updated 9:43 AM UTC, Dec 29, 2017


2016 has been a very troublesome year with threats and challenges sprouting through the cracks of the shaping world order marking the importance of long overdue changes to the approaches on global arena. It was rich in happenings and outcomes, gave plenty of food for thought and also highlighted shifts in world politics. It showed the correctness of Russia’s analysis of the situation.

As «The Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation» adopted by President Vladimir Putin on 30 November 2016 stipulates, the current stage of the world development is characterized by profound changes, the essence of which is the establishment of a polycentric system of international relations with its increasingly more complex nature. New centres of economic and political influence appear as a direct consequence of globalization. Thus nowadays the global power and development potential is highly dispersed and is shifting to new developing regions. The West’s ability to dominate world economy and politics continues to diminish while other world cultures and civilizations as well as various state-development models become more prominent.

At the same time conflicts of interests caused by uneven development of world regions, growing gap in prosperity between the states, tougher competition for strategic resources, markets and control over vital transportation routes are becoming increasingly more intense. Global competition not only covers areas of human, technological and scientific potential, but takes place on a civilizational level, whereby various values and models of development compete against each other. Under these circumstances, imposing one's own hierarchy of values can only provoke a rise of xenophobia, intolerance and tensions in international relations leading eventually to chaos in world affairs. It is a top priority for world politics to prevent clashes of civilizations and to intensify efforts to forge partnership of cultures and religions in order to ensure a harmonious development of mankind. Attempts of the Western countries to preserve their advantageous positions by dictating their point of view on international tendencies and imposing the policy of containment on rising powers end up in growing instability in international affairs as well as global and regional turbulence. Struggle for domination over the formulating key principles of the future international system has become the main trend in modern world development.

In current circumstances, when political, social and economic conflicts become more aggravated and social and economic instability increases, the meaning of factor of power constantly grows. Efforts to build up or modernize offensive potentials, to create and deploy new types of weapons erode the global security architecture based on international treaties and agreements on arms control.

It is quite obvious that existing military and political alliances cannot withstand all the modern challenges and threats. Attempts to build individual "oases of peace and security" are a futile exercise due to growing interdependence of states and peoples. That is why compliance with universal principles of equal and indivisible security in respect of the Euro-Atlantic, Eurasian, Asia-Pacific and African regions gains particular importance in the modern world.

World economy, shaped by financial and economic challenges, is characterized by universal slowing of economic growth rates, volatility of financial, goods and resources markets as well as fragmenting common economic space and establishment of regional substructures with competing tariff and non-tariff barriers. Thus regional integration and strengthening of regional reserve currencies gain particular importance for the international economic relations. Other crucial points include joint efforts to manage international economy, growing transparency of global financial and economic space, establishment of integrated, open and well-balanced trade, monetary and financial systems that will remain relevant through the globalization era.

One of the modern world’s most dangerous realia is the continuously increasing threat of international terrorism. The spread of extremist ideology and high activity of terrorist structures in a number of regions, the Middle East and North Africa first and foremost, were caused by systemic problems in the countries’ development against the backdrop of globalization as well as external interference, and lead to the destruction of traditional governance and security mechanisms. Imposing ideological values and recipes for modernizing political systems from the outside only aggravates the situation, amplifying negative counter-reactions of affected societies. These trends are being exploited by the extremists, who rely on a distorted interpretation of religious values, and call for using violence as a method to achieve their political goals.

The emergence of the Islamic State and other similar international terrorist organisations in the recent years have raised global terrorist threat to an entirely new level. It is clear as day that the only way to effectively fight this ‘disease’ is to form a broad international anti-terrorist coalition based on a sound legal foundation, effective and systemic cooperation of its members without any politicization and double standards, active use of the potential of civil society, mainly in preventing radical ideas from spreading.

Russia has consistently opposed terrorism in all its forms. We provide military-technical assistance to the Syrian government, help Syrians fight terrorists, and bring peace to their war-torn land. Our Aerospace Forces' operation in Syria, which is being conducted at the official request of the UN member state’s legitimate authorities, have already resulted in serious damage to the terrorists and their infrastructure. To ensure peace and security the terrorist hotbed in Syria must be eliminated.

At the same time, it is clear that military methods alone will not untie the Syrian knot. That is why we have been advocating for political and diplomatic resolution of the Syrian crisis since its outbreak. Our firm position is that the settlement can only be achieved through an inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue based on provisions of the Geneva Communique of 30 June 2012 and relevant UNSC resolutions. Attempts to impose an alien agenda on Syrians have already failed. The Syrians themselves, without any outside interference, should agree on their own future.

The Syrian situation serves as an illustration of the intricacy and severity of the challenges the world is facing these days. Sadly, it is not a one of a kind issue. The events in Syria, Iraq and Libya are striking and bloody examples of what happens when instead of uniting in the face of common threats, and gradually resolving problems, some parties start pushing their own agenda, interfering in internal affairs of states and exporting revolutions. We have witnessed how instead of bringing reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions leaving a power vacuum, which was quickly filled with extremists and terrorists.

It is important to avoid such situations in the future, return to the core principles enshrined in the UN Charter, basing policies, like Russia does, on equality, mutual respect for each other’s interest and fostering collective efforts in tackling global and regional problems.


Mikhail Petrakov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of South Africa