Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Archive for April 6th, 2009

Russia in the New World Order

Posted by jonathanfryer on Monday, 6th April, 2009

stephen-dalziel-21This evening, Liberal International British Group (LIBG) held the first in a planned series of four Forums on the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) in the New World Order, being steered through the choppy waters of Russia, past, present and future, at Pushkin House in London by Stephen Dalziel, Executive Director of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce and former Russian Affairs analyst at the BBC. For me (in the Chair), his most interesting observation was that Vladimir Putin, now Russian Prime Minister, is not trying to usurp the power of the position of President Dmitry Medvedev (his sucessor in that post), in contrast to what one often reads in the Western media. Putin accepts Medvedev’s primacy in foreign affairs (as the constitution stipulates); besides, he has enough on his plate to deal with in relation to Russia’s shrinking economy, which has been hard hit by falling energy prices.

Stephen’s assertion that the Russians must have known in advance about the Georgian attack on South Ossetia last summer as they moved into Georgia the following day brought on a heated reposte from a Russian lady in the audience. But there was general agreement that Georgia had won the propaganda war in that sad affair, and that the Russians are rubbish at PR. I agreed strongly with Stephen’s point that the real trigger for instability and renewed East-West tensions would be if Ukraine is encouraged towards EU and NATO membership. Not only would the ethnic Russian population of eastern Ukraine protest, but Moscow would go ballistic (figuratively speaking).

Link:  www.libg.org.uk and www.pushkinhouse.org.uk

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