Dr. Mervyn Bain, Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Aberdeen and Dr. Cristian Nitoiu, a Postdoctoral Fellow in EU-Russia relations and Ukraine at LSE discuss this situation.
Dr. Bain agrees, and points out that the political landscape is changing so much, and "…Britain is trying to find its place within this changing landscape." This is particularly clear in the report which seems to acknowledge, perhaps for the first time that Asia, and China are as important or even more important to Russia than western Europe. In other words, UK foreign policy experts might have got it wrong.
The report has not been widely reported about in the UK mainstream media, host John Harrison points out. Dr. Nitoiu says: "To a large extent it [the report] goes against the wind, and whenever you have this kind of report, the mainstream media is the last to go ahead and report on it. But I would also argue that this is one of the least professional reports that either the House of Commons or the House of Lords have produced on Russia… it is more a criticism that the government has not come up with a clear direction in terms of Russia." One of the reasons for the UK government's rather obscure understanding of Russia is because of a lack of Russian experts employed by the government, Dr. Bain says.
To the question "Will this report lead to actual change in the future?" Dr. Bain says that the shift away from concentrating on Vladimir Putin to the Russian population is a good thing, but from the Russian government’s point of view, this may signal caution, as there may be suspicion as to what the UK wants to do, trying to communicate on a person-to-person basis. Dr. Bain feels that the time scale for change is probably within the parameters of a few years.
Other themes are discussed towards the end of the program, including the fact that the whole dialogue about Russia been stripped of her right to hold the World Cup in 2018 has apparently disappeared from the landscape.
In short, there seems to be major doubt that the UK's policy towards Russia is correct. If nothing major changes in the near to medium future (which is quite possible), it looks like UK-Russia relations are set to improve within a relatively short time frame of a few years.
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