The experts we spoke with are convinced that Russia's foreign
policy is pragmatic enough. The USA has already announced that
retaliation for the recent terrorist attacks is inevitable. The
countries which could face retaliatory strikes are Afghanistan,
Iraq, Pakistan, Algeria, and Sudan. Many countries are expressing
their readiness to assist the USA in this campaign, letting America
use their military bases, territories and military resources.
However, the terrorists and organisations commissioning them to
the terror attacks in New York and Washington have not been traced
yet. Thus, it has still not been proved that these terrorists
were trained by the aforementioned "pariah states" viewed
as "unconditionally deserving punishment" by the USA.
What should Russia do in this situation? Should it join America's
revenge campaign or retain the status of intermediary between
the West and East? Should Russia change its security concept,
especially regarding arms sales to the so-called pariah states?
Should Vladimir Putin continue his foreign policy contacts with
countries suspected of supporting terrorism?
Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky: International terrorism is
a politically abstract force, while war is a quite concrete thing.
Thoughtless acts of revenge as a response to terror only lead
to new victims. It won't do to continue violence. The recent terrorist
attacks in Washington and New York were the beginning of the new
era, in which cooperation between the largest countries, such
as the USA and Russia, in the sphere of combating international
terrorism is inevitable. However, international relations should
not use methods that may be used in personal relations late at
night on a dark lane Today it is necessary to trace the roots
of international terrorism and do everything possible to prevent
terrorist attacks in future. You may recall that there was a lot
of talk during Clinton's presidency about frequent murders committed
by children using weapons at school, suicide cults, etc. There
are a lot of similar things in the USA. However, this talk was
not continued after the presidential
election of 2000. However, it is not ruled out that terrorism
was related to the domestic problems of the country. Perhaps there
are serious problems in the society...
Igor Bunin, Director of the Political Developments Centre: Countries
of the North have adopted a hard-line stance toward the South.
For instance, not long ago Israel was criticised by the West for
using army detachments against Arab extremists. Now there is no
such criticism. Even Lord Judd, who is notorious for his negative
position toward Russia's actions in Chechnya, does not rule out
use of military force against extremists today. Russia has taken
a few symbolic steps as a sign of support for the USA: it has
cancelled the exercises of the Air Force in the Pacific Ocean
and has decided not to take any emergency security measures that
may be interpreted by Americans as a response to their hasty actions.
As for Russia's policy regarding pariah states, this issue is
unimportant now. As a matter of fact, Putin used contacts with
Cuba, North Korea, and other such countries in order to retain
the position of intermediary between the West and East. Russia
wanted to show the world that it had for pressuring pariah states
to look like a superpower. However, the issue of Cuba is of no
importance for the West. In any case, if the Russian president
wants to contact leaders of some pariah states, he will have to
coordinate his policy with the international community.
Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov: Russia should not rush into the
embrace of the West, nor should it offer its services as an intermediary.
Russia must not act as an intermediary between terrorists and
In my opinion, Russia has already assumed an absolutely crystal
clear position when Vladimir Putin decreed on a mourning minute
of silence on September 12 and offered Russia's help with tracking
and seeking out terrorists involved in these terrorist attacks.
Russia and the USA are equally interested in combating international
terrorism: therefore it is together with the civilised part of
By the way, the position of Beijing was just as strict. Thus,
the entire civilised world has taken the same stance. I don't
think that Putin's contacts with leaders of pariah states harm
Russia's interests. Putin has not visited Iraq and I hope he will
not. He has not visited and will not visit Afghanistan for obvious
reasons. His visit to Cuba was an economic visit. As for Russia's
contacts with North Korea, it is only trying to minimise the threats
which alarm the USA. Besides, Russia has economic interests in
North Korea. I think the president is conducting a balanced and
pragmatic foreign policy.
Duma deputy Viktor Iliukhin: Russia should act as a containment
factor in this situation. Today it is very dangerous to take retaliatory
strikes without tracking the organisers of the terrorist attacks
in the USA. These strikes will lead to senseless casualties among
civilians. Therefore, Russia should not support the USA - if it
does not want a global catastrophe - although it should
cooperate with America in the field of combating terrorism. Russia's
foreign policy regarding the so-called pariah states is absolutely
correct. The USA and Western European countries have forced these
contacts. Russia is still not in favour on world markets. Neither
the G8 nor the European Union compensates for Russia's losses
caused by this fact. It is impossible to reconsider the concept
of military-technical cooperation within a short time.
Gleb Pavlovsky, Director of the Effective Policy Foundation:
America is in a difficult situation. It understands that most
people, especially in third world countries, are more pleased
about its humiliation than sympathetic. The US administration
is apparently eager to change the situation via terror so that
the world will discuss not the events of September 11 but America's
response. For instance, the US may use tactical nuclear weapons,
although it is more likely to threaten the world with this and
then abandon these plans, after conceding to the opinion of the
international community. The USA will pick targets for the attack
according to the principle of political convenience, so Russia
should be extremely cautious. Russia should not become a hostage
America's policies. We should assist the US in the field of combating
terrorism but be careful not to end up into an unsettled situation.
Of course, America should be the object of Russia's sympathy and
a partner in combating those who are really behind the attacks,
but it should not be viewed as a skilled expert and the leader
of the anti-terrorist coalition. In my opinion, the US has displayed
its inability to lead an anti-terrorist coalition. It is necessary
to support the USA as long as our values and national interests
Konstantin Kosachev, deputy leader of the Fatherland-All Russia
Duma faction: Russia's foreign policy now depends on changes in
the foreign policy of the US. If the US starts cooperating with
Russia in many international fields, Russia will have to support
America too. However, it cannot be ruled out that the USA will
choose self-isolation and will resolve their problems on their
own accord. In this case the USA may want to deal with anyone
it does not like: Castro, Hussein, Khaddafi, etc. using its current
moral advantage. In this case Russia
may be forced to make some items of its international policy stricter.
As for Russia's military-technical and economic relations with
some countries viewed as pariahs by the USA, I think Russia and
the USA will reach a compromise in this sphere.
Gennady Raikov, leader of the People's Deputy group: Russia's
foreign policy will not change, as the Russian president has repeatedly
said that the international community should unite against terrorism.
However, it is not clear what methods should be used in this battle.
These methods should be thoroughly considered. Vladimir Putin
has already suggested that a G8 meeting and a session of the UN
General Assembly be conducted on this topic. It is necessary to
some political decisions at these meetings.
of terror in the US