29
Feb
08

Is a resurgent Russia good for the world?

The Russian presidential elections are this Sunday. President Putin’s preferred candidate, Dmitry Medvedev, is almost certain to win. We’re planning to discuss Russia’s role in the world on Friday’s programme.

Since Vladimir Putin took power at the start of the new millennium Russia has changed dramatically. Oil and gas dollars have ensured huge growth of the Russian economy, and allowed Russia to have an influential role in global politics.

Is Russia’s increased influence on the global stage a good thing? Should the West be scared of Russia? Should Russia be scared of the West?

We will be speaking to a number of people in Russia on the programme today as they look ahead to elections this Sunday. We’ve narrowed down the areas we want to discuss to, democracy, energy security, weapons and security and international relations.


65 Responses to “Is a resurgent Russia good for the world?”


  1. 1 steve
    February 26, 2008 at 17:40

    If you don’t answer “yes” to this WHYS question, Russia will suspend gas shipments to your nation.

  2. 2 George USA
    February 26, 2008 at 20:14

    Oil and gas make nations prosper if they have them, and wither if they do not.

    Is prosperity better than poverty, for Russia, for any nation?

    Of course prosperity is better.

  3. 3 Vedran
    February 27, 2008 at 03:02

    Of course. In the last 20 years we have seen how the world looks like when there is no balance of power. Not that I’m saying that the cold war was great, but at least there was some balance that prevented unilateral actions on the scale of Iraqi invasion. But what matters here ultimately is how do the Russians feel about it.
    After all, 52% Americans voted for GWB, yet rarely is he scrutinized by the world press as a hegemon Putin is constantly being presented as.

  4. 4 hughes artwell M
    February 27, 2008 at 10:31

    Russia will start flexing its muscles much stronger to counter the US influence in the world, especially in its circle of influence. Russia obviously resents US dominance in the world and i see tensions escalating to alarming levels very soon, and this is scary when you think of the HEAVY NUCLEAR ARSENAL they possess. In my opinion a big russia is a threat to this world’s future. having two superpowers is like having 2 BULLS in same kraal , a confrantation between them will be inevitable. I’m scared!!!!!!

  5. 5 Eliott Brody
    February 27, 2008 at 16:47

    Used to be it was England, France and Spain shooting at each other, conquering weaker nations and demolishing their cultures. Now it’s the U.S. China and Russia’s turn. Superpowers are predators and when they compete for resources and territory the world suffers. But one superpower alone will demand as many sacrifices to itself. As for the Russians, let them try. As their material wealth grows we can infect them with some of our social diseases and enslave them with anti-depressants. Look how well China’s accepted tobacco. Poor old world.

  6. 6 Andre
    February 27, 2008 at 17:18

    I hope that Russia becomes powerful in the sense that it can give its citizens opportunity, economic security and growth and a sense of pride in their nation. On the other hand, I hope Russia does not use its new wealth to create a massive and dangerous military machine (I would like to see the west downgrade their militaries too).

    We all live on one planet and, for some time, we have lived with the prospect that a few “nuclear nations” could destroy our entire planet. The truth today is that even small nations can do significant damage to our shared global environment by poor environmental policies. Wars, the threat of war and military competition increase the likelihood of negative environmental policies occurring.

    Therefore, my hope is for a strong and happy Russia, a nation who becomes a leader in the fight against climate change, nuclear proliferation and terrorism. I think it is wonderful that we (the west), can engage with our former enemy without the scourge of war, walls and constant military threats.

    True, we may not like what President Putin did to stabilize Russia but after the strange events of the 2000 US election, the PATRIOT Act, Guantamano Bay, secret rendition – are we really in any position to lecture President Putin (and his successor), about democracy and human rights? If the Russian people are happy and their state does not pose an exceptional danger to the world (which I do not believe that it does), then we should all welcome a stronger Russia.

  7. 7 Chernor Jalloh
    February 27, 2008 at 18:56

    Despite of Russia’s economy growing day-by-day with the blessings of oil and gas revenues in the country,it is still trying to intimidate Ukraine for its ambitions of joining the EU.So,that is why Russia always put pressure on Ukraine to pay the huge debts it owed, or else risk having their gas exports cut.And that again will cause some problems to the people of Ukraine.There is a say:´´Not all that glitters can be gold“, as many other Russians are enthusiastic about the way the former KGB member,President Putin, was running their country and his rhetoric against the West and the US,many do live below the poverty line.

    Russia should fear more the West because the West has got new technology when it comes to arms race.The West should also be careful and know that Russia has got Nuclear War heads.The incident that took place in London when one of the former KGB spy was poised right under the noses of MI5 and MI6,that should give the West some food for thoughts.It shows that,Russia is capable of doing harmful things against any dissident who tries to challenge the bosses of the bosses in the Kremlin.For DmitryMedvedev he has got a strong backing of the strong man,Putin it is now remain for him which way he is going to lead Russia, whether it will be the putin style or not,I certain donot know.Talking to each other until peace is achieved will be the best.My thanks to each and every listener from around the world.

  8. 8 Robb
    February 27, 2008 at 23:09

    Through my wife, a Ukrainian, and many visits to my family in the Ukraine, I have a good understanding of how Russia has treated its ex-Soviet countries. I have seen the devastation at first hand. Russia’s attitude toward these countries is the same as its attitude to the rest of the world. That attitude is utter contempt and a complete disregard for the welfare of the any other peoples.

    The condition of the Ukraine after Russians up and left after 1989 is still in a dreadful state. It will take the Ukraine 50 years to repair the country. Russians closed their factories, removed their money from Ukraine banks and left hundreds of thousands without work or wages. Total indifference to the plight of the Ukraine people is typical of the Russians. Russia is an arrogant play-yard bully that is completely set against the Ukraine joining Western Europe. How dare it take that stance. What right does Russia have to continually undermine the Ukraine people and their desire for change?!

