CSIS: Putin’s unwillingness to capitulate complicates improvement of Russian-Western relations

16.03.2018, Washington.

The Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Olga Oliker, admitted that a criterion for Western countries in their improving relations with Russia is Russia’s readiness to “admit fault and be down on its knees” at a meeting entitled “Six More Years of Putin?” on March 14, a Rossa Primavera information agency correspondent reports.

Speaking regarding the Russian President’s foreign policy priorities, Oliker said, “He would like to get back to a universe where things are less tense. His vision of the universe is one that is less tense because Russia gets the respect that it deserves. It is not a universe where Russia admits fault and is down on its knees begging the West for its friendship, which I think how he sees Western expectations and demands, and he is not entirely wrong.”

Consequently, according to the leading expert of the American think tank, Putin’s reluctance “to be seen as capitulating” is the main obstacle to Russia’s rapprochement with the West.

The conference’s participants also noted that an increase of turbulence should be expected in Russia after Vladimir Putin is re-elected President, because the strategic uncertainty in the Russian elite due to the prospect of Putin’s leaving power inevitably exacerbates conflicts within the elite.

Many people on both sides of the ocean, especially after the Crimean reintegration, started talking about a new cold war, which the West sees is a result of Russia’s refusal to accept its defeat after the collapse of the bipolar system of international relations. The leader of the Essence of Time movement, political scientist Sergey Kurginyan, in his landmark article The Right to Oxygen, discussed in detail the systemic threat for Russia arising from uncertainty regarding the question of whether the contemporary Russian elite, which has been consistently seeking to merge with the West, is ready to put the preservation of the Russian state above its old ideas concerning its own personal interests.

Source: Rossa Primavera news agency

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