More sanctions, hacking allegations, war games and the biggest expulsion of diplomats since the Cold War. What does the last year tell us about Russia and the West and where is it going? Reuters' Guy Faulconbridge in London.>> My name’s Guy Faulconbridge, I’m UK Bureau Chief for Reuters. But I also spent 12 years in Moscow covering the former Soviet Union, so I’ve seen it from both sides.
And the last year has been a rollercoaster in relations between the Kremlin and the West. So the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal are shown that when the West wants to get tough with Russia, they do get tough with Russia. But there are caveats. When it comes to geopolitics, to dealing with the Middle East, to relations between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, the West is not always on the same page.
One area of the world where Putin has shown strength in recent years is in the Middle East in Syria, where fundamentally, the bottom line is the Assad's government is still in power, he's still president. And the Russians and the Iranians project their view that they've won. Where the West is not united is when it comes to natural resources.
The West is really having a big argument over a big pipeline that brings gas from northern Siberia to Western Europe. America thinks that's a bad idea. But America has thought those pipelines are a bad idea for many, many years back in the Cold War time, but Germany and Western Europe need the gas.
So the Russian Federation has a very simple view of the world right now. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, they've been trying to increase their power to get back to the top table of world politics. Unfortunately, for the Kremlin they have a serious problem, economically they are way, way behind both the West and the new power of the century, China.
The Russian economy is about $1.6 trillion. That's way smaller than it was even a few years ago when Russian President Vladimir Putin was elected again as president in 2012.>>
>> When Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999, he fundamentally had a clear view that the route, the path to Russian power lay through economic power.
The next year will give an important indication of the success of Vladimir Putin's 20-year project to make Russia great again.