course a very senior diplomat who served several times in Moscow and completed his career as our ambassador there, Kandri Liik on my right is a senior policy fellow at the European Council of Foreign Relations, a very experienced journalist in Estonia and on my far-right we have Vladimir Pastukhov who is senior research associate at university college in London, who has been an adviser to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and has published a number of books on constitutional law and political science in Russia.

While we are waiting for Sir Andrew we are going to make a start and going to ration, with your permission, our speakers to a maximum of ten minutes each. They don’t have to take the full ten minutes and if we proceed in that way that will maximise the amount of time for contributions from the floor. While Sir Andrew is gathering his breath I am going to ask Vladimir Pastukhov to begin, thank you.

(Inaudible)

Vladimir Pastukhov: Thank you (inaudible) for the Henry Jackson Society for the invitation to speak here and the invitation which I come in flying because to speak of this house. (Inaudible)

I think this time I put myself a little bit (inaudible) because I am not a specialist of this (inaudible) most theoretically and practically and I am looking on this from the outside from my work and (inaudible) all the specialists of Russian ((inaudible), but sometimes (inaudible) because from my (inaudible) corner some things looks (inaudible) seems to be controversial and sometimes questionable. And one of the things which seems questionable for me is the (inaudible) the evolution of Russian politics after Maidan. There are two things that seem to me controversial because this name represents this two ideas. One is that Russian politics has evoluted five years after Maidan that means it has some quality to it. And I believe that this evolution has started with Maidan.

In my view things could have been interpreted quite opposite, that Maidan was not the start for the evolution of Russian politics but the end of it and the only evolution has happened in the past twenty years and it has some logic which was ended with politics after Maidan.

(inaudible)

It’s bad to have a quick look to it’s real evolution when it went through different phases before Maidan.

(inaudible)

I would say that there are three major

(inaudible)

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you very much and thank you particularly for keeping exactly to time. Kadri Liik.

Kadri Liik: Thank you. Well I try to be beautiful and I try to think of evolution of Russian foreign policy since Maidan, but I don’t mean by evolution equality. You can see that there have been some twists and turns and shifts and changes of efforts, but I am not really sure about the significance of them.

Just to give you an idea of what I think has changed since Maidan. First, I think the post-Maidan period can be divided in two parts, roughly. One was until the Trump-election in 2016 and the other was after that. And the first period was characterised by a standoff by Russia and the US. I think actually it was quite a dangerous period, maybe more dangerous than now, maybe in eight years time we will be learning more about the things that might have happened. Myself I (inaudible) part of me felt very nervous when I went to Moscow. That thankfully passed,but in that period Moscow clearly didn’t know what the West is up to, what to expect and (inaudible) reacted easily.

After Trump was elected the atmosphere changed but then the standoff disappeared. Moscow became more relaxed and paradoxically actually in that year Moscow became more ready to compromise on certain issues. For instant after the Trump election they started discussing theories with some dealer (inaudible) and in September 2017 Putin came out with a peacekeeping proposal for (inaudible).

My thesis is, that without Trump presidency this wouldn’t have been possible, because had Hillary Clinton won the elections Russia would have felt that they are in existential danger and they would not have wanted to do anything that looks like a compromise, where it is now with the presidency that they started looking for ways out of (inaudible) and by that time it was clear to them that it is a dead end.

So another evolution that I have detected for Russia war has got more complicated over that period. Many of the assumptions that where there in 2014 (inaudible) and turned out not to be valued. For instance: Many were not expecting the European Union to impose proper sanctions and to stick to them for out years but the European Union did. They expected the Ukraine to collapse, the Ukraine did collapse, in any case the Poroshenko-regime collapsed and (inaudible) the direction to Chinese so forth. And that did not happen. They expected China to step in and help Russia who stood under economic pressure to compensate for something that was supposed to be sanctions. And that didn’t happen. China is coming into Russia but very much (inaudible) to Moscow at all and Moscow sees it and feels it and (inaudible) in Moscow’s (inaudible) with the West. They expected Hillary Clinton to win the US elections (inaudible) and they expected her to become a though anti-Russian president and I think that all the hacking and leaking was done in order to send a message to Hillary that you are vulnerable to us too, we can do stuff to you so you better watch out.

