The 27th Russia-EU Summit of 9-10 June 2011 took place in the old Russian city of Nizhniy Novgorod. Foreign policy analysts followed closely the event in order to estimate it and to say if the Summit had strategic or technical mission. We heard from some Russian experts on the eve of the Summit that it promised to be an ordinary meeting of two sides’ leaders. However, the Summit on Volga River proved to be interesting and fruitful.
To start with, the sides confirmed strategic nature of the Russia-European Union partnership. According to President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia, “The strategic nature of the partnership between Russia, the EU, and its member countries is particularly evident in our economic ties. Last year’s trade turnover was one of the highest on record in our relations so far and came to more than $3 billion. This shows that our countries are now emerging from the difficulties they were in during 2008-2009, and are recovering from the global crisis”. Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Council, is also optimistic and says that EU-Russia relationship is enjoying its best dynamics for years and both sides can build on a track record of strength, trust and constructive dialogue. Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, considers the 27th meeting in Nizhniy Novgorod as a substantive and successful Russia-European Union summit, which was instrumental in bringing the strategic partnership forward. 
Secondly, Russia and EU discussed actual problems of bilateral cooperation. Here, we prefer to point the Partnership for Modernization as an ambitious initiative. At the press conference in N. Novgorod Mr. Barroso reported that EU member states have concluded sixteen bilateral modernization partnerships with Russia.
We should stress here that the Modernization term has become not only favorite policy word of Russian President Medvedev but also turned to be the main vector of reformist policy of the Russian Federation in 2008-2011. It is very important to note that the modernization process does not mean just new technologies like the Skolkovo center and the IT starts-ups. It does not have to do with pure research and development. Modernization means much more broad and diverse agenda and different spheres of Russia-EU cooperation, beginning with visa-free travel, human rights and finishing quite liberal atmosphere for business. Modernization means quite new view of philosophy of state and society in Russia’s development.
The issue of visa-free travel remains to be a difficult question of Russia-EU relations. The issue of visa-free travel for Russian and EU citizens was one of the important issues on the agenda of course, President Medvedev said. Experts of the European Union and Russia are currently in the process of drawing up a list of the steps that both sides need to take in order to put in place the conditions for this to become reality. President admitted the sides have made progress, but there is still a lot of work ahead. Another issue still very much on the agenda is Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization. If to compare the WTO and visas, these two issues are in different states of progress. Russia has been trying to come to agreements on the WTO with our partners for 17 years now. “And we are sick and tired of this whole process”, President Medvedev said openly. “Every year we hope to be able to conclude the negotiations. Last year was quite successful in terms of reaching firm agreement, including with the United States, with which we had had some problems at one time. Our European friends helped in this, too”. 
While commenting the non-optimistic words of President Medvedev, we cannot get rid of the impression that some political consideration is to be found behind process of the accession. Another impression makes us compare the situation with Turkey. The Republic of Turkey has knocked the EU door for over almost 20 years with no positive result. Negotiations change into new negotiations while the incumbent ministers and diplomats continue to change. Rich experience has been gained and the day of accession cannot be seen. We must come to conclusion that politics remains politics and behind-the scenes politics gives birth to some negative and dangerous stereotypes of thinking and action.
EU leaders raised the question of human rights at the Nizhniy Novgorod Summit. As we know, the issue of human rights often serves as an effective instrument of one country or inter-state organization to have influence on another country. President van Rompuy stressed the point at the press conference. Again, we should comment one interesting aspect. The case is that President of the European Council hailed personal contribution of President Medvedev to improvement of the situation with respect for human rights. Meanwhile, President van Rompuy made EU position very clear: “Russia’s record of implementing universal principles of human rights is an important element shaping its European public reputation. Despite the personal engagements and initiative of the President, there are still strong concerns in our member states and among the European public about the situation of human rights”. 
President of the European Council announced of one important policy idea that appeared to be an innovation. Both sides – Russia and European Union – decided to generate new momentum by moving forward more decisively in the field of foreign and security policy. According to Mr. van Rompuy, Russia and EU are aiming for a framework agreement on crisis management by the next summit, and that means before the end of this year. What does the framework agreement mean? What are key components of it? To what extent will this expected agreement serve to real aim of crisis management, conflict resolution and peacemaking? Will it improve the coordination policy and joint planning process of Moscow and Brussels and how will the agreement influence on non-EU countries in the conflict areas of Europe and Asia?
