What is known as President Putin’s Munich Speech, delivered at the International Security Conference in February 2007, alarmed many politicians and observers in the West. It was probably less the speech’s content than its exultant tone that conveyed the message – Russia has made a powerful re-entry onto the world stage. The Kremlin feels itself to be strong enough again to see that the talk of a multi-polar world order is followed up by deeds, symbolic at first. During the war against Georgia, weapons joined the discussion. As President Medvedev said later: “Russia is a country that has to be reckoned with.”
The Heinrich Böll Foundation deals primarily with relations between Russia and the European Union, NATO, and the West in general. Alone due to its size and nuclear arsenal, Russia is an important actor in many international issues and crisis. There are often conflicts that would be impossible to resolve should Russia not cooperate, let alone with opposition on Russia’s part. The Heinrich Böll Foundation wants to contribute to opening a new discussion about Russia’s role in the world and its relationship with the West.