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Russia in the current geopolitical order

A multipolar system: the invasion of Ukraine

May 2022

The joint statement by Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, in which both leaders affirm the multipolarity of the new system, entails a series of implications for the actions of the actors with interests at stake within this new system. At the international system level, Russia would choose to assume the status of a strategic actor, given its structural problems with China in the Asian zone, and the maintenance by the US of its allies in the European orbit. Acting as a hinge between one and the other to prevent either of them from gaining too much power will allow the Russians to guarantee their security and maximize their importance. At a European level, where the game includes other players (EU), it can try to assert its historical claims of greatness, maintaining a more offensive approach by taking advantage of the situations associated with the new system that have a positive impact on its resilience and ability to act. .

The multipolar system, whether it is new, or has been developing for years, repositions the actors involved, in a new succession of long games started, in progress, and still to be played.

Given the threat that Russia has shown to pose after the invasion of Ukraine, it is worth reflecting on how Moscow is taking advantage of this moment of exhaustion and American withdrawal and the role it can play in this multipolar system, defined to a large extent by China and the US.

With the US in retreat, Russia takes the opportunity to take a step forward where the dynamics of rivalry allow it to play a role of potential hegemon or balancer, adopting an offensive or defensive logic depending on the geopolitical space where the game takes place (it is not same Europe as central Asia). Generally speaking, depending on which system level Russia plays the game at, the role to be played will be one or the other.

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