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MOSCOW AND MUNICH: A NEW FRAMEWORK FOR RUSSIAN DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN POLICIES
МОСКОВСКИЙ ЦЕНТР КАРНЕГИ CARNEGIE MOSCOW CENTER MOSCOW
Working Papers have been published since 1999. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the Carnegie Endowment or the Carnegie Moscow Center. Carnegie Moscow Center Russia,125009 Moscow, Tverskaya Ul., 6/2. Tel: +7 (495) 935-8904 Fax: +7 (495) 935-8906 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.carnegie.ru Electronic versions of all Carnegie Moscow Center publications may be found at: http://www. carnegie.ru Working Papers provide the readers with the access to the main current research on Russia and Eurasia domestic and foreign policy. The series includes intermediate results of research or the articles for immediate release. You may send your comments to the e-mail address above. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace or the Carnegie Moscow Center. The author analyzes the reasons, features and prospects for Russia’s domestic and foreign policy, taking as a base Putin’s press conference and speech in Munich in February, 2007.
Alexei Arbatov is a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Dr. Prof. Sc. (History); Director of the Center for International Security of the Institute for International Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Scholar-in-Residence of the Carnegie Moscow Center and Director of its Non-Proliferation Program. © Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2007
............................................................................................ 16 The West and Russian democracy..................................................................................................................... 27 ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 4 Who sets the national priorities and how? ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 7 The Cold War as a historical phenomenon ................................ 6 Can the model be changed? .................................................................................................................................................... 8 A historical perspective on the current deterioration in relations............................................ 5 Corruption – Munchausen’s Syndrome .............................................................. 14 The CIS as an apple of discord................................................................ 11 Political reality and perceptions......................... 13 Lost opportunities ..................................................................................................................WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 3 CONTENTS How effective is the “vertical executive hierarchy”? .................................................................................................................... 22 Guidelines for the future ..................... 18 Yet another “third way” for Russia? ................................................................................. 24 About the Carnegie Foundation .......................................... 20 The challenges of multipolarity .......................
U. HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE “VERTICAL EXECUTIVE HIERARCHY”? In terms of form. 2007. has now become a self-sufficient force that freely and imperceptibly replaces the goals of the nation with its own corporate interests and submits to the will of higher political authorities only when their decisions do not contradict these interests. dealing with a wide range of issues and responding with a swiftness and sense of humor that any of the current G8 leaders. which fifteen years earlier had been declared over and until recently had been considered irrevocably relegated to the past. . Both of these speeches by Russia’s president provide ample material for reflecting on the evolution of Moscow’s domestic and foreign policy and the consequences it will have for Russia and the rest of the world. he cannot remove this entire new class that is the Russian post-Communist “nomenklatura”. It is precisely this situation that is giving rise to the biggest obstacles facing the country’s development. which became. In this context. would envy. for example. some of whom will never attain this level. There was a clear whiff in the air of the Cold War. plans to deploy elements of a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic and other issues. but are only patched up somewhat from year to year. Putin can fire any minister and dismiss the entire government. because the president’s comments addressed important domestic policy issues. to such issues as the choice of a “successor”. But how these sound ideas and policies are to be implemented and put into practice by the state machinery (the “vertical executive hierarchy”. one should give Putin his due. All of the other institutions of democratic government and civil society that might have counter-balanced the bureaucratic machine and given the president greater room to maneuver have been visibly weakened over these last years and forced into a dependent and subjugated position either through law or through informal political. the transition to marketbased relations with the CIS countries.” Putin said. In this respect. or bring even the richest oligarch to heel. as the legal successor to the Soviet Union. as it has been dubbed) is another matter altogether. Although he was referring to the draft of a particular law. Iran’s nuclear program. but in today’s Russia.4 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 During the Soviet years. then at least a visible milestone in Russia’s relations with the United States and other Western countries. This shows just how much the Russian political system has changed. it only takes a couple of days before the public and the media turn their attention to other matters. With the stroke of a pen. and on others were perfectly in keeping with politically correct standards. and it is this situation that explains why many urgent issues are not being resolved. However. The Western media and many politicians reacted to Putin’s words with unexpected vigor and hostility. which during the Soviet era had at least to some extent been controlled by the Communist Party organization. but at the same time it is also something of a shame. Russia’s state machinery has become a poorly controlled conglomerate of different agencies that have joined with big business clans to establish their own material and bureaucratic interests. an independent press and non-governmental organizations.S. It is all the more a shame as most or all of the president’s responses really did seem to be impromptu and gave a more direct picture of the leadership’s approach to policy than is generally the case with official speeches that have been checked and approved by various aides and officials. The bureaucracy. This applies. attention shifted to Putin’s speech in Munich on March 10. each backed by their respective coalitions of allies and partners. Russia’s swollen federal bureaucracy has no counterbalance in the form of strong legislative and judicial branches of power. even the president himself could not resist making a sarcastic remark. it comes as no surprise that people are now asking themselves if we are headed towards a new “Cold War” between Russia. financial and supervisory schemes.” Indeed. for he displayed a great breadth and depth of knowledge at his press conference. if not a watershed. This is Russia’s biggest national problem today. the implications went much further: “The Government. and he cannot compel it to act contrary to its own corporate interests. provoking an equally hostile counter-reaction from the Russian media and Russian political circles. energy security. Such was the case with President Vladimir Putin’s big press conference on February 1. dissolve the Duma and the regional bodies of power. “extends just as deeply beneath the surface as do our oil and gas reserves. the creation of a union state with Belarus. the fruit of a full-fledged state-monopolized capitalism. 2007. Shortly after this press conference took place. NATO’s expansion. any major speech by the state’s leader was followed by months of tedious party and trade union meetings to express “approval and support”. the president’s views on many of the issues raised seemed entirely convincing. As for the substance. and sometimes at such depths things do indeed get lost. and the United States.
but it does make it possible to get timely feedback on political failures and to correct mistakes before the cost becomes too high. Such parties cannot represent society’s interests or bring the public’s hopes to the ears of the people at the top level of power. In practice.’” As extensive experience has shown. while describing how one particularly important issue was resolved: “We got together probably fifteen or so times while drafting the demographic program. Clearly. Such agreements preclude the use of innovative and breakthrough approaches that are vital for resolving serious national problems. enable the political parties to install their representatives into the bodies of power and to control the state bureaucracy’s implementation of the objectives that have been set.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 5 WHO SETS THE NATIONAL PRIORITIES AND HOW? As a starting point it is worthwhile to consider how national priorities and a development strategy for the society and state are elaborated. these compromises merely reflect the respective weights and influences of the different state organizations and officials and the degree of access they have to the person at the top. Although it creates an illusion of broad representation. the national priorities and programs in Russia are structured to serve the general interests of the federal and regional bureaucrats. On the contrary. who are unable to find adequate forms of legitimate political expression through elections and the legislative assemblies. but then they said to me. it is in fact detached from society and from real public and political life. but that doesn’t work at all. a party’s real place within the political spectrum is not defined from above. The idea of an artificially created loyal two-party system is reminiscent of the marble telephone in the popular Russian tale for children (“Old Man Khottabych”) – an object that is nice to look at. passed or failed by voters. or they resort to calling on the people to follow them back into the Soviet past or trying to gain popular support with a mix of great-state patriotism and nationalism.” he recalled. stability and cooperation between the different branches of power. then. 2007. the senior level of the bureaucracy creates political “parties of power” and then uses its administrative resources to ensure that these parties will gain majorities at every level of legislative assembly. Of course. and. on the contrary. who would like to win this “electoral resource” over for themselves. . but that run counter to conservative bureaucratic mentality. national ideas are primarily formulated by the major political parties. the system works against them because the success of the “parties of power” depends not on voters. defining themselves as social-democratic. liberal. but rather by the particular social groups the party hopes to appeal to in elections and whose interests it defends when in power. crime and interethnic friction. take instead to the streets in spontaneous protest. or even great-state-patriotic. Even if individual competent and honest members of legislative assemblies try to operate differently. These feelings of protest immediately become fodder for manipulation by political extremists.) Rather than serving the real needs of the people. Putin’s response when asked about the role of – and the differences between – the United Russia and A Just Russia parties seemed less than convincing. In countries having advanced market economies and a normal rather than “sovereign” type of democracy (even taking into account all the specific features of each individual democracy). budget increases and greater autonomy. and the authorities in turn. During elections. if successful. ‘We can’t sort out these differences ourselves – we need to meet with you. These parties’ positions fluctuate in accordance with whatever line the executive takes (the cases of the law on citizenship and on the replacement of benefits with cash payments are just two of the most vivid examples in this respect). compromises made between different state agencies in any country have always served only to reduce the various bureaucratic interests to their lowest common denominator (these interests being staff expansions. a fact which the president himself confirmed at the press conference on February 1. In Russia. the think tanks that serve them. this system does not always work smoothly . ‘Come and see me then. these programs are examined by the ruling circles.one needs only to look at the current problems in the United States . and the media. However. While the larger parties compete for the title of “presidential party”. but on federal or local executive bosses. the remaining parties either find themselves excluded from the parliaments altogether through the use of “administrative resources” and restrictive new electoral laws.’ So I said. the bureaucrats use the “parties of power” to control the legislative authorities at every turn. Political parties can call themselves whatever they want. leaving the impression that he felt a certain sense of awkwardness. and the people. “and in the end there we were down to just two or three unresolved differences between the state agencies. primarily over the unresolved problems of corruption. play along with these moods. such parties cannot and do not pursue any independent political programs and are unable to control the executive. with federal and regional officials hastening to join their ranks in “voluntary compulsion”. as well as take-overs of adjacent agencies. In this respect.
and even then the resistance of the bureaucracy and conservative political circles has had to be overcome. from influential politicians. It is. More important for the Soviet bureaucrats were the privileges available to the “nomenklatura” (modest by today’s standards) – privileges such as the possibility of securing good jobs for one’s children. more “informal” means of resolving problems come in – buying a solution through bribes of all forms and sizes. an inevitable and innate consequence of the system. The bureaucrats make everyone’s lives miserable. healthcare and culture. The same applies to Russia’s three top national priorities as formulated by Medvedev in Davos: diversifying the economy. sucking the substance out of all well-intentioned laws. as far as can be judged. the entirely natural result produced by combining an immature market economy – what is more. this is where the simpler. the real initiative has always come from outside. No tightening of penalties or group of watchdog agencies can come to grips with this system. but it is not at all reflected in either the 2007 federal budget or in the three-year budget plan. is perhaps the only exception to this rule. creating a modern economic infrastructure. This situation is further exacerbated by the festering sore of corruption. Not encountering any checks and balances. They are concerned with the here and now. initiatives and projects and perverting them. Many of the greatest problems that Russia cannot resolve effectively have their roots in this unfortunate situation. national defense and internal security remain the main items of expenditure. the crisis in education. rather. the bureaucracy has consummate skill in the art of political maneuvering and knows how to channel the leader’s decisions in what it considers the right direction and distract or isolate him from undesirable alternatives. They also include the degradation of the housing and municipal services sector. and the situation in the defense industry. The concept is wonderful. No one could possibly have any objection. These problems include an economy skewed towards exports of raw materials. bylaws and regulations. Only the ruthless terror of a Stalin or Hitler has managed to keep the bureaucracy in check. The Soviet bureaucracy had only the unprofitable command economy from which to suck wealth. . if necessary. in turn. the modern bureaucracy swells and swells as it attempts to extend its hold over society and expand its activities through a tangle of all-encompassing laws. ongoing terrorism in the North Caucasus. Today’s bureaucrats are not concerned with personal pensions and special rations of deficit goods.6 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 The labyrinths of state bureaucracy have never given rise to great initiatives or original solutions. social organizations and.) But what principles were used to decide their funding levels and the optimum means of implementation. education. in reality. If the executive branch swells to the point where it crushes everything else. from a bottle of cognac to millions of dollars paid to get deals done. the law enforcement bodies and courts also fall victim to the cancer of corruption and are no longer able to effectively combat either corruption or crime. CORRUPTION – MUNCHAUSEN’S SYNDROME The corruption that has become a national disaster on a scale unprecedented even for Russia is not by any means simply an unfortunate anomaly. and money plus corporate loyalty means even greater power. from the oligarchs to retired grandmothers. a decent pension and an honorable plot in the cemetery. these watchdog agencies and. Whatever its deficiencies. one wallowing in petrodollars – and an overly centralized bureaucratic model of power. housing construction and agricultural development. the senior political leadership ultimately becomes its prisoner rather than its master. Worse still. However. but then the entire country becomes hostage to the arbitrary will of a single man and his favorites of the moment. the judiciary. the high crime rate. this would all be part of the functions of the legislative authorities. in light of its specific nature. where state administration costs. independent specialists and respected public figures. for example. and investing in human resources. The very term “executive branch” implies the function of executing decisions and programs drawn up by others rather than the formation of national goals and priorities. However. skimming the cream from the enormous revenues generated by privatization or the state-monopolized economy. They have been implemented only when their authors have attained high state office. Power is converted into money at every level. Foreign policy. which eats away at the very foundations of the state and society. is close to nonexistent. to the four excellent national projects assigned to first deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev (healthcare. the demographic decline and ethnic conflicts. the big gap between rich and poor. In all other areas. their role. which can lead to national disaster. and the pickings were thus rather lean. and what steps are being taken at ministerial and regional levels to ensure that the money is being used for its allotted purpose? Normally. the growing scientific and technological gap with the world’s most advanced countries.
