Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Russia: "Is There an Alternative to Putin?"

SOURCE Russia Insights

In light of planned protests in Moscow, Konstantin Zavinovskij, geo-political expert, questions whether there is actually a viable alternative to Presidential candidate Vladimir Putin.

Zavinovskij, discussing views from the 'West', said: "Over the recent couple of months, Russia has been witnessing a series of protests coordinated mainly by three persons: Boris Nemtsov, Alexey Navalny and Mikhail Kasyanov. They differ among themselves, but they are united in their willingness to change Russia. But what would become of Russia, if one of the three came to power? It is known from various sources that the protests staged by the abovementioned persons are financed by the West and, in particular, the USA. Therefore, once they come to power, they will have to repay their debt to their sponsors.

"How will they do it? By diminishing the geopolitical weight of Russia and by following the US model with its 'valuable' advice on what Russian democracy and economy should be like. Anyway, it already happened in the early 90s after the collapse of the USSR, and we know all too well about the consequences of the 'shock therapy' that the recommendations from the USA brought about. Indeed, the lack of strong leadership and authority could once again lead to destabilization in the relations between the federal center and the regions, typical of Yeltsin's period, and eventually to the general weakening of the country.

"Foreign policy would be affected too. Over the last decade, Russia has regained its identity, which is unique, since it belongs to both Europe and Asia. In case that one of the three pro-Western politicians comes to power, Russian policy will bend to the West and lose once again its identity. The country would become a satellite of the USA and abandon the strategic alliances of the recent years with such countries as China, India and Brazil. These countries demonstrate a strong economic growth and expansion of geopolitical prestige. Losing confidence of China, India and Brazil would mean for Russia a loss of its own international significance and a loss of all benefits that might come from the intensive economic growth of these countries.

"An unstable Russia would not contribute to international stability," said Serena Giusti, a scholar at the Institute for International Political Studies and an expert in Russian foreign policy at the UniversitŠ° Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. Professor Giusti is convinced that "at the moment there is no alternative to Putin."

"While the protest leaders confine themselves to criticizing and questioning, without proposing a positive programme for the future of Russia, the third article by Vladimir Putin that appeared today in 'Izvestia', contains specific proposals for renovation and modernization of Russian economy."

Konstantin Zavinovskij

Editor in Geopolitics. Magazine of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences, in Rome.