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  •  Well, not the USSR, but... (none)
    Certainly he wants pliable pro-Moscow clients. Just that he's doing it all wrong, again and again. Pure repetition compulsion.

    Check out the following piece on Abkhazia (Russian client "state" in Georgia) and you'll see how much Pootie-Poot and Bush think alike.

    •  You'll get no disagreement from me on that. (none)
      The concept of the "near abroad" predates Peter the Great.  Don't expect a change out of this administration.  The Soviets at least tried to provide them a decent standard of living while utilizing them as a buffer zone!  (of course, they also purged them, starved them, et cetera, like they did the rest of their country)

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" -- Sinclair Lewis

      by DC Pol Sci on Sun Nov 28, 2004 at 08:37:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re: Well, not the USSR, but... (4.00)
      In my view, even this is putting it too strongly.  While the Ukrainian election has been a debacle for Putin, it should be weighed against his other policies towards the near abroad.  

      First, if Putin wanted to re-form the USSR, he has had ample opportunity to formally reincorporate Belarus into Russia, which is something Lushchenka would love, but he has essentially held Belarus at arms length.

      Second, Putin has made very little effort at expanding Russian influence in the Central Asian states.  In Central Asia and Georgia, he has acquiesced to a U.S. military presence after 9/11.  This would have been unthinkable under any other leader.

      Third, even in Georgia, he essentially did not contest Saakashvili's election.  On the issue of Ajaria, he essentially cut bait and allowed Saakashvili to reassert Georgian sovereignty there.  (Contrast this with, say, Luzhkov, who visited Batumi during the Ajaria crisis.)  Only the issue of Abkhazia remains.

      Putin is more interested in integrating the economies of the Slavic heartland, including northern Kazakhstan.  It is uncoincidental that the foreign ministry has hinted it would not object to new elections in Ukraine.

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