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Top Russian scholars warn about main global threats for this year

The report by experts from Russia’s MGIMO University emphasized that armed conflicts around North Korea and Iran could worsen, and it highlighted the activity of global terrorist networks

MOSCOW, January 20. /TASS/. In their annual analytical report focusing on threats facing the globe in 2020, experts from Russia’s MGIMO University listed the main global challenges, highlighting a possible flare-up of armed conflicts and the start of a large-scale economic crisis.

"We are witnessing the reduction of the power potential of US global hegemony, we see a trend towards the strengthening of sovereignties among leading powers, a crisis of solidarity inside NATO and a crisis of the ultra-liberal political project, as well as a growing military might of countries outside the West," Director of the MGIMO’s Institute for International Studies, Andrey Sushentsov, told a news conference at TASS on Monday.

"Taken together, these trends on the international front meet Russia’s interests," he said. "But at the same time we see that the possibility of the use of force by the leading powers is growing, though the catastrophic consequences from this are decreasing" he added.

The report emphasized that armed conflicts around North Korea and Iran could worsen, and it highlighted the activity of global terrorist networks. "The Ukrainian crisis is still an obstacle for a dialogue between Russia and the European Union. In the mid-term, observers expect the start of a large-scale economic crisis. An economic and social vacuum in Central Eurasia, south of Russia’s Siberia and the Far East, would prevent the active development of that region," Sushentsov noted.

Among the factors obstructing Russia’s interests, he mentioned the "warfare against memory" initiated in Eastern Europe, explaining that this implies "the politicization of history for the sake of achieving often fleeting political interests, undermining the fundamental foundations of history, the memory of and attitude towards WWII," he said.

"We see that international relations are increasingly often guided by individual and sovereign factors, countries begin to act not out of collective interests, and not out of interests of solidarity," the analyst noted.

A trajectory will continue this year, in which Russia will not be establishing friendly relations with the West on any terms, Senior Researcher from MGIMO’s Center for Euro-Atlantic Security Sergey Markedonov said. "I don’t think Russia will be ready to sacrifice its own interests for the notion of a fixed friendship with the West," he explained.

According to the expert, two factors are prevailing in Europe at the moment that contradict each other - a bid to develop constructive relations with Moscow and the fear of marring relations with Washington, and losing military support from the US. "Hence, the pragmatics of deterrence is on the agenda in relations with Russia. No meaningful dialogue is being conducted in practice," he pointed out.

As for the situation in the US, the report forecasts that President Donald Trump will manage to stay in power, putting the odds of 60 to 40 in favor of Trump.

Environmental issues are high on the agenda, the report said, with the issues of climate change and environmental protection moving into the category of global risks and threats.

"These threats and challenges cannot be compensated, no money whatsoever can make up for irreversible climate change. Thus, we can say that the environmental challenge is one of the major challenges to post-modern society," Yelena Maslova, a senior researcher at MGIMO’s Center for European Studies told the news conference.