Eesti Elu
Russia to expand its influence in foreign markets (2)
Arvamus 14 May 2010 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu
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The Russian language “Newsweek” edition has published a foreign ministry document detailing Russia’s new foreign trade doctrine. The policy emphasizes the use of economic presssure to expand Russia’s influence.

The plan sees the use of this force in many countires, including Estonia and the other Baltic states, by drastically increasing their economic activity there.

Recently Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov revealed one of the pragmatic aspects of the new doctrine: the reduction of foreign capital, including that of EU investors, in regions targeted by Moscow. He said that Russia is especially focussing on neighbouring countries including those that have lost their curent economic acttractiveness due to the world wide depression.

In the targeted countries would total over 50 in Euroasia, South and North America Africa and Australia.

Lavrov explained that the Baltic states would have the infrastructure for the shipping of Russian goods elsewhere. Also important would be their energy, infotechnology, logistics and transport sectors.

Newsweek reported that the new doctrine had won the approval of president Dmitri Medvedev. The new doctrine, being introduced to the Russian bureaucracy, will gain wide approval and is based on the assumption that in foreign trade and investment Russia has no enemies or allies, but rather interests.

By assuming an ideologically and geo-politicaaly neutral stance, Russia hopes to speed up its economic development and support its international ambitions. This should, the doctrine assumes, translate into improved relations with western countries, more specifically, attracting their investors into Russia.

The doctrine sees as especially important improved relations with the USA, its close partners in Western European, the remainder of the EU and the leading countries in regions world wide.

According to Lavrov the new doctrine is crucial in realizing Medvedev’s goal: the modernization of Russia economically, an achievment with which Medvedev can distance himself from the former president, the current prime minister Vladimir Putin.

At first glance the new doctrine seems progressive and innocent, and devoid of Russia’s time worn habit of running roughshod over neighbouring interests. Formerly occupied small countries can still ponder whether this new economic grand scheme will disallow economic coercion, maniupulation of local Russian speaking communities and unethical commercial practices in pursuit of self-serving goals.
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