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How the West Helps Putin Fulfill His CIS Strategy

Published: April 7, 2014 (Issue # 1804)


Western democracies fear Russia's power so much that the U.S. and the European Union are actively striving to prevent President Vladimir Putin from reintegrating the Commonwealth of Independent States countries into a Eurasian Union. Fully aware of the competitive nature of today's multipolar world, Washington and Brussels do not believe that Russia can be a reliable, significant and responsible contributor to international security and order. Russia, in turn, demands that Western powers behave as equal strategic partners in the global arena.

Indeed, the Russian factor plays a key role in the unfolding security situation in the CIS region. Despite outside strategic concerns like the ongoing crises in Ukraine, the North Caucasus and other parts of the former Soviet Union, Russia has so far taken a proactive stance in CIS affairs, trying to convince the West that the Kremlin has major potential in resolving security issues in their own backyard.

More recently, Moscow has succeeded in strengthening ties with Yerevan and Baku, with the West progressively losing ground to increasing Russian economic, military and political advancement in the South Caucasus, as evidenced by Russia's military agreement with Armenia and growing energy ties with Azerbaijan. Similar steps have been taken toward Central Asian states where incumbent regimes do not want the West to interfere in their internal affairs. Moscow is trying to create strong new content-based relations with CIS countries, and all the latest political steps by the Kremlin have been aimed at enhancing Russia's geopolitical position in the post-Soviet Eurasia.

Russia's successful foreign policy in the region also results from the failure of other international players in the area, or at least the systemized weakening of their stances. U.S. President Barack Obama's shortsighted policy has seriously weakened U.S. strategic objectives in the CIS. Washington's failure to craft any coherent vision as to how the post-Soviet territory fits into broader U.S. strategy has allowed its role to be increasingly defined through the prism of Russia. The lack of a meaningful U.S. response to the challenge presented by the protracted conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and the self-proclaimed republic of Transdnestr not only highlights the low level of U.S. engagement in the conflict-torn regions but also casts doubt on the U.S.' ability to be an effective player in international organizations like the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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