This solution requires that fair and honest elections take place so that the legislative authorities. just as Baron Munchausen was unable to drag himself out of the swamp by pulling his own hair. The same solution applies for reining in corruption. especially if they are brought closer together by pressure from an independent legislature. responsibility and respect for the law and for human dignity. For a start. consolidation of this sort can be achieved only in a situation where the top leadership has come to power following their party’s victory in elections. they all derive from a single big problem: the stranglehold that the state-monopoly system has on politics and the economy in Russia. The biggest problem today is not how to further consolidate the “vertical executive hierarchy”. After all. CAN THE MODEL BE CHANGED? A change of model would involve diversifying the economy and making a transition from an economy based on the export of raw materials to an economy based on innovative development. and even the legacy of a still more distant past. but how to effectively control and manage it. we do not live in an ideal world and we are beginning not with a clean slate. not to mention the public. even if their rights are limited by the constitution. without upsetting social stability. then fierce in-fighting between the bureaucratic cliques is inevitable. but with the difficult legacy of the upheavals of the 1990s. the executive branch can indeed function as a more or less united team. This solution also calls for the regular replacement of senior officials and all-round development of free media and law-abiding public organizations. In such a case. as well. then yes. a strong opposition and an ever-vigilant media. There is only one solution to this problem in the context of a more or less open market economy and non-totalitarian political system. There is no point for Russia to reinvent the wheel (whether it’s called “sovereign” democracy or something else. with all their various views and interests. The political leadership. shake-ups and appointment of consultative bodies from above (such as the State Council and the Public Council) are inadequate to the task. It is not surprising that all of the country’s most pressing challenges are addressed by one single approach.) This solution involves establishing a reasonable and balanced division of powers. appointing new watchdogs and toughening criminal penalties. Such formulations are difficult to accept. the main thrust of overall political development is of great significance. and in this respect the proposed “continuing consolidation of the state power system” raises more questions than answers. how to restore the channels of feedback between the public and the authorities. Of course. but directly to the ministries and agencies that make the decisions. If the executive branch is formed as a compromise among the different groups making up the state-monopolist elite. which is the only way to create an independent judiciary. which . Encouraging the media to be more active. The various administrative reshuffles. bringing with them their party’s action plan and a staff loyal to their party and able to fill at least a hundred or so senior posts. “continued consolidation” could also perhaps mean an even greater subordination of the other branches and levels of state power to the executive system through such methods as the creation of “parties of power” that are nothing more than Siamese twins. would entirely lose control of the resulting monolith. but must be gradually and systematically nurtured. will not be enough to resolve the problem. However. but it is unacceptable when these internal struggles begin to affect fundamental development issues and even the very foundations of a great state. In such a situation. However. arbitration bodies and electoral commissions. However. what is meant by the need to “continue consolidating the state power system” – something mentioned three times in various contexts at the February 1 press conference? If “consolidation” means putting a stop to the in-fighting among the cliques in the presidential administration and the government that has become even more fierce as the presidential elections approach. This is all the more true when the rivalry is fueled by huge sums of money and when lobbyists make their appeals not to a weak and servile parliament. as prosperity increases and the public grows more aware and accepting of the principles of political tolerance. Contradictions between the various groups exist within the administration of any country. democratic institutions and the norms governing political life will not just sprout up of their own accord. more than 70 years of Soviet power that came before. and this would inevitably have grave consequences for the country. consolidation is indeed necessary. adequately reflect public interests and are able to manage and restrain the bureaucracy.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 7 The president’s responses to the questions he was asked about consolidating and ensuring the continuity of the state power system and about the fight against corruption (as with the recent calls to “keep business and state power separate”) leave a distinctly incomplete impression. all of which the president spoke about at the press conference on February 1.
8 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 alone can guarantee Russia a position among the world’s great powers and power centers that does not depend on oil and gas prices. defense budget (and. it is precisely these high-technology sectors. There are only countries supplying the raw materials that fuel the industrially and technologically advanced powers and coalitions: the United States. which is geared not to the needs of market consumers. into the high-technology sectors. and there is no “special Russian road” to follow in this respect. Russia’s domestic and foreign policy are closely interconnected and markedly influence (sometimes even pressure) each other. is not much help. The direct state investment the Communists call for would be stolen in part. an independent and objective judiciary and a system of arbitration and law enforcement. steps must be taken above all to thoroughly overhaul the country’s legislation and transform the current informal system of political relations that is prevalent throughout all of the structures of authority. including small and medium businesses. and it will not be possible to sustain high rates of economic growth over the long term. military and ideological fronts. 1 and a modern and open banking. An energy superpower is like “hot ice”: no such superpower has ever existed or will exist. it can be interpreted in various ways. Also needed are strong civic organizations that protect the interests of employers. insurance and mortgage infrastructure (which Dmitry Medvedev has correctly identified as a national priority). It is often used to describe any heightened tension between states. but it should not be forgotten that Russia’s GDP is still only twice the size of the U. Administrative reorganization and personnel reshuffles are not enough to bring about this change.S. . but this interpretation does not indicate any starting point from which the rise in tension can be measured and its probable consequences and dangers assessed. What is also needed are transparent and law-based relations between the state authorities and business. this does not mean that Russia should pursue the goal of doubling its GDP at any price. This is why the current debate on the possibility of a new Cold War has such important implications for the country’s future prospects. employees. boost exports of goods with a high added value and free Russia from the shackles of foreign raw materials prices. give the country a modern and powerful defense sector. India. In this respect. the uniqueness of the Cold War lay in several specific features of the system of international relations it gave birth to. encourage scientific and technological progress (domestically. the European Union and Japan. either. which only a clear division of power can guarantee. overburdened by defense expenditures in the 1970s and 1980s. but an engine with all the efficiency of an old steam locomotive. What is needed are clearly and firmly enshrined property rights. and what remains would once again end up in the hands of unwieldy industrial giants flooding the country with low-quality and high-cost goods for which there is no demand. The acquisition and export of raw materials and the banking sector that services them would remain the engine of the Russian economy. rather than for export). which will soon be joined by China.) However. There is good reason to be proud of the economic recovery that Russia has undergone over recent years. antitrust legislation and restrictions on natural monopolies. Without all of this. that can provide plentiful jobs for the population. there will be no real influx of investment. The history of those decades abounds with examples of how the two competing coalitions of states played out their rivalry on the economic. but to domestic defense procurement orders and the highly politicized competition of the international arms trade. for if this objective is attained at the cost of increasing the bias toward the export of raw materials in the economy. either domestic or foreign. reduce the gap between rich and poor. It is no coincidence that Putin himself has noted with regret that positive change in the real sector of the economy has been “much more modest” (with growth of around 4 percent a year. the ASEAN countries and “little tigers” of East Asia. To achieve genuine and far-reaching change in the Russian economy. Brazil. and consumers. None of these countries have built up their power through the export of raw materials. A more justifiable approach would be to define the concept of “Cold War” based on the historical period that gave rise to the term in the first place. the Russian defense budget is 25 times smaller. The experience of the defense industry. as Putin has noted on a number of occasions. However. and these specific features can be used now as criteria for evaluating the current situation and its future development.) However. The Cold War was the name given to a particular state of international relations that lasted for almost 40 years from the end of the 1940s to the end of the 1980s. THE COLD WAR AS A HISTORICAL PHENOMENON Given that “Cold War” is a journalistic rather than a scientific term. the negative consequences for the country could be similar in impact to what happened to the Soviet economy.
Nicaragua and Afghanistan. the superpowers and their allies indulged in a surrogate of big war – rivaling each other in their intensive preparations for the day when such a conflict would come. This bipolar structure turned the entire world into an arena in which the two superpowers played out their tense rivalry. and indeed. fascism and bourgeois democracy between the two world wars). but the world had never before known such a long period of bipolarity during peacetime. during the Berlin crisis in 1961. Journalists came up with a name for this new form of competition. ideological confrontation pushed the superpowers and their allies into intervening in the affairs of various parts of the world. staking the global balance of power between the camps and their respective chances of achieving final victory. one side’s gain was equal to the other side’s loss. 2 As a rule. the two sides justified their global rivalry and all the sacrifices it entailed by engaging in relentless ideological confrontation. especially during the 1960s and the early 1980s in the NATO countries. that is. and in the surrounding airspace and seas. During the Second World War. This implicitly did away with the need to try to see the other side’s point of view. Third. The two sides deployed their armed forces. It was extremely rare for a country to cross from one camp to the other. The expansion and modernization of conventional arms was no less impressive. take its interests into account. the main parameter of the Cold War world was a clearly defined bipolar structure in international relations that divided virtually the entire world into two camps – the West and the East. the superpowers found themselves on opposite sides ' ' of the barricades and essentially fought each other through their protеgеs or fought directly against the other superpower’s “client”. but the greatest concentration was in Central Europe and the Far East. All other countries were either allies (real or potential). cost and intensity – was the third distinguishing feature of the Cold War. cutting across individual countries and nations. Indochina. and in the 1970s–80s in the Warsaw Pact countries. History had known other periods of fierce ideological confrontation (the crusades. the bipolarity really only emerged two years after the war began – when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. the Soviet Union and the United States. The world came close to such a war on at least four occasions: during the second and fourth Middle East conflicts in 1957 and 1973. . Angola. the Napoleonic wars and the First World War. This was true of the wars and conflicts in Korea. right up until the end of the 1980s. China (from which Taiwan separated). Any conflict. when a bipolar situation arose. the events in Cuba and South Asia. Each side was commissioning hundreds of fighter planes and tactical missiles of various classes every year. or adversaries. In some years. with varying success. too: “the arms race”. In some cases. established their respective spheres of influence in Europe and Asia in the 1950s and extended them into Latin America and Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. Vietnam. it rapidly developed into a state of war and lasted only so long as the war continued. even in a hitherto peripheral part of the world. arms and military installations on all the world’s continents and oceans. and during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. and one strategic nuclear-armed submarine a month. and the conflicts in the Horn of Africa. Mozambique. Political tension and wars between states had been more the rule than the exception in history. the rate at which nuclear weapons were deployed reached truly record levels: one intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) a day on average. the hostility between communism. and Palestine. the four wars in the Middle East. as in Germany. Rather than engaging directly in a military conflict. and in other cases it served as justification for geopolitical expansion and for economic and military goals.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 9 First. and observe moral and legal norms regarding it. as well as thousands of armored vehicles and dozens of naval vessels and multipurpose submarines. Algeria. Such was the case with the Thirty Years War. In some cases this divide went even further. Korea. thousands of nuclear warheads were being deployed every year. These nuclear arms ensured that the consequences of war would be so devastating that they would outweigh the anticipated fruits of victory. namely that in practically any local or regional conflict. Two superpowers. when it teetered right on the brink of war. would leave the whole concept of victory meaningless. Fourth. but it had never before encountered such a protracted and large-scale political and military confrontation. became the focus of attention as an arena where the superpowers would stand off one against the other. During other periods. International politics became a zero-sum game. which they feared. this situation led directly to another of the Cold War’s distinguishing features. religious and civil wars. this combination of circumstances meant that all the classic conditions were in place for potentially unleashing a third world war. That disaster was avoided is most likely thanks to fortunate twists of circumstance and the deterrent factor of the nuclear arms stockpiles the opposing sides had built up. Second. demonizing each other and ascribing to each other all manner of evil conspiracies and aggressive intentions. This arms race – unprecedented in its scale.
