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Monday, March 19, 2018

The CIS die and never revive again

Last Friday, September 16, was held in Bishkek CIS summit dedicated to chetvertakova anniversary of the Commonwealth. A period sufficient to evaluate the effectiveness of the organization, status and prospects of development. The topic has gained even more obvious relevance in connection with the death of Islam Karimov. Increasingly there are questions about the prospects for a common future of the countries of the former single state. Almost no one hides the fact that the CIS is at a standstill. In a little while about it and all will be forgotten. The summit was attended by only 6 of the presidents of the countries entering into the CIS, is a clear indication that this structure has even the participants themselves are not serious.

And after all still recently it seemed that the format of the CIS — if not equal, then it is acceptable to replace the Soviet Union. And the sovereignty of States is provided, and the development of trade relationships on favorable terms. The 12 countries that initially were part of the CIS, has covered a huge area, providing output in Europe and the middle East and Asia. The Union gave great hope to the CIS wanted to join Yugoslavia, Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and other regions to claim independence.

However, now it is clear that CIS is bursting at the seams. The centripetal force, giving no organization to disintegrate, how long was Russia. But in recent years, our country is losing ground in the CIS on all fronts. We lose allies among the closest (geographically and in spirit) countries, the heads of state one after the other unfold in the direction of the West and NATO, or China. And trade with neighbors outstanding speed does not.

All over the world now clearly visible trend towards the re-globalisation — unite on a territorial basis. It does not shy away from anyone, no matter you big and strong or small and weak. Whole developed part of the world now is divided into blocks: the TRANS-Pacific partnership led by the US, European Union, China is trying to create a free trade Area of the Asia-Pacific region or Economic zone of the silk road. We, however, are ring-fenced from all over the world and make it so that even the closest neighbors turn away from us. There is something wrong either with the world or with us.

In the modern world it is impossible to expect a sufficient effect, having only a successful army and the diplomatic service. For this we need to have considerable economic weight — not less than 15% of world GDP. China is now alone generates about 17% of world GDP, the EU is about 24%, and the TRANS-Pacific partnership and does swung at 40%. We are still slipping under the mark of 2%…

Anyway, all tied to the economy. That is to say, even if Belarus is the closest in spirit to the country, the participant of the Union state, often looking to the West. Until recently, of hasty steps in the direction of Europe, they were stopped only by the budget deficit and sanctions. But the crisis in Belarus has had on the economy influence no less than in Russia. And as soon as the horizon loomed the prospect of obtaining a loan from the IMF, the efforts of Belarus with traditional gas blackmail (which in turn is initiated by both sides for many years) switched to overtures to Europe. Yet Alexander Lukashenko tries to maneuver between Moscow and Brussels, but the position of the Belarusian government are clear. Political, economic, social separation from Russia is today our strategic course, as follows from the statements of the Minister of foreign Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Makei.

In 2016 Belarus kept afloat by loans by $ 1.1 billion from Russia and $2 billion from the Eurasian development Bank, 66% of the share capital which is submitted again by Russia. But all the reforms are now focused on implementation of IMF conditions with which Alexander Lukashenko fully agree, despite the fact that they contradict the idea of the welfare state.

It is the economic failure of post-Soviet countries skillfully used by those who are considering the territory of the former USSR as another piece in the redistribution of zones of geopolitical influence. And the wave of “color revolutions” have shown the effectiveness of this method. All “color revolutions” in the former Soviet Union, which began with the “rose revolution” in Georgia in 2003 (then there was Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan), is always accompanied by the support of the opposition forces by the West. Mostly the support came on the line, foreign and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that helped the opposition in terms of election monitoring, the development of opposition media, the mobilization of protests. In Ukraine NGOs have started activities soon after the collapse of the USSR and has always been based on strong financial support from the United States. Prior to 2004 have been implemented about 1,000 projects with a total cost of 3 billion dollars. All internal preconditions to change of power skillfully fueled and fed by timely external influence on all the countries of the former Soviet Union. In the end, gradually but decidedly most of them selected a course of rapprochement with the EU and not with Russia.

