Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Other Thoughts’ Category

SCO and BRICS: Forging International and Regional Connections

“На одном колесе не уедешь”

Башкирская пословица

“You won’t get far on only one wheel”

Bashkir proverb highlighting the importance of preparation and cooperation.

This summer, the parallel summits of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and BRICS in the Russian city of Ufa attracted plenty of media attention, many focusing on their geopolitical aspects. Of course these are important, and in my view the high-level encounters which the summits facilitate can provide a fresh forum for dialogue, not only between nations with growing ties such as Russia and China, but also among those with potential tensions, notably India and Pakistan. In addition, I want to highlight an aspect of the Ufa conferences that is often overlooked, namely the fact that the very location of these summits, in the capital city of the Bashkir minority (unknown to many non-Russians), highlights Russia’s considerable regional investment ambitions. Continue reading

Staying the course in international cooperation

At this rather complex time in international affairs, a recent story from the world of sailing provides an inspiring example of global cooperation to anyone, be they in the world of business, politics or sport.

A trimaran named Qingdao China from the port of the same name – captained by the Chinese skipper Guo Chuan – has become the first ever racing boat to travel through the Arctic Northeast Passage (Scuttlebutt).

This record-breaking thirteen-day journey from Murmansk to the Bering Strait demonstrates what is possible when individuals from diverse backgrounds pool their resources. Continue reading

BBC Newshour Extra: panel discussion on Russo-West relations

Earlier this week, I participated in a panel discussion on the Russo-West relationship, organised by the BBC World Service. It took place on the side-lines of the Conservative Party Conference, and my fellow panellists included BBC’s Olexiy Solohubenko and Bridget Kendall, Dr Liam Fox MP, Daniel Kawczynski MP, and James Coomarasamy (moderator). Continue reading

Friendliness and Friendship

“Дружба подобна сокровищнице: из нее невозможно

почерпнуть больше, чем ты в нее вложил.”

Осип Мандельштам

“Friendship is like a treasure trove, you cannot extract

from it more than you have put in.”

Osip Mandelstam

A recent survey in Travel + Leisure magazine placed my hometown, St Petersburg, among the five ‘most unfriendly’ cities in the world, a fact remarked upon by the Economist’s ‘Gulliver’ business travel blog. While Petersburgers like myself might take comfort from the fact that we at least finished two places above Moscow which was last in the list (as well as the fact that there is little shame in appearing in a ‘bottom’ ten alongside destinations like Marseilles, New York City and Cannes) I nevertheless wish to offer a different point of view. Continue reading

Weekly Digest – 5 June 2015

This is what I found interesting in the press this week…

The EMPEA has published its annual LPs investment opportunities perception survey which provides insights into how the industry’s major sources of capital value the risk/reward trade off in emerging markets.

This week, the Rouble weakened further than any other time this year. However, the current volatility of the Russian currency strangely coincided with two media events, both occurring towards the end of the week Continue reading

Weekly Digest – 29 May 2015

I come across a number of interesting articles on a weekly basis, and I would like to start sharing some of them. These articles might provide interesting insight, or an alternative angle to a particular topic or issue. Continue reading

Russia and Europe: shared recovery

A recent article about the renewed sense of enthusiasm towards European economies’ ‘recovery’ caught my attention. The piece in the Economist cautions against excessive optimism despite the improvements in several Eurozone countries, and warns that there is still a long way to go before the green shoots of economic growth start to bear fruit. Europe still has several significant challenges ahead, most notably in the case of Greece and a possible ‘Grexit’ from the Eurozone. Yet no mention is made of Russia, whose trade and financial ties with Europe will prove decisive for both parties. Continue reading