• Medvedev¿s presidency: implications for NATO¿s future relations with Russia

      Russell, John (NATO Parliamentary Assembly website, 24/05/2008)
      In discussing the implications of Medvedev¿s presidency for NATO¿s future relations with Russia, I will take, as a starting point, an admittedly controversial judgment that the Soviet Union was brought down, not, as many in the West would maintain, by President Reagan, NATO intransigency and Star Wars, nor even by perestroika or `democratization¿, but by Gorbachev¿s policy of glasnost, the very openness that Vladimir Putin appeared bent on eradicating between 2000 and 2008 as he moved Russia back along more traditional authoritarian lines in order to overcome the widespread chaos and insecurity of the 1990¿s. I would argue further that it is disingenuous to ignore the fact that the overwhelming majority of Russians today connect openness ¿ which we in the West see as the very life-blood of our civic, democratic and free societies ¿ as a major cause of unprecedented national humiliation, enfeeblement and instability. On the contrary, it is my firm belief that these differing perceptions of openness should be factored into any formulation of an effective NATO policy toward its former long-standing adversary.