The political tensions profoundly influence the international relations between countries. These of the UK and Russia are exceptions. They have been complicated since the 19th century when the British government knew about Russia’s invasion of Asia. The attack which threatened both the British Commonwealth and their lands deteriorated the political relations between the two great empires. The governments have now put efforts to revive the friendly and fruitful relationship, but constraints are still evident. Various studies have been conducted to ensure a more in-depth understanding between both nations. This paper will focus on the UK and Russia’s international relations, by reviewing some of the articles which have been written regarding their foreign policies.
According to Kim Sengupta (2017), the British government has recently embarked on improving its relationship with Russia. The senior diplomats, for instance, reported that Borris Johnson, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is likely to visit Russia to improve the relationships between the two countries. The foreign policies set by all nations determine the extent to which they will relate to other countries. For Russia, changing policies is the only way to end the poor relations with the United Kingdom. The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, on the contrary, authorized a new Russian Foreign Policy Concept which became the basis for the country’s foreign policy strategy (Sengupta, 2017). This new concept illustrated the importance of strengthening the position of Russia as a major influence in the modern world. Therefore, Russian strategists believe there will be no international political matter that will be resolved in the future without considering Moscow’s interests and participation.
In his view, Kim Sengupta (2017) argues that this might be the reason why the British diplomat failed to visit Russia. Officially, it was “as a result of an urgent meeting he was supposed to attend”. Although this may be true, the rescheduling could have been contributed by the divergent policies between the two countries. Until the Russian foreign policies are reformed, dialogs may be impossible. The media also plays a great role in international relations. Strengthening the position of Russia’s media in the information space globally has become one of the most important Kremlin priorities aiming at informing the world of Russia’s view on various international processes, such as that on the Ukrainian crisis. This has influenced increased funding of Russian media abroad such as additional RT television network financial support.
The Foreign Policy Concept outlines a more comprehensive and precise analysis of Russia and the UK’s foreign policy role and part in the modern world. It focuses on the reduction of the means of influencing world politics and economy by the western countries. Russia’s strategic turn to the East, for instance, is part of its foreign policy strategy. It mentions the discrepancies in the uneven development in the world, the high competition for resources, and also the widening gap in welfare among states. To ensure continued cooperation with other nations, Russia should be on the frontline in enhancing better international relations with the UK. This will not only earn the country an advantage over the countries of the western hemisphere, but it will also attract new relations from other countries globally.
The author of the concept believes that interference with the internal affairs of states by the western countries may end up causing chaotic international relations. This is possible since these countries may be interested in their gain without considering the relations between Russia and the UK (Sengupta, 2017). Over the recent period, Russia has improved cooperation with the Russian diaspora abroad which has led to the enhancement of the Russian impact on the world as a whole. This shows that foreign policies between countries can determine the extent of their economic growth. To prevent worsening their relations, both the United Kingdom and Russia should concentrate on advancing their foreign policies without having to involve western countries. On the other hand, the involvement of other countries to improve international relations may yield certain benefits as well.
To facilitate investment, export, and a comprehensively better understanding between countries, improving international relations is paramount. For the UK, Russia is one of the markets where local products are exported. The trade between Russia and the UK has continued to grow at a high rate and led to the need for better policies between the countries, which could see their economies develop greatly. Russia is known to be one of the primary contributors to the UK’s investment. Apart from Turkey, Mexico, and Indonesia, the economic sector of the country largely depends on Russia. This has also necessitated better foreign policies between them. In their attempt to attract more investors from Russia, the UK continues to reshape its foreign policies in favor of Russia. Although the relationship between the two countries is not yet perfect, its improvement has been evidenced over the last five years.
Speaking of the rising differences in the international arena, an extreme increase in the power factor is also affirmed. That uniformity safeguards strategic stability. Moreover, Russia has frequently put forth that there is a high risk of nuclear war. Concurrently, the Kremlin acknowledges the creation and deployment of new types of munitions as one of the ultimately determined threats not only to its volition but also to international security. For this reason, Russia responded adversely to the creation of missile defense systems in Romania. The response involved the placement of the Islander missile system in Kaliningrad, which caused great concern among the countries members of NATO and indicated the willingness of Russia to resist the expansion of NATO eastward. With such resistance and the ‘war climate’ observed, maintaining international relations between the countries becomes a challenge.
The challenges which promote poor relations between Russia and UK have, for a long time, been traced to the past, e.g., the world war. However, there are also current issues that are widening the gap. Although the government, media, and the society are ‘working hard to ‘improve’ the relationship between the nations, these activities should be stopped and or minimized as threatening each other, either directly or indirectly, creating illegal weapons that compromise the safety of other countries, and speaking against their leaders will never guarantee a better world (German, 2016).
German (2016) also argues that continued emphasis on threats posed by Russia may worsen the relationship. In her article studying whether mutual mistrust and integration are advancing between Russia and the UK, German examines the possible causes of the Brexit debate. In her findings, political relations between the two countries have played a major role in endangering the security of their nations. This is due to a lack of mutual trust between the countries, which can be solved by advancing the foreign policies that each political power holds against each other. During the Brexit debate, the key drivers of international relations were determined to be mutual trust, favorable foreign policies, and integration (German, 2016). If these are adhered to by both countries, their efforts to enhance relationships will succeed.
In her argument about Brexit, German (2016) states that the negative opinions that Russia holds concerning Brexit have been contributed by the country’s view of the EU. As much as Brexit’s ultimate may be assumed to aim at hurting Russia, there is also a positive side to focus on. Thus, through Brexit, it would be easier to adjust foreign policies and remove sanctions on Russia. Considering the sanctions against Moscow, which have provoked aggression between Russia and other countries, removing those would improve the relations because the existing tension and restrictions would come to an end (German, 2016). One of the reasons which contribute to constraints between Russia and the UK is the involvement of other nations of the EU and the US. With Brexit, however, it is possible to minimize their influence on the affairs affecting Russia.
Although Brexit can ensure better international relations, it does have particular disadvantages. For instance, it could lead to many confrontations between the country and the EU. It may also let a few countries have greater roles, leading to the aggravation of old conflicts. Brexit plays a significant role in the international relations between the EU, Russia, and the UK. Its exit would be disadvantageous for the countries involved. For instance, countries like Germany would have greater roles to play, which may start to worsen the relationship between the country. For Russia, Brexit may yield more advantages than disadvantages in economic, political, and social welfare. This is perhaps one of the reasons why Russia is actively trying to improve its relations with the United Kingdom.
The articles discussed have proved that although the international relations between Russia and the UK have been largely poor throughout the world history, leading to economic, political, and social threats between the countries, according to current studies, both Russia and the UK are putting effort to improve them. This is mainly ascertained through creating favorable foreign policies that encourage cooperation between the countries. Brexit has also become one of the contributing factors to this process and is said to be beneficial for establishing a strategic partnership.