Russia-EU Summit: Failure or Success?
RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Vavra, May 22
Having failed to produce any documents, a regular Russia-EU summit has received
Some claim that the parties have arrived at a deadlock, whereas others think that
progress is obvious because their resolve to continue the dialogue shows their
readiness to remove all current differences and contradictions.
At any rate, on the eve of the summit the Russian side warned that the summit would
not be a failure even if no agreements were signed. Both during the discussion and
upon its completion, Vladimir Putin demonstrated his satisfaction with the summit's
work, listing its achievements on the border and customs issues, and in the fight
against drug trafficking and other crimes. His partners also emphasized obvious
progress in mutual relations.
Needless to say, diplomats are good at evasive and antiseptic phraseology but there
is no doubt that the summit showed readiness for dialogue with a view to resolving
disputable issues, which is the main thing.
In conditions of the inevitably growing cooperation and mutual influence both
partners have to resolve their disputes. They cannot afford an alternative because
they depend on each other too much. Perhaps they will move towards each other in
very small steps, but their rapprochement is bound to take pace.
For this reason, the summit's failure to produce important agreements is not a big
problem. Dialogue always implies rapprochement and a desire to resolve the arising
issues. At the same time, lack of understanding on major issues continues
aggravating our relations.
On the one hand, there are facts and conclusive evidence, or rather their total
absence, as in the case with Politkovskaya and Litvinenko. On the other hand, there
is a negative image of the Russian authorities that portrays them as capable of any
The EU does not react to Putin's words that it is inappropriate to blame the Russian
authorities for their death until the investigation is over.
The summit has shown, for the umpteenth time now, that our European partners are
turning a blind eye to double standards. Putin reprimanded them for finding fault
with Russia and ignoring obviously inadmissible actions in the EU, but to no avail.
Putin's arguments do not impress the EU. They are probably good only for domestic
In relations with Russia, the EU is still using the friend-or-foe identification. In
other words, rules of conduct within the EU are totally different from those for
non-members. What is allowed in relations with allies is absolutely inadmissible
towards others. In the former case, they display understanding, tolerance and a
desire to accept mitigating circumstances; in the latter, they are making ostensibly
The Russian government should actively oppose this friend-or-foe division of Europe.
Unfortunately, Putin's formal logic does not seem to work.
All kinds of accusations are addressed to the authorities, but they will not be able
to deal with them single-handed. Non-governmental agencies and rank-and-file
citizens should contribute to the effort. There is no other way to become friends.
It is very important that the Russian president is aware of this.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily
represent those of RIA Novosti. -0-