But if, for example, in Georgia local government has pursued a policy of distancing from Russia, even after the departure of Saakashvili and contrary to the opinion of the Georgian people, always seeking to cooperate with Russia, in Armenia, and without external influence, Russia itself made a serious mistake, which can lead to far more serious consequences. Policy change, they can negotiate, but on the whole people do not succeed. Trust is produced over the centuries, and lost in an instant. Whether we later came to their senses, or just sloppy tried to shy away from problems, it would seem, always loyal neighbors, but we never managed to work out a single opinion and position of the Russian leadership on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia got a chance to independently contribute to a peaceful settlement of the situation and earn extra points on the world stage, but in the end the whole effect was smeared our vague and contradictory actions. This support for the current political elite of Armenia, which do not always approve of the local people, and the supply of weapons to Azerbaijan. The pursuit of short-term profits led to the fact that the reputation of Russia among Armenians was severely damaged, and the people began to grow anti-Russian sentiments, which were previously almost completely absent.

In General, a formal commitment to Pro-Russian positions, and the actual look the other side of the beach a number of States. This may also include and Transnistria. Thanks to the Association agreement of Moldova with the EU, Transnistria sends most of its products in Europe. It and is clear — the rich countries pay much better than Russia with our low market prices and weak purchasing power. Historical context has nothing to do with what entrepreneurs choose what is profitable. Who feeds that and the other.

In Central Asia, the CIS is also no longer plays a key role. Here relations are developing under the banner of the EAEU and the Customs Union. But not so fast as we would like. Benefit from joining the EEU for many not obvious. For example, the volume of exports from Kyrgyzstan (which became part of the EEU last year) to Europe exceeded volume of export to Russia 4 times. In 2016, the situation changed a bit, but not dramatically: the share of Russia in the structure of Kyrgyz exports almost doubled, but still only 17.5%. The situation is similar with Tajikistan: the development of trade relations is seen only in the key of accession of Tajikistan to the EEU. However, such conditions may worsen relations of Tajikistan with China, which they account for 41% of the external debt. China’s assistance in the form of grants, technical assistance and concessional loans — about $ 1 billion a year. Of course, to spoil relations with our Eastern neighbor are Tajiks no sense.

The hurry with which the CIS in the early 90s was literally concocted in haste, originally laid contradictions, transforming the Commonwealth into a stillborn child. In different CIS member countries see not one and the same. If Belarus and Russia believed that this is the way for closer cooperation and unity, Ukraine from the very beginning saw in the CIS a way for a civilized “divorce” and leaving the Soviet Union with minimal costs. Subsequently, and Moldova supported the position of Kiev. The paradox is in the fact that one of the three founding members of the CIS, Ukraine did not ratify its Charter. And one of the most consistent opponents of disintegration, the President of Kazakhstan, was not even invited to participate in the establishment of the CIS.

Now it’s too late to try to revive a terminally ill patient, which is the Commonwealth of independent States. You need to look for alternative ways of rapprochement with the countries of the former USSR. Cooperation within the CIS does not give absolutely nothing, political leverage or do not act at all or act, but with the opposite effect, pushing away neighboring people. It is necessary to create a new community, based on mutual benefit, with universal rules that are suitable to all. To put all your hopes on the EEU also does not work because of strict requirements to customs duties. Not everyone is ready to adapt to Russian rule.

Much more effective would be the creation of a supranational trade associations that are not related to policy (to the maximum extent possible) as the WTO. And absolute conformity of national legislation with the provisions of this gluttony is a prerequisite. It is necessary in order to not get confusion, as with the Federal government when national and supranational regulations differ. This organization must work with a symmetric weakening of administrative and economic barriers from all stakeholders. There is no point in simplification of customs procedures on the one hand, if the truck with the load still stuck for a long time at the entrance to a neighbouring country. While such attempts can only be seen in the framework of the EAEU. And even then, not always successfully.

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