Integrated & Turning Away: Russia’s Janus-face

Authoritarian regime?  What authoritarian regime?  Academic (and great-granddaughter of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev) Nina Khrushcheva puts a clever spin on Russia’s ‘Janus-faced‘ foreign policy in the Scotsman today.  What Russia really wants, she says, is a degree of control in matters that closely affect its neighbours that border the West, such as Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.  Its desire for integration, in other words, only spreads as far as its Swiss bank accounts.
A democratic Russia would want to catch up with the West and integrate into Western institutions. Yet this is not in the interests of Mr Putin’s backers, who own Russia: its security, military, and industrial complex.

Of course, these people have been personally integrated into Europe for two decades now – their money is in European banks. their holiday villas are in,Tuscany and their children are educated in the poshest boarding schools. Despite the regime’s anti-Western rhetoric, they are not interested in closing Russia off. What they do want is to prevent the integration with the West of Russia itself, for that would mean the end of their regime.

But the regime cannot be as authoritarian as Mr Putin might wish. If it were, Swiss banks and international organisations would close their doors.
Click here for the full piece.