A week after the Malaysian airline accident in the Donetsk suburbs the Russian government has come under unprecedented international pressure. Guided by the dubious facts presented by Kiev, Western politicians and the Media have rushed into making the south-east Ukrainian rebel forces responsible for the accident. British Prime Minister David Cameron came up with the formula: ‘if it was the rebels who crashed the plane, it is Russia who is to answer for it’. Freedom House director David Kramer, in his turn, pointed out the moral side of the accident, comparing President Vladimir Putin with Muammar Qaddafi, Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-il.
The pressure that Moscow is enduring may be compared to the accusations towards Iraq, which was alleged of possessing WMD in 2002, or Syrian authorities, who were unfoundedly blamed for using chemical weapons against its people in 2013.
The aim is to make the Russian leadership stop supporting the rebels in south-eastern Ukraine under the threat of international isolation.
Nonetheless, it seems relatively harmless in the West to blame Russia. The Russian-US economic ties are rather weak, and Russian relations with the EU, as close as they may be, are not yet tightened with structures like funds, or think-tanks, or TV-channels, or social services. And the business circles and the Russian lobby groups will just shy away again, stung with the US and EU criticism toward Moscow. Which is why, the day before the Malaysian Boeing accident the US a new package of sanctions against Russia was approved with little resistance. This week the EU Council of Foreign Ministers and the Parliament under the impression of the tragedy are discussing the possibility of an arms embargo against Moscow, and the Republicans in Washington are working on a «Russian aggression prevention» bill. Consequently, it may block Russians from the world financial markets and modern technologies as well as hinder the economic modernization of the country.
Waning of the Ukrainian crisis may recreate conditions favourable for the meeting between the Russian and Georgian leaders. However, normalization in relations of the two countries has distinctly set limits, for the global strategy of the Georgian leadership remains unchanged.
The President promised to redirect Russian energy streams to countries where “economy is not confused with politics”. He was referring to the Summit host Turkey in the first place with its increasing need for energy resources. Despite the differences between Turkey and Russia on the Syrian issue, the two states are deepening their cooperation in the energy field making their relations genuinely strategic.
The key question for Russia is whether the Operation Atlantic Resolve will become the start of permanent stationing of American and NATO forces in the countries of former Warsaw Pact and the post-Soviet space. Moscow insists that its security needs be taken into account, whereas the American leadership believes that the motives of Russia stem from “misinterpretations and outdated thinking”.
Events that have principle importance to world development are rare in the course of history. The Crimean Spring is undoubtedly one of these. It has triggered a sequence of processes, whose outcome is yet to manifest itself. However, they are already changing the international landscape of the 21st century.