Are the post-Soviet states destined to follow the experience of Afghanistan and Iraq and their “export of democracy?”
President Vladimir Putin conducted a meeting with a group of Western journalists and scientists in the Kremlin in the beginning of September. Putin particularly set out his opinion about Russia's standpoint regarding the external interference in the affairs of the republics of the former Soviet Union. “Russia will not tolerate foreign interference in the affairs of the former Soviet Union republics or attempts to destabilize Russia's neighboring states,” Putin said.
The statement impressed the foreign members of the meeting most, and even inspired Times journalists to write an article about Putin's warning to the Western community about its possible interference in the affairs on the post-Soviet space. As a rule, such statements give another reason for the West to reproach the Russian administration of its “imperial ambition.” However, there is direct evidence of external interference and destabilization attempts. One may equalize the notions of destabilization and external interference, although Putin, being a man of tact, defined them as two different phenomena.
Yulia Timoshenko was undoubtedly one of the brightest leaders of the orange revolution in Ukraine. She released a rather curious statement shortly after the victory of President Yushchenko: Timoshenko stated that “orange democracy would bring freedom to a lot of nations.” Yulia Timoshenko was apparently talking about Belarus, Russia and several other “enslaved” countries on the post-Soviet space. It goes without saying that Western media outlets rejoiced about the victory of freedom and democracy over despotism and tyranny. Some of the metaphors, which foreign journalists used in their remarks and articles, were especially interesting at this point. An expert said in an interview with RTVI network that “the West was acting like a courteous gentleman or even a skilled lover, trying to defend Ukraine, although the Russian government behaved like an impotent rapist.”
A lot of observers agreed that the orange revolution in Ukraine and Georgia launched the chain reaction: revolutions swept across Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Having decided to adopt a strong pro-Western orientation, the newly elected Ukrainian president failed to achieve any considerable accomplishments in this direction. To make matters worse, the future of the new Ukrainian government looks rather vague against the background of Yulia Timoshenko's recent dismissal from the position of the prime minister. One shall assume that the “courteous gentleman” has won the heart of a woman, but he never intended to develop a serious relationship with her. Everyone on the post-Soviet space can make their conclusions from the Ukrainian experience.
Bad habits are contagious. The chain of Georgia-Ukraine-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan gave every reason to believe that the point of no return has been left somewhere behind, and “democracy and freedom” will come to every home located on the territory of the former USSR. Are the post-Soviet states destined to follow the experience of Afghanistan and Iraq and their “export of democracy?” It is noteworthy that the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice puts the war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq on the same list with Georgia and Ukraine, when Ms. Rice talks about the countries, which said yes to freedom and democracy. Apparently, the US top official does not notice a certain ambiguity in such an association.
One may hope, though that those independent states, which have not had a chance to “enjoy the advantage of freedom and democracy” will draw adequate conclusions on the matter. In addition, “the liberated states” will probably realize that a “courteous gentleman” may have crafty and selfish intentions.