Searching for Common Ground in Russian-Western Relations

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The European Leadership Network has released an analysis of the deliberations between Russian and Western leaders at a recent workshop in London, sponsored in part by Carnegie Corporation of New York.  The workshop was hosted in cooperation with the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and focused on disseminating the differing viewpoints and beliefs held by each side on international legal matters and political narratives.

The meeting was the first in a series of conversations, with the next event set to take place in Moscow. Though the outlook is hardly optimistic, the ELN report provides a detailed explanation of the stumbling blocks in the relationship between Russia and the West. It also found that tensions lingering from previous historical events often undermine present day negotiations, and make collaboration difficult.

Director of the ELN, Dr. Ian Kearns, summed up the report saying it “draws some interesting conclusions, not least the suggestion that disagreements are so fundamental that the current downturn in relations will not be dealt with by a simple change in leadership in any state, and the dispute is likely to last a very long time.” The analysis doesn’t provide answers or solutions, but rather paints a picture of where things currently stand and refutes the idea that beliefs held on either side are merely propaganda tools.

The ELN facilitated workshops provide an arena in which to have these important discussions and give leaders a place to start. While recognizing the challenges, Dr. Kearns also noted the cooperation on the part of all parties involved stating “the participants have been very supportive of this process, and we all look forward to a further upcoming meeting in Moscow, hosted by RIAC.”

Read a summary of the analysis and learn more about the European Leadership Network.