the Islamic countries and local client states of the West and China in Africa and Latin America to unite in opposition to Moscow. Western Europe. which President Putin called “one of the greatest geopolitical tragedies of the twentieth century. China. “If. While Moscow and Beijing competed against each other to prove their loyalty to the doctrines of Marxism-Leninism. However. 3 Negotiations were held on NATO and Warsaw Pact conventional forces in Europe. Ideological opposition and the arms race (fuelled by scientific and technological progress) were secondary attributes. and market shares are being eroded. which no advisors. now in a state of relative decline. did not represent one unchanging. although they did certainly make the confrontation more dangerous and gave it additional motivation. serious nuclear arms reduction talks took place between the two superpowers. Japan. officials or experts were allowed to question. the conquest of extensive territories or the waging of costly wars – it runs the risk that the potential benefits from external expansion may be outweighed by the great expense of it all – a dilemma which becomes acute if the nation concerned has entered a period of relative economic decline. This compelled the United States. they siphon off even more money from “investment” and thus only further exacerbate their fundamental dilemma. it should be noted. each lasting roughly twenty years: from the end of the 1940s to the end of the 1960s. including the collapse of the Soviet Union. The second phase already bore the marks of an emergent multipolarity. primarily as a result of China’s emergence as an independent power center and the conflict between China and the Soviet Union (which even led to direct confrontation between the two on their common border in 1969. This is precisely the scenario that led the Soviet Union into a situation where its economic resources. and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed. and from the end of the 1960s to the end of the end of the 1980s.” However. The American historian Paul Kennedy brilliantly explained the dialectic of imperial decline on the basis of numerous historical examples. with all the political. instinctively react by spending more on “security” and in so doing. This led the Kremlin to interpret the United States’ partial scaling back of its military presence overseas following its defeat in Vietnam as “a change in the balance of power in the world in favor of socialism. Bipolarity was further diluted by Western Europe’s growing economic strength and political activeness (Willy Brandt’s new Ostpolitik. the ideological confrontation between East and West cooled down somewhat (as reflected in the Soviet doctrine of “peaceful coexistence” and the Western concept of “convergence”). This explains why the second phase of the Cold War was characterized by comparatively less ten' sion than before. continuous situation throughout its duration. These new shifts in direction represented the first harbingers of a movement towards a multipolar world that would be completely different in nature than the bipolar world of international relations. say. and which brought them to the brink of war when China invaded Vietnam in 1978). too large a portion of the state’s resources is diverted from wealth creation and allocated instead to military purposes. It can be divided into two distinct phases. The first stage was characterized by bipolarity in classic “pure” form. Mikhail Gorbachev. The world has become a more competitive place. and why crises were less acute than they had previously been. realized the extent of the country’s decline . then that is likely to lead to a weakening of national power over the longer term. were accompanied by the economic and socio-political bankruptcy of the command economy and totalitarian system. for example) and the rise of the non-aligned movement headed by India and Yugoslavia. For the first time. and by unrestrained military build-up in all areas. military and ideological consequences this entailed.” 4 Other rival states “start expanding at a faster rate. political influence and ideological spirit were seriously undermined.” 5 The great powers. the geriatric Soviet leadership failed to understand these changes and held fast to their bipolar vision of the world and their firmly fixed ideological blinkers. The Cold War. In the same way.10 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 Bipolarity and cold war are thus two inextricably linked fundamental attributes of what was a unique 40-year historical period in the second half of the twentieth century. and wish in their turn to extend their influence abroad. however. the Soviet collapse was by no means the first such disaster of its kind. and military strength is generally necessary for snatching and protecting wealth.” the increasing independence of Western Europe as “increasing contradictions within the imperialist camp” and the increase in the number of post-colonial conflicts in the world as a sign that new states were attracted by “non-capitalist development”. when coming to power. Asia and Latin America. if a state overextends itself strategically – by. The process of dеtente between the Soviet Union and the West began in the early 1970s. and what is more. Kennedy wrote that wealth is generally necessary for maintaining military strength. The Soviet Union responded by launching an unprecedented geopolitical and military-strategic expansion in the late 70s-early 80s in Africa.
Unlike the bipolar-era zero-sum game. today’s international system is far more complex and global in scale. the other manifestations of Cold War are also absent. it is the state or coalition best able to build better relations with the other power centers than they have among themselves that will maintain the most advantageous position within this system. Above all. there also emerge such regional leaders as India.) Differences between Russia and the West are greater on Iraq. but he did not know how or did not manage to build a new world order based on “new political thinking” or on “socialism with a human face”. but rather. A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE CURRENT DETERIORATION IN RELATIONS The preceding passages do not represent mere abstract political theory but are directly linked to evaluating Russia’s current relations with the United States and with the West in general. political and even military players coming to the forefront. political and security issues. The relations between the United States and Russia no longer form the central axis of international politics. for a number of the most important issues. the European Union and South Korea are closer even than the positions between the United States and its allies. Excessively weakening one’s opponent does not automatically result in gains – it can also lead to a third party rapidly gaining strength and result in an even greater threat than that posed by the original opponent. Russia and the West also share very important common interests and face competition from other countries and from non-state players. the rules of which were being set by an emerging multipolarity. However. more than 2.000 tanks and almost 200 nuclear submarines (more than the rest of the world put together). It did not lose the Cold War.000 nuclear warheads. despite having an army of four million men and a military arsenal that included more than 30. the rising tide of nationalism around the world and the trend of transnational economic. Russia and the West are not on different sides of the barricades in the current international conflicts. Serious analysis of the concepts set forth above makes it clear that the term “Cold War” does not apply at all to the current exacerbation of tensions between Russia on the one side and the United States. Compared to the multipolarity and the European “concert of nations” of the nineteenth century. the European Union. The tottering Soviet empire ' was unable to withstand the second round of dеtente (after the first round in the early 70s) and the second “thaw” (after the first in the late 1950s) and rapidly began to crumble. NATO and the European Union on the other. exceptionally complex and multilevel system of international relations is taking shape. China.000 strategic missiles. Until recently. Excessive strength gained by one side does not guarantee victory – it unites the other power centers against the strong side and inevitably leads to losses if not checked in time. it lost the new political game. Russia was in just such a position and would have become a leading world power center had it not been for its economic and domestic political handicaps. Russia and the West do not provide open military aid to the groups waging war against the other side. They are just one of the many facets of the international situation. Aside from their differences. the positions of Russia. today’s opponents in a multipolar world can become tomorrow’s partners. They are acting together through negotiations and multilateral forums on the North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs and on Palestine and Nagorno-Karabakh (at times. even if Moscow and Washington periodically accuse each other of indirect assistance to such groups. Aside from such global and transregional economic and military power centers as the United States. Tajikistan and the wars in the former Yugoslavia). Russia and China.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 11 and ended the Cold War. Unlike the Cold War era. The Soviet Union thus became the first victim of the multipolar system of international relations in the post-World War II period. Moreover. South Ossetia and Uzbekistan (as in the past on Chechnya. in which diverse actors can play different roles in different areas of interaction and in specific global economic. A dynamic. however. the Pacific’s “little tigers”. Iran. and vice-versa. Many other conflicts that previously could have become arenas for confrontation now lie outside . and. as many in the West and their imitators in Russia assert. South Africa and Nigeria. no matter what differences they may have regarding specific decisions. Under such conditions. Japan. Kosovo. Without bipolarity. the ASEAN countries. the traditional boundaries of international relations are being eroded by the powerful currents of globalization and the information revolution. States and transnational players can be simultaneously rivals and partners at different levels and on different issues. In Afghanistan. the main component of the Cold War system – bipolarity – is missing. they are working together to prevent a return of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. 60. Transniestria. a zero-sum game is out of the question. Abkhazia. Brazil. not even among the most significant.
future projects for developing space-based arms and plans to equip strategic delivery systems with high-precision conventional warheads.S. originating in Washington. plans to deploy a missile defense system to protect itself from isolated missile launches (plans which include deploying elements of the system in a number of European countries). 1987) 7 and the Agreement on Adaptation of the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (1999).S. are adding a more visible ideological tone to the political friction between the various sides. there has been nothing even remotely resembling what went on during the Cold War era. the end of the Cold War has also had some negative effects. In 2007. and between globalism and anti-globalism. Rwanda.S. the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996. 6 There remain. but this in the modern context does not signal a return to the kind of confrontation between Russia and the West that existed during the Cold War. Left to themselves. the West gave Russia valuable help in safely decommissioning and utilizing the excess of outdated weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems left over from the Cold War period (primarily through the Nunn-Lugar Program. after all. The two sides’ strategic and tactical nuclear arms will be reduced by around 80 percent over 1991–2012 (since the conclusion of the START-1 Treaty and till the implementation of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty). It is true that increasing nationalism and the mixture of strong-state and religious chauvinism in the U. no other use has yet been found for the huge quantities of sophisticated nuclear weapons that both sides retained.S. military exercises have openly reverted to the traditional scenarios of armed conflict breaking out between Russia and NATO. when the two countries have become neither opponents nor allies. after first putting up a rather feeble resistance to this idea. However. such as U. During this unclear transitional period.S. and Russian strategic forces have never abandoned nuclear strike launch training aimed at the other side. Paradoxically. the military and strategic relations between them have stalled. The policies of the nuclear-weapons states and the threshold states now threaten even the most important treaty of all – the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. that with the Cold War over. but it certainly is not about to join forces with radical Islam. although mutual nuclear deterrence continues to play a part in the strategic relations between the two sides. the U. of course. and NATO in the Arctic seas. The final attribute of the Cold War era has been an irreconcilable ideological confrontation positioned as the motivation and justification for military and geopolitical rivalry. there is now no need to hold talks and negotiate new arms reduction agreements.) However. namely. Sudan. North Korea and Cuba are probably the only two countries left in the world that still firmly adhere to communism. which itself is looking more and more like the Kuomintang. 9 Russia now conducts exercises on its western land borders. Not a single new agreement on nuclear or conventional arms has been signed and consequently implemented since 1991. though they have tried to be discrete about it. the ABM Treaty (of 1972–1974). The end of the Cold War coincided with the collapse of the communist ideology. Unfortunately. attempts were made to at least try to base military training exercises on counter-terrorism or combating separatism. Russia announced that it might withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty. Today’s Russia may not have yet been fully won over by liberal values. between “North” and “South”. Sierra Leone and other places). Somalia. the idea. a number of EU countries. The modernization of nuclear and conventional forces is proceeding extremely slowly. but as the political differences intensified. Russia has now tacitly accepted it. the wars and conflicts in . the armed forces on both sides ultimately returned to their customary models of military activity. and also Russia. For a time. Liberia. Negotiations on the warhead counting rules and verification measures for the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (2002) and on prohibiting the production of fissile materials for military purposes (Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty) did not take place. As a result. U.. 8 True. the START-2 Treaty and the framework START-3 Treaty (1993 and 1997) have fallen victim to this irresponsible stance taken by the United States. this was not enough to fundamentally change the military relations between the great powers. Even China is undergoing far-reaching ideological transformation through its policy of developing capitalism under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party. all the more so as it went hand in hand with a deadlock in the dialogue on bilateral and multilateral disarmament. supposedly only needed between adversaries.12 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 relations between the former adversaries (in Timor. and Russian defense spending over recent years. issues of concern for strategic stability. 10 In reality. in the 1990s. As for the arms race. The truly confrontational ideological schism today has developed between liberal-democratic values and Islamic radicalism. Congo. which never took effect. there is nothing like the arms race that took place in the 1950s–1980s. Russia is the country that has suffered the greatest losses over the last 20 years in the conflict with Islamic extremism (the war in Afghanistan. despite the increase in U.
