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Kremlin Burning Bridges With Every Neighbor

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posted on Aug, 10 2009 @ 03:59 AM
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www.themoscowtimes.com...


Russia’s foreign policy failures are snowballing at such a rate that they threaten a second geopolitical collapse on a par with the disintegration of the Soviet Union 20 years ago.

What makes this tragedy so comic is that our leaders are essentially running backward into the future and calling it progress. At the same time, they shake their fists and foam at the mouth as they rant about Russia’s greatness, claim that it is “getting up from its knees” and endlessly repeat myths about its “new successes” and “historical initiatives.” By running backward, Russia inevitably stumbles and falls, while its clumsy foreign policy initiatives become the laughing stock of the world.

The Kremlin was not able to exploit its huge reserves that it accumulated after eight years of an oil boom by turning its economic power into political clout in the global arena. On the contrary, Russia’s global standing has worsened across the board.

Russia’s leaders have managed to alienate even its strongest allies. The alliance with Belarus is crumbling before our eyes as Kremlin leaders attempt to punish Minsk for years of foot-dragging over the sale of Belarus’ largest enterprises to Russia’s inefficient and nontransparent monopolies, for delaying plans to introduce a unified currency and establish other political and economic institutions intended to strengthen ties between the two states. Russia reacted with “milk and meat wars,” and Minsk responded in kind by refusing to attend a Collective Security Treaty Organization summit even while it was supposed to hold the rotating chairmanship of the organization — an embarrassing, if not humiliating, snub to President Dmitry Medvedev. What’s more, Belarus has joined the Eastern Partnership offered by the European Union and has actively diversified its foreign policy.

Armenia, which is hemmed in on all sides by closed borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey, suffered greatly during the days of the Russia-Georgia war last August. This quickly drove Yerevan to intensify its dialogue with Turkey over prospects for opening their common border that has been closed for decades, and, like Belarus, to join the EU’s Eastern Partnership.

Russia has also burned bridges with Turkmenistan. Throughout the recent economic boom years, Turkmenistan pumped gas to Russia to compensate for its growing deficiency, thereby helping to save the reputation of Gazprom — and thus Russia — as a reliable supplier of gas to Europe. But Moscow’s gas war with Kiev forced the EU to cut back sharply on purchases of Russian gas. This led to a drop in gas prices, and once that happened Moscow unceremoniously reneged on its contractual obligations to purchase gas from Turkmenistan. In early April, Russia shut the valve on the pipeline that imported Turkmen gas. This was the alleged cause of a major explosion in Turkmenistan — and a major explosion in Russian-Turkmen relations as well. The result is that Turkmenistan is now searching for more reliable commodity markets, has offered to join the Nabucco project as a gas supplier, is ready to discuss the Trans-Caspian pipeline project and has already given the Chinese access to its gas fields. A gas pipeline to China is also under construction.

Moscow was entirely alone in its decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Besides Nicaragua, not a single country followed Russia’s example. Russia has even managed to sever ties with Georgia — a country with a Russian Orthodox population that has always enjoyed warm relations with Moscow — for the highly questionable goal of wanting to maintain two microscopic puppet-satellite states in one of the most explosive regions of the world. If the Kremlin’s goals were to achieve international isolation and disdain and to increase the threat of a military conflict in the Caucasus, it was very successful.

Russia’s unnecessarily antagonistic actions toward Ukraine have turned the otherwise “brotherly relationship” into a hostile one. In the 1990s, when Ukraine also had trouble paying for its imports of Russian gas, the shortfall was simply added to its external debt, which it later paid back. Today, Moscow’s actions have helped consolidate Ukrainian society around an anti-Russia platform, prompting Kiev to seek membership in the EU and NATO. It also pushed Ukraine toward formulating a new national idea that is based on a rejection of the historical fraternity between our two nations.

The EU also drew its conclusions about Russia’s unreliability after the latest battle in January of the endless succession of gas wars, which resulted in more than 20 European countries being left without heat in bitterly cold temperatures after Russia cut off gas shipments that had already been purchased. Consequently, the EU reduced its purchases of Russian gas, made headway on developing the Nabucco pipeline, including allocating increased funding for the project, and stepped up the development of projects to import gas from Africa and the Middle East. The EU also invited Ukraine to join an alliance for purchasing gas from countries other than Russia. Both South Stream and Nord Stream have experienced setbacks that may complicate the future development of these pipeline projects. In short, this is the lowest point in the 16 years of EU-Russian relations.

