Participants of the InteRussia Internship Program discussed processes in the post-Soviet space with experts

International Relations
On April 6-7, participants of the program of research internships “InteRussia” met with Russian scientists and journalists focusing on research of the post-Soviet space at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Gorchakov Fund.

Dr. Yelena Kuzmina, employee of the Center for Post-Soviet Studies IMEMO RAS, spoke about the future of Eurasian integration and relations of Russia with countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus after introduction of the western sanctions. The expert described the place of the Eurasian space in the foreign policy of Russia.

“The post-Soviet space for Russia is one of the major points of cooperation. It is the first priority – states the foreign policy concept of the country. And here the Eurasian Economic Union becomes foundation for development of relations with Eurasian countries. The EAEU is a center of the center, some kind of a starting point”.

The speaker presented a forecast of how ties between Russia and the Eurasian partners will be developing after the special operation in Ukraine.

“Life is different from statements made by politicians. Any crisis brings both, big complications and big opportunities. Air and sea traffic will be developing, new land routes will open – the whole Central Asia, China and Iran are interested in that. Please note that over the past months none of the countries have left the EAEU considering that every country has its own needs. Armenia needs one thing, Kazakhstan – another, Belarus – still another. Nobody benefits from that.”

Dr. Stanislav Pritchin, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Post-Soviet Studies IMEMO RAS, also focused on prospects of cooperation between Russia and Eurasian countries in his presentation. In addition to that, the expert mentioned relations of Russia with western countries on the background of the Ukrainian conflict.

“Now there is a window of opportunities. In order to trade in national currencies, we need to create for that financial infrastructure, strengthen the integration. Everybody is interested in development of business, tourism, new transportation routes. Success depends on how governments in the post-Soviet states will be using the opportunities. This being said, it is important that under conditions of confrontation between Russia and the West, the Russian government expects neighboring countries to stay neutral.”

Political observer and Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Department of Politics at Expert magazine Pyotr Skorobogaty discussed the Ukrainian crisis and the reaction towards it in Europe and the U.S. with the participants of the internship program.

“The U.S. and Europe are not ready now for peaceful negotiations, they are waiting for the second phase of the conflict. America benefits a lot from what is happening, and Europe is losing a lot – now competitiveness of European goods has reduced in half. They also have different positions regarding the sanctions: the Europeans have already introduced all sanctions they could over the past two weeks. And the U.S. is acting differently – they divided those measures into several stages and are not introducing all of them at the same time”.

Project “InteRussia”, implemented in 2021, has provided unique experience of cooperation and combining potentials of top scientific and political institutions and is the first and only program of this kind in Russia. The goal of InteRussia is to strengthen and expand academic, social and cultural ties, develop conditions for a meaningful dialogue between young professionals in the political and academic communities of Russia and foreign countries.

The topic of the new internship program is “The post-Soviet space 30 years after the breakup of the USSR”. During the next weeks, 10 young scholars from Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will be conducting individual studies under the guidance of top academic advisors of MGIMO. The participants will meet with representatives of the scientific and expert community and governmental officials, visit educational and sociopolitical platforms and will be able to attend public diplomacy events hosted by partners.