there have been other conflicts of this nature between the U. Prominent British political scientist Laurence Freedman summed up this view most bluntly when he wrote that “there is now no particular reason to classify Russia as a ‘great power’… It cannot therefore expect the privileges. obtained large amounts of capital for domestic and foreign investment.S. However. of course) in the 1970s. Increasingly it lacks the clout to enforce its objections to developments it considers harmful or to take on the sort of responsibilities that can earn it international credit. The first reason is Russia’s policy of changing the “rules of the game” for relations between Russia and the West that were established during the 1990s. No matter how far political awareness might lag behind global economic. most people in American political circles and a good number in Western Europe think the 1990s model of relations was the only proper and natural model to follow.” 12 The United States views the current and increasingly more evident abandonment of the 1990s paradigm as an anomaly.S. Such are the inexorable laws of globalization and the multipolar world. preferring to view them as temporary difficulties that have come about by chance. Not a single Russian political party or state body is prepared now to accept the paradigm of relations of the 1990s. These reasons stem from the shift in the balance of power in recent years between Russia and the West. the U. when Moscow willingly or unwillingly simply followed in the wake of the United States. and the West’s. Cold War mentality. sharply increased its defense spending (four-fold since 2001) and suppressed a mass armed uprising in the North Caucasus. of the contradictions and claims that had been building for some time. particularly United States’.S. On the contrary. and seeks to continue its old policy with regard to Russia. has virtually repaid its foreign dept. This sort of process is nothing new in history. for the simple two-dimensional construct of the Cold War era world. and between the U. but the West hesitates to admit these objective changes. or at best as a sign that Moscow is mistaken in its evaluation of its own interests and the processes underway in the world. 2007. Dagestan and Tajikistan). and a very late one at that. are now immersing themselves with a neophyte’s enthusiasm in the century-old ideas of Mackinder on the “age-old struggle between sea and land powers” and the ceaseless hostility between “Western-Christian materialism” and “EasternOrthodox spirituality”. and Western Europe (in the less acute form inherent to democratic countries.” and a relapse of an imperialist. 11 All of the tactical maneuvering notwithstanding. However. It is not a product of Putin’s speech in Munich on February 10. This inevitably leads to increasing frictions. Putin’s speech was just a reflection. The West also has no shortage of people ready to preach their vision of Russia as an “inherently authoritarian. the European Union. semiAsiatic and imperialist” state. between the Soviet Union and China at the end of the 1960s. no matter how negative the West may be in its attitude towards today’s Russia and no matter how much Russians may currently dislike the U. At the same time. Compared to the 1990s. “Never again” is the slogan that has united all forces in Russia in their approach to the country’s foreign policy. increasing costs and failures are fast demonstrating the foolishness of pursuing a Cold War policy in a world where objective conditions have fundamentally changed. the current tensions in relations can be explained by objective reasons that are not unusual in international relations. POLITICAL REALITY AND PERCEPTIONS There appear to be four main reasons for the current flare-up in tensions between Russia and the United States. Russia has been undergoing sustained economic growth and enjoyed relative social and political stability. Moscow has consolidated its power in the country. and Japan have all seen their international positions weaken somewhat.S. a manifestation of Russia’s “traditional hostility towards the West and its values. filling the gaps in an education dominated by the dogma of Marxism-Leninism.. However. technological and social life. Mutual disenchantment with the way relations have developed over the last 15 years has reinforced a feeling of nostalgia in Russia and the U. and its allies.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 13 Chechnya. Russia and the West have reacted to the rise of militant Islam by moving much closer together as allies rather than remaining strategic opponents. and the Soviet Union in the late 1950s-early 1960s. respect and extra sensitivity to its interests normally accorded a great power.S. . and are eagerly sharing their newfound knowledge with others. when Russia’s interests were not considered and its opinion was ignored on all fronts. trying to follow these dogmas in modern politics is like trying to apply the mechanics of Newton to nuclear physics. reluctance to accept these changes. President Putin constantly makes reference to these changes at every possible opportunity. A good number of Russian theoreticians today.
policy. such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization. the United States had a unique historic chance to lead the process of building a new multipolar world order in coordination with the world’s other centers of power. Washington had a unique historic chance to affirm the supremacy of the rule of law and the leading role of legitimate international organizations (above all the UN and OSCE). After the change of administration and the shock of the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11. lawful and successful military operations in Afghanistan.) Beginning in the early 1990s.. In this sense. primarily U. but that this is the “pole of democracy and freedom”.S. 2007. Palestine. agencies had deliberately provided false information in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. “Empires have no need for a balance of power. National Security Council. on the world arms market. any country that arrogantly challenged the new system and took the road of unilateral and arbitrary power action was inevitably going to run up against the united resistance of other countries. NATO and the EU. over the last 15 years. The scandal that erupted following the discovery that official U. The starkest and most tragic expression of this policy was the military operation against Yugoslavia in 1999. 2001. a new multipolar and multilevel system of international relations emerged. After carrying out just. and also expects to compete in renouncing certain arms reduction treaties (the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty) and in expressing dissatisfaction with international organizations (as the U.S. and to ignore the prerogatives of the OSCE in favor of NATO action. has redoubled its diplomatic efforts on all fronts and is developing or restoring ties with countries that are trying to politically challenge American domination. What is surprising is that many U. the United States invaded Iraq (on an invented pretext and without UN authorization) and planned to go further by “reformatting” the entire Greater Middle East to fit its own economic. and the rigged trials and medieval executions of Iraqi leaders that took place with Washington’s obvious approval (over European protests) have badly tarnished the United States’ moral image throughout the world. the grave human rights violations that occurred at the prisons of Abu-Ghraib and Guantanamo.S. the primacy of diplomacy in conflict resolution and the exclusive selectivity and adequate legal basis for using military force for self-defense or to protect global security (under Articles 51 and 42 of the UN Charter. though they take domestic criticism of the administration for granted. because the world did not become unipolar. Savoring the euphoria of unexpectedly finding itself the world’s sole superpower. Russia is actively pursuing cooperation with organizations that are independent of the U. It is in this way that the United States has pursued its foreign policy on the American continent and China in Asia for greater part of their history.S. LOST OPPORTUNITIES The second reason for friction stems from the consequences of Western policy.S.” 13 This was Washington’s strategic mistake after the end of the Cold War. perhaps even beyond what the country’s objective economic. the Eurasian Economic Community and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.S. politicians and experts. do not seem capable of realizing that America’s image has sunk to an unprecedented low and continue using a tone of moral superiority in their dealings with the outside world (a classic example of this was Senator Lieberman’s remarks in Munich on February 10. a new wave of international terrorism. social and defense achievements merit.S. no longer wanting to blindly follow the U. After the bipolarity of the Cold War ended.” Henry Kissinger wrote of this kind of policy. the United States increasingly began to substitute the rule of superior power for the rule of international law. Washington has provoked an unprecedented surge in anti-American feelings around the world. the United States can be seen as having taken the road described by Paul Kennedy that led to the Soviet Union’s collapse. and has tied its own hands in dealing with Iran and North Korea. in sharp contrast to the 1990s. in some areas of military technology (countering missile defense systems). lead in resolving regional crises (in Kosovo.S. has criticized the United Nations. they think they are the international system. to replace legitimate UN Security Council decisions with directives of the U. Russia has criticized the OSCE). Russia now has no qualms about openly confronting the U. Aside from competing with the U. has undermined UN and NATO coalition policy in Afghanistan. Iran and North Korea). this policy was enshrined beyond question. when he said that the world is still unipolar. On the contrary. S. Moscow. but it failed to take advantage of this opportunity. political and military interests. and a proliferation .14 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 The Russian political elite now feels a new surge of self-confidence and national pride.) In real political terms. “Empires are not interested in acting within the international system. No matter how great its economic and military might. the United States has now gotten itself mired in a war of occupation in Iraq with no end in sight. As a result.
