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EURASIAN PLAN OF VLADIMIR PUTIN:
Battle for Russia and Middle Asia

EURASIAN PLAN OF VLADIMIR PUTIN: Battle for Russia and Middle Asia

"Eurasian plan of Vladimir Putin" is a reaction of nationally-oriented elite and capital to the current state of affairs. Up to a certain degree this is an attempt to reverse the situation, stop the process of ousting Russia from its geopolitical borders and squeezing into the bed of "Grand Principality of Moscow".

Vladimir Putin literally celebrated his "return" to the presidential post with an article "New Eurasian integration project: future that is born today1", which was lively discussed by political elites of Tajikistan, Kirghizstan and Uzbekistan. Lively it was indeed, yet anything but public, albeit every analyst got used to the private-club-like nature of politics in these countries (for the justice sake I have to denote Kirghizstan as a nice exception). From one hand, this creates certain inconveniences, making us step the quicksand of "doubts styled as suggestions", from the other hand — makes us tracing the daily life of Central-European politics more thoroughly, deposit facts and statements because when the moment’s right they fit into a clear picture, whichever chaotic and random they might seem.

The plan, stated in Putin’s article is quite clear. The maximum goal is to create the Eurasian Union — "powerful supranational institution", which "might have become one of contemporary power centers". And here’s the minimum goal: it is to act as a "pivot point for the further integration processes. We welcome other partners and the CIS members first of all. At that, we’re not going to hasten or push anyone".

The phrase about "not going to hasten or push" belongs to the area of wishful thinking. The claims that the European Union won’t "fence itself off anything or stand against someone" are the same sort of benevolence. Given all the diplomatic smoothness of the wording, Putin’s article is a Russian response to the New Silk Road project, actively promoted by the USA2.

Surely, the very emergence of this article makes causes certain optimism. What has Russia achieved at the post-Soviet space? In twenty years that passed since the collapse of the USSR Russian political establishment did everything it could to push the post-Soviet Caucasian and Middle-Asian elites away from them. All the those conversations about the integration of post-Soviet republics remained such, while the republics themselves steadily drifted towards all the greater independence from Russia and our country promoted this process the best it could. All the statements of Russian top officials about prioritizing the relations with the CIS happened to be a soother, while Moscow has demonstrated its unwillingness to invest into creation of new relationship.

We were getting an impression that the pro-Western part of Russian elite gave up the independent Middle-Asian foreign policy. Getting a status of "special partner" would’ve been of much greater importance for them — thus, they’d be able to provide the outsourced support and lobbying of Western interests in Middle Asia. That, of course, would be traded for the "modernization" investments. Moreover, a part of the elite has already started claiming that bearing the Western values to the Middle Asia through the CIS and CSTO to be the historical role of Russia3.

Such policy resulted in the loss of both political and cultural attractiveness of Russia, in the eyes of former Middle-Asian republics. Due to re-industrialization, collapse of the hi-tech and science-intensive fields (defense industry, mostly), decrease of the scientific potential modern Russia has almost nothing to offer its Middle-Asian partner — nothing that other players can’t provide them with (in greater quantity, of better quality and at more lucrative conditions).

Finally it reduced Russian regional interests to keeping the drug traffic in leash and preventing the immigration wave, caused by the destabilization of regional situation. I hope you’d agree that such interests may hardly be dubbed strategic, comparing to the U. S. and Chinese aspirations.

"Eurasian plan of Vladimir Putin" is a reaction of nationally-oriented elite and capital to the current state of affairs. Up to a certain degree this is an attempt to reverse the situation, stop the process of ousting Russia from its geopolitical borders and squeezing into the bed of "Grand Principality of Moscow".

This policy will surely meet a fierce rebuff both at home and in the West. Western reflections upon the "inborn Russian aggression and expansionism" are quite common and routine. No Russian move — apart from unilateral nuclear disarmament and giving sovereignty to all of its territories at once — will be approved in the West. Carthago delendam esse, Carthage must be destroyed...

