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  How to address the issue of Russia? speak European observers

2013 10 22

Kremlin is making the agenda on important global issues, and again started commanding its neighbours. "How the capitals of major European countries are the reacting to Putin's newly acquired confidence on the international arena? Are they responding in unison, or, on the contrary, out of sync?" - The Guardian asked the reviewers of the leading European newspapers. In France, a similar collection of opinions is published by LeMonde.

The paper describes the situation: "Greenpeace activists behind bolt and bar, a Dutch diplomat beaten, former republics of the USSR subjected to harassment: Kremlin banned the import of Lithuanian cheese, because Vilnius holds the Summit of the EU and the East European states, and also is bullying Ukraine for daring to participate in the Summit."

What do the observers say?

France: Yves-Michel Riols and Peter Smolar (LeMonde) write that Russia "is relentless on such major issues like Syria and Iran," taking the course of aggressive policy towards its neighbours "seduced by European integration", and is developing an anti-Western rhetoric.

UK. The Guardian columnist Simon Tisdall states that toughness of Russia does not demonstrate its strength. "According to British diplomats and experts, the power and influence of Putin and Russia on political, economic and demographic indicators are getting steadily weaker, and the influence of the EU is enhancing."

According to the view of Sir Andrew Wood (ex- British ambassador in Moscow) and other British observers, Russia is watching the extension of the "Eastern Partnership" of the EU with particular concern. "Putin considers Ukraine as a part of Russia. He will ask himself: how is it possible to be a great power if a huge appendage falls off? Overall, Russia is losing the battle in controlling the "Sandwich States" between Russia and the EU" – says Dzheyms Nixey (ChathamHouse, London).

"Putin is convinced that Western countries are trying to" humiliate" Russia. But if the Europeans were able to prove their unity, they have yet another advantage: they are giants compared to the Russian economy - states LeMonde. - Now they should recognize their political weight, which is the power in itself."

 Material has been prepared by the Centre of Geopolitical Studies with reference to the article from “InoPressa” of 18 10 2013

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