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Thom, Françoise

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Le Figaro - France | 01/04/2008

The NATO puzzle

Russian specialist Francoise Thom argues that "the issues go beyond Ukraine and Georgia. Putin wants to finish his second term with a big victory that will allow him to reinforce the much dwelled upon thesis among Russians that his diplomacy has been a dazzling success. This will force Medvedev, his successor, to continue his policies. ... The Kremlin today considers itself to be in a position of force, and it will interpret a Western retreat as recognition of the changing balance of power, increasingly unfavourable to Europe and the United States. The Kremlin will see this as a confirmation that Putin's policies toward the West - consisting of arrogance, confrontation, blackmail and provocation - pay off. Let's not forget that the hysteria encouraged by Moscow around the idea of a Ukraine and a Georgia integrated into the West is not due to military security considerations. What Moscow cannot tolerate is seeing a close neighbour Europeanise."

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