The Economist: Vague But Sinister

You may recall that, earlier this month, Russia’s Central Electoral Commission accused the OSCE of employing Western spies? Well, this week’s Economist is running an interesting piece on Russia’s current foreign policy plans, and, in particular, its attempts to discredit the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The first, unstated, aim of the new Russian plan, based on what Mr Medvedev calls “21st-century realities”, seems to be to weaken, supplant, or outright replace the OSCE. Russia has already put the OSCE’s election-monitoring outfit under intense political and budget pressure (and blocked its observers’ visas in both recent Russian elections). Conveniently, Kazakhstan, a Russian ally, will be running the OSCE (into the ground, some think) in 2010. Another element in the Kremlin plan is to get the outside world to take seriously Russian-led outfits such as the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Eurasian Economic Union, the Russian-Belarusian Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States. These bodies are so obscure and bureaucratic that they make the even the lame-duck OSCE seem important. The West has shunned official contact with them, seeing them as mere vehicles for Russia’s post-Soviet grandstanding. The Russian plan would give them similar ranking to the EU and NATO.

Read the full story here.