And then they expected Donald Trump to be the soft pro-Russian president and acting (inaudible) so it started to get a lot more complicated for Moscow and especially even when they have entered Syria with an aim of showing the world how situation like the one in Syria are going to be solved. You need to support the strong man (inaudible) so forth. It was supposed to be a model (inaudible) to show us, that we have always gone wrong by supporting popular revolutions and that is not so easy either. Russia managed to do something but now it is increasing the card to get the regional (inaudible) on the same page and they find themselves trapped between Trump and the Iran and Turkey is not always an easy partner and Assad is not an easy client, but (inaudible) on Moscow they can do very little about it. So Moscow is a lot more confused about the world. Its’ agenda has also changed. If you ask Russians what are the issues you would want to discuss with the US, what is the agenda than they are thinking on that one, because different people have different ideas but I think still that you can see how that has been shifted.

Immediately after 2014 Russia had been eager to discuss (inaudible) in Europe. The vast fear of influence, the vast fear of responsibility (inaudible) war is allowed, war is not allowed. That was the thesis in Moscow, that the old arrangement does not work, we need to talk about being (inaudible). And the world of course, the West, did not (inaudible) it up. (inaudible) because they thought that that would be a way to unlocking the relationship, with the West or at least with Europe. And there was some willingness to get out of (inaudible) but the terms under which Moscow considered leaving where still very different. Later they have been thinking about discussing cyber-issues or interference in internal affairs. Every now and then they suggested if America things about it to intervene than let’s regulate it. But of course the way Moscow is actually regulating it is different from the American way of regulating it. Increasingly though Moscow realised that the world is going through a huge period of turbulence. Neo (inaudible) and becoming stronger, old partners like America and Europe are in many ways confused and lost in their own transitions. Moscow looks at a Europe that doesn’t know which way it goes, it looks at America and doesn’t know which way it goes. So increasingly Moscow understands a bit the (inaudible) talk about big issues at all. The new world order has not taken (inaudible) officially to even discuss so they are in a “wait and see position”. You can see but there is no particular case of urgency right now, I think that the time is not working against them maybe not in that way but Russian analysts say that it’s (inaudible) for procrastination. They don’t do much, but they expect things to turn out fine in the end for them, because everyone else is in bigger trouble.

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you very much and thank you again for sticking within a ten minutes time limit. He recovered his breath and I invite Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew Wood: Thank you very much. Well I’m going to take up on a slight different plane than the discussion so far. It’s always a disadvantage to be third because people said a lot if things you might have said if you were first, so forgive me if I do repeat some things but I hope not to do too much.

Vladimir spoke of the very stages. For me the Maidan-stage began actually when Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012. Fear of change, I think, was the dominant factor for him, you might may recall there have been a certain amount of protest marches and so on in (inaudible). He shut down the debate on possible economic changes, mainly because they opened all sorts of political changes as being necessary if not articulated. The pressure of society and of people he feared increased and the stress in Russia is becoming a great thing, a dominant motive, became a force behind Russia’s foreign policy. And those factors I think remain prevalent until recently.

2018 seems to me have shown some interesting change in the atmosphere in the Russian (inaudible). I don’t thing such a change has really affected the Russian governing group, which is very small, very introverted and very much dominated by the fact there is one man who gives the decision. You can make all sorts of arguments (inaudible) decided in advance, but what you have to have is clearance. You have to have is agreements to run your factories and so on.

Now we come to the period of 2024, when Putins mandate, at least by law, is to rule out. The question is whether Putin himself can safe his step down and if he did, what would that do to Russia, can he nominate a successor who just does what he is told in the future? That is the easiest answer in people minds but I think that there is some reason to doubt that he would be able to do that effectively. So the question for the (inaudible), forgive me the phrase, is can Putin work out a new way of governance of Russia and the foreign policies which would relate to that. The fact is, that he has no new ideas whatsoever is to do about the economy, has its’ successors but its’ long term projection is disappointing. There is a degree of public apprehension now evident about where the economy is going and a declining faith in Putin personally and the poles show that this change in the wind in 2018 was there a combination of poor economic growth, very little prospect of it being achieved in the near future, uncertainties of what the next government will be like and I think that in these circumstances the idea that the compensation of the Russian public will be a full establishment as a Russian power became an important factor.

