The West is interested in Russia solely as an exporter of natural resources, oil and gas first and foremost
Prime ministers of the Eurasian Economic Community gathered for a session of the community's international council in Dushanbe (the capital of Tajikistan) on September 27. Observers were not expecting any surprises from the session, although the results of the meeting turned out to be quite unexpected.
Spokespeople for all member-countries of the community, which incorporates Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, released statements about the results of the meeting. About 30 documents were signed in Tajikistan as a result of the EEC meeting.
International cooperation is generally built on either bilateral or coalition grounds (Moscow-Warsaw, Kiev-Tel Aviv or NATO, EU, etc). There can be another variant in the organization of international relations, when one state has to deal with a coalition of other states. A small single Baltic state (Lithuania), for example, made it clear to Moscow after the accident with the crashed Russian Su-27 aircraft that Russia would have to deal not only with a small state, but with the big NATO block.
Is it easy for Ukraine or Belarus to withstand EU's diplomatic pressure or for Cuba and Venezuela to cope with the USA's pressure? Such circumstances make other countries unite into various coalitions based on certain principles. An association like this exists according to its external rules, whereas there are other rules in action outside its limits. The USSR used to be one of the brightest examples of the theory during the Cold War era: the state was developing according to its internal logic of a socialist system, whereas external rules set by strongest Western states were absolutely different. A lot of East European countries and Baltic states decided to agree upon the latter.
The state of affairs on the post-Soviet space, in the Commonwealth of Independent States, is more complicated. Ukraine's standpoint is still indefinite in spite of the fact that its new administration tries to make the Western community understand that it has taken a firm pro-Brussels orientation, although it seems in reality that Ukraine has become more of a pro-Washington state.
Russia currently faces a similar problem too. When the USSR broke up, a lot was said about the need to integrate in the global economic system. The wording implied the incorporation of something new in a stable system. It is possible to become a part of a system either wholly or partially. It is noteworthy that a system always takes what it needs and disregards everything else. Examples can be found on the American continent. Venezuela is rich with oil resources, which makes it highly attractive for the USA. Cheap and skilled labour force is available in Mexico, where it is possible to establish the car production and earn millions of dollars of profit on it. It goes without saying that many Latin American states do not wish to make up with such a situation. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez set forth an initiative to form a closed market of oil for 16 countries of Latin America. According to Chavez's ideas, members of such an association would be able to purchase oil at special prices which would be lower than their market versions.
It is worthy of note that the Russian government approved the draft agreement about the organization and development of the common oil and gas market in the Eurasian Economic Association. The document was approved on the threshold of the above-mentioned meeting in Tajikistan. The draft agreement stipulates that the common oil and gas market is to be established on the basis of equal rights and the policy of non-intervention in the affairs of national economies.
Such an approach allows to see many similarities with other systems of international relations. Similarly to the situation with Venezuela, the West is interested in Russia solely as an exporter of natural resources, oil and gas first and foremost. One should mention at this point that Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago treated Hugo Chavez's suggestion quite cautiously. The three states clarified that they needed more time to study Venezuela's initiative thoroughly from the point of view of national laws. This approach completely coincides with the stance of the Ukrainian government regarding Ukraine's participation both in the Eurasian Economic Community and in the Single Economic Space. The Ukrainian Constitution does not imply the country's membership in any organizations possessing supranational governing agencies, although it does not stop the current Ukrainian government from declaring its pro-NATO and pro-EU orientation.
Current anti-Russian policies run by many states of the former USSR can be explained with the fact that the republics were completely deprived of any choice when the Soviet Union broke up. Russia's suggestions seemed either unacceptable or nonviable to them. Choosing between Washington/Brussels and Moscow, Kiev, Chisinau and others were forced to look westwards. Russia has a good chance to become the center of attraction to its neighboring states again, when advantages of the strong pro-American orientation have been weakening steadily. Unlike Venezuela and Cuba, the masterminds of anti-American policies in Latin America, Russia has been a strong superpower for centuries. Moscow only needs to gain more political will.