.. rmer rivals, so they have chosen to counter it. They have participated in several European security meetings and are no stranger to dealings with the EU, but are too proud to accept membership. To compensate for this over sized ego on the global market, they depend on the members of the CIS, who are also encouraged to avoid contact with NATO as well. At times Moscow has been known use pressure tactics on the countries to get its way.
It would seem that Russian influence is as important to Moscow as the nation’s security. In the Caucasus, Moscow is supporting both Karabakh and Abkhazia, two nations who have had longstanding disputes. This move allows Russia to play both sides and still remain influential. Their fear is this; if quarrelling countries are able to resolve their conflicts, then Russia will have no say and will see its power and influence over the region diminish. Overall, Russia’s crisis management has been known to be self-serving, resembling more the tactics of dividing and ruling than integration. Georgia and Armenia are currently addressing the possibility of peace settlements, but they are both hoping that Russia’s direct role in their business is finished, as unlikely as it seems.
One of the reasons for which Moscow is so busy with external affairs is that its own country is in shambles. La corruption financire sans limites, la dgradation nationale et le cataclysme conomique dans lesquels se dbat la Russie depuis l’arrive au pouvoir de M. Boris Eltsine en 1991 n’ont pas de prcdent dans l’histoire du capitalisme au XXe sicle. En huit ans, les apparatchiks du prsident, la nouvelle oligarchie et leurs mentors amricains ont ruin le pays. Experts have compared modern Russia to Chicago in the 1920’s because of the extreme crime rate. It is well known that Russian Mafia play a large part in the running of the country, with influence in the surrounding areas as well, and as such the people have lost faith in their government.
There is not only a problem with crime however, the economy is much worse. Boris Yeltsin is trying to strengthen his appeal to voters by giving them what they want, a strong Russia. Throughout Russia’s history, there has always been a legacy of strength and power. When the USSR failed and the government became democratic, the people believed that it would bring them prosperity. However, it brought them corruption, in the greatest sense of the word. As mentioned above, inner turmoil and bankruptcy are tearing Russia apart.
Unpaid salaries are among the dozens of hardships the Russian population is facing, but seeing as they are a democratic nation, the impoverished masses are voters, and will decide Yeltsin’s fate. He is trying to win over his people by getting Russia involved in international situations. Take for instance the conflict in Kosovo; there have always been tensions between Moscow and Yugoslavia, but Yeltsin rallied his people against the American bombings. Regardless of the tension, the masses are focusing their anger towards anti-American propaganda because it is all they have. La crise des Balkans agit sur l’volution du paysage politique russe de manire multiforme.
Si, jusqu’ici, le thme du complot amricain contre la Russie ne rencontrait qu’un cho assez modr, la crise du Kosovo survient dans un contexte en pleine volution. Moscow needs to fuel the fire to keep people’s faith. Pour beaucoup de Russes, la guerre mene par l’OTAN confirme la volont des Amricains de mettre leur pays genoux. D’autant qu’ils sont sensibles leur isolement croissant. The recent conflict in Chechnya is yet another instance where Russia refuses to let go.
They have asked for their independence on countless occasions since the reign of Peter the Great and have always been refused. Just recently, there has been some activity around the Russian-Chechnyan border causing panic throughout the state. Unfortunately though, Moscow has played the situation to it’s fullest, bombing their own civilian buildings and placing the blame on Chechnyan terrorists, subsequently winning over the Russian people. Just like in the Russian Tsarist and Stalinist periods, Yeltsin is using force to appeal to the Russian public. Instead of giving the small nation their independence, the Yeltsin government has pushed them over once again, only this time bombing civilians and creating thousands of casualties. Moscow is disregarding the suggestion for peace by CIS members and justifies the bombings for its own gain.
It would seem that the CIS only matters when it will profit Russia. The members of the CIS also have issues with Russia. It is known that Moscow uses the Commonwealth for its own purpose but its members are not wholly ignorant. Some countries need Russia, or have been led to believe they do, and some know they do not need Russia but can’t seem to shake them off. During the Soviet period many Russians emigrated all over its territory, settling families and lives.
Today that is causing many problems with countries that would choose to oppose Russia, the Ukraine for instance. There are nearly 15 millions Russians within Ukraine’s borders, and as such they are a heavy minority. They represent enough of a pull for the government not to disregard them in matters of the state. Russia has much say in Ukrainian dealings because of that specific minority, albeit president Kravchuk’s disapproval. It is known amongst the ex-Soviet states that the Russians overlook other nationalities with an undue degree of ethnic superiority, creating tensions. Ukraine has a problem with this but can say nothing because of the repercussions it would cause between them and Russia, especially since there is enough tension there already. The Ukraine also relies heavily on Russian fuel and has strong cultural links so it wouldn’t be able to find allies elsewhere without being cutoff of a vital supply.
In 1995, Russia threatened to call the Ukraine a bankrupt country and demand their debt be paid off in Ukraine assets. Moscow is using its imports, exports and past debts to manipulate other countries. Another country stuck in Russia’s economic grasp is Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz government believes that to be truly independent economically, they must depend on Russian support. The president stated, If we break these relations, there is a risk that the Kyrgyz will return to their traditional nomadic life as cattle breeders.
They rely on fuel material, lubricants and equipment provided by Russia, which, if they were to be taken away, would greatly affect Kyrgyz agriculture. Also, reforms in the mid-Asian state also depend on Russia, or so believe the president of Kyrgyz, it will be impossible to achieve reforms in Kyrgyzstan without close cooperation with Russia. There is a fear throughout many mid-Asian countries that if they turn their interests to the south or west for economic purposes, they will lose all support from Russia. This does not leave them much choice in the matters of their states. They have been dependant on their northern ally for such a long time that it would appear they know no better than to agree with whatever decision comes their way. We can see that through manipulation and the image of power, Russia tends to get its way, all the while impeding on the sovereignty of its neighboring states. Russia today is not that different from the Russia back in the 19th century, doing what it can to form a superpower, at which they are the head country. Even as Russia is in its darkest economic period they have not let go of their pride, rallying the people to support the Kremlin’s decisions, as well as manipulation the other countries into believing Russia is the beginning and the end of eastern European politics.
Many scholars believe that the CIS is in fact Russia is piecing together its former federation, a fallen power desperate to hold on to everything it has, or can have for that matter. Russia does not have to be strong to possess power, Kissinger once wrote that the perception of power is as manipulative as power itself, something the Kremlin knows well. Current academic works have already begun replacing the term Commonwealth of Independent States with a much simpler term, Russia. It will be interesting to see in the coming years where such a country will be. With the failing economy and internal politics turned inside out by crime, one would think not to far, but Russia still has enough kick to get by and maybe what the critics say is true, with the help from the west, Russia will rebuild its empire to one day stand again.
Bibliography BIBLIOGRAPHY 1-Bremmer, Ian, Russia’s Total Security, World Policy Journal Volume XVI No.2 Summer 1999 2-Brzezkinski, Zbigniew- Sullivan, Paige, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States- Documents, Data and Analysis, Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data, New York, 1997, 855 pages 3-LE MONDE DIPLOMATIQUE – Ukraine, une socit bloque MAI 1998 – Page 8 http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1998/05/PFLIMLIN/ 10467.html 4-LE MONDE DIPLOMATIQUE – Tempte politique en Russie JUIN 1999 – Page 10 http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1999/06/RADVANYI/ 12117.html 5-Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000, Interactive software, 1999 6-The National Russia and Election 2000 September 6/13, 1999 http://www.thenation.com Political Issues Essays.