The Kremlin is not prepared to raise the degree of diplomatic tension with Eastern and Central European countries although it is planning an adjustment to its external political policy.
In the light of the intensification of the special services war and the escalation of tense relations between Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Israel (USA), the placing of the land unit of the USA’s Antimissile Defense System in the Czech Republic, (the Czech parliament is considering this possibility), Poland and Hungary, (in these countries an initial positive decision has already been made), is causing serious concern, not only in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, but also in the Ministry of Defense, whose management has already expressed great alarm at the appearance of American bases on Eastern European territory.
According to the Russian side, the systems are clearly intended for a battle with Russian strategic intercontinental ballistic missiles and have the aim of intercepting them at the most vulnerable stage of flight: take-off. Concern in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also caused by the fact that the USA essentially justifies the placing of Antimissile Defense System objects with the threat of terrorism from Iran and so on.
In connection with this, they say that the Kremlin is not prepared to raise the degree of diplomatic tension with Eastern and Central European countries although it is planning an adjustment to its external political policy in connection with newly arisen circumstances.
By way of illustration, the Kremlin, in its time, was very much put on guard by the dispatch of NATO arms to the Crimean territory (Ukraine). Local pro-Russia lobby groups, including Cossacks, who allegedly did not allow the American contingent to enter the Ukrainian territory, participated in the authorization of the situation in favor of Russia. Nevertheless, it became evident that arming with the help of NATO lobby groups (Crimean Tatars) had taken place in the Crimea all the same.
Recent studies in Georgia have demonstrated the level of development of NATO bases on this country’s territory: it was acknowledged as quite high. The Romanian government’s comment on its readiness to join Moldavia is also being considered by the Kremlin as an act of hostile absorption of post-Soviet territories.
As a result, the Russian side has had to certify that the process of forcing Russia out of post-Soviet territory corresponds to a stage that is coming to a close: the buffer system, which has practically been created, and the placing of NATO bases in this area will inevitably be considered by Russia as a hostile, aggressive act.
Russia, for its part, is determined to adhere to international agreements; however it is leaving behind the possibility of strengthening its systems of defense in this direction, including the extension of corresponding interaction with Belarus within the bounds of systematic and unsystematic studies.
Evidently, Russia is also considering the Ukraine as a sphere of priority influence and is determined to support, officially and unofficially, politicians and enterprisers who sympathize with Russia, showing them extra preference. The result of this work was visible in the political crisis surrounding the appointing of the Ukrainian Prime Minister.
It is said that Russia is simultaneously setting up serious work with the Georgian opposition and creating a series of influential groups in this region, although the Russian government understands that, to a great extent, Russia has already lost Georgia.
In connection with this, a sharp intensification in the activity of the Russian special services has taken place. The Federal Security Service’s present to the Kremlin for the G8 summit was the annihilation of Shamil Basayev. It is typical that the management of the special services had to admit that they had obtained their information about Basayev from abroad: in truth, Nikolai Patrushev did not decode the concept “operational positions abroad”. These could have been colleagues of the Federal Security Service or their intelligence service. So it’s possible that the present was general.
Basayev’s annihilation obviously weakened the positions of unlawful armed Chechen groups on the global arena, but equally it demonstrated the possibilities for the Russian special services on the threshold of the annihilation of the murderers of Russian diplomats in Iraq. At the same time, the FSB has considerably strengthened the weight of the words of Russia’s president.
According to some predictions, Basayev will be replaced by Dokku Umarov, who recently became the president of Ichkeria. It is also possible that an emir from the Middle East will be delegated in Chechnya (analogous to how Khattab was commanded in Chechnya). In the near future, the risk of terrorism will be minimal according to some estimates: Basayev’s descendants will be sharing financial income.
Sources from the special services insist that the FSB carried out this operation independently, even without the involvement of local forces from Ingushetia and other Northern Caucasian regions. Ingushetia, incidentally, has been predicted to be the most explosively dangerous region in the near future.
The leaders of the countries participating in the summit in St Petersburg have shown strict devotion to their national interests. It became clear that the Europeans were most interested in whether Russia, one of the main world sources of oil, will be able to guarantee continuity in supplying the European Union, an important energy consumer. According to all sources, the European leaders received this guarantee and were satisfied.
The USA was interested in Russia’s readiness to concede on some key questions regarding their entry into the global market, concerning the nuclear business, agricultural industry complexes and other spheres. Vladimir Putin has not changed his position; the Russian powers are obliged first of all to take into account their national interests, and George Bush practically admitted that it will be difficult for any country that does not concede to the USA to come to an agreement with them.
The main news for Russian spectators of the summit was the crisis in the relation between two friends: Vladimir Putin was clearly unable to hide his disappointment in his “friend”, George W. Bush, although he insisted that warm relations were being maintained.
Russia was not the only country to demonstrate a dazzling level of preparation for the meeting: immediately preceding the summit, the USA and Israel contrived an unmistakable scheme: the actions of Iran, Syria and the Hezbollah terrorists which unfolded in Lebanon were almost certainly miscalculated and subtly provoked. The principal of organized conflict almost always goes smoothly. Russia had no chance, although, in its turn, it also did much to assure that the summit would proceed on a highly organized level.
As a result of the loudly announced rescue of two Israeli soldiers, humanitarian questions within the bounds of the G8 (energy security, public health and education) were reprioritized to a second level, to use the expression of the president of the USA, a more philosophical one. Even the anti-terrorism dialogue, during which the setting up of appropriate systems of agreement for the coordination of actions at the time of situations such as the Lebanese one were to be established, was washed away. As a result, it became clear that NATO needs no additional international agreements concerning joint actions during terrorist attacks, apart from those that already exist within the bounds of the alliance itself.
Aside from this, the USA showed a genuine sense of humor, having played a dirty trick on Russia (the shining demand of refusal to audit American pork), that practically tore off negotiations about Russia’s entry into the WTO.
Translated by Leila Wilmers
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