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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Russia in Nutshell

Russians remain insecure about their status in the world. Russia's explosive "revisionist" behaviour on the eve of the recent G8 summit is an indication of the Kremlin's "unsatisfied" nature. Because they know they are less potent, particularly in demographic and economic terms, Russians feel they have to do "more." For them, to say "Russia is back" means that the humiliating Yeltsin years are over, and that they now must be treated as equals, particularly by the United States. That claim is not necessarily supported by reality. Unlike the Chinese, the Russians do not create economic wealth, but merely exploit their energy and mineral resources. Moreover, unlike the Chinese, they have not always been confident of their position in the world. Torn between Europe and Asia in cultural and political terms, victimised by a dark, narcissistic instinct that pervades their reading of their past and their visions of the future, it should surprise no one that Russia is now behaving like a "revisionist" power. Less than 20 years ago, the Czech Republic and Poland were part of their sphere of influence, so Russians cannot accept the US unilaterally implanting its security system there.
-- Dominique Moisi, writing in The Guardian's Comment is Free section

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