Russia Has Lost Ex-Soviet Republics to West — Expert

MOSCOW, Russia -- The Kremlin has lost the former Soviet republics to the West, a leading political scientist told popular daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta on Wednesday after a high-ranking Kremlin official said the Russian leadership planned to overhaul its policy in the area and establish “civilized rules of the game” with the West.

Stanislav Belkovsky, the president of the Moscow-based Institute of National Strategy think-tank, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that when Putin came to power as prime-minister in 1999, Russia was the key player in the former Soviet republics and was the source of legitimacy for the regimes there.

These days, however, Moscow’s influence has waned considerably and Washington has become the main source of legitimacy.

“The countries that emerged by accident out of the rubble of the Soviet Union have evolved into full-fledged nations with their own new elites,” Belkovsky said. He added that the revolutions in countries such as Ukraine and Georgia happened because the Kremlin had “slept through” this nation-building process and not because the United States had conducted some underhand campaign.

He said the anonymity of the official that gave the statement showed the Kremlin was reluctant to confront Washington openly. He said it gave Putin room to refute the comments. “Putin can always say it (the statement) was not his personal viewpoint because the economic interests of Putin’s entourage are all linked with Washington,” Belkovsky said.

Russia apparently is in two minds about beginning civilized relations with the West, which can be seen in the very form of the statement, Belkovsky said. The Kremlin has not yet understood that only the president’s words can have an effect and make sense for the international community. Politics is done in the first person, he said.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta also cited Modest Kolerov, the head of the presidential department for overseas interregional and cultural ties, as saying that statements on condition of anonymity were a commonly accepted form of address in international politics.

Source: MosNews