Russia-West: Has the peak of the crisis passed?

Russia-West: Has the peak of the crisis passed?

Despite the ambiguous rhetoric of Russian and Western politicians against each other, recently it seems that the tension between them has begun to decline. Yesterday after a meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France in Paris Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that both sides have an interest in overcoming the negative trends in their trade and economic relations, bringing cooperation to progressive development. We are talking about contacts in high-tech industries, including aviation, nuclear power, automotive, oil and gas, and improving transport infrastructure. The specific projects are carried out in all these spheres with the participation of Russian and French business circles.

The spacecraft ‘Soyuz’ with a French astronaut on board will be launched from the ‘Baikonur’ cosmodrome on November 16th. The bilateral Russian-French group tasked with countering new challenges and threats, looking for ways of more effectively acting in the field of counterterrorism, has resumed its work. Furthermore, the possibility of a Russian-NATO Council at the level of permanent representatives in Brussels is being discussed, although Russia is disturbed by the continuing trend of the Alliance’s expansion of its military capacities and the issue of missile defense. A gradual recovery of inter-parliamentary cooperation is also proceeding. The head of the Duma's International Affairs Committee, Alexei Pushkov, stated that this cooperation has gone through three stages in recent years.

The first stage was in the 2012-2013 period, which was marked by the active work of the international parliamentary organizations. There was progress in relations with the Council of Europe, in the activities of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and in the establishment of bilateral parliamentary relations. Contacts were active with parliamentarians from EU countries at the level of bilateral relations. The deputies began the practice of exchanging youth delegations, there were reciprocal visits and speeches by representatives of the National Assembly of France, the German Bundestag, the Italian Parliament and the Finnish Parliament and a number of other national parliaments. "Unfortunately, the position taken by the countries of the Euro-Atlantic community after the beginning of the acute phase of the Ukrainian events, resulted in a partial curtailment of the collaborative activities,’’ Pushkov said.

The second stage. This is the stage of the acute crisis not only in the relations between Russia and the Western alliance, but also in the inter-parliamentary relations. This stage is characterized by, first of all, the adoption of sanctions against Russia in the framework of  PACE, which is why the Russian delegation left PACE in April 2014 and did not take part in its work before the end of the year. In January 2015 the sanctions were extended, and the Russian deputies did not participate in PACE until the end of 2015. "We were deprived of the right to vote, the right to participate in the activities of the governing bodies of PACE, and since PACE was not ready to abandon this approach, we saw no reason to participate in the work of PACE on the unequal, discriminatory basis",  Pushkov said.

According to him, the parliamentarians from many countries did not take an independent position, and сhose the line of the EU. This line was directed on curtailing relations with Russia, on termination of a strategic partnership, to impose sanctions against Russia, the introduction of blacklists against the Russian parliamentarians . Some time later Russia  introduced its own restrictive measures in respect of a number of the European parliamentarians, and this could not have a positive impact on the inter-parliamentary dialogue.

However, Russia has managed to keep relations with those countries, where people think that the policy chosen by the EU with regard to Russia is not quite fair and not beneficial to the EU. During this period of the loss of a number of contacts with the countries of the Western alliance the relations with the Arab world, the Asian continent and Latin America has been intensified.The third stage. Spring-summer 2016. This stage is characterized by the gradual recovery of the inter-parliamentary dialogue, resulting in a significant intensification of the contacts.

The third stage. Spring-summer 2016. This stage is characterized by the gradual recovery of the inter-parliamentary dialogue, resulting in a significant intensification of the contacts.