18 October 2005

Into the enemy's territory!

This dude just came by:


Didn't realize that party candidates themselves participated in canvassing. Major props to this conservative representative for venturing into the enemy's territory - i.e. the downtown.

This, however, does explain the NDP flyers I've located on my doorstep before. Too bad Jack Layton himself doesn't taint his hands by communicating with the "common man" he claims to represent in this manner - that way I would at least be able to get some poignant feedback on his feelings regarding his being "commie scum" and will keep accidentally referring to him as "Mr. Lenin".

08 October 2005

Former Soviet "borderlands"

This week I came across (purely accidentally) an interview conducted by Dominika Cosic with a Russian political scientist and Putin's advisor Gleb Pavlovsky for Wprost.

Not surprisingly, the interviewer brought up Belorus. While it is customary to bash Lukaschenko, Pavlovsky mentioned a crucial point: Belorus' economy has been steadily growing by 5% annually, not due to the expected export of natural resources (as in the case of Russia), but via the manufacturing and services industries! He admitted that the main receptacle of Belorussian exports is Russia, however this is partially based on the fact that the rest of Europe had decided to ostracize Belorus for ideological reasons and left it without much choice. He then expectedly warned against American/W. European democrazy exportation (as in the case of Ukraine election funding or even Iraq) and underscored the small respresentability of the new Belorussian opposition.

More important, Pavlovsky then emphasized the emotionality, which characterizes the current Polish foreign policy towards Russia (throughout the Kwasnievski / Putin rule), in contrast to the Walesa / Yeltsin period. He demonstrated this via maintained stereotype-based anti-Russian attitude in the Polish press, whereas Russia has no such anti-Polish attitudes.

This emotionality particularly affects the issue of the planned Russo-German gas pipeline: he explained that the pipeline is not a method of political circumscription (this is not the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, part II!), but a result of sober decisions with economic gain in mind, in which Poland is not even in question - for better or for worse.

The second issue that Pavlovsky attributed to irrationally driven foreign policy is the Katyn question and the current halt in the investigation procedures. He reminded the interviewer that Yeltsin already officially apologized for this particular example of Stalin's brutality - should every consecutive Russian leader be obliged to do the same? Historic tolerance is an essential democratic tool, and Kwasniewski initiated the ongoing faux pas.

Pavlovsky concluded that the current Russo-Polish relationship is classified by a vacuum, which explains the unnecessarily extended focus on the recent incident of the Russian teenagers' beatings in Poland / Polish diplomats' and journalists' beatings in Russia. If real issues are to be resolved, then two-sided discussions are more productive than historic grievances!