    My wife lived under both the Soviets and the Russian Federation and her experience and opinion is valid and not gained from reading newspapers or listening to the radio, she knows what it is like to be threatened by the KGB, and she knows that the West is incredibly naive when dealing with Russia. The Russians have no concept of fairness, democracy or truth, in our opinion and experience. After 76 years in the darkness of Stalinism/communism it will take a long time before Russia is ready to join the real world of democratic nations. You can debate and discuss with Russians forever, and nothing will change. Russia only understands force, as is the case with all bullies.

    Russia is no longer a world power. It may have resources, but its systems, military and infrastructure is many years behind the West. What it suffers from is the humiliation of 1989. It is desperate to regain some status in the world, but can’t understand that to do that it needs to stop acting like a bully, and start co-operating and compromising with other countries. Russia’s actions over fuel supplies, it’s attitude toward the Ukraine’s desire to move toward the West, and it’s current position with regard to harbouring murders, is a clue to just where the Russian political elite stand. Not to mention the lack of freedom of speech in Russia, and the pressure that the NKVD/KGB brings to bear on anyone who holds any contradictory view, or who wishes to protest against anything, however trivial. These old habits die hard.

    Under Putin, a member of the KGB, brought up in the cold-war and with a deep distrust of the West, things will not change. His perception of Russian standing in the world is one of military threat and belligerence. What follows Putin will be much of the same. Until every single ex-KGB member of the Duma and regional Radas are removed/fade away, we will have to be prepared to be really tough when dealing with them.

    We must not trust the Russians, and we certainly should not encourage them by having Russia as a member of the WTO, nor part of G7/8. That kind of exclusivity is completely lost on the Russians. Russia will take what we offer, demand more, and give nothing in return.

  9. 9 Syed Hasan Turab
    February 27, 2008 at 23:29

    Infact Russia is victom of wrong foreign policy of communist Govt & gradually loosing his allies in Europe.Downfall of former USSR is a biggest desaster of the world & create lot of problems for Europe, as Western Europe dont want to share bread & butter with Eastern Europe may be understand Europe is going back to 18th century.
    Mistrust / doubts are from both sides.

  10. 10 ZK
    February 28, 2008 at 15:42

    This is the same Russia that has in recent years a) used economic warfare against Ukraine (the 2006 gas crisis); b) used technological warfare against Estonia (Internet DOS attacks over Bronze Soldier controversy); c) threatened to point missiles at NATO member countries Poland and the Czech Republic for hosting American defence systems; d) provided Iran with nuclear help; and e) threatened a new arms race.

    Add to that Russia’s recent threat to the European Union over Kosovo’s independence, and one really struggles to see how the West should NOT be scared of Russia.

    Should Russia be scared of the West? No, but I think Putin and Russia’s political masters secretly are. Earlier this month the OSCE announced it would boycott this weekend’s elections after Moscow imposed harsh restrictions over election observers, but why did Moscow need to impose these restrictions?

    Their political leaders are afraid, that’s why. They know they’re fixing the results. They know challengers stand no chance. They know pro-Putin/Medvedev forces are intimidating voters and journalists. And they don’t want the OSCE to see it. The Kremlin is scared of real democracy; the kind the West preaches.

    And yet, President Putin appears to suddenly have welcomed the Westminster system with open arms, with his new-found desire to become Prime Minister, which he will become. And he will rule Russia from outside the Kremlin.

    Western powers beware.

  11. 11 steve
    February 28, 2008 at 18:33

    I was talking to a German in Cologne a couple weeks ago, and as a typical leftie, he was quite anti-US government, but even he admitted that Putin was like a Hitler. They guy desperately wants to be relevant he’s such a megalomaniac. But then again, what politicians aren’t? Putin is just more of the scum that politicians are, though I think he’s a little bit more dangerous.

  12. 12 George USA
    February 28, 2008 at 23:57

    Russian “bear bombers” are being intercepted on flights close to the coast of Scotland.

    I can understand that Russia wants to establish itself again with oil money,

    but the cold war flights of strategic bombers

    is a poor choice for the world.

    If that is a foretaste of prosperous Russia, it will only add to world tensions.

    On the up side,

    perhaps NATO countries will decide it is “in their interests” (e.g.Germany) to fulfill their NATO commitments in Afghanistan.

  13. 13 Richard
    February 29, 2008 at 08:51

    I would be afraid of any country that is run by an ex-KGB spy and former head of the current FSB. Sadly for the citizens of Russia,the former-Party elite are widening the gap between rich and poor and making a country that looks more like the Mafia than a democracy. Further more oil rich nations tend to have horrific human rights records, making Russia dangerous to its own population the vast majority of which are suffering from the social ills that come with poverty while Moscow keeps getting richer. I don’t see things changing anytime soon despite intelligent citizens speaking out because of the media lock down and tightly held power. Now we watch the musical chairs as the CEO of Gazprom trades places with Putin on other side of the same table.

  14. 14 CHIFUNDO KANDANI
    February 29, 2008 at 10:04

    Economically i think we need a strong Russia but with the ex KGB CALLING THE SHOTS i fear for the world. The world will be a better place without BUSH and PUTIN. MALAWI

  15. 15 Dennis by email
    February 29, 2008 at 10:36

    i hope that the resurgent russia will be
    a positive thing for the world….

    but i have a fear that they will cause trouble…..

