Entries on Tendencias EN

From the Putin Doctrine to the Invasion of Ukraine, with Àngel Castiñeira

Prof. Àngel Castiñeira, Director of the Center for LeadershipS and Sustainability at Esade, reflects on the trajectory of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the territorial and economic interests behind the invasion of Ukraine.

The Refresher Programmes developed by Esade Alumni and Executive Education aim to update our vision of the environment and management practices from an academic perspective. With this goal in mind, we kicked off a series of sessions focused on analysing a geopolitical and geostrategic change the likes of which have not been seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall: the war in Ukraine. In the first presentation of the series, Prof. Castiñeira reflected on the causes of the conflict in order to provide a better understanding of the Putin doctrine as a whole.

The origins of the Putin doctrine
According to Àngel Castiñeira, we must bear in mind that when Putin was nominated as a presidential candidate in 1999, he had five supporters: the political police, the Saint Petersburg circle, the oligarchs, the Orthodox Church and the army. The achievements that have kept him in power for more than two decades include controlling Chechnya, controlling regional governors and the Constitutional Court, controlling the oligarchs, gas pipelines, territorial occupations and agreements with China. “If I had to choose three verbs to explain Putin’s trajectory, they would be explore, exploit and occupy. Exploring strategies, exploiting resources and occupying territories,” declared Prof. Castiñeira.

Putin’s recent actions have precedents: the occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008, the occupation of Crimea and the Donbas in 2014, and gaining access to Mediterranean ports via Syria in 2015.

As for resource exploration and exploitation, Russia can now ship gas to every corner of the globe all year round thanks to the melting of the Arctic ice, which allows Russian tankers to bypass the bottlenecks of Panama, Suez and Malacca, thereby positioning the country as an energy supplier to Europe and Asia-Pacific.

NATO expansion
This situation leaves Russia well positioned to regain its clout on the international stage and avenge NATO’s moves over the past 30 years. According to the Putin doctrine, the reunification of Germany was not supposed to lead to NATO’s expansion towards Russia. Nevertheless, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary joined the alliance in 1999 – a serious provocation that reduced Russia’s level of trust. But things didn’t end there: NATO supported Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, and has even considered allowing the accession of Georgia and Ukraine.

Last December, Russia demanded that NATO withdraw the promises made to Ukraine and Georgia that they would be admitted to the alliance, as this would mean the eastward advance of the military bloc – one of the red lines drawn by the Russian president.

Moreover, Putin uses Kosovo’s Western-backed unilateral declaration of independence as a legal justification for his military incursions into other former Soviet republics.

Putin’s geopolitical doctrine
During the 2011 presidential campaign, Putin hinted at his future policy and proposed restoring the influence lost in the former Soviet bloc countries, establishing global multipolarity (with Russia as one of the poles), building a Eurasian Economic Union to compete with the European Union, expanding into the Arctic and moving closer to China.

Since then, red lines drawn by the Obama administration have been crossed in Iran, Syria and Ukraine, and Edward Snowden has been granted permanent residency without consequences. The Trump years could be interpreted as a break from this escalation of tension between the United States and Russia. In reality, however, Putin continued with his anti-Western policies during the Trump administration, intervening in the Syrian and Libyan wars and continuing to sell weapons to Africa. In 2021, the first foreign-policy decisions of the Biden administration allowed Russia to fill the vacuum left by the United States in Afghanistan.

Agreements with China
As for Ukraine, its refusal to join the Eurasian Economic Union (of which Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are members) is one of the Russian president’s frustrations; moreover, Ukraine is the hinge between Russia and Europe, which is why NATO is one of the key players in the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Decisive factors in the outbreak of the conflict included not only the failure of negotiations with the United States to halt NATO expansion, but also the 4th February agreement between China and Russia on the development of the Eurasian Economic Union, whereby the two countries agreed to intensify cooperation for the sustainable development of the Arctic. Both countries oppose attempts by outside forces to undermine security and stability in their common adjacent regions and reject further enlargement of NATO.

Àngel Castiñeira’s presentation was followed by questions from the audience, who were interested in how the conflict might affect business. “Business crisis committees must prepare contingency plans in accordance with their sector of activity and whether or not the company has a presence in the country,” he explained. “In any event, the price of gas and oil, as well as raw materials such as wheat, corn, meat and fertilisers will continue to rise, as will inflation, for longer than desired.” He added, however, that does not believe that more countries will become involved in the conflict.

April 12, 2022 2:55 pm

Cellnex Collaborates with UNICEF to Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines to Vulnerable Countries

Cellnex has signed an agreement with UNICEF Spain to help facilitate equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in low- and middle-income countries through COVAX. The COVAX mechanism is co-led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with UNICEF as a key partner for implementation. As... View Article

March 8, 2022 2:54 pm

Economic and Financial Outlook for 2022, with Professor F. Xavier Mena

On 27th January, Esade hosted a long-awaited Refresher Programme session: an economic analysis by F. Xavier Mena, Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting at Esade, entitled “Economic and Financial Outlook: Business Costs, Prices and Competitiveness”. Prof. Mena went over the main economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which simultaneously prompted... View Article

February 7, 2022 12:25 pm

Sustainability. Not a passing fad but a conviction

Marieta del Rivero is an independent board member of Cellnex Telecom and president of their Appointments, Remunerations and Sustainability Committee. She is also an independent director and member of the Sustainability Committee at Gestamp Automotive, president of Onivia and a board member of the Women’s Forum, amongst other posts. Much of her career has been... View Article

December 22, 2021 9:30 am

How to Think about the Future

More and more professionals are analysing future scenarios in order to prepare their companies for the challenges they may face. We spoke with several alumni who have analysed upcoming trends. Futurists collect data, identify trends, study emerging technologies and design prototypes of the future to anticipate changes and provide guidance to business leaders. By creating... View Article

July 12, 2021 10:24 am

When connectivity takes to the rails

Developing transport and telecommunications infrastructures to articulate territories, facilitate society, the economy and sustainability, is a top priority for world economies. “Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation” is the title of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9. The  Next Generation EU European Recovery Plan recognises this priority, providing unprecedented support for the dual... View Article

July 12, 2021 10:27 am

Abel Navajas (EMMV ‘16), co-founder and CEO of Woonivers

With the goal of reinventing tax-free shopping for travellers in online shops and local retailers, Woonivers provides a multichannel, contactless, mobile-only solution. We spoke with Abel Navajas, co-founder of Woonivers, about how this fintech company works and about the first VAT-refund management app for non-EU citizens, which allows the entire process to be carried out... View Article

June 3, 2021 2:35 pm

From Peculiarity to Omnipresence: The ESG Explosion Is Revolutionising Investment Criteria

Cellnex aprueba un nuevo plan quinquenal para asegurar su sostenibilidad como empresa global In a world committed to achieving a net-zero economy to decouple economic growth from carbon emissions, and with the Paris Agreement on climate re-invigorated by the return of the United States to this vital commitment, companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies... View Article

June 3, 2021 4:35 pm

5 Tips with Daniel Batlle (MMS ‘14), Co-founder and CMO of Alfred Smart Systems

Alfred Smart Systems began as a smart home project. The founders wanted to combine IoT, cloud, artificial intelligence and big data technologies, going beyond home automation and creating a unique solution for all installations. Alfred Smart Systems customises home automation applications to make the spaces we inhabit more livable, all while guaranteeing security and maximising... View Article

May 5, 2021 11:16 am