British-Russian Relations at the Present Stage (20002020)

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-4-26-36
I. Kovalev (,
National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20, Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Abstract. The article is devoted to the study of a vast, complex set of problems in relations between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation at the present historical stage of formation and development of a new multipolar system of international relations. Russian researchers have recently increasingly preferred to respond exclusively to current events in bilateral contacts important for media. In the present work, priority is given to the consideration of relations between Moscow and London in the context of their constant evolution and development dynamics since the beginning of the 21st century. The author traces the influence of the previous long historical experience of bilateral relations on their present-day condition in the rapidly changing modern realities. The impact of trade and economic, investment, cultural and scientific cooperation on the sphere of political interaction between the two countries is analyzed. The reasons that influenced the normalization of British-Russian relations in the late 20th – early 21st century, as well as factors that led to a change of the positive trend of development to negative in 2004–2007 are determined. The role of other key players in today’s system of international relations, primarily that of the United States and the European Union, in the formation and implementation of both Britain’s foreign policy strategy in general and its approaches to the development of interaction with Russia in particular, is assessed. In this article, it is fundamentally important to identify the cause-and-effect relationships between domestic political problems of the United Kingdom and decisions taken by the government in the field of inter-state relations. The apparent failure of the British ruling elite to conclude an acceptable exit agreement with the European Union has caused the need to divert the attention of the opposition and voters of the United Kingdom from Brexit problems to an external threat represented by Russia. The author investigates the complex of reasons that forced the conservative Cabinet of Theresa May to abandon the previous strategy of “business as usual” and move to the use of measures which seriously limit the interaction between London and Moscow in the investment, industrial and trade spheres. Not only new global challenges and threats (international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, religious extremism, cross-border crime, cyberattacks, etc.), but also a dynamic change in the overall political landscape, emergence of new centers of power, failure of the unipolar system of international relations concept, serious transformations of the domestic political situation in the UK became the determining factors of interaction between the United Kingdom and Russia in the 21st century. 

Keywords: Great Britain, Russia, bilateral relations, foreign policy, Putin, Theresa May, Litvinenko, referendum, Brexit, the Skripal case


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For citation:
Kovalev I. British-Russian Relations at the Present Stage (20002020). World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 4, pp. 26-36.

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