Medvedev’s Drang nach Osten

Russia’s new president, Dmitry Medvedev, has made his first ("maiden") foreign trip as the head of state. 

On Thursday, Medvedev traveled to Astana, Kazakhstan, to meet with president Nursultan Nazarbayev.   A broad range of topics have reportedly been touched upon, including Russia-Kazakhstan strategic cooperation in the oil and gas exploration and transit. 

Medvedev then proceeded further to the East, to China.  In Beijing, he met with president Hu Jintao.  The two leaders have minced no words to condemn the U.S. plans for the anti-missile defense.

The "eastern" direction of Russia’s foreign policy under the new president is hard to miss: a plan for Medvedev to visit India toward the end of the year has also been announced.   

On the other hand, the Kremlin has made public that later in May or early in June, Medvedev would meet German chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany;  Merkel was the first foreign leader to meet with Medvedev after his election.  Earlier this month, Medvedev met with the French foreign minister, Bernard Kushner; the latter has invited Medvedev to visit France "as soon as possible."

Medvedev’s first diplomatic activities and initiatives have coincided with the release of a public opinion poll — conducted by VTSIOM — asking the Russians about their foreign policy priorities.

According to the poll, 28 percent of the respondents wanted Medvedev to focus on the improvement of Russia’s relations with its neighbors in the post-Soviet space.  17 percent advocated Russia’s integration into Europe and another 17 percent argued for closer cooperation with the world’s growing economic powers: China and India.  Only 9 percent of Russians believed that the country should strive for a  “strategic partnership” with the United States.

It is truly remarkable how Medvedev’s foreign policy priorities reflect the mindset of ordinary Russians.  It seems almost inevitable that Medvedev’s critics will soon accuse him of “rigging” the results of the poll to justify his foreign policy plans.   

Although Medvedev and president Bush are going to meet in July at the G8 summit in Japan, any productive interaction between the two is highly unlikely.  Mindful of Bush’s lame-duck status, Medvedev has no reason to waste his time on forging a meaningful relationship with an outgoing American president.

By the time a new resident is sworn into the Oval Office, Medvedev will have spent 9 months establishing working relationships with world leaders.  Attempts by the next American president to “isolate” Medvedev will fail.  Instead, he may well find himself standing last in line to peek into Medvedev’s soul.
      

About Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov is a PMI-certified Innovation Management Consultant who helps organizations increase the efficiency of their internal and external innovation programs.
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Medvedev’s Drang nach Osten

Russia’s new president, Dmitry Medvedev, has made his first ("maiden") foreign trip as the head of state. 

On Thursday, Medvedev traveled to Astana, Kazakhstan, to meet with president Nursultan Nazarbayev.   A broad range of topics have reportedly been touched upon, including Russia-Kazakhstan strategic cooperation in the oil and gas exploration and transit. 

Medvedev then proceeded further to the East, to China.  In Beijing, he met with president Hu Jintao.  The two leaders have minced no words to condemn the U.S. plans for the anti-missile defense.

The "eastern" direction of Russia’s foreign policy under the new president is hard to miss: a plan for Medvedev to visit India toward the end of the year has also been announced.   

On the other hand, the Kremlin has made public that later in May or early in June, Medvedev would meet German chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany;  Merkel was the first foreign leader to meet with Medvedev after his election.  Earlier this month, Medvedev met with the French foreign minister, Bernard Kushner; the latter has invited Medvedev to visit France "as soon as possible."

Medvedev’s first diplomatic activities and initiatives have coincided with the release of a public opinion poll — conducted by VTSIOM — asking the Russians about their foreign policy priorities.

According to the poll, 28 percent of the respondents wanted Medvedev to focus on the improvement of Russia’s relations with its neighbors in the post-Soviet space.  17 percent advocated Russia’s integration into Europe and another 17 percent argued for closer cooperation with the world’s growing economic powers: China and India.  Only 9 percent of Russians believed that the country should strive for a  “strategic partnership” with the United States.

It is truly remarkable how Medvedev’s foreign policy priorities reflect the mindset of ordinary Russians.  It seems almost inevitable that Medvedev’s critics will soon accuse him of “rigging” the results of the poll to justify his foreign policy plans.   

Although Medvedev and president Bush are going to meet in July at the G8 summit in Japan, any productive interaction between the two is highly unlikely.  Mindful of Bush’s lame-duck status, Medvedev has no reason to waste his time on forging a meaningful relationship with an outgoing American president.

By the time a new resident is sworn into the Oval Office, Medvedev will have spent 9 months establishing working relationships with world leaders.  Attempts by the next American president to “isolate” Medvedev will fail.  Instead, he may well find himself standing last in line to peek into Medvedev’s soul.
      

About Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov is a PMI-certified Innovation Management Consultant who helps organizations increase the efficiency of their internal and external innovation programs.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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