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19.07.04á22:02
SENTENCES AND AMBITIONS
Translating from the diplomatic language...

The Russian ambassadors "should not become too much engaged with sentiments" as to the sole leadership of Russia in the post-Soviet territory, Vladimir Putin told diplomats at a meeting in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Translating from the diplomatic language, it means, in fact, the president's order to his diplomats serving in the CIS states to give up imperial political ambitions and habits and engage in normal work, in conditions of harsh international competition, to secure a place for Russia in the new environment when its authority and attractiveness depend, first of all, on economic categories like investment opportunities, prospects for joint business projects, effectiveness of management and etc.

A "sentence" by Vladimir Putin was timely not only due to the fact that it coincided with the next anniversary of the establishment of the CIS but also from the point of view of current state of political-economic realities in the post-Soviet territory. And these are that, if Russia really wants to keep leadership (certainly, not as a sole leader), it will sooner or later have to abandon stereotypes of the metropolis in its relations with the CIS states and Russian diplomats - to put on shelves instructions on "the need to assert political influence in the country of staying" and get to studying the basics of international business.

Fortunately, president Putin understands it. Like many others, Putin is perfectly aware of the real background of plaints about "giving up positions", "humiliation and insults" that Russia is allegedly exposed to by obstinate former brothers as well as about demands and calls to "impose" an embargo or "exclude" Turkmenistan from the CIS that are periodically published in press and aired from the podiums of Duma by this or that deputy. And Putin seems to realize better than anybody else the consequences of these "innovations" - from sanctions to tanks - both for Russia and those who sincerely wants to maintain normal, constructive and trustworthy partnership relations with her.

The paradox is that certain extremists in the Okhotny ryad - both on the right and left - swing swords, while Russian Ambassadors in the CIS states behave like vicars or "supervising" bosses of the Communist Party in the mandated territory. The leadership of the sovereign states are not only quite naturally discontented with this but also tacitly and unofficially satisfy the needs of competitors/opponents of Russia in the post-Soviet territory. They know it well that to promote their own interests one could have wished no better excuse than a threat coming down from Moscow, let alone Russians living in the CIS states whose hair rise every time the next "patriot" in Russia throws himself "to defend" their rights with spontaneity of an elephant in the China shop and demand the same from professionals in the Foreign Ministry.

Much dirt was poured down on the former Russian Ambassador to Turkmenistan Andrey Molochkov by certain Russian newspapers. They even succeeded in making his personal tragedy an object of wipe and competition in jokes, yet Molochkov's professional credo, coming, by the way, of a diplomat family, was not to breed enemies for his country in Turkmenistan, not to show everybody "his place", but to earn trust of a partner, win friends for Russia and jointly solve existing (nobody makes secret of this) problems. And the point here is not about Molochkov. He, a representative of a new generation of Russian diplomats, knew it well that he would not establish normal partnership and comprehensive cooperation with Turkmenistan by using growl of a boss, threats, blackmailing, time-serving demarches to find favor of some politicians and parties back home. That is why at all times the mission of diplomacy is to serve not party, corporate or personal interests but the state interests.

And this is up to the point. Coming back to the Putin's address to the Russian ambassadors, it can be well described as a program address and designed for the future. And it was certainly addressed not only to diplomats that attended the meeting. The Putin's call not to consider themselves "a sole leader" (read the boss) was immediately caught far away from the hall of the Russian Foreign Ministry and, first of all, "in the near abroad." And, I am sure, it was perceived not as a sign of Moscow's weakness but, on the contrary, as Moscow's confidence in her increasing competitiveness and as a clearly cut political will of the Russian leadership to give up, once and for all, the phantoms of post-Soviet passive thinking.

Serdar MURADOV

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