The pressure from the public is perhaps at least as marked in the provinces now as it has been in the past as usually in Moscow and St. Petersburg, which has seen quite a lot of a crumbling resentment rather than a huge crisis. For example the meetings in Moscow about the difficulties for the provinces (inaudible) Moscow’s way just stamped on them, living other symptoms of the same sort. And the prognosis for the situation, as far as the public is concerned, is going to be worse in 2019 and for the cost of living of most Russians continue to decrease. Over the last for years or so, according to the calculations that were made, apart from (inaudible) of which were friends of Putin the numbers has gone down between eleven and fourteen percent. It’s not surprising the people. The percentage of people that wanted the government to be replaced is now as high as it was in last peek which was in 2002 and (inaudible) more important is the fact, that the get up (inaudible) that Putin had (inaudible) the government, he would be a good Tsar who would rescue his people when he new has become bad at best and trust in him has declined accordingly. And I think that the proposition that the confrontation with the West at the time of Maidan and after it would cause Russians to run around with a Putin flag is for question too. And the fear, that the region may stumble into some sort of catastrophe instead of dealing with domestic problems as it should out of mistrust and I think it’s now real.

But don’t worry the latest pole showed, that seventy-nine percent of the Russian public now not merely hope that confrontation with the West will somehow fade, but goal to believe that something positive has to be done to establish normal relations with the West.

Now of course the general move of the public is variable and is one thing and the decisions and approach of the central authorities is another. It would make some sense for Putin to be seen to address domestic issues now and thereby duplicate his grown critics and face the grown risk face down, otherwise the grown risk of street protests becoming more (inaudible). I’m not suggesting on the same grounds scope as they were in 2011/12, but nonetheless there is an increasing habituation for Russians in the provinces including working classes not just the so called creative classes to get used to the idea of complaining about particular things.

But Putin’s options in this sphere are limited because improving the Russian economy subsequently is not possible without structural effort. And structural effort is difficult in any country to give an example the sovereign reforms would be peculiar difficult in Russia. There is the absolute necessity of improving the traditional structures and making it independent. It would be difficult, even if you wanted to do it.

Secondly it is possibly within the general grass of a successor coming from within the (inaudible) Putin group although it is actually so small I can’t see who it would be. Actually the most capable of them is probably Sergej and he is a very tough man, an ex GRU-officer, anyway so he would (inaudible) as Putin’s nonetheless I can see an opening there for a successor to improve relations with the West. Putin’s foreign policies have had their admirers in the West for the execution and the alleged cannon but Syria is a minefield he may not be able to control. It seems to me as it (inaudible) to a wider conflict, a wider succession of crisis in the Middle East. There is a potential to do that. And it doesn’t actually serve the interest of the Russian people except in terms of proud and (inaudible) possibly while it works. Putin’s failure to establish the Eurasian Union he saw in his return to the Kremlin in 2012 and the problem of Ukraine is absolutely critical. Russia cannot (aspire) to be a great power in the sense that its’ history and various motives are factors press many people in Russia certainly including the leaders of Russia to be. You cannot do that without being in control of Ukraine. His achievement in seizing Crimea supposes an achievement which will be difficult to dislodge but what is done in (inaudible) Kadri (inaudible) is an ongoing problem which doesn’t really have an obvious solution. It’s also important for us in the West to maintain our commitment to Ukraine because it is so central. Giving them this trust Putin’s policies have induced in his neighbours he’s going to find getting new client countries there rather difficult I think. I don’t myself see an opportunity for short (inaudible). This talk about forcing Belarus back into a union with Russia to (inaudible) Putin to get control over it and succeed himself as a fresh sovereign president, I think that’s going to be very difficult. The aliment of the forces in the US is not promising in this point of view, but the great power there is (inaudible) into his outlook. Yet the ability to achieve it or make it mean something concrete seems to me to be very limited. We have also the question for our own safety, the judgement and Kadri remarks really illustrates the point in this way, within the small group that is in power Ukraine hasn’t really worked out to Putin’s advantage, but retreating from his stands there would in effect to recognise, that his idea of a concrete sphere of influence is not realisable.