Together with “shock therapy” and its consequences. Bolivia. Of course. This was accompanied by ongoing petty haggling between the Republican Administration and . and NATO should have tried to create as favorable a security climate as possible and helped to encourage Moscow’s deeper involvement in Western international military. Along with the countries Washington has pronounced its enemies (the “axis of evil” countries of Iraq. motivated by unquestionable personal sympathy. this Western policy towards Russia was the biggest factor gradually undermining the Russian democratic parties and movements since the start of the 1990s. who saw Russia as having won the Cold War. 2001. it is at the same time losing influence in Western Europe. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty (covered with a fig leaf in the form of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty). a slowdown in economic growth rates. whereas the United States. as it was through the end of it that the country had gained its statehood and sovereignty. and even in its traditional “backyard” of Latin America. it also took advantage of the country’s deep state of crisis and Moscow’s ensuing foreign policy and military weakness to stake a claim to as many advantages as it could before Russia could again begin to stand up for its own national interests. the European Union and NATO have all experienced degradation in their overall positions. Venezuela. after all. The United States’ international strategy began looking more and more like the Soviet domestic and foreign practices against which the Soviet democrats and dissidents had protested until August 1991. The 1999 Yugoslav conflict marked a real turning point in the Russian public’s and politicians’ attitudes towards the United States and NATO. the Asian Far East. Nicaragua and many of the countries in the League of Islamic States have been nudged into the camp of international opposition by the United States’ unilateral power policy. and in NATO’s unilateral position on the Yugoslav conflicts that culminated in extensive missile strikes and bombings of Serbia and the mass exodus of Serbs from Kosovo. This outraged most of Russia’s new political class. it was in Moscow’s interests to crush the Taliban. Russia. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization. After the Republican election victory in 2000. Iran. and further NATO expansion eastwards. Not only did the West meddle in Russia’s internal affairs. but Russia could have opted to take a stand of well-intentioned neutrality (citing the feelings of Russia’s Muslim population and the “Afghan syndrome”). India. All of this went ahead in spite of Moscow’s helpless protests. Russia was treated as the loser of the Cold War (much the same way as Germany and Japan were treated after 1945). relations steadily deteriorated.S. however. Instead of brazenly meddling in Russia’s internal affairs during the 1990s. Russia got the U. In return. terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. which was established in 2000 as a coalition for combating Islamic extremism.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 15 of nuclear weapons and missile technology. took a personal liking to each other at their summit in Ljubljana did little to soften it. Ecuador. a rise in ethnic and religious conflict. Bush. stagnation in the area of military integration. In this context. war in Iraq (and the liquidation of Russia’s oil concessions there). energy security concerns. arming the Northern Alliance and supporting military operations in Afghanistan. counterpart. and the fact that President Putin and his new U. France. Putin. Spain. The West’s strategy was reflected in NATO’s eastward expansion. North Korea. including former Soviet territory in the Baltic states. apart from the brief surge of goodwill and sympathy that followed the September 11. After this. granted significant concessions to the United States. their relations with a more active and confident Russia have additionally deteriorated as a result of the policy mistakes the West has made directly with regard to Moscow.S. taking advantage of the weaknesses and inconsistencies in Russia’s foreign policy. in the imposition of unfair disarmament treaties on Russia (the first draft of START-2 with its 10-year implementation period). countries as diverse as Germany. a worsening demographic situation.S. opposition to the Republican administration has also been on the rise in the United States itself. However. has become a counterweight to American intervention in Asia. the U. Events took quite the opposite turn. During this period of transition. As the United States becomes more deeply involved in affairs in the post-Soviet area and exacerbates its relations with Russia. Since 2006. the Kremlin decided to go against the prevailing mood of the political elite and give its full and unconditional support to creating the anti-terrorist coalition. political and economic institutions. Syria and Cuba). the United States began taking an even harder line towards Russia. A period of difficulty and internal contradictions has also begun for the European Union. After the September 11 terrorist attacks. Uzbekistan. Russia’s foreign policy centered not so much on relations with other countries as on choosing a model for the country’s economic and political development. George W. and a lack of clarity regarding the future expansion of the EU. but acted at the same time to try to change relations through a significant increase in cooperation. including the failure to adopt the European Constitution. China. in the efforts at undermining the CIS and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
the Russia-NATO Council and the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union. and instead started looking for more interested and less fussy partners in the south and east. if we were ourselves part of this process. The CIS has effectively split into the anti-Russian group “GUAM” . and the absurd obstinacy displayed by Congress. was a signal to the West that Russia is no longer going to seek more intensive cooperation in the absence of any signs of sincere interest on the other side.) Such was NATO’s “farsighted” position regarding a great power that had completely freed the West from military threat from the east. After September 11. 2001. Romania. Other countries were able to join NATO and the EU en masse. Putin spoke quite transparently about Russia’s desire to hold a serious discussion on the possibilities and forms of membership in NATO. Moscow no longer expects any gratitude from the U.16 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 Russia over Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization. but because of some kind of inherent incompatibility with the world’s leading democracies. the EU has failed to come up with a substantial and attractive program for rapprochement with Russia to replace the Cooperation and Partnership Agreement. North Africa and the Middle East). accusations of Russia using “energy blackmail”. which contradicts the spirit of both the 2002 Russian-U. military and political cooperation reached unprecedented levels. the EU could come up with nothing better in its official documents for 2003–2004 than to include Russia among its “good neighbors”. along with the countries of the southern Mediterranean (that is to say. However. at great cost to itself. As far as the European Union’s expansion goes.” 14 No reaction followed other than the standard reply issued by senior NATO officials that the organization does not invite anyone and that a country wishing to join needs to make an application (and get in the queue behind Latvia. thus delegating to Russia the role of raw materials provider for the rest of Europe. and it will take energetic (and not just verbal) measures to counter Western policy if it contradicts Russia’s national interests. not because it did not measure up to some specific universal criterion. 15 Caught up in its own internal problems and in the issue of Turkey’s accession. This should in no way be construed as a break in relations.S. or to place it among more distant partners such as China and India. This was followed by the announcement of the decision to put Ukraine and Georgia on the fast track for membership in NATO. “We would reconsider our position on expansion. with the United States. Asked how Moscow viewed the second wave of NATO expansion. Slovakia and other candidates. It is not surprising that Moscow eventually abandoned hope of achieving a rapid and consistent integration with the West on the basis of equality. Various pretexts were used to send Russia the message that it was not being invited to join Western organizations.S. 2007. Putin said. when there was a wave of solidarity with the United States and RussianU. while Moscow had to make do with all sorts of palliatives such as the Partnership for Peace. Russia began by seeing it as part of the natural and justified process of European integration. relations took a turn for the worse when EU enlargement began to create unexpected humanitarian and military problems (such as the transit of people and military cargoes to and from Russia’s Kaliningrad Region). including at the bilateral level. and its allies for Russia’s help in other matters. under acceptable conditions. with the European countries and. Russia was constantly being reminded that it had no hope of ever fully integrating into Western military-political and economic organizations even in the long-term perspective. and the project to deploy elements of the U. In its attempts to formulate its position on cooperation with Russia. mutual advantage and respect for each other’s interests.S. and when it became effectively tied to and synchronized with NATO’s eastward expansion. THE CIS AS AN APPLE OF DISCORD The situation in the post-Soviet area is the third reason for the current worsening in relations between Russia and the West. missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. of course. As for recognition by the West of Russia’s interests in the postSoviet area. Moscow will continue to work together in all areas. Joint Declaration on cooperating on the development of a missile defense system and negotiations in the Russia-NATO Council on the development of a common theater missile defense system. There was also an element of clear estrangement in the West’s policy towards Russia. The European Union is mainly concerned with ensuring reliable supplies of Russian energy. 16 Putin’s speech in Munich on February 10.S. and given Europe a level of security the continent had not known since the dark ages. The last straw was the West’s active intervention in the “color” revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine in support of the most anti-Russian politicians in 2004–2006 (which led to suspicion that the same model was also being applied in Kyrgyzstan). which refused to let go of the obsolete Jackson-Vanik Amendment of 1974 (imposing economic sanctions in response to Soviet obstacles to emigration of Soviet Jews). which expires in 2007.
these factors have done nothing to smooth over the differences between Russia and the West. form the Eurasian Economic Community. This policy has not been without its mistakes and dubious moments (such as the excesses of the indiscriminate anti-Georgian campaign of autumn 2006). this policy had no concrete aims other than to revive some kind of coalition of satellite countries so as to boost Russia’s self-confidence and raise its international prestige. In this respect. but which also follows well balanced policies of cooperation with the United States and China). Uzbekistan. and taking a strong stance on humanitarian matters. did not let this sour relations with Russia. Ukraine. Moldova) and the pro-Russian Collective Security Treaty Organization (Russia. except Moldova. as well . As Russia gained in economic and financial potential and independence. and economic conflicts with Russia have pushed Belarus closer to the GUAM countries. Under Putin. because the rest of Moscow’s foreign and domestic policy suited it perfectly well. It abandoned ephemeral imperial projects in relations with its neighbors and turned its attention instead to the transit of energy exports. the West. Belarus. GUAM.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 17 (Georgia. minus Armenia. maintaining genuinely important military bases and facilities. GUAM and NATO have retaliated in turn by working even more actively against Moscow in the post-Soviet area. Russia’s policy of “freezing” the ethnic conflicts in the CIS (in Abkhazia. Interestingly. though it worked against the CIS projects and structures. working together on combating new transborder threats. Moldova and Azerbaijan. unleashed a wave of indignation in the West. making use of the military presence that remained from the Soviet years and brazenly using energy supplies as a means of blackmail. The price revision was not linked to political or military demands. without any added layer of political preferences or demands on either side. Transniestria and Nagorno-Karabakh) is being increasingly rejected by Georgia. accusations that Russia was practicing a policy of energy imperialism and blackmail. Armenia. all the more so when Russian domestic consumption is on the rise. and all of them. an idea that is being interpreted abroad as a policy of oil and gas blackmail. The same goes for Moscow’s vision of turning Russia into an energy superpower. and so there are no grounds for accusing Russia of blackmail. Azerbaijan.) These same loyal states. the economic situation and long-term commercial commitments. Kazakhstan. Georgia. The conflicts with Ukraine and Belarus over energy prices and transit costs. are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. the economic nucleus of the CIS. which is linked to Russia by major economic interests and a large ethnic Russian community. religious or geographical lines (despite all the talk about a “conflict of civilizations”). What is interesting is that this divide does not at all follow ethnic. have applied to join NATO. Russian policy towards the CIS began to change. the politically motivated Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline that bypasses Russia and NATO’s campaign against the energy security threat at the end of 2006 (during its summit in Riga) were big mistakes. the acquisition of promising business assets and infrastructure. but the fact remains that the transition to world prices for energy supplies does represent the renunciation of the former imperialist policy of economic favors in return for political or military-strategic loyalty. The second group is composed of countries that look to Russia for help in countering external threats and/or domestic opposition. the internal political situation in Ukraine has slowed down its drift towards NATO of late. investment in natural resources exploration and production. supporting loyal but repressive regimes. However. it began taking a very pragmatic approach towards each individual country or sub-region. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. This has been confirmed by Moscow’s similarly pragmatic approach to neighbors as diverse as Ukraine. The prospect of seeing the GUAM countries join NATO has incited Russia to take an even tougher line towards them and their problems (such as separatism and dependence on Russian energy supplies). The first group. and together with China. especially with Ukraine. Russia does not have any “sacred duty” to provide the world with energy supplies. and even calls to use NATO in order to guarantee the energy security of importing countries. With a few rare exceptions. True. Relations between Russia and the West in this sector should be based solely on a market basis of mutual benefit. Armenia and Belarus. but without Belarus and Armenia. South Ossetia. but it is at least a lot clearer and more predictable than the eccentric and often very aggressive policy of the 1990s. Russia made its fair share of policy mistakes in the post-Soviet area during the 1990s by trying to establish its dominance in the region through openly encouraging separatism in neighboring countries. Moscow was perhaps heavy-handed in its tactics. which disrupted energy supplies to Europe. encompasses all the countries that see Russia as an actual or potential threat to their territorial integrity. and that depend on Russian economic support (the exception is Kazakhstan.
It should not be forgotten that only 15 years ago. Russia has at least not bombed Tbilisi. and cooperation. It has been subject to strong condemnation in these countries against the backdrop of Russia’s decisive use of armed force to suppress Chechen separatism in two past wars. while the leading Western countries have been following it for tens or hundreds of years. politicians and experts. However. In comparison with most Western countries. this was a unified state bound by centuries of common history. an explosion in crime and the plundering of the country’s . and real political life is very different from the formal constitutional mechanisms. only a comparatively narrow circle of liberal intelligentsia in the big cities was really able to appreciate this freedom. widespread impoverishment. military and humanitarian ties. there will be no reason for wholesale confrontation and relations will instead involve the usual competition and could also lead to negotiations. and their presence is regulated by intergovernmental agreements and a CIS mandate. also making big historical zigzags and retreats at times. including repercussions for the similar “frozen” conflicts in the CIS. Russia started down this road only 15 years ago. The criticism by Russian and foreign politicians. In this respect it is a good thing that Moscow’s current pragmatic (and sometimes even mercantile) policy is bringing specific and tangible interests and plans to the forefront that the outside world can understand and that do not go beyond the limits of accepted practice. seeks to surround itself with friendly neighbors. During the 1990s there was a lot more freedom in Russia in many respects than there is now. a change of leadership or a “color revolution” in the neighboring republics. unlike NATO during the Kosovo crisis. if Russia were working more actively to bring about a peaceful settlement to these “frozen” conflicts. The whole question is: how to ensure that this friendship is built. However. analysts and journalists of Putin’s administration for rolling back democratic laws and institutions is fair in many ways. Russia has troops and military bases and installations in all of the CIS countries except for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan (NATO troops and installations are present only in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan). procedures and laws that exist on paper. It is entirely natural that Russia. that is. South Ossetia and Transniestria – against the wishes of the Georgian and Moldovan leadership – and this is a constant source of tension with the neighboring countries. However. These friendly relations should be developed on the basis of a clear awareness by the public and the political elites in Russia and the neighboring countries of their common economic. Chisinau and Baku in order to force them to accept the loss of part of their territory. and there was certainly a lot more freedom than in the preceding Soviet years. compromises. Moscow’s policy has focused primarily on preventing the conflicts in neighboring countries from being resolved through the use of force – surely not a blameworthy objective. as well as communication links with the outside world and transparent borders stretching over thousands of kilometers. Russia will soon shut down its remaining bases in Georgia. THE WEST AND RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY The fourth main reason for the rise in tensions between Russia and the West is the way Russia’s domestic policy has developed since 2000. It would be better. political and humanitarian interests and common external and internal security objectives. for their part. Russia’s policy on these issues cannot be justified in every aspect. great victories and bitter defeats. the Kremlin needs to exercise particular tact regarding the post-Soviet republics’ sensitivity over everything that concerns their recently acquired independence and should make its position clear regarding the imperialist rhetoric of certain irresponsible Russian officials. At the same time. in the context of a historic analysis. Then no foreign funds or information centers would be able to blacken Russia’s image – if Russia does not blacken its own image. However. it is important to identify the clear reference points in this criticism. Then again. rampant corruption. democratic laws and institutions in Russia are underdeveloped. A friendship built on this foundation means there is no need to worry each time there are elections. Moscow’s policy is nonetheless not as unfair and irresponsible as the current Western policy of separating Kosovo from Serbia with all the consequences that will follow. should be just as tactful regarding Russia’s sensitivity over events in the post-Soviet area. Russia’s troops are deployed as peacekeeping contingents in Abkhazia. The rest of the population saw the “winds of change” more in the form of shock therapy. especially in the case of the first Chechen war of 1994–1996. The United States and the European Union. like any major power. economic. Under Putin. This means that if Russia and the West maintain proper relations. Russia has often been guilty of practicing double standards (following the example of the United States and other Western countries).18 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 as by the United States and NATO. of course.
