Winner
France

In a year when the West and Russia swapped both trade and economic sanctions, France has taken perhaps the most balanced position in its partnership with Russia. Despite European Union sanctions against Gennady Timchenko, the co-chairman of the Economic Council of the Russian-French Chamber of Commerce (CCIFR), in April 2014 the "Observo" analytical center of CCIFR attended the second annual "France-Russia" conference at the National Assembly in Paris. On the eve of the event, leaders of CCFIR Emmanuel Quidet and PavelShinskiy met with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, lobbying interests of the Franco-Russian business community. CCFIR also held several meetings with Russian political analysts in Moscow to help French businessmen and their Russian partners navigate the situation that has been complicated by foreign policy. In late May, along with the Ginza Project group, CCIFR held the first festival of French gastronomy in Moscow: "Bon App '!"

Japan

The Public-Private Development Council of Japanese-Russian relations is a unique phenomenon in Japanese foreign policy practice: such a council has not been created with any other country or organization. Last year, it was headed by Masahiro Sakane, who worked in the engineering corporation Komatsu for 50 years, during 10 of which he directed the corporation. The creation of the council was the result of rapidly developing business contacts between Russia and Japan: from the beginning of 2013 to the spring of 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin met five times — an unprecedented number of times for meetings at this level. The public-private council, which reports directly to Abe and combines Japanese officials and businessmen, coordinates more than 30 investment projects that are being implemented by Japanese companies in Russia.

China

A tilt toward China in Russia's foreign policy and trade ties was felt this year starting in the spring. In late May, during Putin's visit to Beijing, China and Russia signed an agreement to build partnerships in the energy sector, providing for the delivery of Russian gas to China as part of a $400 billion deal. At the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which took place immediately after that visit, Vice Chairman Li Yuanchao proposed the creation of a single economic zone to unite the Russian Far East with northeast China. In October, an extensive Chinese program became the main event of the "Open Innovation" forum, where the new chairman Li Keqiang spoke. Keqiang's first visit abroad was made to Moscow.

Britain

The Cross-Cultural Year of Russia and the UK was held this year for the first time in the history of Russian-British relations. In total, it featured more than 500 events in both countries. Russia has never before taken so many tours of the UK as in 2014, conveniently coinciding with the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare.

The program in Russia was overseen by the British Council. Despite foreign policy issues, in April, the Cross-Cultural Year opened at the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall with an ambitious multimedia exhibition by the famous director Peter Greenaway, who presented "The Golden Age of the Russian Avant-Garde." His program will wrap up in May 2015 in London's Science Museum with the "Astronauts" exhibition, during which will be presented certificates of Russian achievements in the field of space exploration.