The world has started to respect Russia and take Russia’s opinion into consideration. This is Russia’s major achievement in 2008. The future of 2009 is rather vague because of the financial crisis, which has all chances to develop into a global political crisis. Pravda.ru interviewed State Duma deputy Konstantin Zatulin, TV journalist Mikhail Leontiev and scientists of politics Sergei Mikheyev and Alexander Rar regarding the results, which the nation achieved in 2008.
Konstantin Zatulin, a deputy of the Russian Federation State Duma, United Russia faction, the director of the CIS Institute:
“I would like to point out a number of events, which are not limited with the time period of one year only. It is the economic crisis, first and foremost, which inevitably leads to political consequences. The five-day war in South Ossetia and Russia ’s recognition of Abkhazia’s and South Ossetia ’s independence is the second most important event. A new situation has been created on the post-Soviet space. Russia responded adequately to the challenge, but the West perceived it as a challenge, because it did not expect Russia to act like that.
“I think that it is too early to analyze the consequences of the reappraisal of values. Many try to underestimate the significance of what happened. Russia exercised its will to resist at the moment, when its interests were affected. All these aspects are beyond the scope of the year 2008.”
Mikhail Leontiev, editor-in-chief of Profile Magazine, the host of “However” program of The First Channel:
“There are two things which identify Russia 's international results in 2008. The first one of them is the conflict in South Ossetia. It was the first time in the post-Soviet history of the world, when Russia stood up against the US will. We must realize that it was the USA, not Georgia that acted as a conflict side. It was a direct order to Saakashvili, although it is not clear why they gave that order and what they wanted to achieve with it. The USA participated in the conflict with its arms, money, advisors and direct prewar assistance in the form of electronic guidance on targets from space.
“Russia’s recognition of Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s independence and Russia’s de-facto recognition of the US patronage over Georgia is a new political situation, a new political reality. It is very important that the situation emerged during the year, when the world crisis began.
“The second result of the year is the global crisis, which resulted in many changes in the current state of affairs. The USA has stopped being the world’s dominating economic power. I do not believe that it will be all about the economy only. It is not likely that the Americans will use only economic methods to preserve their domination. Such crises always evolve into socio-political, military and political conflicts. This is the biggest challenge for Russia.”
Sergei Mikheyev, deputy director of the Center for Political Technologies:
“The war in South Ossetia is the most important event of the year, of course. The war showed that Russia could defend its interests. They originally tried to blockade and isolate our country, but then it was revealed that the world was not so unanimous in estimations of Russia 's actions, as the US administration would like it to be.
“Russia’s authority in the world has grown. Russia proved that it was not going to stand on its knees. This is the most important positive outcome of the year. The war is not the best way to achieve such results, of course, but we had no other choice.”
Alexander Rar, a scientist of politics, a member of Germany’s Foreign Policy Council:
“I would say that the year has a gloomy ending for everyone. Every country suffers from the financial crisis, and it may grow into a political crisis. One can already witness that in Greece with its street riots. Demonstrations take place in other countries too. This is the first major clash within the scope of the globalization. The whole world is tumbling down – this is the major outcome of the year 2008.
“The events that we saw in South Ossetia are just a shadow. One may also recollect the missile defense issue and Medvedev’s suggestions regarding the new European security system. The USA will be engulfed in its home problems, Russia, China and the European Union will have very serious problems to deal with too.”
Tatiana Barkhatova, Vadim Trukhachev