January 01, 2006

Whither Russia?

Has the time come to resurrect that quasi-perennial question that seems to cyclically (and reliably) afflict American foreign policy elites: "who lost Russia"? Well, maybe not, but there's certainly more than the Ukranian gas story of late to get one's attention, isn't there? (More on this subject when I can find the time to cobble together B.D.s end of year review).

Posted by Gregory at January 1, 2006 01:17 AM | TrackBack (0)
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The problem, of course, is that for the past five years or so Russia has not been America's "to lose." In many ways, Russia is a "post-American" country. It still has an important relationship with the United States, and there are still several "global" issues where Moscow and Washington continue to interrelate (mainly nuclear). But in terms of many of the day-to-day things that underwrite any bilateral relationship--trade, people-to-people exchanges, and so on--the Russia-Europe and specifically the Russia-Germany relationship is much more important.

One of the things that struck me was the relative level of uninterest in Russia in the results of the 2004 U.S. elections (a slight tilt for Bush in terms of his personal relationship with Putin)--based on the conclusion that the U.S. - Russia relationship has gone as far as can be expected--no major economic ties, differing views of security, and so on. The Russian foreign policy elite was much more interested and focused on the 2005 German elections.

Russia's main economic partners--Germany and China--have signaled they want consolidated, state-directed reform (Deutsche Bank was the one who produced the investment strategy last year that recommended that Gazprom consolidate the Russian energy industry) as opposed to U.S. "creative destruction"/privatization.

Posted by: Nikolas Gvosdev at January 2, 2006 03:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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