The National Interest: A liberal, democratic Russia would be only worse for the West


May 5, 2016 – 

PolitRussia – 

Translated by J. Arnoldski

If liberalization overtakes Russia, then the West will only suffer worse as a result. This is the conviction of Kazushige Kobayashi, who shared his vision of various scenarios for developments in the Russian Federation published in The National Interest. In Kobayashi’s opinion, if the West is already incapable of preventing right-wing forces from coming to power in Poland and Hungary, which are already integrated into the EU and NATO, then Moscow is not worth the venture. 

Such a political force as the Communist Party of the Russian Federation could very probably win in the “free and fair” elections that Washington so urges for Russia, Kobayashi described as the  first scenario. 

Putin, whom the West considers an enemy, has at least “kept communists at bay in contemporary Russian politics”, the author recalls, also pointing out that Zyuganov’s party was strong even under Yeltsin and held the majority of seats in the State Duma. The author also recalls how, according to the Levada Center survey, 40% of Russians are in favor of restoring the “Soviet political system.” 

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The second scenario, Kobayashi is convinced, would involve the coming to power of non-liberal forces who, if not held back, would only worsen the situation. Even Liberal and democratic parties in Russia, drawing on centuries of imperial experience, would begin to act like the US and busy themselves with “exporting” their own values to their neighbors. Nothing would be able to stop a Moscow armed with liberal messianism, which by force of arms would defend the rights of the Russian-speaking population in the Baltic states and Central Asia, the author of the publication points out. 

The third, more optimistic scenario for the West would be the possibility of the Kremlin “Europeanizing” to such an extent that it would refuse to use force in foreign policy. However, nothing would then be able to stop the inclusion of enormous Russia into NATO and the EU. After all, if their values become equal, then it would be impossible to block Moscow from participating in the decision making and management of the “common European home,” Kobayashi says. 

In this case, Europeans would either open their arms, share their money and power, and open their crisis-ridden labor market to highly-skilled Russians, or would have to simply reject the Russian Federation. The latter would inevitably lead to the ascension of right-wing forces in Moscow as happened in Budapest and Warsaw.

As it turns out, the democratization and liberalization of Russia would not bring the West peace, but rather new problems, Kazushige Kobayashi summarizes. 

It should be noted that recently NATO’s rhetoric against Russia has become more openly aggressive. On May 1st, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg stated that Russia must be restrained by forces. Two days after this statement, joint NATO and US military exercises began in Moldova. 

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