The question of who comes next and when is a guessing game, but an important one. The potential for the succession to be a crisis is inherent in it and the disruptive consequences of that would be serious for us all. To choose Putin again in whatever form isn’t a solution for Russia’s domestic problems and it’s problems of evolving satisfactorily as an effective state but it would be a postponement of addressing this problems and perhaps they would make them worse. To my mind Russia present is stuck in a very unpleasant position from the point of view rulers. It could have the possibility because of that of evolving into something better governed and more open to effective cooperation with the outside world. The present though seems to me to be in a position of frozen anarchy. Could be worse, but it’s facing real difficulties and the population at large is aware of that and concerned about it.

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you very much and thank you to all of the (inaudible) for their thoughts, slightly different analysis in each case, but perhaps warning all of us against seeing a coherence in Russian foreign policy that may not simply exist.

Let me open it up now and it would be very helpful in asking your question or putting your point of view if you could just give your name and to whom you are addressing the particular comment or question. We can get more in if (inaudible) don’t feel to answer every intervention. But let me start down here sir.

Audience man: My name is Leo Falwick and Sir Andrew touched on the difficulties with America currently and I was just wondering about his (inaudible) on the nuclear treaty. Does that mean it puts more pressure on Putin, did he keep up?

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you, Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew Wood: He has already said that he would keep up and shortly before his re-election he had a slideshow of (inaudible) weapons he has got, so I don’t think that this in itself is a the trouble. The trouble is it attends legitimate, some of the weapons he already has.

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you, now we are going right to the back of the room. Right on the back wall there Sir.

Audience man: Thank you gentleman (inaudible). (inaudible) Venezuela probably mentioned at all. (inaudible)

Sir Michael Fallon: Kadri, would you like to start on that?

Kadri Liik: Yes well on Venezuela Russia’s position is clear. Maduro is president and should be, so that’s them again saying (inaudible) supporting popular uprising or that (inaudible) considered to be legal president. It is not entirely clear to me as what Russia is prepared to do to help Maduro. There have been some reports about Russia sending some paramedics to Venezuela but I think this needs to be treated very consciously at this stage. I’m not sure if there is much substance behind it and whether Russia wants to get engaged totally. I would not be so sure.

Sir Michael Fallon: Okay, let’s take one here.

Audience man: My name is Juri (inaudible), I’m an independent analyst and my question goes to Dr. Pastukhov. I would love first of to pick up on his point, that after Maidan, after 2014 Russia’s foreign policy has become in a certain way (inaudible) domestic interest such as business interests and one example that clearly illustrates that, is a very international and foreign policy intensive area such as exports of Russia’s natural gas to Europe.

Vladimir Pastukhov: Europe as we know depends on more than 35% now on supplies of Russian natural gas and that share is likely to increase. And particular projects that Russia has been (inaudible) of the last couple of years, the so called “Nordstream 2”-project which has turned out to be extremely device in creating the huge tensions between members of the European Union and between Russia and complicated further issues between Russia and Ukraine and created now a whole fraud of controversies and a diplomatic war between Russia and the United States. For Ukraine as a state this is a business worth 3% of GDP if Ukraine loses transit to Europe. So the question is how (inaudible) seize, help him to deliver a compromise in the gas transit, but negotiations are so complicated now between Russia, the European Union and Ukraine.

Sir Michael Fallon: That’s a very good question, let’s ask him.

