President Vladimir Putin sees Russia, the US and China as the three global goliaths, James Nixey of London’s Chatham House told the Express.co.uk. He explained that a great Russian anxiety is that “it doesn’t have a sufficient say in major world decisions.” He said: “And what Russia wants – and it says so, I’m not interpreting here, this is just what Russia says – it wants to be at the top table.
“It believes that Russia, the US and China are the world’s three great powers and they should be making the major decisions on world events.
“And what that effectively means, apart from the sidelining of the European Union, is ‘great power politics’ – like the 19th century, is what Russia wants to see coming back to the fore.
“Think about how Russia was when Putin succeeded Yeltsin in 2000.
“Then, Russia was on its knees. It was a country of ridicule led by an incompetent drunk and living standards were considerably less than they are now.
“So Russia may have been less of an imminent threat or challenge to the Western rules of international order.
“Russians always talk about respect and while that’s sort of code for ‘we want to be consulted on all major decisions’, the Russian version of events is you don’t respect us – we want respect.
“You must listen to us.”
Mr Nixey reiterated that Russia is undoubtedly one of the world’s most “major” powers and demands “serious attention.”
Speaking in the wake of continued Russian belligerence over Crimea and just over a year after the infamous Skripal poisonings in Salisbury, James Nixey told Express.co.uk that the nation remains inarguably “one of the top five” powers in the world.
He explained: “The fact of the matter is – you can’t really argue about it – it is a major power in all sorts of ways.
“Unless you’re just talking about the economy, in which case it’s 13th by GDP and fifth by PPP.
“But it has got about 48 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.
“It is the largest country in the world.
“It is the largest oil producer in the world.
“It has got the second most borders in the world.
“The fact of the matter is, even if Russia is a power in decline, it’s still a major power in decline.
“It likes to think of itself as a great power – that’s a slightly different question.
“It depends how we’re defining major power but if you ask me, in terms of the countries we need to be paying attention to… good, bad, big, small, powerful, weak – whatever – then Russia is surely one of the top five countries in the world we need to be paying serious attention to.”
Vladimir Putin called for the strengthening of ties between Moscow and the EU during an official visit to Italy on Thursday — and called on the prospective new European Commission chief to help make that happen.
The Russian president said during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte: “Ursula von der Leyen’s role will be key to determine the shape of future relations between us and the EU.
“Russia-EU relations must be developed on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”
The Russian president said his country was being asked to make an extra effort to solve the conflict in Ukraine but “we can’t be handed the full responsibility […] the other parties involved should also do their part.”
Ms Von der Leyen, in her role as German defence minister, has been a critic of Russia’s role in Ukraine.
Mr Conte said: ”We must lay the ground to improve the dialogue between the EU and Russia, which isn’t beneficial for either party or for Italy.”
Mr Putin also said he was “very thankful” to the Italian government for being in favour of the lifting of EU sanctions against Russia.
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An EU document highlighting the bloc’s Russia policy said in February 2018: “While EU-Russia relations had long been difficult, in 2014 they took an abrupt turn for the worse after Russia illegally annexed Crimea and fomented separatist insurgencies in eastern Ukraine.
“To date, little progress has been made towards ending the Ukraine conflict.
“In addition, new sources of tension have emerged, for example, Russia’s military backing for the Assad regime in Syria, and alleged Russian interference in EU politics.
“In the short term, the easing of tensions seems unlikely.”