Russia should consider itself a Euro-Pacific power – political scientist
Russia is still looking for its identity, believes Nikonov. “Some people say that Russia is a European country: our culture is European, and our trade relations are mostly with the European Union. On the other hand, Russia is bigger than Europe, with most of its territories being in Asia,” he explains to RT .
Talking about the possibility of Russia becoming a European power, Nikonov states that although “Russia can build on its relations with the West, it is quite unrealistic to assume that it can become part of the West.”
He adds, “Russia is too big and too Russian both for the European Union and NATO; they are not very eager to see Russia inside.”
Nikonov thinks that “our priorities are East and West.”
However, the problem for Russia in the Asia-Pacific region is that it is a serious political and military player in that area, while lacking the economic strength, believes Nikonov. “For Russia the main challenge there is to become part of the Asian-Pacific market, the biggest market in the world,” he says. “And Russia is making serious steps in this direction.”
While the Western investments in Russia decreased during the crisis, the Asia-Pacific investment in Russia tripled, which is a very important development, Nikonov notes.
Speaking on the subject of relations between Russia and China, Nikonov says that as a rising superpower, second to the US, China is a challenge for everybody. “For Russia it is also a challenge of a power, rising at its borders, and a demographic pressure. Many people in Russia are scared of China’s development. But it is quite trivial to say that the relation between Russia and China today is the best ever,” he told RT.