Category Archives: cold war II

Beware of Smiling Russian Bears!

Janusz Onyszkiewicz, a former Polish defense minister and chairman of the Council of Euro-Atlantic Association, writing in the Moscow Times:

Remember the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, aimed at enshrining “commonly shared values” between Russia and the European Community? Signed in 1994, during the hopeful early days of Russia’s first-ever democracy, the agreement was bolstered in 1999 by the creation of the European Union’s Common Security Defense Policy.

Both sides often refer to this desire to forge closer relations as a “strategic partnership.” But as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet President Dmitry Medvedev in Deauville, France, on Tuesday, it would be wise to recognize that the Kremlin seems to be changing the terms of this nascent relationship.

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EDITORIAL: Pain and Humiliation for Russia in Latvia

EDITORIAL

Pain and Humiliation for Russia in Latvia

Last week, the voters of Latvia spit directly in the eye of the Putin Kremlin.

Despite polls and vociferous claims of Russian nationalists, the pro-Russia party known as “Harmony Center” was soundly defeated by anti-Russian forces in national parliamentary elections. The pro-Russian contingent garnered just 29% of the seats in the legislature and its rivals quickly and easily formed a coalition that thrust it out of power.

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EDITORIAL: Appeasement and Shame in Yaroslavl

EDITORIAL

Appeasement and Shame in Yaroslavl

Sergei Mitrokhin. Leonid Gozman. Do you know those names?

Mitrokhin is the obscure leader of the obscure Yabloko party established by Gigori Yavlinsky, and Gozman is the even more obscure leader of the even more obscure Right Cause party, successor to the Union of Right Forces established by Boris Nemtsov.

Neither gentleman plays any significant role in the current Russian opposition movement led by Boris Nemtsov and Garry Kasparov. Neither party holds as much as a single seat in the Russian legislature.  So naturally, both were invited to the Kremlin’s sham “modernization” conference in Yaroslavl last week (200 miles north of — that is, very far from — Moscow) so the Kremlin could prove how liberal and open and democratic it is.   Neither offered any serious direct criticism of Putin or challenged his authority in any way.

Neither Kasparov nor Nemtsov nor any other serious opposition figure, of course, was on the guest list.  And, of course, the Americans on hand did not say a single word about their absence.

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EDITORIAL: William Burns, Craven Braying Jackass

EDITORIAL

William Burns, Craven Braying Jackass

William Burns, braying jackass

When we read a statement from Oleg Orlov last week indicating after a meeting with top American diplomat William Burns that the undersecretary intended to offer “public criticism” of the Putin regime’s abysmal human rights record, we were heartened. Maybe at last, we hoped, the craven Obama regime has got the message that it can’t simply ignore the appalling neo-Soviet crackdown underway in Putin’s Russia.

But then we read how Burns chose to respond to the fact that Lev Ponomarev had been absent from the meeting because he’d ben arrested for daring to assemble in public to discuss Putin’s atrocities without first getting Putin’s written permission.  To say we were disappointed is putting it mildly.

Burns stated:  “I should note that it is regrettable that Lev Ponomarev, who was supposed to be at the meeting, was not able to attend.  The freedom of assembly is very important to the United States and very important for any democratic society.”

That’s pretty lame all by itself, but then it got much worse.   Burns went on to meet with Kremlin officals and all that could be reported afterwards was: “The arrest was also discussed at the U.S. officials’ meetings with their Russian counterparts.”

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The Russian Wrench in the EU Works

Vladislav Inozemtsev, a professor of economics, director of the Moscow-based Center for Post-Industrial Studies and editor-in-chief of Svobodnaya Mysl. writing in the Moscow Times:

Amid all of the talk of modernization, the Russian economy is gradually changing, but it is doing so despite government modernization policies and programs, not because of them.

In recent years, PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Mitsubishi Motors and Volkswagen have opened factories in the Kaluga region, Siemens opened a transformer plant near Voronezh, and Western investors have launched a range of businesses manufacturing construction materials and food products.

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Putin’s Destructive Foreign Policy Failure

In a stunning act of political courage Irina Busygina, a professor of political science and director of the Center for Regional Political Studies at Moscow State University for International Relations, joined with Mikhail Filippov, a professor of political science at Binghamton University in New York, to offer the following devastating condemnation of the foreign policy of Vladimir Putin in the Moscow Times:

Over the past decade, Russia has made repeated attempts to demonstrate its growing power to the world. There are two main objectives behind these attempts: to obtain international recognition as a superpower and to coerce other states into partnership. Both goals are based on the political elite’s belief that Russia should be included on that list a priori by virtue of its huge territory, nuclear arsenal and economic potential.

In this respect, Russia’s policy toward the West places a strong emphasis on its sovereignty and on the assertion that it deserves equal standing with the other great powers.

But Moscow’s strategy toward other former Soviet republics is another matter entirely. Here, Russia is essentially attempting to coerce its neighbors into partnerships. Moscow takes this approach because it wants to have pro-Russian coalitions in its backyard. In practice, Russian foreign policy in its near abroad looks like a series of random fits and starts. Initiatives to create multilateral alliances, such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, have been unsuccessful. Russia’s attempts at strong-arm diplomacy and the use of its natural resources as a bargaining chip have also failed.

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“Russian NATO” Collapses in Humiliating Failure

Aleksandr Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

Practically every hospital-themed television show has an episode in which doctors attempt to revive a dying patient without noticing that the person is already dead. Something similar happened at the Collective Security Treaty Organization summit held this month in Yerevan. Even noting that the meeting was riddled with disagreements would not go far enough to describe the confusion that reigns in the CSTO today.

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