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OP-ED: Some thoughts on Russia Today’s Tomorrow

Some thoughts on Russia Today‘s Tomorrow

by Ethan S. Burger

Exclusive to La Russophobe

Ethan Burger

The Russian people have not experienced any significant benefit from the symbolic pressing of the “reset” button in U.S.-Russian relations. Just ask any Russian citizen what they think about the necessity of urging the work force to stay home or establishing 120 “anti-smog centers” in Moscow as a result of the fires near the capital. This situation in Moscow is being well reported by the foreign press and Russia Today, can the same be said of the state-owned media?

I have often wondered what the Russian leadership thinks it gains from placing special supplements of Russia Today in major newspapers like The Washington Post and the New York Times.   Most U.S. newspapers are struggling, as Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in The New Yorker, this did not prevent The Washington Post from undertaking a comprehensive investigation analysis of the wasteful homeland security complex (both governmental and private-sector, largely government-funded) that has emerged post 9/11. It is doubtful that any Russian media outlet that reaches a large segment of the population would ever have the courage to undertake a comparable effort about the fires currently spreading through the country.

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COLUMNIST: Russia and the WTO

Russia and the WTO

by Ethan S. Burger

Original to La Russophobe

Ethan Burger

In 2002, at a conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, as part of a panel a U.S. government official gave a presentation praising all the new legislation Russia was enacting. He suggested that “western technical” assistance in the legal area was having a real impact in the country. The next speaker was a Russian law professor who specializes in anti-corruption and human rights matters. He began his remarks with the comment that while he enjoyed the prior’s speaker’s remarks, it was unfortunate that he was describing a country that did not exist.

Russia is now seeking entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). It should not be allowed to join this body until it enforces its own domestic laws, amends its restrictive foreign investment laws, and observes its existing international obligations. Russia has a poor record in applying the 1959 U.N. Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards. Its does uphold its obligations under, or follow the standards and guidelines of, arising from its membership in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Cyber attacks on Estonia and Britain has arisen from its territory (arguably NATO should have responded). It foreign policy to a great extent seems aimed “reset” Europe to the Cold War era (although it has apparently privatized or contracted out formally state activities. Russia is not so powerful that it should not be challenged for its aggressive actions.

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