Putinizatsiya vs. schroederizatsiya of Europe.
Edward Lucas, British journalist for "The Economist", held a lecture on 30th October in Riga. The lecture was in fact presentation of his new book ("The New Cold War"), which is translated into twelve European languages, Latvian among them. This "anti-Soviet" book, as his friend in St.Petersburg called it, is to be published in Russian as well (if not in Russia, then in Latvia). Lucas's point is quite simple, Russia is governed by the "chekist regime" and the West made it happen. There exists pro-Russian bloc, "fifth column", both inside NATO and EU, therefore Europe still needs US for protection. To avoid Finnish neglect for the word "Finlandization", he uses the word "schroederizatsiya" to make clear Western attitude to Putin's Russia and its' political and economical consequences. Nearby Scandinavia is a quite interesting case after all for him, as these are unusual European states, having overflowing connections to different security, political and economic alliances: Norway is in NATO, but outside EU, Sweden and Finland are in EU and neutral. He foresees possible creation of some kind of "North North Atlantic Treaty Organization" (or not calling it treaty to please Finnish sensitivities again) with Denmark, Baltic States and Poland (having connections with Sweden) joining. Certainly, historical analogies are at the center too. He bates Putin's Russia for using rhetorics, that legitimizes the Soviet Union (Stalin as harsh (but effective) ruler for harsh times in history books, legitimation of Katyn massacre and Putin's words on "collapse of the Soviet Union as greatest catastrophe of the 20th century", which he understands ideologically). He draws parallels with Nazi Germany, if it were to survive the war and were reformed as was the Soviet Union. Still he opposes oversimplifications, as to equal modern Russia and Nazi Germany, as he replied to the question of one Latvian businessman. For Lucas, who is not regular Russophobe, but person, who lived in Russia in late 1990-s and have Russian friends, living mostly in London, Putin's Russia is "corporation", where Putin is "first among equals". He does not like Hitler-like geopolitical oversimplifications (appeasement, Anschluss etc.), that are rather popular in new parts of Europe after Caucasus crisis this summer. After all, there is one problem in Lucas' logic--while urging morals back to European politics and to politics towards Russia, he uses historical analogy with the British officials inability to stop the inflow of "bad" Soviet money into the city of London. He quotes foreign secretary as explaining the reason: "You can run British foreign policy, but you can't run the city" and makes his own point clear: "May be we no longer have to take orders from the bankers, but the bankers should to some extent take orders from the politicians or thing like that. ...If we think, that only money matters, then we're defenceless, when people attack us using money. And that is exactly, what the chekists have been doing". Unfortunately, this is Putin's way of thinking and doing. Lucas suggests building another "besieged fortress" near Russia's.
Tags: Edward Lucas , Lecture , Riga , The New Cold War
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