Interview with Nadezhda Arbatova

Nadezhda Arbatova from the Centre of European Research says the talks between the Russian and French presidents can be seens as part of Moscow's strategy aimed at repositioning the country on the international stage.

Russia Today: How would you sum up the day of talks between Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Sarkozy?

Nadezhda Arbatova: I think that except for economic ties there won’t be any breakthrough in Russia’s co-operation with its Western partners on Kosovo or Iran. I hope, though, that this meeting will help Nicolas Sarkozy to understand Russia much better and take into account new political realities which have emerged during Putin’s presidency. These new realities are closely linked to the fact that Russia wants to reconsider the model of its relations with major Western partners. The model that was established in the 1990s, this model was based on Russia’s unilateral concessions. Now Russia wants to be recognised as an equal player. The country wants the West to recognise its right to express itself. There’s nothing drastic in this stance as all difficulties can be resolved through compromise and negotiation.

RT: How will these talks affect the overall tone of relations between Russia and EU?

N.A.: The fundamental problem in Russia-EU relations is the lack of any strategic goals. A new treaty on partnership and co-operation could help resolve this problem if the new agreement is based on four common areas of co-operation of the St.Petersburg initiative which could give a strategic vision of Russia-EU relations. Unfortunately the talks are being blocked by Poland. Although France is one of the core countries in the European Union, I doubt it can persuade Poland to change its position. In fact, I doubt if any country within the EU could influence Poland on this issue.