For the third consecutive time the new US President will begin his term with the improvement in Russian-American relations, writes in his article in The Globe and Mail Carl Bildt, a former Prime Minister and Minister of foreign Affairs of Sweden.
«In order to understand why it is so hard to achieve this goal, take a look at the history of the Russian state in a broader perspective,» writes the author.
«A characteristic feature of Russian history — the continuous expansion in Eurasia,» — said in the article. But expansion to the West and South of the Russian Empire met with resistance and reluctant to use force to maintain dominance.
After the revolution of 1917, many areas sought to «independence from the yoke of Moscow», writes the author. Lenin sent the Red army to establish Soviet power. It turned out not everywhere.
Stalin «sought to regain control of the Empire over its former territories.» «The Baltic States was brutally returned to the bosom of the USSR, and Poland and others — are relegated to the status of satellite States,» says the author.
«When the Soviet Union collapsed, States satellites have hastened his death, re-claiming its independence, and soon almost all «non-Russian» [SIC. — Approx. ed.] the former Soviet republics demanded and achieved independence,» — said in the article.
Now Vladimir Putin wants «to restore Russia’s former economic and geopolitical greatness», says the author.
«Step by step, whenever the moment presents itself and chance, the Kremlin is prepared to use all available means to regain what he thinks is his,» — said in the article.
Bildt advised to learn from the past.
«Russian imperialism flourished when Europe and the West were separated,» he writes. According to him, the admission of Central European countries and Baltic States in NATO and the EU played a key role for the European security.
Directly after the revolution of 1917 and the collapse of the USSR in 1991, «Russia has demonstrated its historical failure to develop harmonious relationships with countries on its periphery, and in the interim period carried out its Imperial ambitions to the detriment of these countries,» the article says.
«But Russia will make concessions itself, only if the West strongly support the independence of these countries for a long time. In the end, Russia realizes that its long-term interest to break with the historical pattern, focusing on internal development and building peaceful and respectful relations with neighbors,» the article says.
«We need a stable, prosperous and peaceful Russia. And this can only be achieved through strong support for the independence and sovereignty of all its neighbors,» the author concludes.
Globe and Mail. Carl Bildt: to tame Russia, explore its Imperial past 17.01.2017