  16. 16 steve
    February 29, 2008 at 13:19

    Question for the far left supporters of Russia. I’m probably going to make your head spin, but since Russia wants to be “great” again, it’s resuming flights of TU-95 Bear bombers on strategic flights that they had suspended after the cold war since we were no longer enemies. Given all the talk of Greenhouse gas emissions, these flights are highly unecessary, so you have to make a choice, is your dislike of the west so great that you don’t mind these unnecessary green house gas emissions? Could you clarify for us? Thanks! Maybe if Russia suspends gas shipments to a neighbor that doesn’t do as Russia demands it might offset the emissions from the bear flights!

  17. 17 cbernard
    February 29, 2008 at 15:17

    Integration & engagment and not isolation is the key and the way forward in today’s new world order.

  18. February 29, 2008 at 15:22

    Russia seems to have emerged from years of hibernation to wake up with a roar after a lull following its transitions from communism to liberalism. From its ancient history it was a source of fear to European powers, some of the events can be date to its attempted invasion by Napoleon and Hitler. After the Second World War, it was the turn of the USA to see it as a threat to its domination because unlike communist China it had the nuclear power that could destabilize the whole world. Today, Russia is back again on the world stage with force, ready to stand up to the West, particularly the USA. Its economy is doing well compared to the Soviet era when even getting basic commodities like bread meant standing in long queues for hours. Now Russia is buzzing with new economic activities making the Russians feel in their best times after years of miserable communism in which there was scarcity of personal freedom and access to basic commodities. Russia is now more an open society, although democracy in it still has the flavour of Stalinism. Russians seem to like a strong leader as Western style democracy is of second importance compared to that of good life.

    Russia today has more weapons to confront the West. It has the weapon of oil and gas on which Europe is heavily dependent. It is starting to modernise its army while being one of the biggest suppliers of weapons in the world.

    So Russia under whatever political regime will be of concern to the West because historically it has rarely allied itself with a foreign country. Russia had tsars, followed by communist leaders – the most notable of which are Lenin and Stalin- now it has democratically elected leaders – from Boris Yeltsin to Vladimir Putin. It had weak and strong moments. The fall of communism and its replacement by liberalism was a moment of “introspection” and “faux pas”. Now Russia is seen by many as the new force that can create a new geopolitical balance worldwide. Russians, like any strong powers, are after their own interests. Their new liberalism is an excuse to disengage from old style propaganda. Russia isn’t seeking to topple the regimes of the world but simply to have a strong hold on the world stage. Like a (solitary) bear, it likes to keep roaming on its territory without allowing any foreign invasion. This explains why the USA likes to have a NATO army at its door without seeking to set foot in it because Russia, despite its old army in terms of equipments, still has the strong arm to defend itself.

  19. February 29, 2008 at 15:41

    Here is a comment I sent to BBC WHYS on February 18th on this link: https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/02/18/how-important-is-russia-to-you-and-why/#comment-8290 in response to Anna’s question, How important is Russia to you, and why?

    Russia has changed beyond recognition compared to its communist era, at least on surface. If Stalin and Lenin had to return to it, they would immediately rejoin their graves out of grief for what it has come to. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of Communism in this huge country, the Evil Empire, as it was called by late US President Roland Reagan, the US administration must have been rubbing it hands with delight. It was the end of the Cold War that put an end to the division of Germany and helped the emergence of new republics out of the ashes of the Soviet Union. The great beneficiaries were the Baltic States, which were under the dominance of Moscow since the end of the Second World War.

    Russia under Vladimir Putin embraced liberal attitudes in full swing. Les nouveau riches never had it so good, making Moscow one of the most expensive cities in the world. Investors plunged in their economic ventures seizing the new opportunities. For more than a decade Russia looked docile to the rest of the world. It was like a puppet bear dancing to drums while the USA has become full-fledged lion threatening the rest of the world just with its roars.

    But the puppet bear has now grown up, starting to show its claws and canine teeth by starting to show its challenge to the USA and NATO. Arms race has just begun to offset US military supremacy. The period of hibernation seems to be over. The Russian politicians seem to be still guided by the KGB mentality in that they act in complete secrecy only to rise for a knockdown directed at their enemies. Russian pride is still there. The Russians refuse to join the West, especially the EU and the US in policy making, preferring to keep their loftiness while waiting for the moment to become a new superpower in accordance with the world’s current reality. They no longer seek to export ideology as in the communist era but to have a strong hold on the world stage, among other things, through energy and military weapons.

    Vladimir Putin is one of the rare popular leaders in Russia despite the economic difficulties, the abuses of human rights and the restriction of freedoms, not to mention the poor Russians who aren’t benefiting from the huge revenues from oil and gas. As he was the product of a communist era in which he was a dark personality, now as a leader he seems to have got the grasp of how to deal with the Russians for whom strong leadership is more important than democracy and with the rest of the world, especially the US he wants to remind that Russia that has historically been a powerful state is still there. Only the name, the flag and the anthems have changed but the Russian blood is still streaming with the same vigour. Some may laugh out Vladimir becoming a Prime Minister, after the next presidential elections. But for he Russians this can be a compromise for democratic process that doesn’t allow him to run for more than two successive terms and for those the majority of the public who want him to stay in power. (Maybe the Americans should learn from the Russians and make constitutional amendment to allow a president who has fulfilled his two terms in office to become the vice president of the next president!)

    Russia has the potentials to be a strong country although this will make it have more enemies in the West. But to the delight of the US enemies like the Iranian regime, a strong Russia is a guarantee for survival. Although they know they can be used as tools to put pressure on the US, for them the gain is to have it on the alert because there is a power on their side.

    In short, Russia in diplomatic terms, hasn’t changed a lot. It has just started to regain the power it has lost during the period of transition from communism to liberalism. Like a leopard, it doesn’t change its spots. Russian pride will continue. The old game with the USA during the Cold War will continue with different rules and on different fields.