Meanwhile, Russia’s relationship with NATO is also becoming increasingly adversarial. Azerbaijan is distancing itself from Russia and aligning itself more with the West. Moscow gave financial aid to Kyrgyzstan to push Bishkek to close the U.S. military base at Manas. But in the end, the Americans were allowed to stay after they increased the rental payments and renamed the base as a “transit center.” Despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Moscow for the July summit, no “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations has taken place. In fact, they remain unchanged, as is evidenced by Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visits to Kiev and Tbilisi and by the sharp comments toward Russian that he made in his interview with The Wall Street Journal a week ago.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s attempt to restore Russia’s influence over the former Soviet republics has failed miserably. Moscow’s standing in the region is weaker now than it was even eight years ago, when Putin took over the presidency from Boris Yeltsin. This is a direct result of Putin’s failed policies during his two terms as president — the inability to modernize the economy, the systemic destruction of the country’s democracy, the sharp rise in corruption and the increase in the monopoly control of key industries under his state capitalism model. If you add to all of this a countless string of inept foreign policy disasters, it is easy to understand why Russia’s neighbors have turned their backs on Moscow and are looking to Western military, economic and political institutions for support and cooperation.


Goodbye Russia and good riddances!!! You are destined to fail just as the Soviet communist experiment failed over time. Russia's dictatorship allies are failing - Iranian Islamic regime is a failed 30 year experiment in Islamic-communism, and has failed! Even Chavez is on his way out!

The lesson learnt should be that communist/dictatorship style governing are destined to fail. They simply do not work in practice.

Seems Russia is not learning from past mistakes.




posted on Aug, 10 2009 @ 04:03 AM
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Ukrainian diplomat leaves Moscow at demand of Russia


Kyiv, August 10 (Interfax-Ukraine) - Ihor Berezkin, a counselor and head of the political department at the Ukrainian Embassy in Moscow, has left Russia, Interfax-Ukraine learned at the Ukrainian embassy on Monday.

A source at the embassy said that the Ukrainian diplomat left Moscow without drama in execution of Russia's recommendation on the termination of his posting, which was made in response to similar actions by Kyiv.

Berezkin had been working in Moscow since January 2009. He was in charge of the political aspect of Russian-Ukrainian relations, in particular issues related to the Russian Black Sea Fleet's deployment in Crimea.

As reported, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry demanded that a counselor at the Russian Embassy in Kyiv, Vladimir Lysenko, in charge of the Black Sea Fleet issues, leave Ukraine before July 29. The counselor left Kyiv on Tuesday, July 28.

The Ukrainian government had allegedly also demanded the expulsion of the Russian consul general in Odesa, Alexander Grachev.


More silly tit for tat expulsions.

Seems nobody gets the Russian's. They have always been a mystery, even old friends can't stand them anymore.



posted on Aug, 10 2009 @ 04:31 AM
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reply to post by john124
 


Well, if Russia ever teamed up with China it would not fail so easily, it is strange that they seem to be so hostile toward their neighbors though, it would be like the USA constantly driving tanks into Canada and Mexico, not very smart, the Russians seem to me to still be set in their old ways, pretending outwardly to embrace democracy but sticking to their old mindset, perhaps the cold war only ended recently.



posted on Aug, 10 2009 @ 04:43 AM
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Originally posted by Razimus
reply to post by john124
 


Well, if Russia ever teamed up with China it would not fail so easily, it is strange that they seem to be so hostile toward their neighbors though, it would be like the USA constantly driving tanks into Canada and Mexico, not very smart, the Russians seem to me to still be set in their old ways, pretending outwardly to embrace democracy but sticking to their old mindset, perhaps the cold war only ended recently.


I used to think that, but I think Russia is more likely to go to war with China than be real allies. Although I think it's more likely that they will continue as International partners working together to annoy the west in whatever way possible, and try to dominate world proceedings. But anything's possible, and we cannot say for sure that Russia & China would not team up and wipe us all out.



posted on Aug, 10 2009 @ 05:01 AM
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reply to post by john124
 


Friend, this is a political article with opinions. It's not a neutral analysis. The author, Ryzhkov, is a political figure. The Moscow Times is a Western media published only in english. The aticle have biases which is fair and respectable if you know and understand it.
Iran is not communist. You're mixing things up.
Ukraine cannot be viewed a Russia's friend since the Orange Revolution, hardly new.
I believe Russia diplomatic ties with most of its Asian neighbours are actually strenghtening.



posted on Aug, 10 2009 @ 05:13 PM
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Originally posted by Manouche
reply to post by john124
 


Friend, this is a political article with opinions. It's not a neutral analysis. The author, Ryzhkov, is a political figure. The Moscow Times is a Western media published only in english. The aticle have biases which is fair and respectable if you know and understand it.
Iran is not communist. You're mixing things up.
Ukraine cannot be viewed a Russia's friend since the Orange Revolution, hardly new.
I believe Russia diplomatic ties with most of its Asian neighbours are actually strenghtening.



