Posted by: bklunk | November 5, 2006

Russia: Ready to Lead?

Russian International Relations – Powered By Bloglines

JennaRiggio continues asking about the developing role of Russia in international relations.

URL: A Closer Look at Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Rankings

After reading this article, I find myself questioning the democratic values that are claimed by Russia. Reporters are being killed, arrested, and fined for reporting dissenting opinions from that of the Kremlin. How can the West be expected to understand what is going on in Russia at all if the media coverage is completely monitored? Russia has been given a lot of influence and power over international affairs. Is this a good thing for the world? I think it is hard to trust the judgement of a country with so many internal problems. From many of the articles I have read, it seems like Russia is going to have a hard time leading. Russia seems to share many of the same problems as the developing states face. There are problems with civil rights. There has been a huge outcry over racism, abuse and torture in the military, limitations of freedom of speech, etc. All of these things point to the fact that Russia still needs time to grow. It needs time to address the issues at home before it tackles international problems.

Another article raised a similar question about China? How important is a country’s human rights performance if it wishes to exercise leadership in international affairs?

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Responses

  1. Honestly, I don’t find the findings in this blog all that surprising. From the little that I know of Russian history, its track record isn’t all that great. From forcing those that are opposed to the government or that might become to powerful to forced labor to being a part of the reason that the famine and starvation took place in Ukraine in the early 1900’s, Russia’s history is filled with instances of human rights issues. What pieces of Russian infrastructure have been built under the forced labor and deaths of its people? More than one might think. To say that the press is being sifted and reporters are undergoing some tough crackdowns for reporting dissenting opinions shouldn’t be surprising. The Russians have enough power and influence in the world that these types of acts can be easily overlooked or be ignored by the world, possibly in exchange for something in return.

  2. The thought of Russia being ready to lead is serisouly delusional. This is about as offbeat as France possibly considering itself to be the next world power. All together the U.S., the PRC, and even the EU are already able to solely counter Russia. Although Russia’s influence is growing, largely due to its vast amounts of gas and oil, they will still beable to dominate over Russia continually throughout the future. Russia’s recent rise is only temporary, mainly because of the market increases in nautral gas prices. Internally, Russia needs to be fixed, and the profit from this market increase should be used to fund it rather than throwing it into other countries and attempting to buy influence. Its curreny money flow will eventually decrease, as the globaly economy will again fall into a naturally-occuring recession. Russia needs to build up its own industries rather than falling into the Imperial trap again. I feel Russia has AT LEAST 40 years of redeveloping to look foward to, ultimately to build its economy and diminish a large amount of its social problems, which are definitely underlying its sproadic economy. The “empire” dream is evident and still alive, however they need to drop this Imperialistic dream and fix its internal instability permanently or it will never even come close to achieving this goal.

  3. I don’t think that it is crazy to consider Russia becoming a world power and soon. Yes, Russia does have internal problems that need to be handeled but what country really doesn’t. I’m not trying to compare killing news reporters and racism to say the type of problems we face in the U.S. today, but at the state of Russia’s development right now every country has had these problems. I think that it is remarkable what Russia has accomplished in the 20 or so years after communism fell, in the areas of politics and economy Russia had done a total 180 degree turn– it’s actually amazing what they have done in such a short period of time. If Russia keeps up this sort of growth there could be no stoping them in the next 15-20 years. Internal problems do need to be fixed but that requires other things–money, jobs, and stability. All of which require Russia to look beyond its own borders.

  4. I think President Putin is very aware and concerned about the power structure of Russia. As we read in the article about Energy Policy, Russia is cornerning the market on oil and will hold much power with any country where oil is a major import (i.e. the United States). Putin has deftly realized that by increasing Russia’s status as a top, or thee top oil exporter, countries will respect some decisions made that they may not otherwise do, a possible example of an increase in Russia’s soft power. A drawback to this is that it seems as if Putin is investing a lot in the idea that countries will always be very dependant on fossil fuel consumption. Hybrids and E85 are two examples of alternative fuel sources and ways to consume our energy resourses more efficiently. Should more innovations like hybrids and E85 surface in the future, Russia’s soft power over oil importing countries like the U.S. would certainly decline in my view.


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