or many of its other partners in Asia or other parts of the world. leaned toward developing cooperation with Nazi Germany rather than with democratic Britain and France. The Russian political and economic system that has taken shape and the interests of the new political class that cement it are therefore a real problem. Russians suffer from rising prices. the generals plundered the armed forces. but a problem above all for Russia itself and for its future development. not during the preceding 75 years of communist government. bureaucrats filled their pockets with foreign loans. and not during the centuries of tsarist rule. Aviation and artillery twice leveled the Russian city of Grozny. high energy prices will not last forever. At the same time. Vladislav Listyev). and the presidential bodyguard service carried out raids on businessmen and made them lie face down in the snow. The country’s healthcare and education systems. Moscow’s growing differences with the United States and Western Europe over internal political issues indirectly impel it towards rapprochement with China and other countries that do not raise such questions and are often the object of similar criticism themselves. In its criticism of Russia over democracy and human rights. its science and culture sectors and its defense capability all crumbled overnight (as Grigory Yavlinsky put it. State affairs were run by a clique of relatives and bootlickers. 750 years ago. again for ideological reasons. Stalin. tanks shelled the parliament in the center of Moscow at point-blank range and no one ever bothered to count the casualties.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 19 national wealth. economies based on the export of raw materials have always given rise to authoritarian-bureaucratic political systems rather than democratic systems. and they prefer the current state of affairs to that kind of democracy. It is not at all that Russians have an inherent yearning for authoritarian rule and state paternalism. social stratification and reactionary political movements. This explains why most of the population supports the Kremlin’s policies of building a “vertical executive hierarchy” and “managed democracy”. and the oligarchs grew fat on the country’s industrial assets and natural resources. which accounts for half of its total export earnings and a third of federal budget revenue. and it has sometimes played a fateful role in Russian history. The economic growth of recent years is primarily driven by record high world energy prices – Russia’s main export. it must be recognized that. the West often seems to be setting higher standards for Russia in these areas than it does for. rampant corruption and crime and the arbitrariness of power at all levels. economies based on the export of raw materials do not ensure the high employment levels and budget revenue needed to resolve the immense socio-economic problems and security issues of a country as big and in many respects demanding as Russia. which is incompatible with an economy based on the export of raw materials. . journalists were murdered (Dmitry Kholodov. This kind of influence of domestic policy and ideology on foreign policy is nothing new. In the 1930s. turned a blind eye to all of this. two defaults and two wars in less than a decade. despite all the difficulties of everyday life and people’s dissatisfaction with bureaucrats. The main problem with “managed democracy” and the “vertical executive hierarchy” is that the current economic prosperity and political stability rest on a very fragile and impermanent foundation. and in so doing left the door open for the religiously neutral Mongol Horde to plunder the country. people were tortured in filtration camps. not in the 1990s. China. corruption. however. modest though the gains may seem by some other nations’ standards. Furthermore. the people lived through two coups. say. along with crushing poverty for the majority of the population. parliamentary deputies and Russia’s new capitalists.) It should not be forgotten that during the “democratic” Yeltsin years. 1941. including the role the West played in events within and around Russia during those years. Official circles abroad. Alexander Nevsky chose to confront the Catholic West for ideological reasons. few in the West ever stop to think that all the great anxiety over Russia’s ability to satisfy the West’s energy needs and the demands on Russia to provide solid guarantees for increasing oil and gas supplies contradict the concerns over the development of Russian democracy. and was this not because Yeltsin and his team almost always made concessions on international issues and allowed direct foreign intervention in Russian internal affairs (even including appointments to senior government posts)? For objectivity’s sake. too. but all of these problems existed under Yeltsin. But at the same time. Moreover. and that policy ended with the German invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22. All around the world. the West greatly underestimates the very negative attitude in Russia towards its experience in the 1990s. which it did for the next 250 years. Yes. the majority of Russians have never enjoyed such political freedom and material prosperity as they do now. it is simply that people in Russia have had no experience with democracy except for the chaos of the 1990s. with all the perennial attributes such as limited civil rights and freedoms. This is what explains Putin’s high popularity within Russia.
The United States. If not. after rising from the ruins of destructive wars. continuing under the tsars and the Bolsheviks. The Soviet authorities took these features to their extreme in the name of a communist utopia. The main dividing line comes through in the different interpretations of relations between the people and the state. and after them under Yeltsin’s “democrats” and Putin’s “strong state patriots”. but there can be no question as to the country’s Asian identity. the Maoists or today’s followers of Deng Xiaoping. for example. security and economic ties. have long since joined the ranks of the leading Western economies and democracies. but with all respect for their unique identities. all of this is the legacy of Russia’s complicated historical development and not its “Eurasian” geopolitical situation. The European foundation of Russia’s culture has remained a constant through the centuries. Tchaikovsky and Rakhmaninov – is an inalienable part of common European culture. and the Russian Federation today. but not necessarily the route of internal development. who serves whom and what makes a great power: the freedom and prosperity of its people or the ability to subjugate and frighten others. either. In China. India. in today’s world. whether under the Shah. Some Russian political circles have taken these differences. military and political interests on both continents. Russia has been debating its national identity for the last 200 years now. They would not be accepted in Iran. This self-identification does not depend at all on ethnic or religious background. but not even in that case would there be any talk of the country having a “Eurasian” identity. This is what determines which civilization a nation fundamentally belongs to. If Islamic fundamentalism does not get the upper hand in Turkey. As far as culture goes. like Russia. there are no problems. and their share of influence on policy periodically changes. the Americans would probably feel deeply insulted if someone suggested that they are a “bridge” or a “protective barrier” between Europe and Asia. geographical position may largely shape foreign policy. Japan and South Korea.20 YET ANOTHER “THIRD WAY” FOR WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 RUSSIA? The West’s current disappointment with Russia’s internal political development and the reaction to this disappointment among most of Russia’s political circles and public opinion mean that the integration goals discussed in the 1990s and set forth at the Russia-EU summit in St. The greater part of the territory of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union in the past. The doctrine of “Eurasianism” places geographical location above the basic principles of a country’s socio-economic and political development. it could follow the European path of development and become a major democracy within the European Union. was a historical offshoot of Europe and is also located geographically between Europe and Asia. though this is not very likely. given them a theoretical veneer and called it “sovereign democracy”. the peoples of Central Asia and the indigenous peoples of Siberia and the Russian Far East have contributed nothing to Russia’s culture and its economic and political system. caught up in endless arguments over whether Russians are Europeans or Eurasians (the debates began with the “Westernizers” and the “Slavophiles” back in the nineteenth century. justified by a messianic ideology. also straddles Europe and Asia. Unlike other empires. Petersburg in 2003 will be postponed for a long time. is located outside Europe. Mozart and Vivaldi are all equally at home in Russia. individuals and their groups define it for themselves. Russia differs considerably today in its economic and internal political development from the world’s leading democracies. Khomeini or Ahmadinejad. just as Shakespeare and Balzac. with a legacy of despotism. India is making rapid progress along the European development road and. Japan and South Korea are located respectively in the center and at the far reaches of Asia. What has had an impact was the 250 years under the Tatar-Mongol yoke. 17 Integration is only possible between countries with a similar national culture and comparable levels of economic and political development. an ineffective and thieving government organization and inhuman enslavement of its subjects. Turkey. these same cultural values would be equally alien whether under the Mandarins. The United States is the leading independent power of European civilization. This is what explains the United States’ significant economic.) There are probably some of both in Russia. For all its specific national features. precisely because it does not have much natural resource wealth. Russia emerged from this period economically backward and cut off from Europe. and it is its great economic and military might that gives it such immense influence throughout the Eurasian continent. Russia has never managed to combine the two options. will become a democratic superpower of the twenty-first century. 18 There is no reason to proclaim the country’s . Russian culture – Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. This latest concept of a “third way” between East and West is just the newest edition of the old theory of “Eurasianism” and is based on the same old mistaken methodology. However. Turkey will join the Islamic world. the Kuomintang. However. However.
then the second part of the formula. 21 The existence of the above attributes formed the foundation of the Stalinist superpower that existed in milder form under Stalin’s successors until 1991. from excessive involvement to complete indifference and neglect. and their influence depends to a great extent on the West’s policy.. the prominent American diplomat and political thinker George Kennan prophetically foresaw the collapse of the Soviet empire and left the West a wise testament that reads as if it were written today. but rather a particular evolutionary stage that other European countries also went through. France in the 1940s. is either hollow or mistaken. and a media where TV companies and newspapers can have their licenses revoked for insufficient political loyalty. under various slogans. it must not seek to establish imperial domination in the surrounding world and perceive all outside its spheres of domination as enemies. because external isolation.” 19 For a full picture of modern Russia’s contradictory state. the differences among the democracies of the United States. Russia’s current development phase does not reflect some kind of national “Eurasian” special features. All of these countries have their own particularities. So far. far-reaching and very contradictory transformation process. let us not hover nervously over the people who come after. and from burning enthusiasm to suspicion and hostility. the state power system and internal political life. Give them time. the flow of change has been towards constantly increasing the powers of the federal bureaucracy and the president (which in Russia are often mistakenly equated with “the state” in general. no matter how marvelous the provisions of the country’s laws and constitution. Democratization is a process that cannot be measured by the principle “yes or no. when it was trying to heal its traumas. applying litmus papers daily to their political complexions to find out whether they answer to our concept of ‘democratic’. these attributes are not present today.. it can be seen that since Putin came to power. highly educated population. Every democracy is sovereign in its own way and bears the clear imprint of specific national features. This gives the West the dilemma of deciding what policy to take towards Russia during its lengthy. from radiant hopes to bitter disappointment. depending on how it is interpreted. Dmitri Trenin quite correctly wrote that Russia today “. Russian democracy may in fact have more noticeable differences than. Leaving aside comparisons with the upheavals of the Yeltsin years. or Italy in the 1960s. The ways by which peoples advance toward dignity and enlightenment in government are things that constitute the deepest and most intimate processes of national life. with its vibrancy and intense feeling of unfair treatment by others. If a country’s specific nature lies in an executive power system that manipulates elections in order to ensure an obedient parliament. and crime is concerned. extensive nuclear potential and the high international status inherited from the Soviet Union.” 20 Kennan set out three principal conditions for building constructive relations and achieving gradual but consistent rapprochement with Russia: Russia must not be closed to the outside world. Of course. Russia’s geographical location does give it significant economic and security interests in both Europe and Asia. the United States and many of its allies have gone from one extreme to another on this issue. This also applies directly to the latest version of “Eurasianism” – “sovereign democracy”. it must not enslave its labor. Russia’s future ability to make its presence and influence abroad match the scale of these interests will depend entirely on which economic and political development path it chooses to take.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 21 geographical location a special virtue and use it as the basis for some kind of “third way” between Europe and Asia. there are political forces in Russia that would like to revive these attributes of Russian statehood in one form or another.could be reminiscent of Germany in the 1920s.” but only by the criteria of “more or less” and an analysis of which way the flow of change is moving. let them work out their internal problems in their own manner. courts that deliver verdicts on orders from above. or whether regional governors are elected or appointed. tax inspectors that scrutinize officials’ revenues in inverse proportion to the seniority of their positions. or when its personalities and spirit begin to change (for the ultimate outcome could be one or the other). but they are united by common fundamental principles for organizing the economy. say. but it would probably not be as different as the democracies of India or Japan. let them be Russians. one would have to add its vast territory and abundant natural resources. “democracy” loses all meaning. but for all Russia’s current problems and mistakes. Back in 1951. France. If the “sovereign” in “sovereign democracy” is understood as indicating more significant differences. as far as the nexus of power. money. . although the state is a much broader concept that encompasses all the branches and levels of power). In this respect. a concept which. Britain. The question is not whether two or seven political parties are represented in the parliament. then “democracy” is greatly deficient. “But when Soviet power has run its course. At the same time. Italy or Sweden.
