Europe has power over Russia, but needs more than gesture diplomacy

CNN publishes an opinion editorial by David Clark, Chairman of the Russia Foundation, arguing that Europe has power over Russia, but needs more than gesture diplomacy to solve the current crisis in Ukraine. The article says the EU should be willing to talk to Russia about its interests in the region. But if Russia will not be a good neighbor, the EU should help Ukraine to move on regardless. Stabilizing the situation, providing economic aid and encouraging free elections to choose a new government should be immediate priorities. The EU should also consider targeted measures aimed at the financial and personal interests of the Russian elite, such as travel bans and asset freezes aimed at Russian officials who supported and facilitated the invasion of Crimea. Action to restrict flows of western capital, limit technology transfer and toughen visa requirements would also hurt. Only a direct challenge to Russia's material and geopolitical interests is likely to have an impact on President Vladimir Putin's calculations.

Thursday, March 6, 2014