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Russia’s Strategic Priorities, Viewed from Within

Like leaders of all major powers, Russia’s elite must regularly try to divine the future, in order to shape the country’s strategic priorities in a way that anticipates likely challenges. In Russia's case, a recent report by the semi-official Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations urges a turn to the West.

STOCKHOLM – While the European Union gears up for new leadership this fall, and while US President Donald Trump has just launched his 2020 re-election campaign, Russian President Vladimir Putin is sitting steady in the saddle with a mandate stretching to 2024. But what, exactly, does Putin intend to do with his next five years in the Kremlin?

Like leaders of all major powers, Russia’s elite must regularly try to divine the future, in order to shape the country’s strategic priorities in a way that anticipates likely challenges. The United States conducts such assessments every four years under the direction of the National Intelligence Council; the EU does so every five years, and has just published a semi-independent study of likely global trends between now and 2030.

In Russia’s case, geostrategic forecasting is one of the activities of the semi-official Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), which has published a global outlook for 2035. Generally speaking, its assessment of future trends is similar to that of the US and the EU. Where the report gets interesting is in its appraisal of the implications for Russia. The authors identify several strategic dilemmas the country will face.

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