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The School of International Regional Studies is a research and educational centre seeking to revive international regional studies as an academic discipline in Russia. The department’s world-class professors train the next generation of regional studies specialists while developing an increasingly prestigious research school.
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Seminar topic: "Russian-American relations during the administration of J. Biden: "detente" or a new "cold war"".
The moderator of the event was Dr. Vera Vishnyakova, Head of the School of International Regional Studies of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, HSE University.
The expert told the audience about the foreign policy conditions in which the new administration has to act, highlighted the most problematic issues in Russian-American relations and presented a likely scenario for their development.
It was noted that the Biden administration made the first, even rhetorical, attempts to return the United States from the path of isolationism to the position of a world leader. However, due to the many challenges that exist in the international environment, the United States is forced to adapt to changing conditions. The country's officials assess the state of the international system as a crisis, pay much attention to the rivalry of democracy and authoritarianism on a global scale. In this context, the PRC and the Russian Federation are seen as rivals, but it is China that is the primary competitor, while Russia is assigned the role of a "multiplier" of Chinese power, which must be restrained.
The speaker clarified that Republicans consider Russia to be a key geopolitical opponent, while Democrats also note the presence of an ideological confrontation. In this regard, there is a categorical disagreement between the countries about the role of Ukraine in the post-Soviet space. The United States positions it as an outpost of democracy in the region and provides all possible support, while Russia opposes US interference in the zone of its own national interests.
Sanctions pressure also does not contribute to improving relations between Russia and the United States. Thus, data were given indicating that Russia is losing about 1.5-2% of GDP per year because of them. The legal framework under the restrictions imposed by the United States makes them almost irreversible. Therefore, the American position on this issue is unlikely to change.
Dr. Lev Sokolshchik drew the audience's attention to the changes in climate policy in the United States. One of the first decisions of the new administration was to return to the Paris Agreements, at the moment "green" initiatives are being actively declared. The United States is ready to cooperate with other countries, including Russia, in this direction. The topics for the dialogue may be countering climate change in the Arctic, research on the conservation of its biodiversity, the fight against methane emissions associated with the melting of glaciers. However, such prospects can be negated by a potential increase in military tension in the region.
Thus, the relations between the countries can be characterized as confrontational. Most likely, Russia's policy of containment will continue. However, as Dr. Lev Sokolshchik suggested, the United States will most probably be ready to engage in a pragmatic dialogue with Russia for the sake of cooperation in solving global problems.