Another Axis Is Being Created

KIEV, Ukraine -- The gathering of four leaders in the Artek children’s resort can be called a summit. Ukraine, Poland, Georgia and Lithuania gathered together for a reason. The presidents of these countries have an idea, which unites them. And there is a certain symbol that this summit was held in legendary Soviet children resort No. 1.

Ukraine's President Yushchenko greets Lithuanian President Adamkus as Polish President Kwasniewski looks on

The idea is to create the axis Caspian -Black- Baltic Sea to bring to a minimum the countries' dependence on Russia and to reduce the Moscow leverage. Russia actively uses its leverage
in conversations with new, irritating democratic regimes. The leverage of Russia is its vast natural resources and especially the oil and gas.

The idea of the axis is not entirely new. It was discussed several times during the Gorbachev times. The first Soviet president threatened "traitors" from Baltic republics with economic blockade. It is interesting that during the Yeltsin’s time the former republics got quieter. Maybe they thought that Russia became less dangerous and more democratic, so the idea of some sort of "free zone" lost its actuality.

Now, this idea is reborn again and it looks more like quite a serious geopolitical project. One could call this an alternative to the CIS. Widening the limits of the project means invitation not only for "Europeans" but also for Asians and people from the Caucus. They would have a choice, which they don't have now.

However, from the other side it is a pretty sad story. Russia in its aggressive pseudo-democratic stage scares people. Russian trust into the unlimited natural resources is short-sighted. Many other countries have oil and gas, too. If there are available sea ports and right transportation structure, the participants of the new axis between East and West would become not only energy independent but also equal economical players for Russia and Europe.

I think that President Putin was able to achieve his "high goal" – people are scared of Russia. But it is not fear of a dangerous and strong adversary. It is fear of a weak and inferiority complex overridden. I would be afraid of the country where every second person is racist. It is a different fear than that Russia spread last century also. The new politicians in neighboring countries do not want to lie under Moscow anymore. They want to change the situation. Moscow still would have to sell its natural resources, but its market might shrink if the neighbors, and Europe as well, have more choices. All roads to the West would lead through this corridor, which was discussed in the Artek summit.

Source: Kommersant