Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Moscow’s Failure to Find Effective Responses to Foreign Moves against Russia Means There will Be More of Those, Sigov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 26 – Many in the West are frustrated that the sanctions that they are applying to Russia have not forced a change in Moscow’s behavior, but a new commentary by Yury Sigov suggests that at least some in Moscow feel that their government’s inability to come up with effective responses to Western moves means there will be more attacks on Russia.

            The recent upsurge in anti-Russian actions not only by its “traditional” competitors but also by its former “fraternal rulers” reflects the fact that “Russia has no effective levers of influence on the surrounding world,” the Moscow journalist says. Until it finds or develops them, there will be ever more such attacks (

            According to Sizov, there are three “basic” reasons that explain the motivations for this phenomenon.  First, leaders and peoples abroad believe that since Russia destroyed their country when it tried to oppose the West, the West is in a position to push it in the same direction again given that Russia is “the legal successor of the USSR.”

            Second, many abroad feel that the Soviet Union betrayed their hopes even as it betrayed itself. That leads some to want to take revenge when they feel they can and others to approach any positive possibility in relations with Moscow extremely skeptically, especially when they are encouraged by Western leaders.

            And third, and most important, those who do take such actions are confident that Moscow won’t be able to do anything in response that will undermine their positions. It has no effective levers against most of them, and so they assume that they can act against Russia for domestic and foreign policy reasons with impunity because in the end, the US will protect them.

            This sense of impunity and “confidence that Russia today has no effective levers of influence on the world” only encourages those who see value to themselves of adopting anti-Russian positions and taking anti-Russian actions. Moscow has to find ways to show them they are wrong, or it will face a growing number of such attacks, Sizov concludes.

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