08 August 2007

Russian power

American Thinker argues that Russian influence is declining, even over its small neighbor (and former Soviet republic) Georgia.

Ukraine wants the Russian naval base on its territory removed, saying that "The location of a large foreign military base in Ukraine is a problem for the country's national security."

I've discussed earlier how Putin's policy of intimidation against Russia's neighbors has already backfired very badly with Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Georgia. Russia's next Presidential election is on 9 March 2008, just seven months from now. If the Russian people have come to see by then that Putinism is not only isolating Russia but also weakening rather than enhancing its influence, there is still a chance of reversing the disastrous turn Russia has taken over the last few years. No doubt the election will be rigged, but what Ukrainians could do in 2004, Russians can do in 2008 -- if they understand the stakes.

If the Russians embrace democracy and openness (as most other eastern European nations have already done), I think they will be stunned at how eager the West is to respond. After all, the West would much rather have Russia as an ally than as an adversary.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Chell said...

Not completely sure why, but I've always had much respect for Putin. Wouldn't want to be struggling against Russia though.

08 August, 2007 15:28  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

There's no doubt that Putin is a very capable man in his own way; he is an ex-KGB officer, after all. But it's an inescapable fact that he had the opportunity to complete Russia's transition to democracy and full partnership with the West, and chose instead to lead it backward into authoritarianism and paranoid isolation.

Here's the leader I have the most respect for in that part of the world. Few politicians have suffered so much in the cause of democracy, nor persevered in the face of such personal danger.

08 August, 2007 19:23  

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