The New Cold War with the “Second Russia”

Sandra Kalniete, the former Latvian ambassador to the United Nations, UNESCO and France, writing on Prague Post (hat tip: Robert Amsterdam):

While Russia has always played a significant role in Europe, relations took a new dimension after European Union expansion. Not only because the EU’s border extended substantially eastward, but also because the 10 new member states have a unique relationship with Russia from a long and often forced coexistence. Now, Western Europe has access to expertise based not only on theoretical assumptions but practical experience. This advantage, if used properly, could benefit the entire EU and contribute to a sound and effective plan of cooperation with Russia.

The EU and Russia are predestined to have a close partnership. Both parties realize this but disagree on the term “partnership.” Russia considers the partnership to be primarily economic, while the EU would like to have a dialogue about values. Lately, there are more voices saying, “We must cooperate with Russia.”

But people forget there are two Russias. European politicians could separate them well during the Cold War era: They pragmatically maintained economic ties with the Brezhnev or Andropov regimes and, at the same time, politically and morally supported Soviet political prisoners and dissidents. Today, international support of Russian democrats and human rights campaigners is just as imperative as during the final decades of the Soviet Empire.

Russia has always been considered different and exceptional, operating by different rules from traditional European democracies. This notion of exceptionality strengthens existing elements of Russian foreign policy: isolationism and mistrust of international cooperation.

In contrast to the politics of international cooperation, which dominates the 21st century, Russia has returned to the power politics of the 19th century. We see this in the state’s targeted use of energy to exert political pressure. Kremlin aggression against Georgia was the state’s most brutal demonstration of power and Russia still occupies the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

At the same time, Russia’s declining population will hamper its ambitious modernization and economic diversification programs. Russian leadership knows the state’s current economic structure does not correspond with the developmental needs of a modern state, which is why, in 2008, the Russian government passed the Concept of Long-term Socioeconomic Development of the Russian Federation until 2020.

The plan is based on an almost Soviet conviction that state oversight of the economy is the best method to push development. This actually decreases Russia’s development potential, because innovation is closely linked to creativity and initiative. These things require personal freedom. Russia’s weakness as a “controlled” democracy, as Putin’s autocratic regime is often called, limits this personal freedom. In other words, the politics of Russian elites contradict their economic ambitions.

Last year, Europe celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that united free Europe with countries like Latvia and the Czech Republic, which were isolated behind the Iron Curtain. While many of these states are now EU and NATO members, the Baltic states in particular have not escaped from Russia’s sphere of influence. Moscow still longs to renew its special zone of interest, influence and security. Today, this is achieved by applying political pressure through threats of energy shortages, and some moves by EU member states lend indirect backing to these ideas. Russia does not hesitate to apply indirect and direct pressure – such as blockading energy supplies, making politically motivated investments or manipulating mass media – to achieve its goals.

Russia’s invasion of Georgia caused great concern. Latvian politicians asked NATO to immediately draft plans to defend the Baltic states. This plan still does not exist. After U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to forego the missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, the question of NATO defense guarantees and defense has become even more urgent.

It is especially important for the United States to maintain engagement in Central and Eastern Europe since Russian foreign policy is a playground for power politics. As Russia’s neighbor, Latvia welcomes renewed Russian-American relations and hopes that openness and cooperation between the United States and Russia grows. We expect, however, just as other countries in the region, that U.S and European powers to open a dialogue with Russia about Central and Eastern Europe. The ghost of the Yalta Conference still looms and fears that the region might not be a priority in U.S. foreign policy impelled us, 23 Central and Eastern European politicians and activists, to write a letter to the U.S. president. We appealed for President Obama to realize “the United States must repeatedly affirm its determination to be a European superpower and clearly prove its intention to engage in European affairs even when it faces more difficult challenges in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East and Asia.”

Energy plays a significant role in relations between Russia and Europe. Whether EU member states will agree on an efficient common energy policy is one of the biggest questions of the near future. Following the gas crisis in January 2006, the EU realized a common energy policy was strategically essential and began drafting one. The results have been modest, since some member states prefer to retain control of their energy sectors, and private energy firms continue to sign bilateral contracts with third countries. Moreover, the European Commission is not informed about these contracts, and no overview of the EU’s energy capacity exists. European vulnerability resurfaced during the gas crisis of January 2009.

