Russia, Germany and the Westy

AuthorJyotirmoy Benerjee
Published date01 June 2011
Date01 June 2011
Subject MatterArticle
Russia, Germany and the West
Jyotirmoy Banerjee*
(This research note is the foundation of a paper-under-development that was
presented synoptically at an international seminar at the Centre for Central and
East European Studies, SIS, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on March
15th, 2011).
Russo-Western relations since the end of the Soviet Union have been
marked by both elements of cooperation and irritation. While Germany's
Mannesmann-supplied special gas pipelines built to endure permafrost
conditions enable Russia to supply this precious commodity to Europe,
East and West, NATO's eastward expansion inter alia raises eyebrows in
Moscow. The irritations are well known in general. Reports and
commentaries are available far and wide on these. What has received less
publicity, however, is the depth and breadth of Germany's close partnership
in political and economic matters with Moscow, outstanding for its
uniqueness among all the other Western partners. This article, hence, will
summarize post-Soviet Moscow's perceived 'big-brotherly" attitude towards
its close neighbours, or 'near abroad' and its apparent superpower hangover
from the Soviet days. It will then move to examine in more detail Berlin's
Moscow policy over the past two decades.
Russia's policy of influencing its "near-abroad", including CIS states:
(See Rahr 2007; DW, de 2008; Economist 2008; Mayr 2008; Friedman
2010; Fogleman 2010; Vatansever 2010; IWG 2011).
Moscow caused Kyrgyzstan to close a US air base on its territory.
Pressures Uzbekistan to Ukraine over oil and gas supplies - it cut off
gas to Ukraine, hence to W. Europe, in 2006 & 2009.
Its machinations in Georgia and war in 2008 over demand of South
Ossetia and Abkhazia for independence.
Its rejection of CFE Treaty (1990,updated 1999) lest that hampered
deploying troops in Georgia.
Its pressure on the Baltic States and other immediate neighbours
through politics, use of economic leverage business and culture.
* Professor of International Relations, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

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