№ 3 July/September 2007
  • A Time for Life Jackets?

    Last year, U.S. political analyst Leon Aron offered a forecast in our journal about the future development of Russia-U.S. relations. He said that people in both countries should put on their “life jackets” and be prepared for “some heavy rolling, pitching, rocking and seasickness.”

  • Sovereign Democracy: A New Russian Idea or a PR Project?

    "Sovereign democracy" carries two simultaneous messages to Russian society. The first message says that we are a party wielding state power and a sovereign elite, and the sources of our legitimacy are found in Russia, not in the West, like it was during the ‘guided democracy’ of the Yeltsin era. Second, being a power-wielding force, we are the guarantors of Russia’s sovereignty and survival in the context of globalization and other external super-threats.

  • Free from Morality, Or What Russia Believes In Today

    The vacuum of ideas, compounded with the insecurity of material status (the Russian market still remains an unpredictable place), makes it impossible to set and fulfill objectives (materialize one’s dreams) or cause aggression or unwillingness to make progress. People have developed the ability to “enjoy the moment”, but the resultant movement lacks both vector and meaning.

  • Russian Federalism and Evolution of Self-Determination

    The pattern of informal regulation of the relationship between the federal center and constituent territories that has been adopted in Russia now is reminiscent of a decaying ancient Rome that did not feel squeamish about handing over border provinces to barbarian federates.

  • The European World After 1989

    The regional and global consequences of the present “neighborly” miscommunications between Berlin, London, Paris, Warsaw and Moscow may eventually exceed any massacre, such as in Africa for example, or some other global catastrophe. An unbalanced and weak Europe will itself become a theater of military-political actions for countries and non-state actors, whose conduct is far from the one accepted in the Old World.

  • Is a New Cold War Imminent?

    The West is faced with the difficult problem of choosing a policy toward Russia in the course of its long, deep and very contradictory transformation. Until now, the U.S. and many of its allies have been going from one extreme to another over this issue: from high hopes to bitter disillusionment, from excessive involvement to utter indifference and disregard, and from enthusiasm to suspicions and hostility.

  • Russia: The Latecomer to the G8

    Right now, the only serious threat to the U.S. dollar’s international dominance is the euro. Even so, the Russian ruble has come a long way since the 1998 default, and it is about time for the perceptions to catch up with the new reality. If only politics would cooperate, both the international role of the ruble and Russia’s rightful place in the economic G8 would be assured.

  • Kosovo as a Test for Russia

    In global politics, moral considerations are often sacrificed to state interests or specific goals. But in the case of Kosovo, the situation is such that maintenance of moral principles, including the threat of using the veto power, completely corresponds to Russia’s interests.

  • Two Helsinki Principles and an "Atlas of Conflicts"

    Any recognition of a state is a political act: its legal effects rarely go beyond the framework of relations between two particular entities.The Soviet Union’s administrative borders were sometimes rather arbitrary. Today, by a quirk, Westerners, who reject all things Soviet, uphold the administrative borders that existed during the Soviet Union.

  • Nuclear Terrorism Remains a Credible Threat in the CIS

    Within the next few years, the majority of energy dependent countries will take an even stronger interest in Central Asia. Competition will grow and possibly be accompanied by military-political pressure, including the use of force. Nor can one rule out the possibility of terrorist acts with the use of nuclear weapons or the threat of their use as a means of acquiring alternative energy sources and placing them under control.

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: What Next?

    The United States’ political image in Central Asia, especially after the problems with Uzbekistan, has been considerably undermined. The majority of Central Asian countries understand that political orientation toward Washington may bring about many problems at home.

  • The Islam Factor in Russia’s Foreign Policy

    Attempts by Putin’s Russia for rapprochement with the Moslem world have not allayed mutual distrust. Both Moscow and the Moslem capitals seem to view their mutual sympathy as a showoff of unity, and as a way to confuse the West and perhaps even make it resentful, as neither party has been successful in romancing it.

  • Problems and Prospects of Iranian-Russian Relations

    While Iran perceives its relations with Russia through the prism of international politics and gives secondary importance to purely bilateral issues, Moscow emphasizes bilateralism and does not need Teheran as a strong international partner. The Russian authorities have put an upper limit on relations with Iran even at the regional level.

  • Russia and the EU to Negotiate a New Cooperation Agreement

    Neither Russia nor the EU has a coherent idea about the place that they should have in their respective “systems of coordinates.” So both sides will probably not talk about the strategic aspects of their relations but will engage in horse trading, and lobbying for specific trade, economic and political interests. Its outcome will largely hinge on the intellectual, personnel, and administrative resources of the negotiating teams, their coherence, and professionalism.

  • A Splintered Ukraine

    (1)

    Efforts to unite Ukraine around the ideology of Ukrainian ethnic nationalism have proven futile. The complete fiasco of the ideas of Rukh was quite obvious way back in the 1990s. The phenomenon of Victor Yushchenko, who tried to give nationalism a new lease of life, rests on support gained from external forces, first and foremost, and also on support given to Yulia Tymoshenko’s populist movement that harvested votes in the cities and districts where an overt ethnic nationalism would not have had any chances otherwise.

  • The Dialectics of Strength and Weakness

    Current fears of Russia are less a reflection of Russian strength than of Western weakness and insecurities. Ironically, this growing fear and distrust of Russia come at a time when Russia is arguably less threatening to the West.

  • Russia Today: Up the Down Staircase

    The year 2008 will be problematic because the bureaucratic class is divided. One part of the bureaucracy, which has gained control over substantial assets, is ready in principle to formally change the image of bureaucrats for the status of businessmen.

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