  20. 20 Anthony
    February 29, 2008 at 15:51

    They’re gonna start speaking loudly, and making sure everyone see’s they’re big stick. It will be good for Russia, but I think with Putin in charge, we are going to have another Cuba on our hands, but this will be a much bigger and powerful Cuba.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  21. 21 Andrew
    February 29, 2008 at 15:59

    Having gone through the cold war it is hardly a good thing that Russia now feels it necessary to flex its muscles. The name has changed, but the system stays the same. There is no room for a real democracy in Russia nor will there be any western style democracy which so many think is a necessity (if it is considered such a good thing anyway) and to have them become more powerful will only serve to enrich the olegarchy and those in power, evident already. The people will not benefit and again the system is geared towards that end. It is still a repressive regime and the way opposition and dissent is stifled along with a free press. As an example Russia holds nations to ransom with its actions over energy supply so can you trust them? They have a basic mistrust of the west in general so a powerful Russia is not in our interest.

  22. 22 Ben Assopiah
    February 29, 2008 at 16:02

    In a unipolar world as we have witnessed since the hibenation of USSR (Russia), there has been a seemingly one country autocracy, where one country dictates for the rest of the world to follow. So there is no true democracy in the world.

    With a resurgent Russia, one hopes that we would enjoy a bi-polar world where there will be checks and balances especially where Russia now shirks its socialist-communist instincts for the free market system. No one country will just strike on another for no justification.

  23. 23 Dolapo Aina
    February 29, 2008 at 16:13

    Russia Russia Russia.
    This country’s extensive story is one of amazement.
    In the energy sphere Russia is doing well and really making good profits but the news reports and interviews suggest that not every Russian has benefited from the excess petrol-dollars. Simply put, Russia is secured energy wise
    Russia weapons and security wise is still of a debate. Weapons wise this country has weapons but their arsenal seems to be archaic so they have to develop more rather than to sell off new weapons to other countries. While security wise Russia seems to be suffering from political complex. No one is sure why they always bark at their neighbors and take drastic actions. This goes to sure the FSB/KGB dudes need some form of power which can only be gain by respect not bullying.
    Democratically, Russia is below par, the citizens know this but it seems there is an unseen fear which pervades the country especially Moscow. And it glaring this is the handiwork of the FSB. Every one supports the government but cant express themselves. This is not good for a democratic country. The post communist mentality is in all spheres of the country. And the FSB and their cohorts in the corridors of power aren’t helping matters.
    In the international arena, while it is accepted that Russia is an upcoming power broker , Russia would have to GET THE RESPECT of the international community and this has to be through subtle means not through force.
    Conclusively, the winner of the election is Putin’s CHOSEN ONE. But Putin would be the one pulling the strings. Is this what Russians want or are they oblivious to this fact?
    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria.

  24. 24 gary
    February 29, 2008 at 16:20

    Hello All,
    A resurgent Russia won’t even be good for the Russians, much less for their neighbors and the world. Look at the evidence: The laws of probability do not allow for almost every single position of power in the country and in Russian industry to have been filled by former KGB agents, or by middle-aged men from Saint Petersburg. This suggests polical mechanisms at work other than those delineated by the Russian constitution. The opposition has been stifled in the name of stability. The average Russian will say: It’s our kind of democracy.” But; it isn’t any kind of democracy at all. It is acquistion of power by a “club.” Currently Russia has lots of revenue and everyone has some extra cash. Trickle-down economics does work after a fashion. But; the Russian people still have no control of the power, or of the processes by which it is obtained. Today the leader is Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. All governmental trust is placed in him. And so far as Mother Russia is concerned, he seems most worthy of that trust. He may indeed be worthy; but he is only one man. And so the question remains: Will Russia’s people and neighbors be better off when his successors take charge, considering the methods by which he has obtained power? For Europe the statement: “If you want gas, then do as we say,” pretty well sums up the answer.
    later,
    g

  25. 25 Matt
    February 29, 2008 at 16:20

    I think that in order for Russia to move forward from the days of the Soviet Union where one man had a strangle hold on power, Pres. Putin should be careful about how much influence he uses on the new government.

    The key to a stable Russia is when power can pass between Presidents without upheaval in the country or government. I’m glad to see that Putin is honoring the laws of the Russian constitution but time will tell how far he truly removes himself from power.

    Matt
    Portland, OR

  26. 26 Rosalie-Oregon, USA
    February 29, 2008 at 16:48

    Who is anyone to say no? I know there are going to be reasons why one would say no, however there is something discomforting about one country trying to keep another country down. All countries should have the freedom to stand strong. After all the United States stands suposedly strong however doesn’t want anyone else to be equal or greater than. It’s said bluntly however the US show this in there governmental actions. I say let Russia be, and if they directly do something to harm another country than we can discuss issues than.

  27. February 29, 2008 at 17:11

    Of course its terrible for the world that Russia is re-surgent.

    Russia is almost fully collapsed back into fascism and totalitarianism. Its deeply frightening that Democracy can’t seem to get a foothold in so much of the world.

    Our current leaders in the USA are no help, in my opinion. Democracy is a delicate flower without doubt. Although democracy appears to need a strong military is the great paradox of mankind that militarism decays easily into proto-fascism (limitation of freedoms) and then into full fascism (integration of corporate power with the government) and finally into fascist totalitarianism- the complete limiting of freedom to a select party faithful.