Audience man: (inaudible) the idea of “Nordstream” anyhow is an idea of (inaudible) Ukraine from debt (inaudible) Russia and Europe in supply of gas. And despite (inaudible) Ukraine everything is (inaudible) GDP. The problem is that (inaudible). (inaudible) which Kremlin has and is not relevant today but relevant 100 years ago, 200 years ago, 300 years ago. One of the fears is, that Russia wants to feel itself as an isolated country where other countries which surround it get control (inaudible). And that is why all Russian foreign politics is concentrated on control one Russian great (inaudible). It’s not only about Ukraine, it’s about the (inaudible) of Russian foreign policy. Russia needs (inaudible) control (inaudible)  and Russia feels only comfortable in control of this (inaudible) state. So what I want to say that if you look at “Nordstream 1” and “Nordstream 2” and other projects like this from the pure economic and rational point of view and try to understand what (inaudible) for Russia to make all of this (inaudible) a global (inaudible) some other way, you’ll never find (inaudible) because that is irrational. It’s a question of the historic fears and the necessity to control buffer-states.

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you Sir. Briefly Sir Andrew and then we can go on.

Sir Andrew Wood: Basically buffer-states have a habit of resisting being occupied so if you succeed with one buffer state you can have another one and so on, so it’s a serious (inaudible).

Sir Michael Fallon: Alright, let’s get down there. Yes, Sir.

Audience man: Thank you, (inaudible) former law enforcement intelligence analyst. I worked in several Soviet countries, not Russia. My question is about the news this morning in the papers about Russia leading a (inaudible) group. (inaudible) Venezuela agreement with OPEC effectively have links with all known Western oil (inaudible). Any comments on that? Is that a long term strategy or likely to be sticking to us. Let’s say Venezuela (inaudible) I think Russia might (inaudible). Thank you.

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you, Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew Wood: I think this is an idea which requires more flash and light. There has always been a bit of dilemma for Russia whether they should be a part of OPEC or not, but it has been working more and more closely with particular decides. One of the things I like to hide in or get back from Venezuela is 17.5 billion Dollars.

Sir Michael Fallon: Let’s get to this lady here.

Audience woman: Thank you so much, I am Leyla (inaudible). You, Mr. Pastukhov said that foreign policy has been (inaudible) or a cover up in domestic policy. Do you think the current trends in social economic situation will sort of affect positively for foreign policy toward a greater compromise or he already past the point of no return in foreign policy. The other question is, to all of you, which strategy or foreign policy was so far the most effective? Was it some sanctions or (inaudible) issues?

Sir Michael Fallon: Well let’s take the first one first.

Vladimir Pastukhov: I think that the Russian foreign policy today is possible with domestic politics  and it (inaudible) out a chance to be a (inaudible) back for foreign politics and trust (inaudible) the Russia idea to resist to the West in every potential point and I think that it is a good time for all (inaudible) options (inaudible) the most important people (inaudible).I would think that domestic politics can help to do some good turn in Russian (inaudible) and fix (inaudible) on how to set up the situation in the world.

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you, now let’s take the second question. On the various responses from the West, Georgia, Crimea or other states, which has been the most effective? Who would like to start with that?

Kadri Liik: If I may. Short to Leyla’s first question I don’t think the current domestic situation will (inaudible) on foreign policy the other way. On the one hand, even if Putin wants to get out of his dead relations with the West and use renewed relations with the West for a domestic reform. (inaudible) I don’t think that it’s (inaudible) he understands he’s not (inaudible) reinstall his former relations with the West but now I doubt (inaudible) small victorious reward compensate for domestic and (inaudible). I don’t think that’s the way it works either. I think Russia’s proper foreign (inaudible) wars had always some foreign policy related motivation behind and domestic. So I don’t think there is much of that. Western mayor sanctions are working, I mean economically they are working. There are many analysis that can explain that, but also I have tried to pick up politically on such sanctions and I the they do care in policy debates in Moscow. So far they haven’t resulted in sort of new turn, but a new turn (inaudible). It was always about Russia accepting a (inaudible). Turning up in Western capitals and saying “sorry, we did the wrong thing, we are not doing it again”. That’s unrealistic, that’s not what we can expect. But what we can do, the best thing the West can do to influence Russia is to put our own house in order and to make it clear, that the sort of Western way of life is here to stay and the West is a known (inaudible) in international politics. It’s here to stay. That will make Moscow accept our view an position a lot more. You can see it already how they sometimes take short terms trends and they (inaudible) into something bigger. I mean you can see it in the peacekeeping proposal I mentioned, that came in September 2017. That was the time, when Moscow’s relations with Washington were dead (inaudible). But the European Union seemed to be on (inaudible) collapsed after Brexit worked and they have been strengthened by Macrons presidency, (inaudible).

