Hanging Tough

No one expects immediate changes in Russia, so why ponder any change in policy? That’s pretty much what the Economist argues in this editorial:

The best approach to Mr Medvedev will be to heed what he does, not what he says. For example, if he gave parole to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an oligarch imprisoned without even a pretence at a fair trial, dropped Russia’s belligerent posture towards Georgia, began to open up state-run television to alternative voices, and initiated a crackdown on corruption, then it would be right to respond in a friendly fashion. But hard evidence is needed before taking such a step. Above all, Western leaders must be united. Medved means bear in Russian—and the worst way to respond to a bear is to display overt weakness or to scarper in different directions.