An indestructible wall of powers, opposing the Eurasian Plan in Russia, is of much greater interest for us. We aren’t talking about the good old eternally-protesting opposition, which, prompting the West, will interpret any state actions as the coming of totalitarianism and the forthcoming downfall of all freedoms. They only existed until the media shows any interest for them, which will go on forever — they are the "democratic and liberal showcase" after all, our report to the West. Much mightier and less public powers will oppose Putin. The West-oriented capital of Russia will rise to fight the Eurasian Union and will have all the grounds for that.

First of all, policy of the Eurasian Union creation will cause the Western counteraction, which this capital is dependent upon. For the capital this conflict is deadly, because it destroys the very essence of its existence — earning super-profits from the reckless sale of resources. Creation of Eurasian Union will require Russia to act almost "against the law" (in the Western notion). Nightmare for Washington is the consolidation of Russian (or the Eurasian Union in the long run) regional partnership with China and Iran and inclusion of Pakistan into this alliance. Even today the USA tries to resist the very emergence of such bloc, successfully creating a "special relationship" with India and involving it into the strategic partnership in Afghanistan. That’s how we should view the treaty of strategic partnership between India and Afghanistan that Karzai and Singh signed this Tuesday, on the 4th of October4. And while Israeli government demands Russian representatives at the Jewish Congress to exert pressure upon their leaders in order to stiffen Russian attitude to Iran, we may imagine the amount of pressure upon Russian business, when it come to bringing the Eurasian plan to life.

Second of all, in my opinion, the Eurasian Union will require building up the foreign-policy potential of Russia, i. e. — the foreign-policy spending, including the defense spending. The only source of income here — no matter how fiercely we’re being convinced of the opposite — are the restriction for super-profits of Russian capital, which is mostly bound to the export of raw resources and energy carriers. I doubt that we have to explain, what happens, when someone infringes upon the most sacred thing — the incomes of oligarchic structures.

Third and the last of all: Russian bureaucratic apparatus operates in such a way that it positively responds only to increase of staff and extension of its authorities in the permissive/denying area. For the justice sake we have to admit that any state apparatus works like this. Yet, not everywhere it has such broad opportunities to saboteur the decisions of President and the government. But it’s not just about authority either. Project of Eurasian Union is not just demanding for the quality of its work, it also decreases its incomes, stemming from the right to authorize or deny.

I rush to tell you that those are merely the outlines of anti-Putin, anti-Union bloc within the country. There’s a more important detail, though. Bringing such an ambitious plan — actually, the creation of a new state to life — will require mobilizing an entire society around the re-industrialization concept mostly. Russian adherent of integration often tend to forget that unification is only possible when the economy of a core country develops dynamically, when the unifying country becomes attractive in technological, scientific, social and cultural sense. Actually, the creation of the Eurasian Union is impossible without profound transformations of Russia. Whether it’s ready for them or not is yet another issue, which is out-of-frame for this article. Is there a plan for them — not some mere declarations, but rather a roadmap for an entire country? This question still seems open-ended to me...

In the very beginning I’ve said that the Eurasian Union isn’t going "to fence itself off anything or stand against someone" in its foreign policy, which is no more than a benevolence. Yet, it would have to stand against the elites of certain Middle Asian states. The scope and difficulty of this task is barely inferior to the stand at Russian internal frontiers in its fight against the Eurasian Union.

By Igor Pankratenko

1 «New Eurasian integration project: future that is born today», Izvestiya, 3rd Oct, 2011.
2 The United States’ «New Silk Road» Strategy: What is it? Where is it Headed? 29th Sept, 2011.
3 «CSTO: Responsible security».
4 «Karzai Sets Closer Ties With India on Visit», By Tom Wright & Margarita Stancati, The WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5th Oct, 2011.

 

 

 

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