Russia does business with Ukraine, and the majority of Ukrainian's do not support their pro-western govt. It's more complicated than saying they are or aren't friends. The fact is both countries live side-by-side and have to get on, unless they can live with gas disruptions and potential war over Crimea and it's Russian base there. And Ukrainian-Russian relations are like a see-saw.... if it goes up you know it's going back down at some point.

Many Iranian people would disagree with you, and of course the regime would not call itself communist and so we wouldn't label them communist. But Iranian people are living under a regime doctrine, that is based on Russia's own past idealogies. All you have to do is look at the kangaroo courts, charging families for bullets used to kill their family members. Both are communist and dictatorship attributes. And of course the oppression is very similar.

Anyway if you read carefully, you will see that I didn't say communist on its own, I said it is a combination of Islamic communism. That's a different brand, and connects both together. Many Iranian's would even call it Islamic-fascism instead. And to call it a failed 30 yr experiment in Islamic-communism is accurate as it's falling apart from within. All the regime had to do was cut back on its oppression a little bit and allow the young people to have more of a say, then this regime would have survived possibly another 20 years,. But just as every dictator thinks they can win by total oppression, they often cannot.

I think you have to admit that the Iranian regime is worse than all other Islamic states towards it's own people, and is highly influenced by Russia. Look at how Ahmadinejad reacts to Putin when he visits Russia. And Iranian's were chanting "death to Russia, and death to China" a few weeks ago during a protest, as they fully understand both country's interests in Iranian hard-liners.

This article explains very well and is unbiased and neutral to a large extent, and bases it's analysis on facts:

tehranbureau.com...

I fully understand that the OP article is opinionated. Although I disagree that Russia's ties are strenghtening overall. More countries' ties with Russia are getting worse, than those who are getting better. So I understand the article, and I agree with some of it, and I can post opinionated articles that I agree with if I wish.

[edit on 10-8-2009 by john124]



posted on Aug, 12 2009 @ 02:26 PM
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Friend, reread your comment with your second link where you conclude 'even old friends can't stand them anymore' like it is a simple situation. And now you lecture me about how complicated their relations are ?

I don't think Iranians would disagree with me. Why the regime of course would not call itself communist ? Because of shame ?
Communism and religion usually don't go well together. There is a Communist Party of Iran and it is actually banned. Communists are atheists. Iran is theocratic, the ultimate political power is in the hands of the clergy. The regime doctrine is not based on Soviets ideology, not at all.
The economy is interventionnist and dirigist (I hope it makes sense in english), it does not equal to communism. There is a large number of people working in the private sector, peasants own their land.
It's an authoritarian regime though with no doubt.
There is no automatic link between an economical system and the nature of a regime. Capitalism is not automatically democratic.

The Iran regime and Russia share the same interests at the moment. Notably, the West wants a pro-Western government take over in Iran and they both oppose.
Neither Russia or the US care the Iranian people. They care the land ressources and strategic asset.

I can't read your link. I doubt it's unbiased looking at the website's name.

I am sure you understand how important is Iran's fate for all the world powers. We expect a lot of disinfo/false information from both sides in the middle of the truth. I suggest you take with precautions what we are told about the current situation. There is no reason for any side to tell us the truth in the media.

The game being played is difficult to assess. I don't know whether Russia's diplomatic ties are globally strengthening or not. Russia has signed important trade and cooperation agreements with Turkey last autumn and that's remarkable. Russia/China relationship is unclear to me, it looks highly incidental but I don't really know. Russia relations with the -stan states have apparently improved over the last couple of years but I am not sure. The players are secretive as ever.

I fully encourage you to have and voice opinions. And I am interested in reading them.
Both of your links don't back your assertions. The first one is an opinion article in a Western media by a Russian politicist opposed to the current government. His statements are hardly neutral and unbiased and some of them almost laughable. The article is intended to be read mainly by non-Russians. It should make you think.
The second link is the usual diplomatic struggle between the two.
None of your links helps me build an opinion on whether Russia is close to isolation on the diplomatic field or not.



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