|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Academician Rogov: Work To Avoid New Cold War
Academician Sergei Rogov, the director of the USA-Canada Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, published a lengthy op-ed in the Washington Post March 4, warning that the U.S. and Russia are on the verge of a new Cold War. While acknowledging some Russian missteps that contributed to the recent frictions, Rogov focussed on a series of provocations by the Bush and earlier U.S. Administrations, since the fall of the Soviet Union, that have brought the world to such a state of renewed tension.
The expansion of NATO eastward, the plans to place ABM components in Central Europe, the unilateral U.S. invasion of Iraq, and threats of an attack on Iran, were all cited by Rogov as cause for Russian hostility towards the United States. He also cited the net drain of currency from Russia during the 1990s, and the persistent refusal of Western investors to move into Russiaalong with the failure to repeal Jackson-Vanikas causes for the current state of deterioration in relations. While framing the need for cooperation in old-school arms control language and the acceptance of the idea that "globalization" is here to stay, Rogov cited the recent North Korea Six-Power agreement as a model for restoring U.S.-Russian cooperation. He singled out the ongoing Iran crisis as one area where restored Russian-American cooperation could set a new direction. If the opportunity is not taken now, he warned, our children's generation will be born into a new Cold War that should be avoided, at all costs.
Russian Liberals Fear Kremlin FDR Turn Might Be For Real
The Moscow daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta, which is owned by a former aide to the generally neo-liberal Minister of Trade and Economics German Gref, ran an unsigned editorial on Feb. 22, expressing hostility towards the "new outlines for the country's industrial policy," laid out by President Vladimir Putin and First Deputy Premier Sergei Ivanov at a conference that week in Volgograd. NG attacked the policy as neo-Soviet and neo-Keynesian, in a rather confused way. Most interesting, though, was the editorial's linkage of the Putin-Ivanov industrial policy, with recent attention to the historical example of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, as in the recent conference at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO), addressed by Kremlin staff official Vladislav Surkov.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta wrote, "If one takes into account our leaders' heightened interest in the personality, political fate, and crisis-averting activities of Franklin Roosevelt, then one could draw conclusions about a certain conceptual unity being demonstrated in the authorities' approach. Roosevelt is a difficult choice to criticize as an idol and example for any politician. Any criticism would relate above all to the fundamental adaptability of his policy to modern Russia. Moreover, an incorrect interpretation of the ideas behind the New Deal, and more precisely a fundamental misunderstanding of its aimsthe rescue and support of America's private capital as the basis for a capitalist economic systemcould easily lead disciples of the great American President into the dead end of bureaucratic state-monopolized capitalism."
The principles of the New Deal, NG raved, will not yield "growth in productivity of the Russian economy as an integrated indicator of competitiveness," and are useless "within the conditions of the globalization of capital markets."
Russia Offers Chile Nuclear Energy Cooperation
At a press conference following Russia-Chilean political consultations March 6, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said the nations intend to expand bilateral trade, and that Russia is ready to cooperate with Chile in the nuclear sphere, although this is up to the Chilean government to decide. The Bachelet government has rejected nuclear development for Chile, but pressure from business, academic, and legislative leaders led to the establishment of an energy commission to explore the option of going nuclear. In neighboring Peru, there is support for Chile's consideration of nuclear energy. Peru's nuclear expert, Rolando Paucar Jauregui, the former head of the nuclear energy agency, noted how badly off Peru is now, since it dismantled its nuclear energy agency and programs, and its educational infrastructure.
Tymoshenko Campaigns for Early Elections in Ukraine
Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko lost no time in pushing for new parliamentary elections when she returned to Kiev in early March, after discussions with Vice President Dick Cheney and others in Washington. Tymoshenko told her supporters that both Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were in favor of early parliamentary elections in Ukraine (as if they should have anything to say about it). It may not be so easy, however, as the last parliamentary elections gave a big victory to Prime Minister Victor Yanukovych, with a clear anti-NATO mood among the populace. Tymoshenko said that she would work to bring Ukraine into NATO. Yanukovych and Speaker of the Parliament Alexander Moroz are preparing a counter motion to call for early Presidential elections if Tymoshenko succeeds in getting Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko to call for early parliamentary elections.