So Russia saw that Europe seems to be back, seems to getting its’ act together, let’s try to unlock our relationship with Europe, but we need to do something about (inaudible). So (inaudible) Moscow that Europe is there to stay, it functions as a political model alone, it has policies also (inaudible) that are (inaudible) policies as opposed to just (inaudible).

Sir Michael Fallon:  Okay, Sir Andrew.

Sir Andrew Wood: The worst decision we made was to ignore the invasion of Georgia, because that was a direct encouragement, when the time came, to invade Ukraine. Our central problem with Russia is its’ wish to establish secure buffers and not to take account of the (inaudible) reactions of the victims of that and of the outside world. It’s quite astonishing to me how little Russia takes account of the effects of its’ own actions to people outside. I do think that the domestic questioning now of Putin matters precisely because it’s coming up to a stage where Russians will be looking for, expecting, fearing or whatever other governments. So there is a sense of (inaudible) in the air in Russia present. I am not saying that it is boiling up to a revolutionary crisis that actually matter to the central government and the reason a longer and effective way to previously victorious war. The triumph of Crimea is disappeared. The only settlement that Russia might possibly expect for Donbas is get out all together and have the rest of us pay for it perhaps, but they keep the right to keep Crimea. That doesn’t seem to me very possibly present. This (inaudible) is up in the air.

Sir Michael Fallon: Okay, Dr. Pastukhov. The best/worst response.

Vladimir Pastukhov: I have expressed my serious doubts and assumptions, that we have really influence. I think that (inaudible) in Russia (inaudible). (inaudible) a couple of months after Crimea (inaudible) Russian politics is based on the weaknesses of the western system in media, in courts in (inaudible). Don’t be weak, that’s the best response, don’t let them use your systems, the moving system of democracy against yourself of you will cut the opportunity of interaction.

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you, now let’s get some more questions in. Yes Sir.

Audience man: Andrew Dinch, member of (inaudible) house. I’d like to talk about or ask about the (inaudible) of the panel. The NATO (inaudible) but there are substantial Russian minorities. Is Putin likely to have (inaudible)?

Kadri Liik: Ah, no. I don’t think so. Putin’s foreign policy is not driven by that of nationalism. He used the nationalistic card to justify the annexation of Crimea, that is true but that was enough. He never used later or earlier the same sort of rhetoric. So no Russians in the Baltic states could be used as an excuse or as an leverage, but this is clearly not a policy-driver. Something else needs to happen for them to be used as a leverage and my view is, that in a Putin house that can (inaudible). But in his world the Baltic states are Americas sphere of influence. He acknowledges it, but there are Americas soft (inaudible). So that means that the Baltics are endangered if there are big tensions in other theatres, big Ukraine, big Syria, big something we can’t think about. And then, in order to signal its’ displeasure to America and the West in general, Putin might try to do something in the Baltics but it’s not an end in itself and I think against such occasions then again the troop reinforcements in the Baltics are in a proper measure because they wouldn’t prevent all out if that is going to happen, but they care about the price of the Baltics being used as small change in some other conflict.

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you, now right down the end, Sir.

Audience man: (inaudible) the organisations such as (inaudible). I wanted to get an idea from the panel what would this (inaudible) increase since Maidan (inaudible) and therefore (inaudible).

Sir Andrew Wood: I think that you touched on a very important point indeed. We imagine that the structure of Russia is pretty simple and we have (inaudible) power and it works like that. Increasingly over the last several years has been the evolution of unacknowledged groups which have the tolerance of the authorities either in domestic affairs or in case of the Wagner group increasingly perhaps in foreign affairs so you can send your soldiers there with other soldiers and that’s alright somehow, you can deny it. This is obviously a dangerous trend, the only advantage from our point of view is we run up against these forces, the Americans did in Syria. You can rack the force in response of the force that has been send to you and the Russians find it difficult to complain officially.

Sir Michael Fallon: Right, so yes.

