The British Stalemate (Valdai Discussion Club)

The story of Brexit since the referendum vote has so far been that of a stalemate. There are two major factions in the British elite: those that see a strategic interest in remaining with the EU, and those who forecast the EU’s decline and thus believe that Britain is better abandoning a sinking ship sooner than later. The current situation with regards to Brexit can be boiled down to a simple fact: neither of these two factions so far currently holds the resources to defeat the other.

Nora Topor Kalinskij

Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) in Kaliningrad: Scoring Several Goals with One Shot (Valdai Discussion Club)

On January 8, Gazprom launched Russia’s first FSRU to ship liquefied natural gas to the Kaliningrad region. The vessel Marshal Vasilevskiy, constructed by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, is able to transport up to 3.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas to Kaliningrad which is enough to cover any potential increase in the regional gas demand. Russia’s western exclave is a dynamic and rapidly growing regional gas market – last November Governor Anton Alikhanov said the regional gas consumption would reach 2.48 bcm in 2018. Furthermore, gas demand is expected to reach at least 3 bcm/year in the near future, while pipeline transiting via Lithuania has a (limited) operational capacity of 2.5 bcm/year. Therefore, a new source of gas – in the form of LNG – will mitigate potential deficit in the region.

Danila Bochkarev

Brexit: Deal or No Deal? (Valdai Discussion Club)

On Tuesday night, Theresa May’s Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected by the House of Commons. Mrs May’s crushing loss is the the biggest defeat inflicted on any UK government by parliament. The prime minister is now in a race against time to revamp and revive her deal before Britain’s scheduled departure from the EU on March 29.

Iain Ferguson

The Ideology of Russia’s Return to Africa, and the Zimbabwean President’s Visit to Moscow (Valdai Discussion Club)

The year 2019 can be described, with good reason, as the Year of Africa in Russian foreign policy. The first full-scale Russia-Africa Summit has been planned for the summer. It will be accompanied by a business forum and a meeting of civil society and NGOs and it is expected to bolster youth and university cooperation. These plans, if they are implemented, will signify Russia’s return to Africa. Russia’s involvement in international African development programs plummeted after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. We must now make up for lost time.

Oleg Barabanov

The Marshal Vasilevsky Factor: Energy Blockade of Kaliningrad Is Now Impossible (Valdai Discussion Club)

2019 started out with the most important event for Russia’s energy security. Russia’s first floating regasification unit was commissioned at the port of Kaliningrad. The Marshal Vasilevsky ship named after the Soviet military leader, who led the general staff and the Koenigsberg Offensive during the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, can transport and store liquefied natural gas and regasify LNG to supply consumers with household-grade methane in gaseous state.

Alexei Grivach

The Persistence of European Anti-Semitism (BESA Center)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The fight against anti-Semitism on the international level continues to be characterized by restraint combined with ignorance – a potentially deadly combination. European hand-wringing and the spouting of clichés will never suffice; the extent of the rot must be acknowledged if it is to be effectively confronted.


Heads of State vs. Ministers of Defense (BESA Center)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Given the inherent professional tension between heads of state and their ministers of defense, most critically manifested in moments of grave national crisis, it might be preferable for the national leader to hold the defense portfolio as well.


How e-commerce supports African business growth (McKinsey)

Africa’s booming e-commerce sector can not only jump-start small businesses but also help large companies enter a market full of energized consumers.

Globalism is dead. Long live globalization (WEF)

Though belief in globalism – a top-down conspiracy to impose an international system that trumps national sovereignty – may be dead, globalization is alive and well. An effective and resilient international order, comprising strong nation-states, thus remains essential.

W. Lee Howell