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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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, 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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