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7 Apr, 2009 08:45

ROAR: Russian Opinion and Analytics Review, Apr.7

ROAR: Russian Opinion and Analytics Review, Apr.7

This Tuesday, ROAR offers a diplomat’s view on a Communist victory, some experts’ doubts about the G20, and a political scientist’s opinion on strategic choices in Russia-U.S. relations.

KOMMERSANT publishes an article by the former Deputy Foreign Minister of the USSR and Russia, Anatoly Adamishin, on the victory of the Communist party in the Moldovan election. He writes that one should feel glad about the outcome of the election in Moldova for several reasons.

One: the only Communist (or, rather, Euro-Communist) government in Europe, the government headed by Vladimir Voronin pursues policies that guarantee economic growth and stability. Many Western experts admit that. There is opposition to these policies, mainly among those who stand for joining Romania, writes the former top diplomat, and the fact that this time there were more of those than before causes concern. But then again, he continues, it is much better that these sentiments are in the open, and those who represent them are ready for open political struggle rather than going underground.

Two: the current Moldovan government, having inherited the conflict in the Trans-Dniestr Region from a previous administration, is patiently, step by step, ‘walking’ it to a peaceful solution. The recent recognition of equal negotiation rights of the Trans-Dniestr delegation at peace negotiations has become another bold step on the part of the Moldovan government, and may also become a precedent for other ‘frozen’ conflicts.

Three: the Moldovan leaders build their relationship with Russia without damage to their people’s national character, and their country’s national interest, unlike Ukraine, where the search for a national idea is driven by extreme nationalism and picking up fights with Russia.

Four: Moldova can be a ground for a kind of competition between Russia and Western powers that would not end in clashes, or in a choice for the locals: ‘you are either with us or with them – and therefore against us.’ Moldova, writes Adamishin, may become an example for others in solving one of the main problems of newly independent states: the competition of the world powers in the post-Soviet space.

The author concludes: Moldova is considered to be one of the poorest countries of our time – but that only refers to money; in the sense of political intellect, the country seems to be quite well-off.

NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA writes that in spite of the agreements achieved at the G20 meeting in London, the members of the group often pursue very different approaches to crisis management, and so they see the results of the London meeting differently.

However, the main steps taken at the meeting are understood universally: the closure of all tax havens, the ending of the U.S. and Britain – inspired and promoted era of ‘casino capitalism,’ and the beginning of a new era, when the search is open for a new financial architecture, though it is not known how long this search will take.

IZVESTIA’s veteran correspondent Malor Sturua writes that from Washington, the efforts of the G20 in finding universal solutions to the current financial and wider economic problems do not look really fruitful. Sturua quotes an American political columnist who says that the idea of restructuring the architecture of the world financial system is now retreating under pressure from the G20 member country’s own agendas that are based on the principle ‘everyone saves himself the way he can.’

In these circumstances, continues the writer, the U.S. will have to switch to a new mode of communication with its friends, allies, partners, and all the rest: ‘a very delicate dance: a combination of pronounced modesty with the flexing of the muscles of influence,’ as a Washington politician quoted by Sturua puts it.

ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA has an article by Leonid Radzikhovskiy who writes that whatever was said between the Russian and American Presidents at their London meeting was pure protocol, even if protocol adorned with a genuine wish on the part of both sides to improve relations.

The political scientist says that a deeper understanding and deeper, truly friendlier relations are impossible for Russia and the U.S. unless strategic choices of a very high order are made by both.

Radzikhovskiy thinks that Russia’s military threat to Europe and the U.S. is totally non-existent, and he adds that the opposite is also true: so far, there is no real military threat to Russia from the West. While economic threats and dangers do exist, and for Russia the choice is between remaining an ‘Energy Superpower’ prone to fluctuations in oil prices, and developing an innovative economy based on high technology.

That is not an easy choice, he adds: the technologically-advanced Japan, as well as the U.S., during the crisis found themselves in much tougher spots than Russia with its raw material-based economy. Let’s look at the bright side of this set-up: we have oil, they (the U.S., Japan, China, whomever) have everything else. We exchange oil for everything else. They do not have oil, so they have to trade with us; we don’t have anything else, so we also need them – isn’t it a perfect match?

But if Russia decides to build an innovative economy based on modern high technologies, continues the writer, Russia cannot do that without major joint venture programs with the U.S. But how do we make the U.S. enter such programs? Because that is not just business, says Radzikhovski, that is a highly political matter of turning Russia into a high-tech nation and a high-tech power! And that may be opposed to the U.S. interests as the U.S. understands them. If America still sees a competitor in Russia, Washington will hardly support the idea of high-tech, truly strategic, cooperation.

In that case, Russia doesn’t have many options: it’s either persuading America (God knows how) to enter into a true strategic partnership deal with Russia, or achieving the status of a high-tech power against the will of America…

Evgeny Belenkiy, RT