and the more the authorities at every level will pay attention to observing democratic norms and procedures. a group of authors headed by Sergei Karaganov writes that. but such a development of events is unlikely over the coming 5–7 years. like any country. like in any other country. and Russia has the same rights. The world is no longer bipolar. the more solid will be the position of democratic forces within Russia.” 22 However. above all with the West. political and security interests. arbitration and law enforcement procedures. many conflicts lie beyond the axis of relations between the two sides. the more the public will come to embrace democratic freedoms. but it wants this recognition to be not just in words but in deeds. which is not possible without the division of powers. Russia wants to be recognized as a great power in the ranks of the other great powers. Moscow is formulating its interests above all at the regional level and only selectively declares its rights at the global level. along with the United States. which would increase interest in economic rapprochement and remove some of the obstacles in the way of bringing ‘values’ closer together. and they have many common economic. This requires that clear and indisputable property rights (for material assets and intellectual property) be enshrined in law. they are no longer separated by an antagonistic ideological divide. In Russia. Russia’s future path is important. This in no way implies that the West should not criticize Moscow for violating democratic principles. humanitarian questions. but in terms of what Russia ultimately wants to become. security. THE CHALLENGES OF MULTIPOLARITY The answer to the question this essay raises is clear: a new Cold War in the historical sense of the term is no longer possible between Russia and the West. not in terms of abstract criteria or relations with the United States and Western Europe. The division of powers implies. and it should not be arrogant and presume one’s own innocence. the United States and the European Union should also show the corresponding readiness to open up to Russia the organizations. will hugely influence Russia’s internal development. a transition to an innovative and high-tech development path is impossible without large-scale financial. technological and intellectual investment. above all. The explanation for this situation lies not in the subjective views and intentions of politicians. institutions and spheres of activity to which they give access to each other. if they want to demand higher economic and democratic standards from Russia. and culture. As for the concept of “sovereign democracy”. but in completely objective circumstances. the observance and enforcement of laws requires independent courts. this criticism should not flare up or fade away depending on international differences between the two sides. full-fledged democracy must develop.) However. The current friction between Russia and the United States and the European Union reflects tensions in individual links of the multipolar system brought about by its own dynamics – a constantly changing balance of power between different power centers. for relations with other countries. cooling down of passions and restoration of national pride. It is eminently clear that despite the great pressure exerted by anti-Western political circles and public feeling within Russia. which cannot be independent without political pluralism. and endless surprises from third countries now free from the former superpowers’ control. especially in the case of the United States. In this respect. The likelihood would grow if Russia undertook intensive economic modernization and political democratization. does not want to break off cooperation and is not positioning Russia as a second superpower. “Rapprochement between Russia and the European Union and the creation of a strategic political and economic union would have clear benefits for both sides. free elections and civil society. Finally. though it seldom makes use of them (except to criticize Latvia and Estonia.22 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 the feeling of living in a “besieged fortress” and totalitarianism have always been inextricably linked in Russia. an independent parliament. Russia. it can be seen only as an enforced period of stabilization. the reverse link is also important. In other words. a kaleidoscopic mosaic of diverse problems coming from globalization. both domestic and foreign. The better the relations and the greater the cooperation in the fields of economics. they have neither the means nor the motives for a large-scale arms race. However. politics. the Russian leadership does not seek confrontation with the United States and the European Union. but the final goal – making the basic universal principles of democracy a part of national life – cannot be opposed to specific national features. This will also ultimately determine Russia’s closest foreign partners and allies and the prospects for Russia’s integration into the community of most advanced countries. In this respect. indisputably has its own sovereign road to democracy. Moscow demands respect for its legitimate interests and consideration for its .
The same chain of events. The first is that tension between Russia and NATO could set off a chain reaction of escalation that would go too far. Russia. could be set off by accelerating Georgia’s accession to NATO.S. It is located between the main power centers and closer to the conflict zones and regions where the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems is taking place. If Kosovo does gain full independence from Serbia.S. Threshold states in various corners of the globe will hurry to reach or cross the nuclear threshold. transborder crime and terrorism. plans to build missile defense facilities in Central and Eastern Europe could incite Russia to withdraw from the INF Treaty and revive its medium-range missile program. Unlike the bipolar world. The impact of geopolitical conflict. This could also lead to the global trade in nuclear materials and technology and the proliferation of missiles and missile technology spiraling out of control. the possible withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty 23 and the criticism of the OSCE). the Middle East. the ASEAN countries and some eccentric Latin American regimes would also be unlikely to miss such a chance. and to increase its influence in central and south Asia and in the Persian Gulf. Fast-track accession of Ukraine into NATO (a proposal which recently received the approval of the U. Pakistan. but also quite a few potential complications and threats. as long as Russia and the West spend their time confronting each other and fail to work together to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. but the damage to their interests and to international security could still be great. would also become quite probable. the United States and Japan. India. this could provoke similar processes in Abkhazia. Western Europe. competition over energy resources and worsening environmental . for example (even if Russia vetoes the legitimization of this process through the United Nations). and North and East Africa. a situation in which Russia and the West would find it hard not to get involved. if not in reality) should not give rise to complacency. monopolarity (as a political doctrine. they should be settled through mutual compromise rather than having the U. force its position down Moscow’s throat or arrogantly imply that Moscow has a mistaken understanding of its own interests. its law enforcement agencies insufficiently effective. Islamic extremism and terrorism would rise and there would be even greater destabilization in Afghanistan and Central Asia. the United States and other countries would also find themselves hit by a wave of militant separatism. and it has inherited thousands of kilometers of porous border with hotbeds of conflict and powerful neighboring states close by. South Ossetia and Transniestria. Its southern regions are unstable. In a worst-case scenario. which are backed by NATO. a multipolar world is a world of an expanding “nuclear club”. The United States would respond by expanding its missile defense system in Europe and deploying its own new medium-range missiles in the region. The threat of a terrorist act using a nuclear device in one or several of the world’s main capitals. There are three main threats potentially facing Russia in the foreseeable future. the low probability of a new Cold War and the collapse of U. in a multipolar system of international relations other power centers would inevitably act quickly to use this kind of confrontation between Russia and the West to their own advantage. Without progress towards nuclear disarmament. Rapid globalization makes the second threat less likely. China. but starting at the other end. but it cannot be excluded altogether. Russia risks more than others do. When such differences arise. Putin’s speech in Munich addresses precisely these issues. However.S. for example. politicians in Russia and the West would most probably stop short of going to the extreme. with disastrous consequences for modern civilization.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 23 views on the most important issues.S. even if they differ from those of the United States and its allies. Realizing where developments are heading. Ultimately. U. would take the opportunity to strengthen its positions in economic and political relations with Russia. Congress) would risk splitting the country and setting off widespread violence. a rogue regime could launch a provocative missile strike against one or several great powers (or their space satellites) with the aim of setting off a nuclear exchange between them. The remaining arms control agreements (the NPT and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty) would collapse. causing great damage to both sides and to international security. The multilevel multipolarity and interdependence that is now an objective reality offer not just benefits. though there were a few specific points that raise objections (in particular. and draw Russia into armed conflict with Georgia and Moldova. and one cannot but agree with most of its assertions. It has much weaker economic potential and does not have strong allies. there would be a much greater likelihood of nuclear weapons being used in some regional conflict or other. which would cause a growing vulnerability of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces and raise the degree of nuclear tensions in Europe and at the global level.
Stopping this slide towards confrontation calls for. This initiative should not be put forward as in past years like the menu in a Soviet-era canteen (“take it if you want it. Non-expansion of NATO to the CIS countries should be tied to guarantees for the territorial integrity of Russia’s neighbors and mutually acceptable settlements for the serious problems they face – settlements that also ensure the rights of ethnic minorities. Unlike Mikhail Gorbachev’s initiatives in the 1980s. these countries ended . Russia could end up like a grain caught between two millstones and suffer great damage in the West or the East. Moscow’s position on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues will be particularly important for advancing these proposals. Moscow is unlikely to be able to turn the contradictions between others to its own advantage. Rather than becoming an “energy superpower”. compared to 20 percent for the United States. After all. Russia would find itself in an unenviable situation if this were to happen. this new package of arms reduction proposals should be based not on well-intentioned utopian visions. instead of coming up with amorphous (umbrella) integration plans for the entire postSoviet area only to then retreat from them. However.24 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 problems could transform the multipolar system of international relations into a bipolar system once more and lead to a new Cold War with all its attributes. Second. economic and technical calculations backed up by an effective program for military modernization and reform. then at least its economic and political sovereignty and control over large parts of its territory. It could lose. backed by respective camps of allies. geo-strategic location and military technology make it a tempting morsel for opposing sides and perhaps the deciding factor as to which way the scale tips. In such a situation. but on radical and at the same time realistic military. industrial and defense potential. GUIDELINES FOR THE FUTURE Russia has every possibility in its hands for avoiding the above scenarios. in this situation. Moscow should formulate as clearly and specifically as possible its economic. military and other interests with regard to each of the CIS countries. with Japan and South Korea joining in this process. irrespective of the final outcome of the confrontation between the two main power centers. However. but should be presented as the state’s firm demand and promoted using all available diplomatic and military-technical means of pressure – an area in which it would not be amiss to learn from the Americans. 24 and its geopolitical situation makes it vulnerable and leaves it with unprotected communication routes on its western. even if it is limited to regional geopolitical and selective military-technical issues. particularly in a context where the high-technology and innovative economies of the United States and the European Union continue their integration. including those offered by its foreign policy with regard to countries beyond the CIS. as well as an increased dependence on world energy prices and growing imports of foodstuffs and all goods with high added value. Moscow could. if this does happen. This is not an optimistic prospect for Russia. Russia’s economic potential will still be much less than that of the other power centers (3 percent of the world GDP by 2015. nuclear materials and nuclear technology to any prospective buyers. start pursuing a neo-isolationist foreign policy focusing only on ensuring transit and acceptable prices for oil and gas exports and selling weapons. Even according to the most optimistic forecasts. using all the levers and advantages it has. leaving aside all neo-imperialist idealism. In the near future the most important task is to stop the slide towards confrontation and rivalry with the United States and NATO. becoming an object for others’ designs instead. At the same time. 25 A strategy of retreating into a deep defensive posture cannot guarantee security in a multipolar and interdependent world that is changing ever more rapidly as a result of intensive scientific and technological progress. if not its legal sovereignty. Russia’s natural resources. like China in the nineteenth century. a series of proposals in the spirit of President Putin’s recent statements on bilateral and multilateral arms reduction and on strengthening the nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime. it is the United States and China that will most likely face off. This would pave the way to socio-political instability within the country and the final collapse of its scientific. followed by India and perhaps China (if it can make a transition to the Taiwanese political model without fatal upheavals). 22 percent for the European Union and 17 percent for China). Russia would become merely an energy supplier for other countries and alliances and would cease being a player in world politics. leave it if you don’t”). Russia needs to fight for these interests and projects. The third and final adverse scenario is one in which Russia’s reliance on exports of raw materials increases and its new ruling class proves unable or unwilling to carry out the democratic reforms needed to make the transition to an innovation-based high-technology economy. first of all. southern and eastern borders. Those in Russia and the West who are trying to score points through confrontation are irresponsibly turning their countries’ paramount national interests into trading cards in internal political games.