In the meantime, Russia, which views efforts to create a common energy policy with great concern, is working to establish privileged bilateral relations with the biggest EU member states. The Nord Stream and South Stream gas pipelines, which have received almost all necessary permits, are a great strategic success as Russia has secured a direct connection with European partners while bypassing its closest neighbors. Until now, Russia could only launch short-term energy embargos since Western and Eastern Europe received gas though one pipeline. By cutting off supplies to its nearest neighbors, supplies were also cut off to Western Europe, significantly complicating any such decision. The new pipelines, which will largely solve the gas-supply problem in Western Europe, pose a hard blow to common EU energy policy because they decrease the need for member-state cooperation.

The Baltic states and Poland are especially concerned about the Nord Stream agreement, which paves the way for Russian gas to be piped beneath the North Sea directly into Germany. The Germans signed the deal without informing Central Europe or the Baltics, disregarding that this pipeline excludes our region from the European gas-supply network.

Let supporters of Nord Stream say what they want, let them tout the commercial character of the project, but the new pipelines redraw the old Iron Curtain line. Some Eastern European politicians compared the pipeline with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact – and rightfully so. The exclusion of Central and Eastern Europe from the EU’s energy supply structures weakens the region, and further fragments the EU.

Discussion about the postwar history of Europe is also contested within Russian-European relations. In comparison with Germany, which was de-Nazified after the war, the process of “de-Bolshevikization” in Russia was halted before it even began.

Russia acts with open hostility toward efforts by Central and Eastern European countries to find historical truth. Putin has emphasized on several occasions that Russia will not take responsibility for crimes committed by the Soviet Union in Central or Eastern Europe. At the same time, he has expressed his admiration for Stalin and his regret of “the largest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”: the fall of the Soviet Union. More than one-fifth of the Russian population considers the NGO Memorial’s documented proof regarding the scale of Stalinist terror as untrue. It is with great justification that the Sakharov Award, given every year by the European Parliament, went to Memorial for fighting to condemn Stalin’s crimes and expose human rights violations in modern day Russia.

When assessing democracy’s current retreat in Russia – there is no other way to refer to the state’s control of the press, the narrowing of representative government, the lack of effort to critically re-evaluate Stalinism and Bolshevism, the war in Chechnya and other human rights abuses – we must realize that, given long-term EU interests, it is not possible to sacrifice values and succumb to the temptation of pragmatism. Whenever Europe has sacrificed basic values in the name of realpolitik, dramatic and tragic consequences have followed

24 responses to “The New Cold War with the “Second Russia”

  1. Basically what Russia is doing, is buying germany, france and italy individually by giving them sweet candy. It seems that for the governments of those countries the quick economical benefit will certainly overweigh any moral or ethical values they think or want us to think they support and represent.

  2. Very interesting post. I would add to it Russia’s recent cultural efforts in the Middle East. A few months ago they re-launched Anbaa Moscow (http://anbaamoscow.com/), the Arabic version of Moscow Today. From what I hear they put big money into it. What do you think this is? I’m guessing they are trying to recreate the warm relations they had with the Arabs decades ago.

    • This is called “money laundering”. One group initiates another neo-soviet project which finds support by Kremlin and allows nice money laundering for both parties at the same time. Its effectiveness does not bother anyone and most probably will be very close to zero.

  3. Europe will take anything of value Rasha is presenting as a bargain. Even Eurocrat
    Politicians will be bought, however the coming debacle of the Rashan Fed-a-Rat-Nation will not necessarily see real help, other than Afghanistan passification. Even there, no help is possible. Since maskals deal in dope and arms against themselves. The Muslims will win there to.

    The EU like others in the East, will only pick the bones clean and say TSK, TSK. Special

    Attention Rasha is Pimping its large colony of slave laborers, mining raw materials is the the new Czar. Retreating West is going to leave a lot of dead Savoks.

    The other more organized nations with laws to keep government in check, seek to further rip off the simple fools that accepted a criminal pimping regime.

    The Rashans have been bred for slavery and it should be acknowledged. The real Russians dissidents are still being killed or put into mental institutions.

    Mo-Money, Mo-Money in the birthplace of communism where eventually, according to Marx’s Communist Manifesto, the need for money should disappear.

    No real investment is really made in Rasha. The money for investment, as everyone knows quickly disappears into the rat holes of the Kremlin and banked in LondonGrad.

  4. The Terminology used here is ridiculous.
    Cold war was a conflict based on IDEOLOGICAL CONTRADICTIONS(Socialism vs. Capitalism).
    Russia’s aggressive politics of today is just an attempt to secure a more favorable position in the World economy.
    Capitalist nation fighting for it’s piece of cake.
    Doesn’t have anything to do with Soviet Union’s purpose and it’s goals during the so called Cold war

    • “Cold war was a conflict based on IDEOLOGICAL CONTRADICTIONS(Socialism vs. Capitalism).”

