Monday, May 09, 2005

Time to wake up to the realities of the new Russia

The cold war is over, and the threat of nuclear war in the conventional sense has massively dissipated. The break up of the Soviet Union has created free (define that for yourself) democracies in many former states under soviet occupation. The bi-polar global order is no more, and a uni-polar one has been created. You can decide on your own if that is actually a good thing or not. But Russia the successor state to the USSR is still a problem, once which does not get the attention it deserves.

When Gorbachov set the wheels in motion of democracy in Russia and the opening up to the western world we all rejoiced. Boris Yeltsin continued this vision towards this and when Putin took over hours before the new millennium he envisioned much of the same. But the road towards this ultimate goal has slowed to a grinding halt in the past year or so. Politically, economically and socially the pathway to real openness has be muddied by the government.

The very fishy situation in the Yukos sale from holding company to mystery buyer then right away they sold parts to the government even though direct government purchase was not allowed. Followed by the even more mysterious trial which is about to take place over the leaders of the company.

You would still be surprised that freedom of the press and information is still relatively guarded by there government, this is unacceptable in a state where one part has pretty much the only influence in policies.

There are still hundred of nuclear weapons still unaccounted for and the pledge to dismantle most of the remaining weapons have not happed at nearly the pace and the numbers that were expected and agreed to. The continual cooperation between Russia and Iran in nuclear technology still continues and with the permanent veto wielding power of the Russian Federation on the Security Council will be one reason we will probably never see this referred to the council for discussion.

The influence of Russia in its former satellite states politics is still occurring with a large degree. The influence and control Russia has in Belarus still exists, there power and control they had in Ukraine and possible unhandedness in the rigging of the fall election in Ukraine. Thankfully the western powers realized this and got involved, and the resilient people of Ukraine who would not allow such things to happen allowed for a revote.

Let us look at what has happened in the Security Council deliberations on Darfur. Two major countries have now allowed for real sanctions on Sudan, China and Russia. They belief in state sovereignty over humanitarian reasons for the Soviet Union is evident because just like China they do not want to set a precedent for such an event, especially with there own human rights abuses.

Russia is not like it used to be thankfully but that does not mean that is still not a problem. The world needs to wake up to the issues in the country and make a stand. If Russia wants to be a peace broker on the world stage it must look within first and reform faster and in all sectors. The world players the US and EU do not want to anger and provoke Russia but turning a blind eye is not the answer either.

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