Eurasian Abrasions


Eurasian Abrasions

Эксперты МГИМО: Троицкий Михаил Алексеевич, к.полит.н., доцент

Авторы статьи полагают, что между Россией и США отсутствуют принципиальные, «структурные», а значит, непримиримые противоречия на постсоветском пространстве. Российско-американские трения в регионах вокруг России не вызваны «имперскими амбициями» или «стремлением к мировому доминированию», которые иногда приписываются России и США соответственно. На самом деле, неконструктивная конкуренция двух держав на постсоветском пространстве порождается, с одной стороны, резкими попытками Москвы навязать свою волю соседним государствам, а с другой — неспособностью США отличать поддержку суверенитета постсоветских стран от противодействия всем формам российского влияния на них. Освободиться от этих «вредных привычек» Россия и США могли бы, реализовав базовые меры доверия: повышение транспарентности целей своей политики на постсоветском пространстве, регулярные политические консультации, а также воздержание от неконструктивных взаимных обвинений.

The tension between the United States and Russia over post-Soviet Eurasia has significantly undermined the prospects for mutual trust and cooperation on global security issues between Washington and Moscow, as well as stunting the region’s development. Much of the rancor is rooted not in an inevitable clash of interests, however, but rather in the way the two governments conduct their policies in the region. Both U.S and Russian modi operandi, or at least the aspects that cause trouble, flow in large part from certain habits that have proven extremely hard to break.

Russian political elites can’t seem to help but treat bilateral relationships in the region of the former Soviet space differently from those it has with other countries; proximity, economic links and cultural commonalities from a shared Soviet and in many cases also pre-Soviet past all but make this inevitable. Nor is Russia unique in this respect. Any country’s immediate geographic neighborhood constitutes a major source of concern and opportunity. For example, the United States is deeply involved in law enforcement and counter-narcotics work in Mexico, and NAFTA is the most far-reaching trade deal in U.S. history. The European Union encourages countries in its immediate neighborhood to the east and south to adopt its norms and values, even if they are not ready for full EU membership.

Yet Russia’s engagement in its backyard is different. Its «special treatment» has at times evinced a lack of respect for the sovereign choices of post-Soviet Eurasian states. Moscow has occasionally used economic means to pressure neighbors with whom it has had political disagreements. The import ban on Georgian mineral water and wine, deportation of ethnic Georgians and suspension of visa-free entry of Georgian citizens into Russia in 2006–07 escalated tensions and placed the two countries on a collision course. Russia also allegedly intervened in Ukraine’s autumn 2004 presidential election, when, in addition to overtly supporting Viktor Yanukovych, it prematurely congratulated him just before his victory was annulled by the Ukrainian Supreme Court. There are also unproven but widely believed rumors concerning sub rosa Russian financial support for Yanukovych, reinforced by the overt work of Kremlin-connected spin doctors on his campaign.

It may be that in some cases Moscow was pursuing a reasonable or even a just outcome, or seeking to prevent an unjust one. However, instead of going through diplomatic channels, providing transparent incentives to change behavior, or consulting directly with whichever party caused Russia’s concerns, it has all too often resorted to coercion. The 2003 Kozak Memorandum episode is a clear example of coercive methods that spoiled an otherwise largely unobjectionable regional policy initiative.

The Kozak Memorandum was a draft agreement aimed at thawing the conflict, «frozen» since the early 1990s, between the government of Moldova and separatist authorities in Transnistria. The substance of the deal (with the exception of the continuation of a small Russian military presence in the region) was not hugely controversial since it recognized Moldova’s territorial integrity. However, Russian Deputy Head of Presidential Administration Dmitri Kozak negotiated the memo by means of heavy-handed tactics and in secrecy, skirting the existing multilateral negotiating format. In the end, the Moldovan government, allegedly following phone calls from Washington and Brussels, pulled the plug on the agreement. It might have represented the best possible deal available under the circumstances, but Russia pursued it in such a way that both the Moldovan and U.S. governments saw it as an imposition from Moscow.

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Источник: The American Interest
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