Online press conference of Professor at HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs and leading researcher of IMEMO Alexey Portanski (Russia)

AlexeyPortanskiy's picture
Alexey Portanski
Professor at the School of World Economics and World Politics at the National Research University–Higher School of Economics; senior researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences
Россия

On August 20, online press conference of Professor at HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs and leading researcher of IMEMO Alexey Portanski (Russia) for Armenian media.

"Hetq" Online Newspaper
 
Question: During Warsaw NATO Summit, they spoke about strengthening the Allies’ capabilities to face the threats coming from the eastern flank (as per NATO's unambiguous assessment- from Russia); they also spoke about the intention to support the partner countries in resilience against threats. Those countries include Georgia, to some extent Armenia and other post-Soviet countries. In your opinion, what exactly does the support to the partner countries mean?
 
Answer: For Ukraine and Georgia, a limited military support is possible (with defensive weapons); For Armenia, it is most likely a moral-political and economic support.
 
"Hetq" Online Newspaper
 
Question: Why, in your opinion, Turkey is perceived by Russia in the least as NATO member state, while the other members, on the contrary, are perceived as NATO members at the first place? What are the the Russian-Turkish relations in the context of military and military-advisory expansion of Turkey in Georgia and Ukraine lasting for many years, in Kyrgyzstan since March and in Azerbaijan since June 2016?
 
Answer: I will answer only the first question. Turkey is inside of the zone of geopolitical interests of Russia, besides Moscow’s relations with the West are none so good. That is why Turkey appears to be a convenient partner. For Erdogan, in its turn, in view of the complications of his relations with the West, strengthening of the relations with Russia is also important.
 
Karine Asatryan
«A1+» TV, www.a1plus.am
 
Question: How did the military coup attempt in Turkey affect the fight against international terrorism? 
 
Answer: I do not see any worthwhile connection here. The issue of international terrorism today is much broader than Turkey's internal problems.
 
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo” News Agency, www.arminfo.am
 
Question: Russia’s new military base within the Territory of Iran clearly demonstrates that the April agreement between Moscow and Tehran is not limited to economic, infrastructural project "North-South". Please rate the importance and possible regional impulses of this geopolitical factor.
 
Answer: The question goes beyond the announced topics of the press conference.
 
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo” News Agency, www.arminfo.am
 
Question: Can we assume that establishment of Russian military facilities within the territory of Iran is another step aimed at deterrence and even isolation of Turkey?  Is it a possibility for prevention of Turkey's direct involvement in Caucasus affairs, in particular the Karabakh settlement and Eurasian projects, for which Ankara has been striving for a long while?
 
Answer: The question goes beyond the announced topics of the press conference.
 
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo” News Agency, www.arminfo.am
 
Question: Despite the sharp deterioration in US-Turkish relations following the military coup attempt in Turkey, the West and in particular NATO continue their "carrot and stick" policy towards Turkey, characterizing Turkey as a valuable partner for NATO".  In your opinion, what is the value of Turkey for the West nowadays?
 
Answer: Every member of the Alliance is valuable for NATO. In addition, the loss of any of the states could serve as a beginning for the destruction of the block-and that is something NATO will try prevent.  Turkey is the major country on the southern flank of NATO that has American military bases with nuclear weapons. This is also a value to NATO.
 
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo” News Agency, www.arminfo.am
 
Question: According to many of your western colleagues, Russia is a conventional and hybrid threat for the West, in contrast to the nontraditional and asymmetric threat represented by ISIS and similar "organizations". Therefore, the West looks upon Russia as its main threat. Is it in fact justified and whether it is a myth or not?
 
Answer: The West believes that recently Russia has seriously violated international law and illegally annexed the territory of another state, something that has not occurred in Europe since WWII. Hence the feeling of threat from Russia. Nevertheless, West would not want look upon Russia as an enemy, they do not need a confrontation. In addition, many pro-government organizations in the West are now making efforts to ease the tension.
 
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo” News Agency, www.arminfo.am
 
Question: How accurate is the point of view, that the fundamental problems of Russia are not the relations with the West, but the relations and issues with the Turkic world? Rate the consistency of this point of view.
 
Answer: This can by no means be a fundamental problem for Russia. Let me remind you that since the times of Peter I Russia was a European superpower. Now it has issues with the Europe and the West, but hopefully, those will be handled and things will straighten out. The relations with the Turkic world is something else. Yes, there may be problems here given the issues of the Turkic nations populated within the territory of RF.
 