  28. February 29, 2008 at 17:39

    it’s all about power….absolute power corrupts absolutely. As long as our world leaders put power above all else forcing their own agenda and continuing to polarize populations, war and violence, desent and oppression, hate and intolerance, fear and ignorance will dominate our planet Despotism is the new world and as long as mothers allow their children to be raised in a world without compassion and understanding there is no hope for mankind. bill p oregon

  29. 29 kpellyhezekiah
    February 29, 2008 at 18:05

    Russia’s resurgence is the tonic that the world needs. Leaving the US alone as the sole super-power wasn’t the best of things. Every coin has two faces, man is two(male and female) electricity comes on positive and negative lines. Russia must remain strong to maintain the balance in world power. This is from God almighty and there is nothing man can do about it.

  30. 30 John in Salem
    February 29, 2008 at 18:07

    Just as in China, communism in Russia has being replaced with capitalism instead of democracy, and the model being followed is the American robber-barons of the late 19th century.
    So buckle your seatbelts – it’s going to be a bumpy century.

  31. 31 Sean-Oregon
    February 29, 2008 at 18:09

    Historically, Russia has time and again returned to a centralized autocratic regime. Czarist Russia revolved around those authoritarians taking control, and the Soviet system was no different. Is it really any surprise that Putin and his circle are asserting that same level of centralized control? Russia has had a different political development than western nations in that respect. I think we are at a pivotal point in history when we can either choose to learn from the mistakes of the the latter half of the 20th century and attempt to forge a better understanding between East and West, or we can willfully ignore those lessons and trudge blindly into another Cold War.

  32. 32 Josh, Oregon by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:28

    Russia has a serious problem with mafia. I work with several Russian businessmen and engineers who own factories outside of Moscow. I spoke with them a few weeks ago regarding the election. They told me that they are required by the powers that be to ensure their employees vote correctly. Those who do not may suffer termination and be blackballed from their industry

  33. 33 Justin from Iowa
    February 29, 2008 at 18:30

    A strong Russia being good or bad depends on what your opinion of “strong” means. To many people strong means a strong economy, low poverty rates, happy citizens with democratic control of their government. To others, strong means being feared and able to bully your wishes on the world stage. For others its a middle ground.
    So if you ask me if a strong Russia is good, I say yes, but I follow more of the first definition of strong. Not so much the side of strong where you flex muscles on a world stage.
    But its hard to make that judgement being from the United States, where the US bullies people with its power all the time. Hopefully the US change of leadership in the next year will allow me to share my opinion without feeling like a hypocrite, as the US quits acting like such a bully. Maybe this will reduce the fears of the US on Russia’s part as well.

  34. 34 King of the Apes
    February 29, 2008 at 18:33

    The current discussion on HYS and all of BBC’s reporting reflects the old Cold War thinking. The West had a golden opportunity to make genuine friends with the Russians after the collapse of the USSR but they lost it. Was it deliberate? Further views:

    Usually people don’t focus on the elephant in the room! Now it’s the Horse!

    NATO was formed to repulse the hug of The Bear! The Bear has evolved into a different entity now. It does not want to embrace anyone.

    Meanwhile in the shadows, not one but a multiplicity of Trojan Horses are developing, scheming and creating havoc.

    Need of the hour is to change outmoded defence structures, thinking and focus on monitoring, thwarting, expelling and destroying the Trojan Horses!

    Work with The Bear rather than against it. It too dislikes Trojan Horses!!

    KING-of-the-APES], Rumble in the Jungle

  35. 35 Alan, Arizona
    February 29, 2008 at 18:33

    I disagree about what was said regarding the West wanting a weak Russia. I feel that the world is sad that the freedom and rights of the Russian people are being oppressed again, after they were growing stronger. I think the world would prefer a strong free Russia, who’s citizens are prospering along with all the other free citizens of the world. Not controlled by a totalitarian government, oppressing each person.

  36. 36 ignasio kambale
    February 29, 2008 at 18:34

    Hello all
    I don’t think Vladimir Putin has made a right decision of hand picking a prime minister from his own party, i remember the former president of malawi did the samething of hand picking the current president from his but it never worked for him coz he wanted to rule from behind. Now i tyhink this same thing will happen to Russia, so whatever the case the opposition must be on the look out. Though i can be private for him to rule from behind but still the nation will notice.

    Therefore Putin’s decision has not been right at all, he should have made the decision based on the majority.

    Thank you
    Ignasio, Malawi

  37. 37 -Shirley, Illinois, by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:34

    There is no democracy in Russia. Putin has been whittling away at it for years now. He controls the media. He controls the economic and business world. He controls the political process. Putin is not even “stepping down.” He is taking another post that has the same, if not more, power as his former post.

  38. 38 Jonathan benjamin
    February 29, 2008 at 18:37

    A resurgent russia is in the interest of the world. It will help in dispelling the image of a unipolar world, wherein the US can attack iraq, afghanistan or iran.

  39. 39 Sean, USA by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:37

    Both Russia and the United States are electing new presidents this year. What hopes do any of the guests have concerning those elections and their impact on Russian/United States relations?

    Also, with the expansion of NATO, is there a possibility of a resurgence of something like the Warsaw pact?

  40. 40 yogesh pareek
    February 29, 2008 at 18:39

    Putin is the person responsible for the resurgence of Russia.Mr Dmitry Medvedev will only be dummy president,and mr Putin will control the real power.
    People who hate russia as a great power ,want Putin to get out of the way.
    yogesh pareek ,india

  41. 41 Eamon, UK by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:41

    It is long been my opinion that, since the end of the cold war, the U.S. and the E.U. have treated Russia with contempt – witness the positioning of the missile warning system in Poland and other former Soviet satellites. We have been responsible for the creation of Putin’s form of democracy.

  42. 42 Effoe, in Sweden by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:44

    Putin is not going anyway. He is taking another post which might have more power. This is like entering your leaving room from the main door and next time you use the behind door. You always end up in the leaving room.

  43. 43 Ian, Oregon by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:45

    It is not even about democracy, but the economy. I believe they need to reprioritize their goals. The people are poor and keep reverting to the past. I look to china as a comparison of governments between the 2. Same type, otherwise radically different.

