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An Intense Psychological Complex

stopnato050109.jpgBelow is an excerpt of an article Miriam Elder – a journalist that many of us know from the pages of the Moscow Times – however this time she is writing for GlobalPost, a new news model which is taking a stab at creating a sustainable business model (with the journalists themselves as shareholders) to continue bringing us high quality international reporting in the midst of so many newspaper deaths and foreign bureau closures.  From GP’s mission statement: “We have forged a business model that includes three pillars of financial support. The first is online advertising. The second is the syndication or sale of our content to other web and print publications around the world. And the third, and most bold, is the creation of an elite community on our site through paid membership — or through a rewards system for frequent users of GlobalPost — which we have dubbed Passport.

We think this is an interesting news initiative that deserves our support.  Anyhow, on to the article from Miriam about the very bad week in relations between Russia and the West, which began as NATO ejected two Russian diplomats accused of spying (tying them to the case of a high-ranking Estonian official selling state secrets), and continued with Russia vigorously responded within 24 hours by advancing their troops – in violation of the ceasefire terms – to the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The message is pretty clear from Moscow, but in case you were wondering what the worldview was of some of the Russian officials over NATO’s activity in the near abroad, we have these delightful quotes that Elder got out of Sergei Markov.  Once again we are back to debating who is more Cold War-like in their conception of the relationship, Washington or Moscow?  Throw in on top of that a little amateur psychology of nationalism, and that’s where the debate has arrived.

Although Markov does his best job imitating ultra-nationalist Dmitry Rogozin, the measure is pretty clear – Russia’s actions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia are just another gesture of power and reminder to the neighborhood of West’s inability and unwillingness to put its money where its mouth is.  Russia feels pretty confident that this won’t derail the “reset button” diplomacy.

Sergei Markov, a deputy in the State Duma who is very close to theKremlin, said relations with NATO would only improve if the militaryalliance undergoes a radical transformation.

“NATO has lost its mind, they want another Crimean war,” Markov saidin a telephone interview. “We think we ended the Cold War and forewentcommunism for democracy. NATO thinks they won the Cold War and shouldrelate to us as victors.”

“They suffer from an intense psychological complex of Russophobia,” he said.

While the U.S. and Russia work to “reset” relations, it looks like asimilar path with NATO will be difficult to achieve, as Moscowcontinues to view the alliance in its historical anti-Soviet framework.

Photo: Members of the Kremlin-loyal youth organisation “Young Russia” hold up bricks during an anti-NATO protest in front of the U.S. embassy in Moscow April 4, 2009. (Reuters Pictures)