May 23, 2007

Russia: Breaching the CFE Treaty-- Stratfor

May 23, 2007 18 38 GMT


Russia on May 23 declared a moratorium on the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. The announcement comes as the United States and Poland begin official talks on installing a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic -- and as Russian President Vladimir Putin visits specific European countries to try to create division within Europe over the United States' plans.


Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov officially declared a moratorium on the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) on May 23, saying Russia could not abide by a treaty that had not been ratified by all its members. Ivanov said Russia will not only cease informing CFE partners about troop movements, it also will stop allowing foreign inspections in Russia. This announcement amounts to the first actual breaking of the treaty, which has been the cornerstone of European-Russian military relations since the end of the Cold War.

An official breach of the treaty following Russian President Vladimir Putin's state of the union address does not mean that Russia is preparing to exponentially increase its production of tanks and rush them to the western border. Ivanov's moratorium and Putin's address are meant to give Europe something to chew on as certain EU members officially begin their negotiations for a new defense in Europe.

Ivanov's announcement was specifically timed with the start of official talks between the United States and Poland in Warsaw on installing a missile defense base in Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin had warned against those talks in his address, saying that certain European states and the United States were using the CFE's provisions to step up a military presence close to borders with Russia.

Putin is traveling to specific European states May 23 and 24 to rally some support against Washington's plans in Central Europe. Putin held talks in Austria, which is in the European Union, but not a member of NATO, and will travel to Luxembourg, which is aligned with a quickly fading "old" Europe that looks on Russia more moderately. Putin is attempting to create a division in Europe against U.S. plans, and Ivanov's statement is meant to show Europe that Russia is serious about breaking its commitments of the past and moving in a new -- but darker -- direction.

Russians disagree with USA’s estimation of Russian internal affairs

21.05.2007 Source:

Frequent reports from the US State Department about oppressive situation with human rights in Russia are nothing more than American discontent with Russia's independence. Such reports could also be considered as interference in Russia's internal affairs.

The majority of Russians share the above-mentioned point of view, according to the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre. About 50 percent of Russians think that the criticism from the US State Department is groundless. Russians accept the only point of criticism from the United States – hazing in the military.

The US State Department has recently criticized Russia for the violation of human rights. It was not the first time when Russia was criticized, however this time the criticism led to quite an impetuous reaction. The criticism was even discussed at the State Duma of the Russian Federation. The research centre decided to find out the views of the Russian people about US criticism.

Forty-seven percent of Russians think that the US criticism is groundless. 27 percent accept the American criticism. This point of view prevails among those supporting Vladimir Putin – 50 percent disagree with criticism and 25 percent accept it.

Sociologists asked respondents about possible reasons of American criticism. Forty percent of Russians are sure that the USA's concerns are based on its discontent with Russia's independence. About 27 percent think that the reason is connected with USA's biased attitude towards Russia its people. Sixteen percent suppose that criticizing Russia, the US administration intends to support pro-Western opposition forces in Russia. And only 14 percent believe that human rights are really violated in Russia, and the USA has every reason to worry about it. The idea of American discontent with Russia's independence is especially popular in Moscow and St. Petersburg – 55 percent.

About 57 percent of the polled believe that the US criticism should be interpreted as interference into Russian internal affairs. Twenty-three percent do not share this point of view considering the criticism to be a normal attitude to the situation in another country.

The only point of US criticism that most Russians (73 percent) agree on is the notorious army hazing.

Translated by Alexander Timoshik

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