  44. 44 phill, Uganda by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:48

    Hello,
    I think Russia has the right to strive to be a superpower just like any other country does and i support Russia led by Putin in this drive, maybe Russia can help reign in the west in their careless and selfish ways of promoting capitalism.

    There is no difference between Russia using gas as a bargaining chip and the west slapping sanctions selectively on various unfriendly regimes around the world. “Whats good for the goose is good for the gander”

  45. 45 Steve, USA by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:49

    To the Russians out there, the Ukranians hate you for the way how you treated them during the time of the Soviet Union. That’s why they’re turning towards europe. Kind of like how in virtually every former communist european country they hate Russia because of the the Soviet Union treated them. What next, Putin will point missiles towards Ukraine if they don’t do what Putin wants?

  46. 46 Marco, Germany by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:49

    What is it that people get so obsessed with wielding power??

    When Putin came into power he promised he’d bring real democracy to Russia, look at the state of affairs today. What could be a more beautiful job for a statesman than bringing freedom and democracy to one’s country?

    I’m not in Russia but I’m very dissappointed in Putin …

  47. 47 rashid
    February 29, 2008 at 18:52

    Russians simply dont know the importance of democracy.
    Russia will evolve slowly,you can’t push democracy through the throat of the people,otherwise the results will be the same what we have seen in many countries,south asia is a prime example of this.
    pakistan,afghanistan,iran,nepal,bangladesh,myanmar,thailand are all going through the same way

  48. 48 Fillipo, USA by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:53

    Russia helped quash Nazi Germany and gave the world some great art and science, and a lot of oil and gas.

    Other than that, Russia never offered the rest of the world anything but death and devastation.

    If I am wrong, would someone care to offer me some examples of contributions I somehow failed not notice?

  49. 49 Ruben, Colorado Springs USA
    February 29, 2008 at 18:54

    It is always good to have counter balance between superpowers. What we are seeing now is two blocks balancing world domination: US & EU on one side, and China & Russia on another side.

    What I forsee coming out of this is that smaller countries will benefit from this new virtual positioning war that is starting to be waged between the aforementioned blocks. These smaller countries will have more options to choose from, in terms of styles of development.

    More and more, we realize that the way of the West is not necessarily THE ONLY way forward. In fact, it is debatable whether the rest of the world ever really benefited from the western way of doing things.

  50. 50 gabi t.
    February 29, 2008 at 18:58

    putin and the kgb will and would not allow any one to rule russia.
    hi consider himself the greates kzar.

  51. 51 Tom , USA by email
    February 29, 2008 at 18:59

    After the Soviet Union Collapsed American Liberals wanted to send them people to help them learn democracy and capitalism but american Conservatives refused to spend the money to accomplish those goals, now look at the all too obvious and predicted results.

    Oh, and American Liberals also wanted to secure the Soviet nuclear material but american Conservatives refused to spend that money also and now who knows where the black market has sold that stuff.

    Sometimes you have to invest in former enemies to prevent their resurgence against you, like the Marshall plan after WW2 Europe.

    Russia could have been a great success story of Liberal Democracy and Well Regulated Capitalism but american Conservatives prevented that from happening!

    Sheesh!

  52. 52 janet bratter
    February 29, 2008 at 19:23

    After reading all of the responses to the question of a resurgent Russia I am inclined to agree with some and disagree with other points of view expressed here. Nowhere however has anyone looked at the question from a perspective that might modify the element of danger that twentieth century developments have produced. By applying a unified overlay of sport onto the way in which nation states and empires integrate technology and communication to promote self-interest, those who heretofore have taken themselves far too seriously might gain a more balanced view of the world stage.

    The inherently competitive nature of human behavior can be steered in a less destructive manner. And it needs to be if we are to avoid the fate of so many other civilizations that have preceeded us.

    In previous eras it seemed to be a universally accepted truth that the future is built on the ruins of the past. Those whose offspring would live to rule the future was dependent on who was victorious on the field of battle. The ashes of one culture fertilized the next. But can we continue on this well trodden path in an age of nuclear and biological weapons?

    Thinking of the elaborate rituals of “games” held in the ball courts of the Mayan city-states of Central America, we can gain valuable lessons. Where once there was a flourishing civilization, today there are only ruins in the jungle. But for many centuries longer than today’s teetering world civilization, the Maya staved off their ultimate decline and disappearance. A thousand year old culture endured in part as a result of a simple ball game that replaced the more conventional game of warfare. Today the stakes are much higher.

    From the tennis courts of Paris where 18th century diplomacy took place to the table-tennis matches of the 20th century, those seeking a more peaceful modus operandi hold the key to global survival.

  53. 53 phill
    February 29, 2008 at 19:30

    the first country that needs to stop arm twisting,gas emissions into the environment,selective sanctions,nuclear disarmament and weapons proliferation is the USA, so please stop bikering about Russia’s rise being more dangerous to the rest of the world.

  54. 54 alex stone
    February 29, 2008 at 19:31

    As a Briton living in Russia for the last 4 years, it continually astonishes me how determined the rest of the ‘western’ world is to try and prevent Russia going foward. This isn’t about Vladimir Putin, or his method of governance, but a sustained, belligerent, propaganda campaign by many in the west, to destabilise and demonise this country and its people.
    Let’s start with Ukraine and gas.
    Not only did Ukraine, a self proclaimed ‘democratic’ country, reject Russia outright, but they also wanted cheap gas for as long as possible, in an advantage over the rest of Europe. And what of the unpaid bills? how long would Germany or France put up with unpaid bills from customers? Still worse, cheap gas destined for domestic use in Ukraine, by its citizens, has been stolen wholesale by Ukrainian businessmen and women, some of them in the current Ukrainian government, and sold on to European customers at market rates. So to portray Russia as the ‘Big bad Bear’ in this is, frankly laughable, and typical of the minset of those who are trying to bring this countries to its knees, so they in turn can rape it AGAIN, for its resources.

