Concessions that Medvedev cannot afford to make

MOSCOW. (Political scientist Grigory Melamedov for RIA Novosti) - There was no breakthrough on Washington's controversial missile defense plans at the recent two-day Russian-U.S. talks in Moscow in the two-plus-two format (foreign and defense ministers).

As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov put it after the talks on March 18, the sides have not reached agreement on the missile defense plans nor the control of strategic offensive arms, although some concerns have been alleviated.

Condoleezza Rice added that the talks would be continued. This was an exchange of diplomatic euphemisms, as is usual when there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

It seems that the main aim of the high-ranking U.S. officials, Rice and Robert Gates, was to meet Dmitry Medvedev and see some signs of a milder character in the president-elect. They even probably hoped to help him become more pliable in the world arena. Washington cannot wait to see this.

Talking to journalists during her flight to Moscow, Rice made a direct hint. She said that the Russians are closely following the U.S. elections and hope to make a deal or move forward while people they know are still in the White House. She specified that policymakers want to do as much as possible now because they feel that U.S. policy may become unpredictable.

Rice is a very cautious politician, and such juggling with facts is obviously too much. Moscow has no reasons to rush by giving consent to the deployment of a third American shield on Czech and Polish territory. There is no indication that the new president will be a more enthusiastic supporter of the shield than even George W. Bush. Considering that all American administrations change the plans of their predecessors, there is no rush at all.

It is quite strange that the West hopes for Medvedev's departure from the Munich speech in which Putin firmly outlined Russia's main interests in the world.

If Medvedev wants to liberalize domestic policy, he cannot afford concessions to Western partners. This is a paradox of today's Russia. Historically, a strong hand in the domestic scene has pursued a tough foreign policy, and the other way round.

The United States is used to this. It is no surprise that Medvedev's liberal election speeches prompted Europe and America to believe that the new president will be more compliant. Many find it difficult to imagine a thaw in the domestic situation in Russia which would have no impact on its foreign policy.

The principle that freedom is better than no freedom may work well in the economy, but it does not necessarily mean that it applies to international policy. An internal lack of freedom may lead to economic problems and the new president will have to face social discontent. Millions of people in Russia will see this as confirmation of the old stereotype that no freedom is better. Some will blame Medvedev, while others will think that Putin is responsible, but only for making a wrong choice, for trusting a man with pro-Western views. In this case, democratic values will be forever associated with Western influence in the Russian mind.

Those Westerners who are used to stereotypes may misinterpret the situation. They see Putin's line as tough, but the majority of people in Russia, including the opposition, consider it rational, fair and essential. Big business is also pleased with Putin's defense of its interests in the world arena. Super corporations controlling the Russian economy are against concessions in foreign policy. They may stand even for a tougher line. The new president is bound to take this into account.

Needless to say, there is a personal factor as well. If the United States agreed to make a compromise on its missile defense plans, strategic offensive arms or conventional forces in Europe, Putin would be credited with these achievements. If it was made a bit later - after Medvedev's inauguration, it would be a bow to the new president, likely, as distinct from Putin. If it were made now, both presidents would have appreciated it as a timely step, but alas....

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of Trend.

Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on December 5
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on December 5
Iran reveals forecast for oil sales for next year
Iran reveals forecast for oil sales for next year
Iran expands mobile phone imports
Iran expands mobile phone imports
Loading Bars
Additional assets brought for Russian peacekeeping contingent delivered - Azerbaijani MoD (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan gains brilliant victory by liberating its lands - Chairman of National Congress
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry expresses condolences to Iranian side (PHOTO)
Deposit liabilities of Georgian banking system decreases month-in-month
Phase 3 of OPEC+ could lead to immediate fall in oil prices
Azerbaijan reveals TOP-10 private non-oil exporters
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on December 5
Azerbaijani banks to fully сancel loan debts of martyrs' families
Lending by Georgian commercial banks down
Iran reveals forecast for oil sales for next year
Lari depreciation remains one of leading factors in Georgian debt growth
Georgia decides to ease entry regime for its citizens
Aztelekom LLC announces tender for purchase of electronic spare parts
Bentley hires jets to fly car parts to Britain during Brexit
National Bank of Georgia reveals volume of international reserves
Georgia sees increase in overdue debt
Uzbekistan, Afghanistan eye to achieve twofold growth in trade
Russia discloses volumes of agricultural products supplied to Georgia
Azerbaijan's State Security Service prosecutes Lebanese terrorist mercenary (VIDEO)
Ashgabat City Telephone Network opens tender for audit
EU extends relief measures for COVID-hit loans to March
Turkmenistan expands international cooperation through environmental diplomacy
Iran expands mobile phone imports
Azerbaijani Clean City OJSC signs tender contract
Israel expects $220 million in non-defence trade with Bahrain in 2021
Azerbaijan determines damage inflicted by Armenia on Fuzuli, Jabrayil districts
Turkey to continue providing all kinds of assistance to Azerbaijan - Turkish Minister of National Defense
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price still rising
Employment increases in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province
Azerbaijan reduces lead exports
Investment in tourism transport infrastructure to help dev’t this sector in Turkmenistan - UNWTO
Georgia expects to start adoption of Oil Stockholding Act soon
Iranian president declares budget revenues for next year
Uzbekistan’s Agrobank to fund entrepreneurial activity under Islamic sharia law
Tightening of quarantine regime may be inevitable - TABIB
Iran expects increase of budget revenues
Georgian CEC to summarize final results of parliamentary elections on December 3
COVID-19 pandemic to displace business class cars from car rental market
Azerbaijan unveils data on local insurers' fees for 10M2020
Building for Turkish-Russian joint monitoring center under construction - Turkish Minister of National Defense
Georgia cultivates significant amount of land to combat marble bugs
Uzbekistan’s Tashkent registers largest number of private enterprises
Tourism can help protect, promote Turkmenistan’s culture - UNWTO
Volume of sales through Azexport portal continues to grow
New electricity facilities to be put into operation in Iran
Japanese agency funds project aimed at improving locust control in Uzbekistan
Georgian oil company trying to contain fuel price rise
Uzbekistan, Germany in talks over partnership with EU
Value of OIC states' import from Turkey shows decline
Azerbaijan's non-oil exports via 'Single Window' system increase
SOCAR Polymer remains export leader in Azerbaijan's private sector
Georgia aims to transpose renewables acquis
Kazakhstan's crude petroleum oil exports to Greece plummet
Construction of Kerki airport passenger terminal being completed in Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan's AzerGold becomes one of export leaders in public sector
Trilateral statement on Karabakh to contribute to long-term peace in region - Kazakhstan's President
Kazakhstan discloses volume of doses to be produced by COVID-19 vaccine plant
ASTS+ trading, clearing system to up productivity of Kazakhstan Stock Exchange
Azerbaijan announces recent COVID-19 death rate
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for December 2
Azerbaijan presents video footage from Lachin's Garygyshlag village (VIDEO)
Oil prices steady as market awaits output deal
Iran's export to Afghanistan increases
Prices of Kazakh-manufactured diesel fuel down
Azerbaijan's October 2020 non-oil exports slightly rise
Expenses on construction of enterprises in Iran’s Semnan Province climbs
Resources from Southern Gas Corridor to be available via Serbian-Hungarian pipeline
Iran's non-oil export has increases
Iron ore concentrate production of giant Iranian steel companies grows
Events in Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh region, Kyrgyzstan complicate situation in CSTO area – Putin
Turkmenistan working on development of infrastructure for gas export
Uzbekistan’s State Tax Committee announces tender for IT services
Azerbaijan confirms 3,942 new COVID-19 cases, 2,265 recoveries
Azerbaijan shows video footage from Soyudlu gold deposit of Kalbajar district (VIDEO)
Turkish companies involved in construction of new road to Azerbaijan’s Shusha (Exclusive)
Georgia aims to introduce mobile virtual network operators in 2021
Georgian 2021 budget bill calls for issuing new Eurobonds
Turkmenistan to conclude technical inventory of companies involved in fuel, energy sector
Details of Iran's budget for next year announced
Azerbaijan's oil fund discloses 11M2020 value of revenues from ACG oil-gas fields block
Kazakhstan to develop soil and geobotanical maps for its agriculture lands
SOFAZ's incomes from sale of condensate produced in Shah Deniz remain unchanged
Kazakhstan increases imports from Vietnam despite COVID-19 restrictions
Stability in South Caucasus very important for Turkey - FM
Baku Stock Exchange auctions notes of Central Bank
Azerbaijan, Turkey to establish first Hi-Tech Park in Karabakh
UNDP provides Georgia with protective gear to fight COVID-19
Foreign exchange reserves of Central Bank of Azerbaijan increase
Victory Day established in Azerbaijan
Foreigners decrease payments with bank cards in Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan, Afghanistan consider expanding co-op in banking, customs spheres
Azerbaijani president signs order on establishment of Day of Remembrance
Methanol production unit to be launched at Navoiazot chemical enterprise in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan introduces digital technologies in water metering, water management automation
Natural gas production dynamics in Azerbaijan – Eni’s review
Number of Georgian companies registered in Turkey decreases
Azerbaijan hosts auction for state property privatization
Precious metal prices in Azerbaijan up
Uzbekistan reduces imports of Turkish cars
Iran records decline in demand for Turkish cars
All news