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Will Russia change its policy?

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, November 1
"Resetting" policy with Russia would be an essential achievement for the US administration. Although efforts are continuing, Moscow is taking advantage of Washington's goodwill, and from time to time the US turns a blind eye to obviously arrogant moves made by the Kremlin. Most of these involve Moscow's attempts to restore its sphere of influence, especially over the post- Soviet region.

One such step was Russia’s military attack on Georgia in 2008, the ensuing occupation of the country's breakaway republics and continuing creeping encroachment into Georgia's other territories. Representatives of the Republican Party in the USA have criticized the Obama administration several times about their "reset policy" since despite Washington's best efforts Moscow stubbornly continues its moves to restore a Russian Empire over the post-Soviet region.

US Republicans think that their country should demand that Russia reset its own policy as well, otherwise the current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin--who will definitely become Russia’s President again—will allow his feelings of nostalgia for the former Soviet Union to dominate relations with the world and especially his closest neighbors.

While "setting and resetting" policy between the US and Russia is going on, Georgia is under tremendous pressure, forced to cope with 20% of its territory being occupied by Russia, which was a result of Georgia’s pro-western and pro-NATO stance--and for which it is still paying.

Another dramatic situation for Georgia is that they finally retreated before European and US pressure to agree to Russia’s membership in the WTO. Many in Georgia think that in fact refusing to let Russian join was a final lever to have its territorial integrity restored. Of course both Europe and the USA have their own interests at stake--they want Russia to join the WTO in order to force it to follow civilized rules within the international trade "game". However many steps taken by westerners for the sake of peace and stability are understood differently in Moscow. The Kremlin attributes such steps as illustrations of western respect for Russia's own policies.

Russia managed to block Ukraine and Georgia from entering into NATO's Membership Action Plan, a necessary last step for NATO membership. However, Russia attacked Georgia and still occupies its territories. Moscow managed to achieve its WTO membership despite Tbilisi’s efforts to block this development. Many analysts and politicians, watching Moscow emerge from the situation victoriously, assess the situation around Russia’s WTO membership as dangerous for the civilized world.