British-Russian Relations at the Present Stage (2000–2020)

 
PIIS013122270010217-9-1
DOI10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-4-26-36
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Occupation: First Deputy Dean, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs; Professor, School of International Affairs
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics
Address: 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation
Journal nameMirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia
EditionVolume 64 Issue 4
Pages26-36
Abstract

The article is devoted to the study of a vast, complex set of problems in relations between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation at the present historical stage of formation and development of a new multipolar system of international relations. Russian researchers have recently increasingly preferred to respond exclusively to current events in bilateral contacts important for media. In the present work, priority is given to the consideration of relations between Moscow and London in the context of their constant evolution and development dynamics since the beginning of the 21st century. The author traces the influence of the previous long historical experience of bilateral relations on their present-day condition in the rapidly changing modern realities. The impact of trade and economic, investment, cultural and scientific cooperation on the sphere of political interaction between the two countries is analyzed. The reasons that influenced the normalization of British-Russian relations in the late 20th – early 21st century, as well as factors that led to a change of the positive trend of development to negative in 2004–2007 are determined. The role of other key players in today's system of international relations, primarily that of the United States and the European Union, in the formation and implementation of both Britain's foreign policy strategy in general and its approaches to the development of interaction with Russia in particular, is assessed. In this article, it is fundamentally important to identify the cause-and-effect relationships between domestic political problems of the United Kingdom and decisions taken by the government in the field of inter-state relations. The apparent failure of the British ruling elite to conclude an acceptable exit agreement with the European Union has caused the need to divert the attention of the opposition and voters of the United Kingdom from Brexit problems to an external threat represented by Russia. The author investigates the complex of reasons that forced the conservative Cabinet of Theresa May to abandon the previous strategy of “business as usual” and move to the use of measures which seriously limit the interaction between London and Moscow in the investment, industrial and trade spheres. Not only new global challenges and threats (international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, religious extremism, cross-border crime, cyberattacks, etc.), but also a dynamic change in the overall political landscape, emergence of new centers of power, failure of the unipolar system of international relations concept, serious transformations of the domestic political situation in the UK became the determining factors of interaction between the United Kingdom and Russia in the 21st century.

KeywordsGreat Britain, Russia, bilateral relations, foreign policy, Putin, Theresa May, Litvinenko, referendum, Brexit, the Skripal case
Received09.03.2020
Publication date11.03.2020
Number of characters42108
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1 Британо-российские отношения на протяжении как минимум последних трех столетий играли важную, а, например, в XIX в. и определяющую роль, в сложной, динамично развивающейся, подверженной постоянным трансформациям мировой системе межгосударственных политических и социально-экономических связей. По большей части, Россия и Великобритания были конкурентами, даже противниками. Две крупнейшие и одни из самых мощных империй в истории человечества были обречены на постоянное столкновение своих интересов в самых разных частях мира от Ближнего Востока до Индии и Центральной Азии. В XIX веке квинтэссенцией внешнеполитической линии Соединенного Королевства, направленной против России, стало известное выражение “англичанка гадит”. Вместе с тем в ключевые для мировой политики моменты – Наполеоновские и обе мировые войны русские и англичане оказывались союзниками. Более того, при разработке как минимум двух систем международных отношений – Венской и Ялтинско-Потсдамской, Россия и Великобритания были ключевыми странами.
2 В настоящее время мы становимся свидетелями возникновения новых, стремительно развивающихся, до конца еще непонятных, тенденций в межгосударственных отношениях. Среди них – усиление регионализации, ренессанс роли в мировой политике национальных государств, возникновение новых центров силы, рост значения национальных интересов, попытки возврата к политике протекционизма, расширение проникновения цифровых технологий не только в экономику, но и в международные отношения. “Современный мир переживает, – как отмечается в действующей Концепции внешней политики Российской Федерации, – период глубоких перемен, сущность которых заключается в формировании полицентричной международной системы. Структура международных отношений продолжает усложняться. В результате процесса глобализации складываются новые центры экономического и политического влияния. Происходит рассредоточение мирового потенциала силы и развития, его смещение в Азиатско-Тихоокеанский регион. Сокращаются возможности исторического Запада доминировать в мировой экономике и политике. Отчетливо проявляются многообразие культур и цивилизаций в мире, множественность моделей развития государств” [1].
3 Очевидно, что в новом многополярном мире РФ и Британия в обозримой перспективе, в силу целого ряда обстоятельств, будут продолжать играть роль одних из ключевых центров политического и экономического влияния. Оба государства являются постоянными членами Совета Безопасности ООН, ядерными державами, входят в десятку мировых лидеров по объему валового внутреннего продукта. Лондон – ведущий финансовый центр мира, а Россия обладает уникальным природно-ресурсным потенциалом. В этих условиях проблема выработки адекватной современным реалиям и вызовам внешнеполитической стратегии, достижения прагматичных и взаимовыгодных двусторонних отношений приобретает особую актуальность и значимость.

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