Wound the Russian bear at our peril

Posted: December 17, 2014 in Economics, Europe, Government, History, Money, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/16/russia-economy-west-vladimir-putin

Russia has it’s own unique way of going about governance and commerce which is as diverse and varied as any non European state. We deal with other countries who don’t go about their business in what the west would regard as a conventional and appropriate way, so why on earth do we seem obsessed in changing the way Russia conducts its internal affairs.

It’s almost akin to the days when Western European missionaries trundled down to Africa to convert the ‘savages’ and impose our ways and philosophy on them …then shocked and abhorred on occasions when our ‘soldiers’ of God were turned upon and hacked to bits.

Even a short delve into Russian history, particularly since the revolution of 1917, one can appreciate why as a nation they feel insecure and threatened. Ever since the time of Lenin and Trotsky nations all around its borders have been trying at the very least to undermine them … and particularly from the western side.

France had a fear of invasion and from that came the Maginot Line, a vast fortification that spread along the French/German border. It’s intention in World War 2 failed but Russia simply expanded the idea in 1945 after the end of the war. Instead of concrete they chose the territory of whole countries between them as a ‘buffer zone’ … or the ‘Iron Curtain’ phrase coined by Winston Churchill.

This was hardly surprising as twice they had been invaded from the west, by Napoleon in 1812 and Hitler in 1941. In both cases the Russian casualties was beyond comprehension with millions of their people killed and injured.

And still the west continued in the same vein through the ‘Cold War’ period. Russia are by no means the innocent party in all this but there seems to be a complete blindness in the appreciation of why and a dogmatic refusal to look at this from a different angle.

Vladimir Putin is a different person to deal with than Mikhail Gorbachev and the ‘Glasnost’ period that eventually dismantled the USSR. He is a political animal of the ‘old school’ type. But the west have positive relations with leaders of nations just as bad or far worse than him who they accept in a pragmatic and positive way.

A wounded animal is a dangerous thing and that is the Russian bear at this time. The west’s overall treatment of Russia, and their dealings with Putin need to change and that means inclusion and assistance. The sooner the West realise this the better because the possible alternative consequences of a threatened Russia with a wrecked economy could be a far worse proposition.

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