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Russian revenge

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, January 13
Political analysts in different countries are currently discussing the suggestion by Stratfor (strategic forecasting) analysts that Russia is starting to 'take revenge' in the post-Soviet space in order to recover its leading position. Some agree but others do not.

Stratfor analysts think that in recent years, in particular 2009, Russia has made considerable gains in the former Soviet area by taking advantage of the US concentrating on Afghanistan and Iraq. They think that in 2010 Moscow will further reinforce its position in several directions. They suggest that the forthcoming Ukrainian Presidential elections will end Ukraine’s pro-Western orientation. Russia will be given a great opportunity to interfere in its economic life and military and law enforcement systems. Furthermore the customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will enable The Kremlin to dominate these states. Eventually both countries will become more dependent on Moscow, which wants to enlarge this union to include Armenia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan as a means of consolidating its interests in these countries.

None of the countries Russia is eyeing up will be able to confront it. Most probably they will follow its diktat. The Baltic countries managed to escape such a fate but Georgia, which took the way of independence and Western orientation, is still effectively in Moscow's clutches.

Stratfor analysts predict that Moscow’s policy in its so-called near abroad will be successful in those countries but create internal difficulties in Russia. Confrontation between the various Government clans will increase and much will depend on Putin’s position. This analysis has not been supported by everyone, for instance Vafa Guluzade, the Azerbaijani President's advisor in foreign affairs, has suggested that some American-based analytical centres are actually financed from Moscow and it is only a dream that the US will become weaker and Moscow will dominate the post-Soviet area again. However others suggest that given the current world situation anything is possible.

The assertion that Russia wants to dominate the former Soviet Union countries is undeniably true. Its recent steps, both political and economic, demonstrate this. However Moscow faces problems which cannot be ignored. It has demographic problems and problems in the North Caucasus which bring into question the possibility of The Kremlin successfully conducting its revenge policy.

Azeri analyst Togrul Sokiev thinks that there will not be much alteration in the balance of power in the post-Soviet space. It is premature to make preliminary conclusions but the first test will be the Ukrainian election and its results. The conduct of Ukraine's next President will show us which direction things are heading in.