Dmitri October 8th, 2007
The collapse of the Soviet Union led many western pro-democracy political analysts to believe that Russia would be on a prosperity path to be a global economic might. But their analyses went horribly wrong and post-Soviet Russian economy went downhill, along with its political and military influence. It was very much like Berlin in latter days of Weimar Republic, living in past glory with a bleak present and a dark future. The failure of western economic model on Russia gave rise to skepticism on whether one could count Russia any more as a superpower once its large nuclear force was ignored. However Russians got their act together and started making a comeback, after alarm bells started ringing - with the NATO-led bombings of Serbia in 1990s and more recently, a determined NATO expansion towards Eastern Europe.
A BBC News video on recent Russian bomber patrols over British airspace - a symbolism of Cold War power projection
Things really started looking up in Russia after Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999. With strategic experience of an ex-KGB agent and diplomatic experience of an internationalist, Putin pulled Russian economy back from its post-Cold War downfall. Doomsday sayers who predicted a ‘Latin America’ situation for Russia were dissappointed after the energy and infrastructure boom put Russian on track with other global economic powers. Vladimir Putin became a hero of the Russian people by restoring their national pride (which was as weak as its economy after several political failures). Putin also scored political and diplomatic brownie points for Russia by strengthening ties with West Asia and improving relationships with non Anglo-Saxon Western Europe.
Despite the political and economic restructuring of Russia in the early 21st century, European political analysts were slow and reluctant to acknowledge the reality of Russia’s resurgence. However the stupour dissappeared once Russia made a few critical political and military moves to assert its power projection in Europe. These moves included a tougher stance on Kosovo issue, opposition to US missile shield in Poland, revival of strategic nuclear missile development, political manipulation of Europe by controlling gas supplies, revival of nuclear bomber missions, taking a pro-Iran political stance, Arctic missions with territorial claims, revived patrols of nuclear submarines in the Pacific and finally the testing of the largest conventional bomb FOAB on September 11, 2007.
The economic resurgence and revival of power games has already caused a bit of flutter around the world, with speculations that the Cold War is not yet over. While the rest of the world looks at Russia as a counterforce against US to create a multipolar world, Europe sees Russia as a threat to its political stability. A strong and more powerful Russia will have a power projection in Europe which will be more effective than the weakening United States’ influence among European Union nations. What Europe is going to face in the light of Russia ’s growing political and military assertiveness is a few changes in EU foreign policy to accomodate Russian interests, in addition to their own.
Possibly Related posts:
- Russian Missile Tests - Beginning of a new Cold War?
- Nuclear ICBMs of United States and Russia - Past and Present
- The Death of Litvinenko - Britain’s Tryst With Russia
- US vs Russia vs China - Nuclear Warhead Stockpiles
- Russian Oil Games In The Arctic Shelf