Is Europe in Denial About Russia?

Carnegie Europe – Judy Asks - 18/11/2021

Carmen Claudín, Associate Senior Researcher at CIDOB, answers to this question in Carnegie Europe’s Judy Asks section: “It has been for far too long. The references to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime as a “strategic partner,” repeated over and over again for many years, reveal as much. As if the insistent invocation of the title would turn European expectations into reality on the soil of the unreformed Russian political culture.

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Carmen Claudín, Associate Senior Researcher at CIDOB, answers to this question in Carnegie Europe’s Judy Asks section: “It has been for far too long. The references to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime as a “strategic partner,” repeated over and over again for many years, reveal as much. As if the insistent invocation of the title would turn European expectations into reality on the soil of the unreformed Russian political culture. 

But it seems an understanding is evolving inside the EU, despite the persistent internal divisions that so delight the Kremlin. Even southern European countries like Spain have begun to recognize Moscow’s true nature and goals for what they are. The challenge now is less about the diagnosis than about what to do and how. 

The crucial region where the EU can make a difference and where its values and security interests are being directly challenged is its eastern neighborhood, which the Kremlin considers its “area of vital interest.” These are the countries that should become strategic partners when they embark on democratization. And Crimea must not be forgotten. 

As long as the political nature of the Russian regime remains unchanged, as long as a list of foreign agents is displayed on the Russian Ministry of Justice’s website, there can scarcely be room for real dialogue. Only for talks and negotiation.”