December 4, 2008

English Summary

The October issue of Diplomaatia focuses on developments in Russia and Ukraine. Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, discusses how Russia might change in the aftermath of the Beslan hostage crisis and how this might influence Russia’s international relations. He claims that “Putin’s tenure as president has imbued with the KGB’s corporate culture and a wistfulness regarding the glory days of the Soviet empire.

The October issue of Diplomaatia focuses on developments in Russia and Ukraine. Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, discusses how Russia might change in the aftermath of the Beslan hostage crisis and how this might influence Russia’s international relations. He claims that “Putin’s tenure as president has imbued with the KGB’s corporate culture and a wistfulness regarding the glory days of the Soviet empire.

English Summary

The October issue of Diplomaatia focuses on developments in Russia and Ukraine. Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, discusses how Russia might change in the aftermath of the Beslan hostage crisis and how this might influence Russia’s international relations. He claims that “Putin’s tenure as president has imbued with the KGB’s corporate culture and a wistfulness regarding the glory days of the Soviet empire. These are a cluster of values that simply cannot be reconciled with Western principles. It would be dangerous to build and develop a strategic partnership on such a basis.” According to Mihkelson, the West does not want to acknowledge the seriousness of changes taking place: “It is evident that both US and EU strategies have not taken fully into account the possibility that Russia might rapidly retreat from common democratic values. Instead of dealing with Russia in a coherent and consistent manner as befitting a key partner, there is a tendency in the EU to avoid the issue.”
Vladimir Jushkin, Director of the Baltic Centre for Russian Studies, provides an analysis of the formulation and implementation of Russian foreign policy.
Thomas de Waal of the London-based Institute on War and Peace Reporting makes the case for the need to pay greater attention to the North Caucasus. He writes “One small cause for relief throughout the entire decade of the Chechnya conflict has been that the rest of this complex multiethnic region was not sucked into the turmoil,” but warns that “Things have changed. The turmoil had begun to spread even before Beslan and the hostage crisis will make things much worse.”
US German Marshall Fund Senior Fellow Ronald D. Asmus explores the potential conditions for Ukraine’s integration with the important Western institutions. Relying on his experience as a key player in the recent NATO enlargement rounds, Asmus claims that “three components were and are necessary: The first is motivation on the part of the aspiring country. The second is ‘the carrot’ – i.e., a credible perspective provided by the West that the country can and will become a member if it meets the criteria set by either NATO or the EU. The third is a strategy to deal with Russia.” He concludes that “The big difference between Central and East Europe on the one hand and Ukraine on the other can be summarized in the following sentence: in the case of Ukraine the internal motivation and drive to join the West is weaker, the carrot or perspective being offered by the West is smaller and less attractive or credible; and the Russian problem looms much larger.”
Radio Liberty analyst Vitali Portnikov argues in his article that no matter who wins the Ukrainian elections, the trajectory of the country’s development has been set and will not be altered: Ukraine will move towards the West, not the East.

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