Russia’s extraordinary economic recovery, prior to the global financial crisis, makes it only natural for Moscow to re-evaluate its interests in the international system and what it means to be a “responsible stakeholder.” Russian leaders and political analysts frame Russian international cooperation not in terms of norms and public goods, but rather as realpolitik bargains and trade-offs of interests.
It is very hard to imagine Russia completing its democratic transformation in the next decade, but a Russia that remains on a relatively stable development path will likely be a more accommodating and responsible Russia. Just how “responsible” will vary considerably depending on the issue area. At present, the most promise lies in the areas of strengthening global economic institutions and promoting nuclear nonproliferation. Russia’s relations with its neighbors will likely prove the most problematic, particularly on issues relating to regional security ties and democracy promotion.