Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

From: "Peter Lavelle" <plavelle@metropol.ru>
Subject: Untimely Thoughts Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001

Peter Lavelle: Untimely Thoughts - Putin to join the west, Russia may follow later (re An ironic look at Putin & the west)

Putin's campaign (and the White House's re-casting of the Russian president) to be admitted to major world and western institution is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. Due to his metamorphosis since September 11, the west is craning its collective head to listen to and seemingly reorient its attitude toward the Russian president. Transparency, predictability, and solidarity with western institutions make Putin a desirable candidate for the WTO, NATO, and EU. Doing and saying the right things should obviously be commended. The WTO is talked about most. A "Putin dispensation" seems to be in the works. His attitudes concerning dumping, protection of intellectual property, and money laundering can be modified or given an expedient wink. NATO finds Putin attractive an interesting partner as well. The alliance's prime post-1989 directive of "projecting stability" certainly is something we all can see in Vladimir Putin. Political opposition has virtually disappeared (or lives abroad). The domestic electronic media sings his praises 24/7. The very dubious Koch appears to be moving on. The enormous and quick expression of sympathy for the US after the terrorist attacks is proof of his sincerity and veracity. Being a true friend of the US clearly awards him extra points from the American-led alliance. After all, Putin is a visionary. How right he was about terrorism. Somehow, if the west had supported Russia's house cleaning chores in Chechnya, the World Trade Center would still be standing. Now his struggle in Chechnya is our struggle against the Taliban. Foreign heads of state are routinely invited to Camp David, but only Putin has been invited to the presidential estate called Crawford, Texas. Bush's openness and generosity chokes me up a bit - Putin probably feels the same. In an odd way, there is a degree of symmetry about it all. The entire US intelligence community failed to uncover the tragic conspiracy that resulted in what will most likely remembered as America's "911". Apparently, the same people have underestimated the virtues of the Russian president. It is expected that Putin's candidacy for formal induction is strongest as long as the anti-terrorist hostilities continue. According to Bush, Putin could have to wait a year or so, at the very most.

Unfortunately, the Russian Federation will continue to face a number of difficulties entering these institutions. It is still hard to determine if the US-led military action in Central Asia will adversely impact Russia's candidacy to integrate itself into the west's political, economic, and military architecture.

From a PR perspective, one has to admire Putin's communication dexterity in light of how the west currently defines its security interests.

Back to the Top    Next Article