NATO States “Not Interested” In Cooperation With Russia

14 March 2012 —  Stop NATONews.Az

West ‘not interested’ in strategic projects with Russia Alexander Sotnichenko

The United States and EU’s criticism of the elections in Russia prompted more interest in alternative options for integration with Russia. I think that Russia could become a centre of the new integration process, if it creates a new integration strategy based on the common past of the CIS states and common threats such as the West’s involvement in support of revolutions in the Middle East that could spread to the post-Soviet area.

News.Az interviews Alexander Sotnichenko, associate professor of international relations at St Petersburg State University.

Some experts foresee a tougher foreign policy in Russia with Putin back in power. What do you think about this?

Indeed, the criticism of the West intensified during the election campaign in Russia. This was prompted by several factors. The Russian people, in particular Putin’s voters, were not satisfied with the pro-Western course in Russian foreign policy in the 1990s. Putin’s election strategy was built on criticism of the 1990s. The Arab revolutions, most of which got the West’s support, also influenced sentiment before the elections.

The United States and the EU were also critical of Putin’s policy and appeared reluctant to see him back as president in Russia. The situation over Syria and Iran also added to their concerns. It seems that Russia has decided to step up its foreign policy in the Middle East. In the future, we will see a more independent, tougher policy.

How do you assess the prospects for Putin’s initiative to create a Eurasian Union? What can Russia offer as an alternative to the post-Soviet states which are seeking to deepen partnership with the EU?

Russia remains the main economic partner of all countries in the post-Soviet space except for Georgia and the Baltic states. This factor promotes the integration of the CIS countries around Russia. The political initiatives of Moscow also play an important role. The creation of the Eurasian Union has generally received a positive response in most CIS states. The United States and EU’s criticism of the elections in Russia prompted more interest in alternative options for integration with Russia. I think that Russia could become a centre of the new integration process, if it creates a new integration strategy based on the common past of the CIS states and common threats such as the West’s involvement in support of revolutions in the Middle East that could spread to the post-Soviet area.

Do you think that the Russian leadership will continue lobbying the idea of the joint use of the Gabala radar station with the Americans? Could this be effective?

It is now clear that the West is not interested in any serious, especially strategic, projects on an equal basis with Russia. I think that if talks continue, they will continue without special hope of success, just to demonstrate Russia’s peace-loving foreign policy.

President Medvedev has personally been very active in resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Will Russia under Putin keep up this activeness?

Definitely. We have to hope that Putin will analyse the failures of his predecessor and take on the development of principally new settlement projects.

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