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Preserving the Status Quo

Brian Whitmore has a good new post over at Power Vertical about the “new” pro-Western Russian foreign policy currently in ascedency.  Stay tuned here for a video interview we shot with Whitmore during our last visit to Prague.

The thing to remember here is what motivates Russia’s rulers more than anything else is the long-term preservation of the political status quo — that is, the long-term preservation of their power, privilege and wealth.

If Vladimir Putin and his inner circle can achieve such security through confrontation with the West, that is the route they will go. But if they can better achieve it through closer relations with the West, they can go down that road as well.

Right now, the Kremlin elite feels threatened by a creaky economy and an increasingly restless public. They need the West and appear ready to reach out — and the West appears ready to respond in kind.

But sooner or later, the Kremlin is going to run into the same political-economic conundrum that has accompanied every Russian attempt at modernization.