      Nonsense. Have you ever heard facts like Sino-Soviet split, Mao and Nixon making alliance against Soviets, and Yugoslavia and Albania not siding with Warsaw Pact?

      • I’m almost certain that i know more about that than you.
        But i don’t get you point,i must say.
        Cold war is mostly considered to be a conflict of NATO and Warsaw pact block.
        PRC was rather isolated under Mao’s leadership after the Korean war and Albania is insignificant.
        Yugoslavia was a neutral country.

        • Maybe you don’t get the point because you can’t see bigger geopolitical patterns, because of naive idealism blinding you?

          My point was, that Commies were never united, because it was more of geopolitical conlict between sea power USA and land power Russian Empire (oops I mean Soviets).Warsaw pact countries were never voluntary allies of Soviets, and were hold only by Moscows brutal force (remember Hungary uprising and Prague Spring?) and other countries which could escape Moscows influence ,didnt sided with Soviets (Yugoslavia, Albania)or even were hostile (China) because they understood that conflict was more about geopolitical control of the world, than about ideologies.

          • No.
            Well,here are 2 paradigms:one being a proletarian perspective based on the idea of world revolution and world equality,prosperity and peace and capitalist,greedy,exploitative,criminal one.
            Cold war was based on ideological differences.
            The final goal of socialism is world revolution,where there will be no aggressive capitalist countries,no invasions,no exploitation,dangers,need for an army etc…
            Duty of the Soviet Union was to preserve socialist-oriented parties in Warsaw pact governments.
            Though Soviet leadership was incompetent and made huge mistakes(that caused these revolutions),socialists in power had to be preserved for the Future.

  5. “Latvian politicians asked NATO to immediately draft plans to defend the Baltic states. This plan still does not exist.”

    And it will not exist because Germany, Italy and France are fed up with many hysterical demands of Baltic states and Poland, the main EU troublemakers.

    “23 Central and Eastern European politicians and activists, to write a letter to the U.S. president. ”

    This is known as a letter of 23 political losers. The US president doesn’t even bother to reply you and he is fully right! Bravo!

    “The Baltic states and Poland are especially concerned about the Nord Stream agreement, which paves the way for Russian gas to be piped beneath the North Sea directly into Germany.”

    Who cares about your concerns? The pipeline will be successfully built and this is not your business, think about your own gas supplies.

    “The Germans signed the deal without informing Central Europe or the Baltics…”

    Who are you to be informed?!! Be happy that you’re getting German donations every year and keep quiet.

    “Some Eastern European politicians compared the pipeline with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact – and rightfully so.”

    Ha-ha, that was “vertically challenged” dumpling Kaczynski.

    • Russophilles are like barbarians from uncivilized world.

      “And it will not exist because Germany, Italy and France are fed up with many hysterical demands of Baltic states and Poland, the main EU troublemakers.”

      The only troublemakers in Europe are Russian chauvinists and backward Russian empire. When they will be destroyed the NATO will be abolished. Germany, Italy, France are nothing. The main player is USA.

      “This is known as a letter of 23 political losers. The US president doesn’t even bother to reply you and he is fully right! Bravo!”

      Medvedev is the biggest political loser in the world and Russians are loosers too because they do not want to progress like Europe.

      ” Who cares about your concerns? The pipeline will be successfully built and this is not your business, think about your own gas supplies.”

      Who cares about you? Putin? Medvedev? Oligarchs? Nobody. Just live your life and don’t make sound because master Putin will kick your ass.

      “Who are you to be informed?!! Be happy that you’re getting German donations every year and keep quiet.”

      The Putin must be informed about you. You are well trained slave. He will be happy if you will defend Mother Russia.

      “Ha-ha, that was “vertically challenged” dumpling Kaczynski.”

      Backward Russians are troublemakers. Russian empire – the land of barbarians and uncivilized people. Many live there.

      • I’d call you sub-European citizen, little stinky russophobe. No factual in your reply, the same set of cliches that Georg uses. I’m very glad that Germany and other old-Europe countries establish a strong direct partnership with Russia completely ignoring those fascist Baltic states (with yearly SS veteran marching) and Poland. Your main function is to provide labor force to clean toilets in Germany, don’t forget it.

      • BTW, I’m German citizen, not the Russian one. So, “Just live your life and don’t make sound because master Putin will kick your ass.” doesn’t apply to me, it more likely applies to you. He already kicked your ass with North Stream. After it will be built, you’re going to have cooooold winters.