but fewer nuclear weapons. In spite of its much larger defense budget. N 7 (513) (March 2–15. between ancient Rome and Carthage. and draws up a guiding national idea within the framework of modern civilized standards and priorities. pursued mostly ecological goals. This is a considerably slower rate than during the 1970s–80s. the hostility between ancient Greece and Persia. “develops a clear and concrete development strategy. The Outer Space Treaty (1967) and the Seabed Treaty (1971) were aimed at military activities that the parties were hardly considering. 1987. the European Union will tackle its integration. as Valentin Kudrov writes. NOTES 1 See: Yavlinsky. it is important to take timely action to refocus Russian foreign policy on combating other threats. scientific and cultural terms. 9 planes and helicopters. p. 1987. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: economic change and military conflict from 1500 to 2000. G. In the midterm. and the need will arise to start carrying out deeper political and legal transformation. The United States deploys more conventional weapons than Russia. makes a definite choice in favor of globalization and Europeanization. The current euphoria created from the newfound economic and foreign-policy independence will eventually pass. since their usefulness was doubtful. 6 In 2006. and between Christian Europe and the Islamic caliphates during the crusades. New York. Russia clearly still has many challenges and difficulties to overcome before it. economic. Russia also needs the time it could gain by pursuing a policy of “multiple vectors” and “equal distance” – that is. a high level of bureaucratic professionalism. P. and it would take the lead in building a new world order based on the rule of law to resolve the problems of the twenty first century.” 26 The transition from a model based on the export of raw materials to a high-technology and innovative economic model as part of the process of developing democratic institutions and rules would naturally refocus Russia’s integration policy as Europe’s biggest country and its potentially strongest economy. This integration would eventually result in the formation of the most powerful global power center in geopolitical. “Shag nenuzhny i opasny. 2006. as well as the danger of bipolarity and confrontation. 120 armored vehicles. by maintaining a multipolar balance of power in the context of ongoing globalization. 2 The few known examples of similarly protracted and large-scale bipolar confrontation that periodically flared up into armed conflict were the Peloponesian wars in ancient Greece. The international situation will clear up over the next several years: the United States will realize its limited possibilities in the world and the need to coordinate its interests with other countries. Perspektivy Rossii. NY: Random House. forms and means of equal and mutually beneficial integration between Russia and the European Union. but outside the Collective Security Treaty Organization. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: economic change and military conflict from 1500 to 2000. 31 tanks. XXIII. Moscow: Galleya Print. has been concentrating its defense spending on maintenance of its armed forces and conducting military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. and the foreign policy and military consequences of China’s and India’s rapid economic growth and rising energy consumption will become clearer. 1–2. depending on the progress they make. particularly if world energy prices fall. 4 Kennedy. move towards the European Union.) 3 The Partial Test Ban Treaty. pp. and then the Ottoman Empire (up until the mid-seventeenth century. 8 See: Yadernoye oruzhiye posle “kholodnoy voyny” (Nuclear Weapons after the Cold War). the U. New York. Maintaining multipolarity requires Moscow to pursue highly flexible and energetic diplomacy and establish a clear hierarchy of priorities for each given moment. immigration and enlargement problems. it is in Russia’s interests to check any attempts to move towards the emergence of a new bipolar system. Superficial recipes for making the transition to an innovative economic model will be tried and proven inadequate. M. p. Russia procured 6 ICBMs. and the time will come to decide how to make constructive use of this. Alexei.” NVO. By not joining NATO and remaining in the CIS. for example. and close coordination of all the relevant state agencies. unipolarity melting fast. 5 Kennedy. A. military. It also calls for skill in linking some issues to the resolution of other problems. pp. With U. NY: Random House. M. The future will determine the specific timing. XVI. and has been commissioning new ships and submarines at a rate of one every few years. 7 See: Arbatov. a number of post-Soviet countries would be able to maintain military and political neutrality and. Ed. finalized in 1963. P.S. Arbatov and . 2007). This new power center would definitely remove the threat of monopolarity and arbitrariness from international relations and the global situation.S.WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 25 up with their current borders as a result of the Soviet Union’s dissolution and the creation of the CIS in its place.109–141.
“Svet i teni yevropeiskoy integratsii.26 WORKING PAPERS №3 • 2007 V. In the same way. Dvorkin. with only narrow straits between them. Russia and NATO are now developing their military actions against each other on the basis of a local conflict. does not want serious negotiations and is letting its only remaining serious advantage slip from its hands.1. № 2 (March 15. The U. but the plans drew a justifiably negative reaction from Moscow as a politically unfriendly step and the first phase of potential expansion plans that would deploy interceptor missiles with different technical characteristics. but without the resources to wage a large–scale war. these countries and peoples have enough common sense not to talk about their unique “third way” between Europe and the Arabs/Turks and are rapidly covering lost ground and catching up with the rest of Europe. 15 See: Borko. p. it seems. N 1 (Jan.” Moskovskiye Novosti. internal and external security – which went far beyond a simple policy of cooperation and opened the road to broad integration. U. Laurence “Traditional Security.” Rossia v globalnoy politike. 20 Kennan. NY: Simon & Schuster. 16 Looking at the issue in military–technical terms. 25 Russia’s sole military–technical trump card is.S. (October 4.000 killed and wounded. 2007). 5. O. The program’s slow–paced implementation and the dispersal of finances on other. Karl Kaiser. p. Kontury nedalyokogo budushchego. 30. some 45. “Predchustviye vtorzheniya. ”Russia Redefines Itself and Its Relations with the West. Armonk.21.” Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozreniye. 13 Kissinger. Vol. Carnegie Moscow Center. 21 Ibid. . very dubious projects sometimes creates the impression that Russia has resigned itself to a growing strategic gap with the United States. interceptor missiles based in Poland would not be able to intercept Russian ICBMs or SLBMs. 9 Vladykin. Vol. Spain. of course.– Feb.2007). 12 Freedman. pp 6–7. NY: Sharpe. S. New York. is 10–15 years behind Russia in this particular area. 2007). pp. 14 Jones. D. 22 Mir vokrug Rossii: 2017. influenced Russia’s history by making it open to invasion from Asia. which also subsequently left them economically and politically backward. 2007). N 9–10 (1377) (03. Portugal and the Balkan peoples were subjugated by Arab and Ottoman conquerors. humanitarian. 23 See: Arbatov. N 7 (513) (March 2–15. Moscow (2007). military planning can reach absurd heights. and Robert Legvold. 121. 46–59.A. Alexei Arbatov. 194. 2006. Gareth. the ground-mobile Topol–M ICBM program and the project of equipping them with MIRV warheads. Diplomacy.000 Russian servicemen were killed or wounded during the two Chechen campaigns. “Shag nenuzhny i opasny.S. Facing off as familiar adversaries. 26 Ibid. 18 Geography has. pp. Ed. 2001). 1994. 26. Yu. 1999. Alexei. Ed. N1 (January–February 2007). 19 Trenin. 24 See: Kudrov. “America and the Russian Future (1951). George F. “Rossia na podyome. according to official estimates. pp 82. Karaganov. p. pp. 10 It is interesting to see that without political leadership. 1–2.” Moscow Times. p.22. p. 84. 11 Soviet casualties in Afghanistan came to around 50. 17 That summit resulted in the concept of the “four common spaces”: economic. 5. “Putin Softens Stance on NATO.” Russia and the West: The Twenty First Century Security Environment. V. while.” Foreign Affairs (Spring 1990).” Rossia v globalnoy politike. a scenario that is even more politically divorced from reality than the likelihood of a global conventional war that escalates into nuclear war. Vol.” The Washington Quarterly. Henry. Moscow: ROSSPEN. 191–194. However.
org http://www. first-hand. 125009. Beirut and Brussels – shape fresh policy approaches. adding operations in Beijing. the Endowment launched the Carnegie Moscow Center to help develop a tradition of public policy analysis in the states of the former Soviet Union and improve relations between Russia and the United States. Moscow.org CARNEGIE MOSCOW CENTER 16/2 Tverskaya. business. Beirut and Brussels to its existing offices in Moscow and Washington. DC 20036.: +7 (495) 935-8904.: +1 (202) 483-7600.. focusing on the economic. USA Tel. There is a clear demand for such an organization in today’s world. with its ever-increasing interdependence and the interlinked nature of global issues. and unrelenting focus on constructively affecting real world outcomes. sustained. Washington. Fax: +1 (202) 483-1840 E-mail: info@CarnegieEndowment. publishing and discussions.ru .ABOUT THE CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private. nonprofit. As in Moscow and Washington in the past. stability and prosperity requires a permanent international presence and a multinational outlook at the core of its operations. nonpartisan organization with headquarters in Washington D. international organizations and civil society. Fax: +7 (495) 935-8906 E-mail: info@carnegie. expert collaboration across borders. the defining characteristics of the global Carnegie institution will continue to be political independence.carnegieendowment.carnegie. The Endowment was created in 1910 by prominent entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to provide independent analysis on a wide array of public policy issues. In 2007. political and technological forces driving global change. CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE 1779 Massachusetts Ave. the Carnegie Endowment announced its New Vision as the first multinational and ultimately global think tank. Beijing.C. Their interests span geographic regions and the relations among governments.ru http://www. It thereby pioneered the idea that in today’s world a think tank whose mission is to contribute to global security. NW. the Endowment associates – in Washington. Almost fifteen years ago. Russia Tel. Through research. The Endowment uses its experience of research and discussion at the Carnegie Moscow Center as a model to develop its transformation into the first international research network. first rate scholarship combined with high level experience in government and other sectors. Moscow.
What will Happen in Turkmenistan? Round Table of Religion. Issue 7. Martha Olcott.CARNEGIE MOSCOW CENTER 2007 HAS PUBLISHED WORKING PAPERS: Issue 1. Issue 5. Anatoly Shiryaev. Ksenia Yudaeva. Civil Society and Political Processes in Regions (in Russian). Issue 2. Northeast Asia: Energy Security Strategies (in Russian). Denis Nekipelov. Denis Sokolov. . Issue 2. WTO Entry and the Labor Market in Russia (in Russian). “Vladimir Putin and Russia’s Energy Policy”(in Russian). China. Daniel Treisman. Ahmed Ahmedov. Issue 4. Central Asia and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (in Russian). Andrei Shleifer. Galina Belokurova. Innovative Activity Among Russian Enterprises (in Russian). 2007 at the Carnegie Moscow Center. Konstantin Kozlov. Reforms and Peacebuilding. 2005 Issue 1. Ivan Cherkashin. Central Asia and the South Caucasus: Regional Cooperation and the Russian Policy Factor (in Russian). Concept for Reforming Military Education: Organization and Methods (in Russian). Issue 4. Issue 10. Issue 3. Vasily Mikheyev. Issue 9. Society and Security Program held on January 23. Evgenia Bessonova. Zhao Huasheng. Ivan Selivakhin. Issue 5. Issue 8. Impact of Russian Interest Groups on Russian Policy Toward Belarus (in Russian). 2004 Issue 1. Vasily Mikheev. The East Asian Community: The China Factor and its Implications for Russia (in Russian). Elena Grishina. Alexey Malashenko. What Are Russian Enterprises Expecting from the WTO: Survey Results (in Russian). The United Nations: Leadership. Civil Society: Economic and Political Approaches (in Russian). Issue 2. How Real is the So-Called Islamic Threat? (in Russian) Issue 3. Ksenia Yudaeva. A Normal Country (in Russian). Roy Allison. WTO Requirements and the Russian Legislation Compliance (in Russian). Marrack Goulding. Irina Denisova. Anna Bessonova. Issue 6. Vladimir Yakubovsky. Issue 6. Yakov Berger. Vladimir Milov. Energy policy problems (in Russian).
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