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Why Russia and the West Cannot Dump Each Other Over Ukraine

Published: July 24, 2014 (Issue # 1821)



  • U.S. President Barack Obama delivered a statement on the situation in Ukraine, on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday.
    Photo: Pete Souza / Whitehouse.gov

As the initial shock over the Malaysia Airlines plane disaster in Ukraine subsides, the governments of Russia and the U.S. appear to be adopting a more conciliatory rhetoric toward each other, demonstrating the constraints that drive their foreign policies.

While the U.S. attempted to consolidate all major Western powers in an attempt to isolate Russia, all the individual states have their own economic and political interests at stake that they were ultimately unwilling to sacrifice for the common goal, pundits said Wednesday.

"The anti-Russian rhetoric is only a cover directed at the internal public in these countries. At the core there are tangible interests that ultimately drive foreign policy," said Mikhail Pogrebinsky, director of the Kiev-based Center of Political Studies and Conflictology.

"All parties have already got public opinion at home into the shape that they desired. This goal is fulfilled and now they need to see how they will cooperate with Russia in the new situation," he said in a phone interview from Kiev.

Mutual Dependence

Russia and the West are locked in mutual cooperation in resolving Iran's nuclear program. The U.S. largely depends on Russia for moving troops and military equipment away from Afghanistan through NATO's northern distribution network and transportation hub in the Russian city of Ulyanovsk, and also for maintaining security in Central Asia.

In addition, according to many analysts, Russia's participation is essential in international efforts to resolve the ongoing war in Syria and the most recent wave of violence in Iraq.

Russia and Europe's bilateral trade was worth more than $400 billion in 2012, according to EU figures.

About 6,000 German companies do business in Russia, while the jobs of 350,000 German workers depend on Russian trade, according to the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, an organization representing Germany's main business lobbies.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.



Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



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