“Road where Russia needs to go leads through Washington” – US analyst

The choice between the EU and the US as the better business partner for Russia is clear, says Clifford Kupchan, head of Russia and CIS team at Eurasia Group and a former senior official at the US State Department.

“If Russia is serious about turning to the EU and the US for a partner in modernization, the choice is not really very hard. The US, Silicon Valley, has been much more innovative, the US economy is much larger, so that while rhetorically it’s easier for Russian leaders to say ‘we need a partnership with the EU’, it’s not realistic. The road where Russia needs to go leads through Washington. That’s not very popular to say in Moscow but it’s reality,” he said.

Clifford Kupchan also spoke about the obstacles in the way of improving Russian-American relations, including business relations.

“Frankly, American investors who support President Medvedev still don’t trust the Russian market,” Clifford Kupchan said. “There’s a phrase on Wall Street that ‘capital is a coward’, ‘capital is scared’. American capital is still very scared of Russia. Until Russia takes steps to calm American capital, you are not going to get the movement forward towards increasing trade flows, towards building that core constituency of Russian and American business that in my view is needed to sustain the relationship.”

Kupchan added Russia and the US are progressing in "resetting" relations, but there is still plenty to be done along that way.

As for the existing world order and Russia’s place in it, Kupchan says we still live in a unipolar world.

“The US power is unparalleled with military and economic power, especially military power. Within that broad framework, I think there is a slow movement towards a different world order. The BRIC countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are rising. Brazil is probably the most quickly rising country right now. Indonesia is an emerging center of power. So within a broad context of American unipolarity, things are changing, and they are changing rather rapidly,” he said.