        • “BTW, I’m German citizen, not the Russian one”

          Oh, yeah.

          Unfortunately you are. Unfortunately for Germany.

          One of that bunch of the rabid russophile Sovok emigres who do not mind turning against their countries of residence in favour of Russia, but prefer to love Russia from a distance. It is both safer and more profitable that way.

    • ‘..Who cares about your concerns? The pipeline will be successfully built and this is not your business, think about your own gas supplies….’

      Of but we are, and I understand Gazprom are currently soiling themselves over the prospect.

      The US has become a net exporter of gas after the extraction of shale gas.

      It is highly probable that Poland has the biggest EU reserve (also Germany and Hungary) and US companies are already looking to develop these. It could mean that Poland becomes energy self sufficient for the next century.

      Meanwhile due to corruption and lack of technological innovation the price of Russian gas (one of the few streams of significant income for Russia) languishes at about a 1/3 of their projected prices. Next to no new extraction proceeding due to corruption, wariness of foreign investors after the TNK-BP issue, and little ability to extract those reserves without the technical know how of Western nations.

      Perhaps it’s about time Russia recognises it has to change it’s behaviour for it’s own economic survival, but let’s not hold our breath waiting for this to happen.

      • “Of but we are, and I understand Gazprom are currently soiling themselves over the prospect.”

        Gazprom got all necessary ecological approvals and they are about to start building the pipeline.

        “It is highly probable that Poland has the biggest EU reserve (also Germany and Hungary) and US companies are already looking to develop these. It could mean that Poland becomes energy self sufficient for the next century.”

        That exactly what I suggest — develop your own resources, be happy, and don’t blame Russia and Germany for all your own self-made losses.

    • ” Who cares about your concerns? The pipeline will be successfully built and this is not your business, think about your own gas supplies.”

      and i dont think that you are ever going to get anything from that money, that ruSSia is going to make by selling “Putins fart”.

  6. “European Citizen” – Good reply, i could not have replied better to Bravo Gulag, the big funny boss.

  7. Intresting fact is that Sandra Kalniete also is victim of Stalin/soviet represions.

    • Yes, she is.

      She was sent by the Soviets to Siberia as a little child, but made it home alive, unlike many others.

      One can read her book on the subject ‘With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snow” ISBN-13: 978-1564785459, available from Amazon.

  8. Playing Stupid Soviet Games, the Mascals are Provoking us.

    “Russian bombers invade U.K. airspace
    Publication time: 25 March 2010, 17:58

    Two Russian bombers, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, have been caught flying over British airspace.

    The unwelcome guests spent four hours flying over the Isle of Lewis despite being intercepted by two RAF jets.

    A pair of 111 squadron Tornado F3 fighters took of from RAF Leuchars in Fife to locate the supersonic Tu160 bombers in the Outer Hebrides.

    They shadowed the Russian aircraft as they flew south towards the coast of Northern Ireland and then turned north.

    Wing Commander Mark Gorringe, commander of 111 Squadron, said: “This is not an unusual incident.

    “People may be surprised to know that our crews have successfully scrambled to intercept Russian aircraft on more than 20 occasions since the start of 2009″…

    http://www.kavkazcenter.com/eng/content/2010/03/25/11712.shtml

  9. Russian wild boars, or razorbacks, are rangy-looking non-native members of the domestic swine family, Suidae. These transplants native to Europe and Asia are aggressive mammals posing serious ecological, economic, aesthetic, medical and veterinary threats.

    “Rashan” Feral pigs have recently been sighted in Wisconsin and they have worn out their welcome.

    Today, feral pigs and hybrids of the Russian wild boars are found in 23 states with the possibility of yet-undiscovered populations in several more states. The largest populations are in the coastal states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico and California (not surprising, since Spanish explorers settled these territories). Feral pigs are found chiefly in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, West Virginia and, in California, on Santa Cruz Island and Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.

    Small numbers of pigs are found in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas. (They are everywhere).

    In locations where feral pigs have more recently been discovered it is likely that these “run-wild” individuals are the result of unintentional escapes from domestic swine facilities, escapes or releases from game farms, or illegal stocking. Biologists estimate the nationwide population of feral pigs to be around four million animals!

    http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/wildlife/PUBL/wlnotebook/Pig.htm

    This is how the filthy pig breeding mascali are going to invade Europe and the US. It goes back to the first cold war. Seen here in these Soviet photos.

    http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2007/02/21/first-russian-pig-in-space/

    Suspicious is it not?

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