The Nizhniy Novgorod Summit paid special attention to regional conflicts and security. On the Middle East peace process, the sides reconfirmed shared view on the importance of the earliest resumption of talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. Russia and European Union also called for a ministerial meeting of the Quartet to be held as soon as possible. On Libya they are also aligned. “Gaddafi must go”, President van Rompuy declared. “We need a process of democratic transition and an inclusive consultation process on a new constitution and elections. The Libyan people should decide on their leadership, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Libya must be respected”. We consider mentioning of territorial integrity of Libya as a very serious political step. EU countries and Russia are very anxious to stop chaos trends on the whole space of North Africa and Middle East. Collapse of territorial integrity of Arab countries would be followed by radicalization of Arab politics and creating islands of instability in the Orient. To its turn, the developments could destroy strategic communications and routes of oil and gas, movement of goods from the East to the West. Neither European Union nor Russia is interested in such a gloomy scenario to be realized.
In addition, both sides have a shared concern over the risks related to the unresolved conflict in Nagorny Karabakh. Russia and EU are equally interested in reducing the escalating tensions in Transcaucasia. Some experts think that leaders arrived in N. Novgorod have agreed some principles of Nagorny Karabakh settlement. The other suggestion is that both sides just confirmed the settlement principles agreed before. It is not surprising that while Russia-EU Summit was held in Nizhniy Novgorod, Armenian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and MFA of the Russian Federation published some facts of hope in this regard.
On June 9, the Armenian Foreign Affairs Minister Edward Nalbandian received the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Bernard Fassier (France), Robert Bradtke (USA), Igor Popov (Russia) and Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office who arrived in Yerevan within the frameworks of a regional visit. In the course of the discussion, the Co-Chairs presented the results of the meetings held in Baku and Stepanakert and expressed hope that during the upcoming Kazan Summit progress would be registered in consenting to the basic principles of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. 
On June 11, the Armenian, Russian and Azerbaijani Ministers of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandyan, Sergey Lavrov and Elmar Mammadyarov had a working meeting in Moscow.
In the course of the discussion, the sides succeeded in approximating their positions over a number of key issues of the Basic Principles of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The draft of the above-mentioned document will be discussed during the next trilateral summit to be held at the end of June of this year.  In other words, we anticipate Kazan Summit of 25 June as a successful stage in the Nagorny Karabakh conflict peace process. Whatever presidents discussed behind the closed doors in N. Novgorod, they agreed on some critical issues and, possibly, on some decisions which can positively change atmosphere and can move the Nagorny Karabakh conflict settlement process forward.
Considering perspectives of more effective Russian-EU cooperation, we should say of utmost importance of different Russian regions’ participation in the cooperation projects. The more regions of the Russian Federation will take part in the Russia-EU strategic partnership, the more helpful to the modernization process in Russia it will be. The next beneficial to the bilateral cooperation idea is to foster public discussion in Russia and the European Union on a common agenda. At the same time Russian participants of any wide discussion should take special Russian values and mentality into account. Since this article is written for a prestigious and wise think tank in Turkey, we recommend more intensive and stronger collaboration of Russian and Turkish experts in the sphere of security and foreign policy thinking. We may discuss and estimate risks and perspectives of Russian-EU and Russian-Turkish common agenda and action in the interests of all countries the involved and in the interests of conflict resolution and promotion of stability and peace.
1.Пресс-конференция по итогам саммита Россия-Европейский Союз. 10 июня 2011 г. Нижний Новгород / Президент России// http://www.kremlin.ru/news/11531
4. The Armenian Foreign Affairs Minister Edward Nalbandian received the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. 09.06.2011/Press Releases/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia// http://www.mfa.am/en/press-releases/item/2011/06/09/mg_co_chairs/
5. The Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan took place in Moscow. 11.06.2011/ Press Releases/ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia// http://www.mfa.am/en/press-releases/item/2011/06/11/tri_meet/ ; О рабочей встрече Министра иностранных дел России С.В. Лаврова, Министра иностранных дел Азербайджана Э.М. Мамедъярова и Министра иностранных дел Армении Э.А. Налбандяна/ Министерство иностранных дел Российской Федерации. Департамент информации и печати/ Сообщение для СМИ 868-12-06-2011// http://www.mid.ru/brp_4.nsf/0/54C15C2D28246139C32578AD0021D719