Medvedev's Macro-European Ambitions Ring Hollow

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Baev, Pavel K. (2009) Medvedev's Macro-European Ambitions Ring Hollow, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 27 April.

The Finns remained indifferent to Medvedev's vision despite the catchy name "Helsinki plus" and despite the undeniable fact that Russia's dissatisfaction with the existing security system makes it seriously unstable.

Medvedev's counterparts will eventually abandon their "we-will-think-about-it" approach and tell him bluntly that a new Kellogg-Briand pact is a non-starter. Meanwhile, Medvedev tries to supplement his grand initiative with a no less ambitious proposal for replacing the Energy Charter with a new framework agreement.

Large-scale sequestration and cuts for every program will mean that the government has failed to identify its priorities and set Russia on a course of stagnation at the "bottom" of the crisis. That might suit the interests of some parts of the ruling bureaucracy, but will leave the populist demands unaddressed and the main pressure groups, from the siloviki to Gazprom, entirely dissatisfied. The ruling "tandem" is quite possibly incapable of making hard choices, as Medvedev's vague ideas about modernization contradict Putin's commitment to preserve key elements of his power system. This system of corrupt patronage and triumphant consumerism was perhaps organic to Russia in the period of petro-prosperity. It is, however, simply not viable in the years of scarcity and survival-of-the-fittest -so the Russians are remembering Boris Yeltsin, who died two years ago, with a new respect for a leader that steered the country across a sea of troubles.

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Pavel K. Baev

Pavel K. Baev

Research Professor