Rotfeld: “Sanctions have mostly symbolic power”
With the Ukrainian conflict still not resolved, how should we react to the more and more aggressive Russian external policy? Are we dealing with the new Cold War? During the panel discussion entitled “Managing Russia’s Assertiveness in Post-Cold War Era” the speakers sought a possible solution to the mentioned problem.
Mr Giorgi Bokeria – First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia – has pored over the idea that contemporary Russia could be viewed as USSR of the past. He stated that it should be dealt with just like the Soviet Union was. He believes that Putin is willing to sacrifice any economic advantages Russia possesses to enlarge its geopolitical power and reinstate former Russian domination over Europe.
Mr. Cyril Svoboda - Director of the Diplomatic Academy in Prague and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Check Republic – stated that a vital part of Russian politics is based on media control. Putin without his mythology and reinforcing the Russians in their proudness would have little to no political power. He also raised an interesting discussion about what Russia really wants: solving the matter of Ukraine or changing the Russian political and social system, because it cannot have both at the same time.
Prof. Adam Rotfeld, the Co-chairman of the Polish-Russian Group for Difficult Matters and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland in 2005, stated as quoted in the title that sanctions are not a shock therapy now – nowadays they have mostly symbolic power. He also expressed his belief that today’s militarization of Russia’s economy (similar to Stalin’s doings before WWII) will most probably lead to Russia’s collapse.
Mr. Borys Tarasiuk – Member of the Parliament of Ukraine – stated that NATO (especially USA and UK who signed specific treaties concerning Ukrainian territory unity) is responsible for what happened in passed months to his country.
All in all, the Ukrainian conflict is a global ad not only a local problem – and must be dealt with as such.