Tatevik Ghazaryan
News.am
 
Question: Considering the agreements reached during the tripartite summit between Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan in Baku, can we assume that Armenia is left out of the game? Has Yerevan's policy towards Iran failed or are there any possibilities yet?
 
Answer: I already answered a similar question. Russia will in no case leave Armenia out of the zone of its influence- as it is demonstrated by history. As we know, Russian military settlements were established in the east of Armenia at the beginning of the XIX century at the order of Emperor Alexander I and the approval of the Armenian side, so that Armenia would not fall under the influence of Turkey or Persia.
 
EADaily Information Agency, www.eadaily.com
 
Question: In your opinion, how viable is the EU's migration policy towards the refugees from the Middle East? What measures should be taken by Europe against terroristic threats? Would cooperation with Russia be helpful in this context?
 
Answer: Europe’s migration policy is failing just as the policy of multiculturalism. There is a number of reasons for this fail. I would like to highlight one of those. It is very difficult for Europeans to choose between preservation of commitment to their values on the one hand and the necessary restrictions in relation to migrants, on the other. The latter actively use this and in some parts of Europe even try to establish their own ethical standards. The question on the measures Europe should take against international terrorism is very broad.
First, they need to move from words to deeds. This is partially beginning to happen. Actually, Europe should take some lessons from Israel. Cooperation with Russia is very useful in these terms.
 
Tatevik Ghazaryan
News.am
 
Question: Is there a possibility of building a dialogue on Syrian issue between Moscow, Tehran and Ankara, given the recent meetings between the presidents of Russia and Turkey, as well as Russia and Iran?
 
Answer: It is very difficult to reach that kind of trilateral conformity in policy towards Syria. Despite the current reconciliation, there is still a significant controversy on the Syrian issue between Moscow and Ankara.
 
EADaily Information Agency, www.eadaily.com
 
Question: A tripartite meeting between the leaders of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan was held in Baku on August 8, which was followed by talks between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey. In this context, can we talk about Russia's intention to stabilize the relations to the South of the Western Caspian region? Could these negotiations be a start of a new format of cooperation? Will it result in further economic isolation of Armenia?
 
Answer: Yes, we can talk about Russia's intention to stabilize the relations in the Western Caspian region. I do not think though that this will lead to economic isolation of Armenia.
 
Gagik Baghdasaryan
Novosti-Armenia, www.newsarmenia.am
 
Question: How the severance of relations with NATO by Ankara?  What will be the reaction of the USA in such a scenario? Now while pursuing its “Turkish trend”, does Russia remember the lesson learnt during the XX century?
 
Answer: There is a word missing in the question, so you have to guess. I do not think that it can come to severance of relation with NATO- the USA will not let it happen (unless Donald Trump comes to power there).  Today Russia needs Turkey's friendship both economically and geopolitically. Do not forget that unfortunately Russia has very few friends in the world now.
 
Gagik Baghdasaryan
Novosti-Armenia, www.newsarmenia.am
 
Question: Will Russia manage to balance its economic interests in Azerbaijan and Turkey with its military and geopolitical interests in Armenia? Is the equidistance in relations with its strategic partner Azerbaijan and its military-political partner Armenia dangerous for Russia's reputation? 
 
Answer: Russia’s long experience of trade-economic relations with Turkey confirms that it is not a hindrance to geopolitical interests of Russia in Armenia.
Moscow will continue the notional equidistance towards Baku and Yerevan, keeping in mind that after all the ties with Armenia are certainly deeper...
 
EADaily Information Agency, www.eadaily.com
 
Question: Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran have agreed to commence the development of the transport corridor project “North-South" alongside the western shore of the Caspian Sea. If the project is realized, Azerbaijan will become an important transportation hub both for Moscow and for Tehran. Will the agreement reached in Baku negatively affect the prospects of laying the pipeline from Iran to Armenia? Does the above-mentioned project lose its relevancy in such a scenario?
 
Answer: Solution of this problem depends on the intentions of Tehran and Yerevan, thus it is difficult for me to judge. I think though, the project will be preserved.
 
Gagik Baghdasaryan
Novosti-Armenia, www.newsarmenia.am
 
Question: Does Russia see the need of correction of its policy towards the South Caucasus Countries and Armenia in particular? What should be done to overcome the crisis in Russian-Armenian relations?
 
Answer: Yes, there is such an attitude among some of the Russian intellectuals. Overcoming a crisis in bilateral relations is not so easy. The matter is that currently there are some strong pro-European sentiments in Armenia. While Russia just departed from Europe, I hope that not for long.
 

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