Mahrukh A Mughal
IN this modern age of geopolitics, exponential rise of Russia as a superpower is evident since the collapse of Soviet Union. The fundamentals of Superpower entail “dominant position in international relations which is accompanied by its unparalleled ability to exert potential influence or project power on global scale.” History shows that there were many superpowers asserted prominence rapidly or throughout centuries and some eventually faded. Since the end of World War II and the Collapse of Soviet Union, there were two superpowers USSR and USA stirring bipolarity. Thus, the trajectory of USSR and instigation of uni-polar world of USA, subsequently forming multi-polar world. Fomenting superpower, there are five dimensions which needs to be satisfied for Russia’s rising potential are geography, population, economy, resources, military and diplomacy. The inflated hegemony of USA contributed towards the enhancement of Russia’s military potential and formidable superpower.
Focusing on the five dimensions of Russia’s rising potential in the multi-polar world. Geographically, Russia has the largest land in the world which comprises of 17 million square kilometers, extents Europe, Asia and dominates over Arctic. As per Alfred Marshal, “Sea Power is the Key Power to the World Power”. Hence, Russia’s potential subsidizes to the globalized world primitive to trade and commerce through Arctic. Secondly, the significance of population purports the confinement of state and contributes to the GDP of country which ultimately bolster power of the state. The population of Russia consists of “145 million of 185 diverse ethnic groups” pursuance to the report of UNHEC. Therefore, 81% of population is Russian, followed by Tatars and Ukrainians. Thus, the pivot of population contributes to the growth of the country and subsequently flourishing the agenda of foreign policy. Thirdly, the essence of economy renders rampant role in the country to fabricate innovative technology and formulate foreign policy. If the economy is at the daggers dawn, than there is an unlikely chance to perform military role externally and compete with foreign forces.
The economy of Russia was in a down cycle, before the rise of Vladamir Putin resulting from the sanctions imposed by Western States. The attrition of the economy proposed by Vladmir Putin by “introducing a flat income tax of 13 percent and simplifying business regulations”. During the first two presidential term of Putin, the real incomes enhanced by 250 percent, real wages tripled and poverty was reduced by certain extent. The decline of revenue in 2016 resulted due to oil and gas price shrinkage as a result of sanctions. The estimated GDP growth for 2017 according to IMF was about $1.283 trillion, which puts Russia in 6th in the World. Yet, the predicament of the Russian economy is rampant corruption, to which, Russia is burning curdle at both ends to fight the concerned dilemmas. According to US Company, Bloomberg, Russia has the world’s 15th highest patent application rate, the 8th highest concentration of high-tech public companies, such as internet and aerospace and third highest graduation rate of scientists and engineers. Moreover, Russia contains 30% of the World’s natural resources pursuance to the World Bank report, and an estimated natural resource comprises of $75 trillion US dollars. Thus, such a vigorous economy of Russia pulls to the realm of superpower in geopolitical world. Resilient economy is the insight of power in the realm of international relations as per Napoleon. Economy of the country formulates the potential rise of the power politics in international relation.
Fourthly, the rapid growth of military spending in Russia enhanced since the fall of Soviet Union. Since the rise of Vladmir Putin in 2000, aimed to restore Russia on the World Stage. The adversaries of Russia are US and its allies around the world, including NATO which aims to disparage the potential rise of Russia. The worrisome of Russia is nuclear weapons of United States, which purportedly formed aggressive new Nuclear Posture Review towards Russia in 2018. Since the beck and call of Crimea in 2014 by Russia, US imposed obstructive sanctions and policies towards Russia to circumvent the potential rise of military power, which led Russia beeline towards China. To destabilize Western democracies Russia undertook aggressive campaign and conducted large-scale military exercises near NATO territory minatory to European countries in the Baltic’s. Russian military is the second largest military power in the world since the rise of Vladmir Putin and probably first in nuclear arsenal. The objective of Russian military power to browbeat the hegemony of United States that influence its spreading dominance in the world.
Therefore, it is evident from the above proven dimensions of superpower that the rise of Russia in multi-polar world is by the contribution of its geopolitics. Russia undermine the U.S diplomatic posture across the world at large and tries to fill the vacuum resulting from U.S President Donald Trump’s “America First” Foreign policy. As America is pushing itself into the bottomless pit, such as boycotting Paris Accord, fostering European allies to spent on defense budget and imposing colossal tariffs on China, Canada and Turkey. All such acts of United States would potentially result in isolationism, and eventually would give clear pathway to Russia to assert its influence in the multi-polar world. Hence, the potential rise of Russia is advanced with innovative weapons and enhanced economy including the member of Shanghai Corporation Organization (SCO) in which China is the leading member, which ultimately would undermine the hegemony of United States.
— The author, a freelance columnist, is based in Lahore.