    This is a young, vibrant, and determined democracy, but a country with a long history, both bright and dark, that has had, like every other country on the planet, varying degrees of success at managing itself. I’m frankly tired of reading soviet this, and soviet that, when all the countries who were part of that political system, contributed to, or actively despised the system in varying degrees.
    And the hypocrisy of painting this country and its people as the ‘villains’ beggars belief, when the very countries who profess to be the ultimate arbiters of democracy and freedom, are setting up bases and prisons in other countries to dodge the law, so they can gleefully torture those they decide are the ‘enemy’.
    Rendition flights, the deceit of a ‘defensive’ missile system, the British council, quite openly a front for British, American, and just about every else’s intelligence services, the NGO’s, who frankly are plainly incompetent, as its bluntly obvious they’re working for various foreign intelligence and corporate services. All examples of one rule for one, and another rule for Russia.
    I’ve been ashamed as a Briton, to see the UK government stumble from one clumsy propaganda exercise to another, trying to paint Russia as the bad guy, when they openly and actively give safe harbour, and British Passports to criminals, who helped the west rape this country, and leave it on its knees economically. Of course, they get to harbour the money as well, all those unpaid russian taxes that could have saved the lives of so many russian people who died as a result of the economic crisis.
    It’s been even worse to see the BBC actively aid the UK and US government in the propaganda exercise, and today’s ‘russia’ programme, featuring a poor old lady trying to scratch a living made me sick in its clumsy unintelligent intent. Go to ANY country in the world, including the UK, and you’ll find an old lady trying to scratch a living. To portray this poor woman as the ‘reality’ of life in russia is horrifying in its indignity, and contempt for the russian people.
    Outside of the safe haven of the BBC offices in Moscow, and the ‘english speaking’ enclaves, the russian people are warm, pragmatic, compassionate, and determined, with a good sense of humour, and a unique philosophy on life.
    I’ve seen compassionate and dignified behaviourconstantly here in russia, as young people help old people in public transport, in a way i never, sadly, saw in Britain.

    And programmes like this will bring out the inevitable response.
    Who are your experts today? The Carnegie Centre? Quite possibly a front for just about every secretive 3 lettered organisation in the US?
    It wasn’t long ago that the BBC were lauding Gary Kasparov as the ‘face of democracy’ in Russia, only to back off quickly when you found out it was dear old Boris the tax dodger in Britain, and George Soros the ‘compulsory democratiser’ who were funding him in highly dubious circumstances.

    Enough of the hypocrisy.
    The people in russia that i’ve met are wonderful, and generally enjoying their new found wealth, and the chance of a brighter future. They’ll decide their own future, and it seems quite obvious that they got a MUCH better leader than either the US, or i’m ashamed to say, the UK, have managed to muster in the last 8 years or so.
    Don’t like the way Russia wants to manage itself?

    Live with it.

    Alex Stone, a briton living in Moscow.

  55. 55 steve
    February 29, 2008 at 19:39

    Tom, I have a friend who goes to Russia often to observe the Russians and their progress of dismantling nuclear weapons and converting the weapons grade plutonium to reactor plutonium. The US participates in this, hence why my friend goes there.

  56. 56 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    February 29, 2008 at 21:44

    Re: janet bratter February 29, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Very well written lady! BUT there is a BIG set of problems!

    NOT with what you have written but with the capacity and willingness of those who NEED to understand.

    Capacity? Intellectually Challenged people on any side of the political or ‘isms’ spectrum, do NOT have the capacity. It is beyond their horizon of thinking. By the way their horizon is not very far from their nose!

    Willingness? Isn’t it based on motivation? Why are some indulging in irritating a country (Russia) which even today despite its decline can destroy all life on this planet many times over with its atomic & other weapons?

    IF there is peace and we DO NOT have any wars, AND are not laying the seeds for future wars (latest example is the US, UK,… eagerly abetting & recognising the independence of Kosovo) then:


    >How will the armaments be field tested (which is the ultimate proof of their capability)?
    >What will happen to the replacement of existing stocks of armaments in the armies? A war is a convenient way to get rid of them AND achieve tactical or strategic advantages!
    >What will happen to the billions of dollars invested by various military-industrial complexes, especially the premier complex among them?
    >What will happen to their rates of growth?
    >How will they give ever increasing returns on investment to their shareholders?

    To have a sustainable forest you have to make a detailed plan based on the number of seedlings planted, the time it takes for the tree to reach maturity, the number of trees you can harvest & the potential demand for those trees in the short, medium and long term future, unexpected weather patterns etc.

    Replace the planting of trees with the planting of the seeds of future wars and the scenario in which we have been living for some time becomes very clear.

    They say that a business cycle is about a decade long. Analyze the periodicity of all major wars after WWII. They are occurring with almost the same periodicity!

    MaxMaxmilianMaximusI, Indian Caesar in, Singapore

  57. 57 David Malinda
    February 29, 2008 at 22:12

    A resurgent Russia is definately good for the world. It will counterbalance the US, and make it more difficult to unilaterally go on attacking whoever does not agree with the US. Literally, can any one tell me who has caused more damage in the world in recent years Russia or US? An imballanced world is a very dangeraous place.

  58. 58 George USA
    March 1, 2008 at 07:15

    Janet B.

    That is such a nice thesis you present I am reluctant to mention:

    Wars were a nearly constant in the Mayan civilization.

