Spectacolul ideilor pe hartă

04/iun/2010 Politica externă a Rusiei în epoca postsovietică (3/4)

Russian foreign policy within post- soviet era

 Irina Gucianu

(1/4); (2/4); (3/4)

Playing with no cards

The decade 2000 – 2009 brought certain vision related changes both into the western camp as well as into the Russian camp. This period is marked not only by the enlargement of NATO, which intrinsically involved that Russia was still a threat but also by the new leaders that came to power, both in the United States as well as in Russia. The accession to power of George W. Bush coincided with a more offensive approach regarding the foreign policy and actions. Consequently, there was an emphasis on the tendency of practicing a zero-sum game, which was a characteristic of the Cold War, according to which any advance coming from the western world would be made against Russia. British magazine, The Economist, described such an approach of the Russian foreign policy: ‘In Russia’s view, everything America does in the world is aimed against Russia and everything aimed against Russia is directed by America’[1]. On the occasion of NATO summits (Bucharest, Strasbourg -Kehl), the Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, as well as the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, stressed the fact that Russia could not accept anymore the enlargement of the coalition to include within its borders the former soviet states.[2] These statements already came on the background of successive ‘answers’ coming from Russia to the western actions (which pointed out the possibility of accession into the North Atlantic Alliance of some countries such as Georgia or Ukraine).[3] The Russian-Georgian war in August 2008 or the gas crisis induced to Ukraine may be very well included herein.

Nostalgia of the former empire 

The presidential office of Vladimir Putin (1999 – 2008) is extremely contrasting. If at the beginning, the leader of Kremlin is perceived as being open to the western world, this changed over the years. He would prove not focused upon trying to ‘adopt’ a western developmental model, but sooner to highlight the difference between Russia and the western countries. These differences may be found in the way of living and also of the interests that such aspirations wished to impose. For example, as Dmitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, argued, ‘Russia has left the West and is trying to build up its influence in the former Soviet space’.[4]

To this regard, the reinvention of the authoritarian state, which has deep roots into the Russian culture, comes to strengthen the power of the central authorities. In this spirit, Putin enforced a political and administrative reform, after which he appointed the regional governors. In other words, it is about a recentralization of the Russian state, and amongst others, its aim is to spread and reinforce the Russian influence into the area of the former USSR, because it is only a powerful state that would theoretically be capable of ‘veiling’ the safety of its ethnics outside its boundaries. This pragmatic approach had been appreciated by the Russian people, as it stood as grounds for the rediscovery of the ‘dignity’ of being Russian, following the identity crisis of the 90s. As Solzhenitsyn[5] himself observed, Putin ‘returned to Russia at least one part of its former grandeur’.[6]

On the other hand, it is not a secret any longer that the nostalgia after the former soviet empire is as persistent as possible. And we are not talking here about the communist ideology, but rather about the former borders. Either it is about the war against Georgia, about the gas crisis that started in Ukraine, Lithuania or Belarus, or about the cybernetic offensive towards Estonia, all of these reflect the way in which Russia comprehends the map.[7] (to be continued)


[1] http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_TPJQTJJD

[2] Cioroianu, Adrian – Geopolitica Matrioskai, ed. Curtea Veche, Bucuresti, 2009, p.144

[3] Ibidem pp. 152

[4] http://www.economist.com/world/europe/displaystory.cfm?story_id=E1_TPJQTJJD

[5]  Russian novelist, dramatist and historian.

[6] Cioroianu, Geopolitica Matrioskai,… p. 134

[7] Ibidem, p.143.

4 iunie 2010 - Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo, Istorie | , , , , ,

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