Mikhail Khodorkovsky: A Time and a Place for Russia

mbk012710.jpgMikhail Khodorkovsky has published an opinion article in the International Herald Tribune / New York Times today.  Below is an excerpt:

How does a corrupt raw materials-based Russia influence the West today?

What new challenges and threats will the West run up against if today’s Russia breaks down into pseudo-state formations only nominally controlled from a single center?

Is today’s behavior of the Euro-Atlantic elite in relation to Russia strategically responsible?

I maintain that to deal successfully with its internal political problems, my country must continue to develop a democratic model of governance for all of Russia. Only then will we be able to play a qualitatively new role in the world’s division of labor or fill a new niche in global politics.

Russia can and must become an equal, full-fledged part of greaterEurope in socio-economic and cultural spheres; a conduit of Europeanpolitical and humanitarian values on the Eurasian space; a strong andreliable connecting link between East Asia and Western Europe, not onlythrough transport corridors but also through intellectual and culturalinteraction. The only proper future for my country is that it growsinto one of the intellectual and technological centers of the modernworld.

The choice of a new place in the world is first and foremost theresponsibility of Russia’s elites. But the West, which unavoidablyexerts a great geopolitical pull on my country, must also assess thereal level of its own politico-economic risks and be aware of its ownshare of responsibility for what vector of development Russia choosesin the next few years. Are Western leaders prepared to return to astrategic dialogue with Russia about its place in the world? Will theydevelop a strategic policy that is not dependent on Russia’s currentleading exports?

The answers to these questions will turn upon the choices Russiamakes in the next decade. At stake is the fate of our commoncivilization.