    In the past 30 years the glifs have been deciphered to read the layer upon layer of rulers outcomes in wars.

    The city states of Mayan Civilization fought one another over resources and rivalries like the Middle Ages City States of Europe.

    Mayan City state ball games is not the shining example of transference of hostility then or now.

    Also the victor was used as a human sacrifice in at least the Classic Yucatecan Mayan City States.

    BUT

    it would be great if substitutes worked at some time in the past and better if they worked now or in the future.

  59. March 1, 2008 at 07:51

    the issue of whether a resurgent russia is good for the world is more or less a non issue. each nation has her own sovereignty and that of russia should not be an exception. the most important aspect of this topic should be “if a resurgent russia is good for the russian”. i dare say that with the trend of public opinion, most russians are comfortable with what is going on in their country right now, the economic boom and the improvements in their living conditions. there is no gain saying that the point of every government is to assure and ensure the general well being of her people, and what the average russian is experiencing right now is like a golden age, who would want it to be anything different?

    but we must be mindful of the way that russias developement affects the entire globe, as one of the super powers of the previous century, it is wise to keep an eye out for russias activities, thankfully, there are international standards that can be used to measure if any nation is going beyond it’s limits as to the ways and manner in which it relates with the international community. if russia is found to be exceeding these limits or not meeting up to this standard, then it is right for fears to keep being expressed, aside this, why don’t we just let those guys enjoy their economic resurgence and lifestyle?

  60. 60 amer
    March 1, 2008 at 15:50

    i think yes. because monopoly is unjustified in many circumstances and need a strong opposition, and in this context, russia seem to be the only option.

  61. 61 Firozali A Mulla MBA PhD
    March 2, 2008 at 15:40

    In politics, I find Putin as the straight person when it comes to handling the Iran issue. Let me elaborate. He still insists that the war drums are no good. The dialogue is still the best solution. And I think that is what majority of the countries think at the moment as the Iraq is heating up the issues with Turkey and there is lots at stake in that region., Mostly it goes against the USA economy as the armory etc of USA is based in Turkey to look for the India, Russian, Chinese and North Koreas movement on the arms and space race. Russia restores Soviet-era strategic bomber patrols – Putin. Put simply we are back to the era of John F. Kennedy. We are back to the ‘Who has more arms’. Simple. The one who has more rules the world. In addition, we talk of democracy and helping the poor. That is a big laugh. You cannot help poor when you want arms race on. You have one coin you spend on arms or poor. Putin is protecting his area as USA tries to put the nuke in EU. I am surprised at the EU’s comments. There are no comments by the EU at all. The Poland or any country within the vicinity will have the nuke pointed at the Putin’s land. So what does Putin do? He arms himself. This is pure logic.
    I thank you
    Firozali A.Mulla MBA PhD
    Dar-Es-Salaam
    Tanzania
    East Africa

  62. 62 Rooney Kin
    March 3, 2008 at 05:27

    I agree to Russia’s resurgent on these days world’s global stage. It is just like what should have been occured already. As other said below, we have seen how the world looks like and has changed. Has it changed to the right way?

    I’m not a western country person, but I have been feeling that our one world needs to be blanced to keep the right of each country as well as protect their countries in both business and politics.
    Now, it seems like the time that we found the better way to get the better life together!

  63. 63 George USA
    March 3, 2008 at 06:14

    To Max Grand Wazuli of Singapore,

    “IF there is peace and we DO NOT have any wars, ….

    >How will the armaments be field tested (which is the ultimate proof of their capability)?
    >What will happen to the replacement of existing stocks of armaments in the armies? A war is a convenient way to get rid of them AND achieve tactical or strategic advantages!
    >What will happen to the billions of dollars invested by various military-industrial complexes, especially the premier complex among them?
    >What will happen to their rates of growth?
    >How will they give ever increasing returns on investment to their shareholders?”
    …………………………….

    1. If there is peace and we do not have any wars…….This will take place when the trumpet sounds and Messiah sets foot on the Mt. of Olives, not before.

    2.to 7.

    Humans are waring animals, it is best to be good at war fighting.

    Wars are both a business and an economic cycle event.

    World wars thin the population: another one is coming up.

    Wars existed long before corporations or the current version of corporations seeking short term profits.

    Nothing will eliminate wars. They are part of life on earth until #1 takes place.

  64. 64 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    March 3, 2008 at 18:50

    Ref: George USA March 3, 2008 at 6:14 am

    What you say is absolutely true! Provided you confine yourself to the paradigm that you have described.

    Mahatma Gandhi made two statements:

    >The first was to the effect that the Earth provided enough for man’s need BUT not enough for man’s greed.

    >The second was to the effect that it would do the West a lot of good and the World a lot of good if the West were to accept the ‘Theory of Karma’, however unprovable or unacceptable it APPEARS to be to the West. For ease of your understanding look at the ‘Theory of Karma’ as follows:

    -Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion: For every action there is an equal & opposite reaction.

    -Actions have consequences!

    The second topic on today’s (03 Mar ’08) HYS is: Are we getting dumber?

    It is in reference to the USA…..

    You are addressing someone who is from the ‘Sanatan Dharma’! A clue word is ‘everlasting’! It will take thousands of years for you to reach that level of enlightenment.

    Finally, the past is a predictor of the future (as your comment plies in the main) ONLY IF you do NOT evolve!!

    Personal lessons on ‘Clarity of Thought’ are available at a gazillion Euros per hour (the US dollar is a depreciating currency)!!!

    Cheers!

    MaxMaxmilianMaximusI, Indian Caesar in, Singapore

  65. 65 Dennis Young, Jr.
    May 9, 2008 at 04:16

    Russia in a resurge format is good for its friends
    only!

    Dennis from Madrid, United States of America


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