The Russian Renaissance
Aside from the 'Arab-Winter'...There is some good news, and it concerns the rebirth of Russia. Russia is in a very interesting position here and I would go so far to say that we may be witnessing a "Russian Renaissance". Refusing to acknowledge this would be a mistake.
Russia is experiencing their version of the ‘Tea-Party” by drawing from such reformers as Russian Count Mikhail Mikhailovich Speransky (1772 - 1839), sometimes called the father of Russian liberalism, and Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin (1766 – 1826), best remembered for his 12 volume set on the History of the Russian State and his conservative approach towards reform. These two men were probably the greatest of Russian reformers during the reign of Tsar Alexander I and Tsar Nicholas I of Russia. In addition to Count Speransky writing the first constitution, he put together all Russian laws - 45 volumes - for the first time making Russia law-based society. He also founded Russian intelligence service and accomplished a feat no other intelligence service could match - recruited Napoleon's foreign minister Talleyrand as Russian spy. After meeting Speransky, Napoleon offered Alexander I half of Germany in exchange for him.
The Medvedev/Putin team is making diplomatic and economic overtures to the west, and while Germany is engaging in expanding their free-market this year, it would be wise for the west and particularly the United States to do the same and not let this opportunity slip by based on past fears and misconceptions. The highly respected and renown Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also addressed the EC (European Commission) on April 2010 which outlines the intent of the Russian Federation.
Not only is Russia starting the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to work in conjunction with the EU and open trade in and invest in their CIS (Commonwealth Independent States), Russia is also a member of the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the Customs Union. Ukraine however is in more of a unique position and can also choose to both enter into a Free Trade Agreement with the EU, and join the Customs Union among Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
Also, in February this year, the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Economic Development further strengthened Decree 166 (originally introduced in 2005) and, whilst the new conditions didn't abolish existing agreements, they offered a more seductive regime to OEMs (original equipment manufacturer and similar to VAR, value-added reseller) incentivizing them to further increase production and the development of modern industry in Russia. These reforms like “Decree 166” helps on localization in the Russian and CIS markets and other investors world wide that are investing in the Federation and other CIS counties like Belarus.
The one major factor that enhances the “Russian Renaissance” is that after paying-off Yeltsin's debts at the central banks, Russia runs a nearly 'debt-free' economy.
That in itself is no small task, as seen by America’s credit down-grade and is probably the one single major factor that has propelled Russia into the 21st Century with amazing speed.
Since the economic collapse in 1990, the last twenty years has transformed Russia as a new world player eclecticizing from different economic policies to re-establish their prior financial wealth by using a 13% tax base, and by instituting reforms based from their own rich history, Russia has come a very long way in a very short period of time. I can not emphasize that enough, for not only have they accomplished much; they are more loved by the Russian people in general, than at anytime in their recent history.
Mr. John Wayne Sitterley
President at American Republic Research Center (ARRC)