Putin the winner? West’s new pragmatism ‘a shot in the arm’ for Russia



Having failed to find a workable solution for the post-Crimea situation, and bogged down by its own problems, the West seems poised to drop its “liberal world order” mantras, argues Lilia Shevtsova, an associate fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Program at Chatham House (London).

Moscow can finally stop bothering about democracy promotion and “regime change.” This opens a new opportunity for the Kremlin to push things in the international arena a step farther, toward consideration of any democracy promotion effort as a threat to global security and economic prosperity, she writes for The American Interest, taking aim at ‘pragmatic’ exponents of re-engagement with Putin’s Russia:

Re-engagement allows the Russian ruling team to continue regulate its anti-Americanism and anti-Western propaganda for domestic purposes (switching it on and off as needed) and at the same time allows it to restore one of the most important drivers of the Russian system’s survival: the exploitation of Western resources. However, while this approach will help to preserve the Russian personalized power system, it will not modernize Russia. The supporters of this approach either have not considered these implications or are perfectly aware of them but have chosen to ignore them. Either explanation is a grim commentary on their ability for strategic thinking.

Shevtsova (right) last week joined other leading intellectuals – including Stanford University’s Larry Diamond and Francis Fukuyama, historian Walter Laqueur, and French political analyst Bernard-Henri Lévy – and democracy advocates, including Freedom House president Mike Abramowitz and the National Endowment for Democracy’s Carl Gershman, to launch a Coalition for Democratic Renewal.

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