The Russian elections and the future of Russian foreign policy


On Wednesday 28th March, the European Leadership Network (ELN) and Salamanca Group co-hosted the latest breakfast briefing part of the Strategic Insight series on “The Russian elections and the future of Russian foreign policy”.

The event was chaired by ELN director Adam Thomson, who introduced the discussion before passing over to key note speakers: Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former British Ambassador to Russia and Oksana Antonenko, visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics’ Institute of Global Affairs.

In characteristically excellent timing from ELN’s planning team, with much to discuss, the conversation on the Russian elections launched into compelling debate. This ranged from the election statistics, including trends related to a younger, liberal demographic, to its foreign policy and place as a foreign power, especially considering its standing regarding its defense budget. A focus on the election campaign covered similarities in campaign methods to others in the post-Soviet era and Putin’s methods to ensure he leaves a respected legacy. Russia, under Putin, has become prosperous and stable for a variety of reasons, however, the largest challenge for Putin remains the economy, which whilst has resumed growth after the recession years, is not growing as fast as necessary compared to the global economy. The panel discussed various social, economic and structural reforms required in order to achieve the countries growth targets.

Of course, the discussion had to address the elephant in the room, the recent military grade nerve agent Novichok attack in Salisbury. This ushered the debate onto what remains of the Russia-UK relationship and what each country’s stance is on conversation between the two nations.   Will a post-Western world see the West and Russia coming together to develop relations and dialogue, or will tensions continue to overpower efforts?

The next Strategic Insight breakfast focuses on Labour Party Perspectives on European Security. If you are interested in attending please contact