PETROANALYSIS || ARTICLE
Soviet nationalism back under Putin
Alfredo Ordóñez López
The recent events that have been developing in the Russian Federation, due to the re-election of Vladimir Putin for his fourth period as President, show the desire of the Russian population to hold onto a political man who represents the image and strength of what the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was.
President Putin will stay in power until 2024, and specialists foresee that his actions within the international relations context will be stronger because he has the support of a population that has given him the endorsement to represent them on the international stage.
The foreign policy that the Kremlin has developed since Putin’s arrival to power reflects the rebirth of a dead feeling in literature but very relevant among the population that lived in the bipolar world and who nowadays nostalgically look back to the Cold War.
After the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991, the world has been ruled by the United States of America (USA) and Western Europe’s most powerful nations, such as Germany, France and the United Kingdom, and one should also keep in mind the idea of having achieved a Multipolar world. However, and despite the strong impact brought by this new dynamic in international relations in the Soviet being, this feeling has been maintained and reflected in all the nations that made up the USSR.
The iconic USSR is present in the Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan), Eastern Europe (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova) and, of course, in the center itself of the Eurasian power (Russia).
Ukraine does not add to that feeling, but it is necessary to remember that the conflicts in 2014, in the main cities of Eastern Ukraine (Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk) showed pro-Russian demonstrations, which implied an imminent look of concern on the part of Western nations, mainly the European Union and the US, for the rebirth of a feeling of power with future and important geopolitical connotations for the international scenario, and this will be more effective due to Putin’s re-election.
What can be expected in the dynamics of economic relations?
The truth is that behind the focus of the camera, states have always managed throughout history to establish a geopolitical balance on the international stage. Russia supplies almost 40% of the gas consumed in Western Europe and countries like Algeria only supplies barely a quarter of the gas to European nations. However, and despite the economic sanctions that have been imposed on Russia by the European Union and the US, the Kremlin will undoubtedly seek to establish an energy pressure on the European Union, because despite the great advances in the use of clean energy, hydrocarbons (oil and gas) still feed approximately more than 70% of the world’s energy consumption
According to the World Trade Organization (2017), the world economy will grow 3% (estimated), which will certainly imply an increase in energy consumption, and more so when one takes account the estimated growth of China and India (6% and 7% respectively), the European Union and the US (2% and 2% respectively), Africa (2%), and Latin America (1%). In this sense, and taking into consideration the discrepancies within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia will play its chips to influence the energy market and the financial system.
Vladimir Putin achieved an energy alliance with the People’s Republic of China, which guarantees him a secure market for many years, especially when President Xi Jinping was also re-elected a few days ago as the political leader of this Asian nation. In addition, Russia, is one of the BRICS economies, and here Brazil, India, China and South Africa are considered as the most emerging countries on the planet: in essence, these are the nations that have currently the biggest influence in the international economic scenario and are the most attractive destinations for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).
Finally, the conflict in Ukraine and the Russian military participation in Syrian territory represent the reflection of a feeling that has remained alive and nostalgic. However, it seems unlikely that the former USSR will be reinstated, but what it is possible is the rebirth of pro-nationalist movements that can alter the order in the Eastern European region and the Caucasus itself, and this would have strong implications for US investments in the area, and the absolute rejection of Western Europe.
Image from http://aniversario.elpais.com/putin/.