MGIMO University Presents International Threats 2022 Report at TASS

MGIMO University Presents International Threats 2022 Report at TASS

11 January 2022

MGIMO University presented its annual analytical report International Threats 2022. Retaking the initiative at the TASS press center on January 11th. MGIMO researchers shared the report's main conclusions on the key international trends of this new year.

A sobering challenge that the current situation is for the international community is a recurring motif in the report. An extended period of peace is giving way to increasing power tensions. Political elites are leaning toward realist thinking in categories of power and security rather than in categories of values and identity that used to be front and center. The prospect of various regions succumbing to a large-scale military confrontation with unclear outcomes indeed has a sobering effect.

The Russia-China-U.S. triangle plays a special role in the unfolding situation. At the end of last year, Russia managed to seize the initiative in the debate about the future of the European security system. This is definitely news, since while previously Moscow may have had a tactical lead, but not strategical one. Strategically, it was almost completely narrowed down to NATO's expansion. The talks that began this week could be one of the most significant diplomatic highlights of the year and even several decades, should they successfully draft the outline of an inclusive and stable order. Ultimately, this order is in everyone's interest, except for small states between Russia and NATO, who have long learnt how their foreign policies can benefit from the confrontation between Russia and the USA.

Moreover, after years of uncertainty, a more or less coherent foreign policy strategy emerges in the United States. It could, however, fall victim to internal political struggles, as it happened before. President Biden's political stance and that of his national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, will be key in the matter.

China is also interested in peace for the time being. It is undergoing a complex and largely unprecedented change at home, shifting towards a political model with no transition of power. After it is done, there is reason to expect China's foreign policy to be more assertive, although, this new year, this assertiveness will hardly be directed at Taiwan. The prospect of such a change in Chinese foreign policy should prompt the USA to reach an agreement with Russia. Moscow is ready for this, but Western politicians need to go back to strategical thinking, a skill they almost lost.

Although the central issue in US-Russia relations, from Moscow's point of view, is European security, there can be a dialogue with the United States on strategic stability and cybersecurity. As far as the work of the two countries' foreign missions is concerned, no progress can be expected unless there are real advances in other areas.

Speaking at the presentation, Andrey Sushentsov, Dean of the School of International Relations and Head of the Eurasian Strategies, a MGIMO Consulting Agency, noted that with the crisis in Kazakhstan, the issue of post-Soviet states' resilience gained renewed relevance. Multi-vectorism is slowly going out of fashion there, and the question of who among international partners can lend an effective helping hand if the statehood is threatened has a clear answer — it is Russia.

This year, the EU will resort to the climate agenda. The EU sees it as a new foundation for internal integration and a stronger global role. In reality, however, we are in for fascinating debates over nuclear and gas energy between the key EU countries. Germany's new chancellor is to launch the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will help open a new chapter in relations with Russia.

The sobering effect that the international community is experiencing does not mean the world is a safer place. For this, the key players still have to come to terms with each other. In fact, the prospect of rising tensions could nudge various global players towards more provocations in their policies, something they had a taste of in previous years. Before, these provocations were designed to delegitimize the opponent; now they will be used to undermine confidence in their military capabilities. From this point of view, a quick and effective CSTO intervention in Kazakhstan would serve to reduce the risk of provocations against the organization's members.

A special section of the report dwells on the accuracy of the last year's edition of International Threats. As the past year has shown, the authors were correct in predicting a shift toward realism in the US strategy, the relatively cautious Chinese foreign policy, the success of the Greens in the German parliamentary elections, and the countries' offensive on the information technology market.

Employees of several MGIMO departments prepared the report — the Eurasian Strategies consulting agency, the Institute for International Studies, and the School of International Relations: Andrey Bezrukov, Andrey Sushentsov, Mikhail V. Mamonov, Nikolay Silaev, Sergey Markedonov, Andrey Baikov, Olga Rebro, Andrey Baklitsky, Adlan Margoev, Mikhail E. Mamonov, Artyom Sokolov, Ekaterina Arapova, Igor Denisov, Alexandr Chechevishnikov, Maxim Suchkov, Elena Maslova, Nikita Neklyudov.

The text of the report is available on the Eurasian Strategies website. The key findings of the report were covered by the leading Russian media outlets, including TASS, Vedomosti, Forbes, Vzglyad,, Vmeste-RF, Aktualnye Kommentarii, Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Maxim Suchkov, head of the Institute for International Studies, also sat down with the RBC network to discuss the report's main takeaways.