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Monday, June 26, 2006

British Blast Russia as the G-8 Fraud it Obviously Is

God save the Queen's think tanks! As the Moscow News reports, relying on Reuters, on the very eve of Russia's pompous hosting of the G-8 convocation in St. Petersburg, a British think tank has released an insightful, thoughtful and courageous report concluding that Russia does not even deserve to be a member:

Russia does not meet democratic standards for membership of the Group of Eight and its leadership of the rich nations’ club risks destroying the G8’s credibility, a British think-tank said on Sunday. Russia has gone backwards in its respect for democracy and civil liberties since it took over the presidency of the G8 in January, the Foreign Policy Centre said in a report published before a Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg on July 15-17 and quoted by Reuters.The Foreign Policy Center is an independent think-tank whose patron is British Prime Minister Tony Blair.“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s record is no longer in doubt,” the report’s author, Hugh Barnes, told Reuters.“He has systematically dismantled Russian democracy and that very fact in some ways makes a mockery of the G8,” said Barnes, director of the center’s “Future of Russia Program.”The report said the Russian economy — expected to move up to 10th in the world this year from 12th — was not big enough for the G8, intended to group the world’s largest economies, and that Russia was neither politically nor economically free.“Moscow’s leadership of the G8 is in danger of reducing the group’s credibility and relevance to zero,” the report said, urging other G8 nations to develop a concerted policy “to force Putin to live up to his international obligations.”Putin has rejected similar criticisms of Russia’s record on democracy in the past.The report noted, however, that Russia holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves and its oil reserves may equal those of Iraq. “As world energy demand grows ... Russia’s wealth and potential power are certain to grow as well,” it said.The Group of Seven leading industrial democracies — the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada — have gradually integrated Russia since the early 1990s into their club to foster democracy and economic reform there. But the report said things had not worked out that way.It rated Moscow against the G8’s founding principles of democracy and economic stability, finding that Russia had failed to comply with G8 norms on open society and rule of law.


Anonymous said...

I would wholeheartedly agree, arguing the same point on my radio show ever since Russia has been admitted to the table of grown up economies. Let’s be totally clear about it, the only reason Russia – not even a member of WTO - was even considered for G8 membership was its nuclear arsenal. Add to this its growing ability to blackmail Europe into submission using its oil and gas supplies, and we have a case of a street thug making himself at home at someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner.

La Russophobe said...

CYRILL: Do you see any difference, in general principle, between this sort of appeasement and that of Hitler? Why shouldn't Putin think of grabbing more if he can get the G-8? Why shouldn't Russians feel there's nothing wrong with electing a proud KGB spy president if the result is G-8 admission?

In once sense, of course, this may actually be a (if not the only) significant weapon to be used against Russia, since it is analagous to Russia's oil revenues and contributes to "Dutch disease," or the total lack of any impetus to reform. The society continues to eaten away from within by corruption until it collapses. Ultimately, Hitler's Germany did disappear.

But at what cost? And if we cannot resist a Neo-Soviet Union in any other way than to watch as it hopefully destroys itself, leaving yet another shell nation such as the USSR did when it disappeared, are we not also ourselves somewhat internally corrupt? So much for "never again" and such optimisms!

Anonymous said...

LA RUSSOPHOBE: I see quite a bit that differ contemporary Russia from Hitler's Germany. For example, Germany needed oil for its powerful economic engine. Russia does not have an engine, it has oil. Russia is weak and it is not going to get more powerful. It will continue to harass and blackmail neighbours and meddle in oil politics similar to what it is doing now with Iran, Georgia and Ukraine - delay and destabilize as much as possible - but I do not think it is capable of any spectacular evil.

There is a danger of regional feudal conflicts over natural resources and territory, like Chechnya, but I do not think the West has much to be afraid of, if the Europeans can develop some... organs to help them stand up to oil and gas blackmail Russia.

La Russophobe said...

CYRILL: you are surely right as far as extraterritorial issues are concerned, but I wonder if, should economics become tighter, a Neo-Soviet Kremlin would not be capable of expanding the Khodorkovsky gulag and even killing people in them. After all, if this did happen, would the outside world actively oppose it? They were reluctant enough when Russia's little brother did so.

And I don't see much philosophical difference between the appeasement of Putin and that of Hitler. Maybe Putin isn't as dangerous, but there was no precedent for Hitler, which exists now, making the West's attitude that much more craven.