Anne Applebaum kjenner Russland godt, og har skrevet en anerkjent bok om Gulag. Det er å verdt å merke seg hennes karakteristikk av Putins Russland. Når hørte vi en norsk politiker gi en tilnærmet like skarp og usminket fremstilling?
True, Russia is no longer Soviet. But its ruling clique, led by former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, remains steeped in the paranoid, highly controlled, conspiracy-obsessed culture of the old KGB. Putin and his entourage are not communists, but neither do they believe in free markets or free societies. Instead, all important decisions must be made in Moscow, by a small, unelected group of people who know how to resist sabotage organized from abroad. Events cannot be allowed to just happen; they must be controlled and manipulated. Elections cannot just take place; their outcomes must be determined in advance.
Vesten har mye større muligheter til å influere Russland idag enn da Moskva invaderte Tsjekkoslovakia. Men spørsmålet er: tør Vesten bruke dem?
But if this becomes a long-term conflict, if the Russian military remains in Georgia proper, if this turns out to be only the first of several incursions into other neighboring states, there are relationships we have and meaningful levers we can use, whether over Russian membership in international institutions or Russian leaders’ luxury apartments in Paris — if, of course, we are willing to use them. The critical question now is whether the West is prepared to behave like the West, to speak with one voice and create a common transatlantic policy. In recent years, Russia has preferred to deal with Western countries and their leaders one by one. Just last week, an affiliate of Gazprom, the Russian state-dominated gas company, added a former Finnish prime minister to its payroll — which already includes former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. If we hang together instead of allowing Gazprom to pick us all off separately, there is at least a chance that this mini-chill won’t last another 40 years, too.