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Pivot East Won’t Solve Russia’s Problems (Op-Ed)

The authorities finished a symbolic gesticulate in selecting Ufa, the capital of the ancient forest-steppe segment of Bashkortostan, for the double limit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS. A combination of Russian and Bashkir etiquette greeted the visitors. As they disembarked from their airplane, the guests sampled the local bread and salt in traditional Russian fashion, and then entered a Bashkir yurt for tea with mare’s milk. The Russian folk cuisine and the white yurt of Nomadic Turks were dictated as the new black of the deepening togetherness between non-Western states.

Having quarreled with the West and become sealed with it in the toughest fight given the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia is now fixation the bets on the East and South. It hopes in this proceed to accomplish 3 categorical objectives: 1) equivocate full-scale general isolation; 2) emanate a front of anti-Western states means of challenging the dominance of the West and changing the rules in international politics, economics and institutions; and 3) reinstate the Western resources, technologies and markets Moscow has mislaid with non-Western ones.

President Vladimir Putin has unequivocally energetically and effectively responded to the plea of this fight with the West. He immediately strong contacts with the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians and other non-Western countries. A continuous upsurge of proposals and initiatives pours out from Moscow, adequate to make the other leaders’ heads spin. Moscow has resolutely taken the initiative in its possess hands and, admittedly, finished so utterly successfully: The leaders of the largest non-Western states have already visited Russia for the second time in this year alone.

This fraternizing with the leaders of China, India, Pakistan, Iran and Brazil is also dictated for domestic consumption. The arrival of those heads of state increases the authorities’ status and indirectly lends taciturn capitulation to the Kremlin’s unfamiliar policy. After all, if Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi support Putin, afterwards Russia is presumably doing the right thing!

However, in practice this proceed will not grasp a single one of those goals. The much-touted “pivot to the South and East” will sojourn a “Potemkin village,” a beautiful masquerade screening usually a wasteland disproportionate with the thick weeds of unrealized projects.

First, it will not solve the problem of Russia’s isolation. Developing family with the non-Western states reduces the degree of Russia’s isolation, though it by no means eliminates it. Although the West’s tellurian change is waning, the West continues to dominate the world economy and financial complement and it stays the owner and creator of key technologies, policies and institutions. Building ties to non-Western states eases the burden of Russia’s isolation, though does not mislay it. It eases the symptoms though restorative the disease itself. Without the participation of the West, the remaining states can strech informal and local decisions — concerning usually the SCO, for example — though they can't rise tellurian policy.

Second, no other SCO or BRICS member state will follow Russia on its trail of confrontation with the United States and the West. India, Brazil, South Africa, Pakistan and even China have prolonged ago and firmly determined low and layered family with the United States and the European Union, and none of them will put those family at risk for the consequence of Moscow’s revanchist ambitions. Those countries share with Moscow at least 1) the desire to protect their government and prevent the West from interfering in their affairs; 2) the desire to adjust the balance of forces among such general organizations as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and others so as to benefit new appetite centers, essentially China and India. Even the latter idea competence not work in Russia’s favor. Accustomed to its ancestral purpose as a superpower, any composition in the change of forces among general organizations would fundamentally reduce, not boost Russia’s influence, and as a result, the purpose in the tellurian economy.

There unequivocally is zero some-more that this supposed “anti-Western bloc” could have on its agenda.

Third, the new partners in the East and South will infer distant some-more formidable and dangerous economically for Russia than the aged partners in the West and North. They compensate a lower cost for oil and gas and they contest tooth and nail with Russian manufacturers in every market. For example, farmers in the Altai segment protest that the Chinese inundate the market with inexpensive sugar and buckwheat. Agricultural producers also protest of cheap Chinese products, and so on in each sector.

China’s huge Great Silk Road Economic Belt plan will tie the Central Asian states even closer to Beijing. However, use has shown what China manages to extract from those countries: oil, gas, timber, land and other healthy resources — and at rock-bottom prices.

At the same time, not a single SCO or BRICS state is means to provide Russia with the modernized financial resources it needs, most reduction the technologies it requires. What’s more, those countries obtain their money, technologies, policies and institutions from the West — the one source from which Russia now so pointedly and haughtily refuses to buy, learn or borrow.

It competence occur that, hot over with appetite and dragging the non-Western partners in its selected direction, hosting prosperous summits and hanging flattering banners over decayed Ufa buildings, Russia will finally overextend itself like an irresponsible merchant. Then, in a fatuous try to settle all scores with the help of militaristic bluster, Russia will find itself not usually removed from the West, though weaker both economically and technologically — even in comparison to the non-Western states it now looks to as saviors.


Vladimir Ryzhkov, a State Duma emissary from 1993 to 2007, is a political analyst.

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/525777.html

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