Russia Direct is pleased to announce the winners of the second essay competition dedicated to the future global balance of power after the Ukrainian crisis.


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On the first anniversary of Russia Direct, we are pleased to announce the results of our recent RD student essay contest “What does the global balance of power look like after Ukraine?

Out of dozens of entries that came from all over the world – including the U.S., UK, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Estonia, Macedonia and Indonesia - we have selected one winner and three finalists.

Andreas Kindsvater, a student at the Munich School of Political Science / Bavarian School of Public Policy, took first place and will become a guest editor at RD starting in July. The three finalists were Akop Gabrielyan of the Central European University in Budapest; Sandra Peets of Tallinn University of Technology; and Matt Finucane of Sheffield University.

The students share their vision of what the future world order will look like after the Ukrainian crisis. Kindsvater argues that although the U.S. will remain “the most powerful superpower for the next decade,” many new emerging regional powers such as China, India and Brazil will keep pace with the U.S. While advocating multipolarity, Kindsvater warns against increasing tensions in the world, with Russia and China coming together and NATO and the U.S. “reaching out to Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova.”

“A less messianic U.S. could surely help to reduce this negative perception,” he claims, pointing out the old theory of nuclear deterrence and an increasing globalization that, according to him, “will likely save us from a catastrophe.”

Meanwhile, Gabrielyan develops – as he calls it – a concept of political and economic “micro infarctions” that some countries, including Russia, have been facing almost for a decade.

“By this term I mean a set of political, economic and other issues which produce a detrimental effect on the system of international affairs on a local level, and which generate a real international deadlock on a global scale, being transformed into a real global trouble once occurring simultaneously in different regions,” he clarifies, giving recent examples of his concept in geopolitics and macroeconomics including the 2008 financial crisis, the Russo-Georgian conflict, the “Arab Spring", and the Iranian, Syrian, and now Ukrainian standoffs.

Peets is more specific about the problem of the world order after the Ukrainian crisis. According to her, “the current geopolitical struggles and reemerging power divisions are playing largely in Iran`s favor.”

“The Ukrainian standoff is reinforcing the relationship between Iran and Russia and strengthening Iran's position at the negotiation table,” she writes in her essay. “The geopolitical developments are forming a strategic partnership based on a mutual desire to resist and counter the western international system. … Consequently, Iran is inevitably regaining its relevance and importance in global affairs.”

The third finalist, Finucane argues that “it would be erroneous to consider the new era as any more bounteous for Russia” because of the increasing he sees it, exaggerated fears of Russia’s geopolitical ambitions.

Amid tensions between Russia and the West labeled by some experts as a new Cold War, the strategy of neutralism “looks increasingly appealing,” Finucane believes.

“Pioneered by Finland and adopted by Yugoslavia following its expulsion from the Cominform, neutralism eschewed traditional bloc politics in favor of balanced relationships with each bloc,” he wrote. “What this means for Ukraine is already palpable, and newly-elected President, Petro Poroshenko — having stated during his candidacy that ‘without a direct dialogue with Russia, it will be impossible to create security’—has already initiated talks towards a peace plan with the pro-Russian militias in Ukraine’s east.”