Audience man: Andy (inaudible) King’s war studies against the scenarios that you have described, (inaudible).

Sir Michael Fallon: Who would like to take that?

Sir Andrew Wood: I can try you want. (inaudible)

Vladimir Pastukhov: I think that the (inaudible) disappointment of the Russian politics of the last decade and (inaudible) China seems to be extremely (inaudible) and Russia really had it all with China stepping in that game (inaudible). What happened with China is that (inaudible) to the game, played against US, but without Russia. And the only reason is that (inaudible) in Russia it will be count by years and in China it will be count by centuries, that’s the only (inaudible). So on whether Russia (inaudible) interest China to do something with Russia, they look at the (inaudible). China understands that in (inaudible) in one hundred years all that will belong to him without (inaudible).

Sir Michael Fallon: Right we will get two questions in and then I will give the panel each a minute if they want to say anything by conclusion. Right in the back, yes Sir.

Audience man: (inaudible) Putins (inaudible) Crimea. (inaudible) come up with some other reforms (inaudible).

Sir Michael Fallon: Andrew?

Sir Andrew Wood: I think it has faded away, it could be rolled back from dead if it is necessary. I t was never really real .

Kadri Liik: I think the idea keeps changing and morphing into many forms but I think, the Orthodox Church thing is important and interesting. Ii think it is a big (inaudible) to Moscow and Putin hasn’t said anything about it. So my guess is, that consequences will come and we better be prepared. Why Moscow isn’t doing anything right now, I think we should also look at the relationship between Putin and Kyrill, which is not very good. My theory here is, that Putin wants Kyrill to take the loss of Ukraine and then (inaudible) his own punishment as (inaudible).

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you, now the last question, one more. Yes Sir.

Audience man: (inaudible) Russia Society. To many people the British parliament, the Skripal poisoning is an example of (inaudible), random (inaudible) or something deeper involved?

Sir Andrew Wood: I think it fits quite well into there is the use of unacknowledged forces.

Kadri Liik: I think there is something more behind it, there must be some sort of reason, but it’s not yet public. But I think it was clearly uncoordinated in the sense of timing, measure of the West and the reaction. And that actually demonstrates you the fragmentation of Russian foreign policy now. (inaudible) for instance (inaudible), but listen, that’s not a good idea. The atmosphere has changed, you will not get away as usually as you did after (inaudible) murder, the consequences will be harsher. Emma Fey has enough understanding of Western thinking to be able to say that, but they were obviously never consulted. (inaudible)

Sir Michael Fallon: Alright, now we have reached the end, but I am going to allow me to ask the panel to have a final minute each, just a minute each on reflecting perhaps on these excellent questions, I think Dr. Pastukhov,I think you started off, warning us against Sechin (inaudible) behind such logical (inaudible) strategy behind Russian foreign policy.

Vladimir Pastukhov: I believe this one minute only will help me to answer the last question,which is more productive from my side. I think, that there is a sudden understanding between UK problems and Ukraine and Russian problems. They just didn’t think that they would do something special. . (inaudible) he said “look, . (inaudible)” (inaudible)

So they didn’t think that that’s irrational (inaudible).

Sir Michael Fallon: Right, Kadri Liik, you spoke of foreign policy as a hopeful procrastination, do you want to add to that in your final minute?

Kadri Liik: Thank you for your questions, these were good questions. Actually the one thing that I want to leave the deal and we (inaudible). Keep questioning and keep looking at Russian foreign policy and keep asking why they are doing the things that they are doing, because all to often we think that Russia is doing what it is doing just because it’s Russia, because it’s being nasty and (inaudible). It’s not exactly like that. When you look closely there is some rational behind it (inaudible), there are some personal passions and all these thing have explanations and we will be better in our own policy if we will be able to learn.

Sir Michael Fallon: Sir Andrew Wood.

Sir Andrew Wood: I will agree with everything that Kadri said but I would suggest that if we think we understood, we possibly havn’t.

Sir Michael Fallon: Thank you all, thank you for attending and thank you for some excellent questions but above all on your behalf let me thank our panel, you have certainly left us all so

HJS



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