I believe that scenario-building is a
meaningful exercise fulfilling several objectives. When conducted by an international team of
experts, the scenario process facilitates the development of a common intellectual space even in the
most difficult periods for bilateral relations. Scenarios also supply valuable information to
policymakers, help them to avoid the irreparable, identify unexpected dangers and threats, and
discover the new opportunities that may emerge under certain circumstances. So scenario-building is
far from being an easy and entertaining genre.
It is worth noting that it is particularly
difficult to work on scenarios concerning relations between countries. While one can paint
the prospects of a single country as a rosy and internally coherent "picture from the future,"
including more than one country greatly increases the number of variables. The process of selecting
the necessary pieces and assembling them in a logical and coherent manner, while weighing the
importance of each variable, requires great precision.
In my opinion, too little attention
is paid to the EU-Russia relationship as a subsystem in the general system of international
relations. This is rather strange, given the importance of this subsystem for the countries of the
"common neighborhood" and for other areas of the Eurasian continent. Moreover, the EU is clearly
more inclined than the United States to communicate with Russia, while Russian demography, trade
flows, and oil and gas pipelines are oriented more toward Western Europe than eastern Eurasia (and
will remain so in the longer term).
That is why I welcome the publication of the EUREN
report, which presents four scenarios for the EU-Russia relationship in 2030. I consider all the
scenarios to be well-founded and competently explicated, but I would like to emphasize the "Descent
into Anarchy" scenario, which is in my opinion the most probable. I believe that the long-term
negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic will strengthen the trends towards fragmentation
of political spaces and loss of governability at national and supranational levels that were
emerging even before the pandemic.