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Monday, June 11, 2007

Who do Russians Need?

Russian uber-blogger Anton Nossik recently directed his readers to an online poll aimed at the Russian blogosphere on another blog, supposedly operated by a Russian doing dissertation research at Cambridge, and asked his readers to participate. Here it is (staff translation, our professional translators cannot be blamed). Here it is as of last Saturday:

Which strategic partner is essential to Russian interests at the current time?

#1 -- The European Union -- 377 (41.2%)

#2 -- The People's Republic of China -- 265 (29.0%)

#3 -- The United States of America -- 150 (16.4%)

#4 -- None -- 122 (13.3%)

One can conclude from this poll what should already have been obvious, that the Kremlin is directly flouting the will of the Russian people by antagonizing Europe with its relentless barrage of human rights abuses and support to European enemies like Iran. At the same time, it's pretty telling that Russians prefer to make an alliance with communist China, by a margin of nearly two-to-one, over an alliance with the United States, and that they are essentially polarized between alliance with the East versus alliance with the West. Only a truly benighted people could possibly think that China, which is gobbling up Russian territory in the Far East as fast as it can swallow and which is populated by a different race held in contempt by the vast majority of Russians, could possibly make a more useful ally for Russia than the U.S. (to say nothing of ignoring the fact that the U.S. is a far more powerful and dangerous enemy). Do Russians really think the Chinese are unaware of Russian racism? Yet, more Russians prefer an alliance with the U.S. than with nobody, which may be some limited grounds for optimism. Of course, since the vast majority of Russians have no access to the blogosphere, a poll of this kind is basically meaningless except as a measure of the intelligentsia.

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