Russia’s Best Friends 2005
Mezhdunarodnik.Ru published a rating of major events, organisations and figures that made positive contributions to the development of international relations in Russia in 2005. It is not clear how exactly they came up with some of the names on the list and whether they used some sort of polling techniques to reflect general public opinion or just based their selection on some “expert” judgement instead.
For example, Chernomyrdin, Gazprom and Evgeniy Primakov (along with Putin and Lavrov) were named winners of nominations “Ambassador of the Year”, “Company of the year in the development of international co-operation” and “Person of the year” respectively. It is doubtful, however, that what the abovementioned people/entities did last year actually resulted in any improvement of Russia’s image in the international arena.
The most interesting nomination is called “Foreign Leader-Friend of the Year”. And the winners are â€¦ George Bush and Islam Karimov. Just seeing these two names filed under the same category is ironic enough. Anyway, here is the justification put forward by the authors for such a peculiar coincidence of interests:
Friends of the year is perhaps the most subjective nomination. Surely, many politicians could have qualified for this title. However, Russia turned out to be the best ally for Islam Karimov who ended up in a very bad position after the Andijan events. George Bush – who is fighting the war in Iraq and trying to control rising oil prices and the huge US budget deficit exacerbated by the natural catastrophe in New Orleans – sees Russia as a natural ally.
And the natural conclusion goes thus:
What is good about Karimovâ€™s and Bushâ€™s policies? Russia does not have to sacrifice its national interests for the sake of being friends with them. As a result such friendship does not turn into a single-player game (as is the case with Ukraine, Georgia or Belarus) but leads to mutual improvements in welfare.