Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
7th April, 2016
The operation in Syria put Russia among a number of key global players. Will she be able to become a global player? Will the Kremlin force other countries to consult with Moscow?
According to a political analyst at the international monitoring organization CIS-EMO [Commonwealth of the Independent States – Election Monitoring Organization – O.R.], Stanislav Byshok, the influence of Russia and the US is still not comparable.
“I would start with simple figures: there is the country of Germany, which is very influential and one of the leading economies in the world. How many Russian military bases are there in Germany? Zero. How many American military bases are there in Germany? According to recent data, 172. As for Syria, in Syria now, for example, there are two military bases,” — commented the expert to Pravda.Ru.
According to Stanislav Byshok, Russia, even in the worst times of Yeltsinism, was not only a regional power but a global power too, but currently it has not yet reached the level of power that had the Soviet Union had.
“US foreign policy is a very clumsy, stupid, and is based on some unverified data and analytics written on the knee [means written hurriedly and carelessly – O.R]. But the United States can afford to, after the 3-year long intervention, say “sorry, something went wrong”, and leave the country. And we can’t allow that to happen. That’s why we have to be smarter and not use numerous military bases, but diplomacy to resolve conflicts”, said Stanislav Byshok.
The expert noted that there is the prospect of Russia’s full return into international politics as a mediator and peacemaker, and not as a global policeman.
“The level of Russophobia, which we sometimes see in mainstream Western publications, is through the roof. Any step is interpreted either as aggression or impotent Russian aggression. Russian media is somewhat more free in its interpretations of both Russia and international politics, unlike the BBC, Deutsche Welle, CNN, and The Guardian,” said the expert, Stanislav Byshok, to Pravda.Ru.
He did not agree that Russia can have an impact similar to the Soviet one. “The Soviet Union occupied a slightly larger area than the Russian Federation. And if the core countries, which are included in the post-Soviet space, are loyal to us, we could then start to talk about a return to the Soviet status. But now there is no certainty and sometimes even in Belarus, which we have associated with for 20 years,” commented Stanislav Byshok.
The expert added that in Russia the President has far more authority, influence, and power than in the US, but due to the fact that the US currently has a weak President, it does not mean that a strong Russian President and Russia alone will raise the country to the level that was seen in the Soviet Union.
According to Stanislav Byshok, the rhetoric of the Russophobic rhetoric from the West has not changed since the Napoleonic wars, during which the media at the time interpreted all that was happening in the Russian Empire with a negative bias – unrestrained and tyrannical.
“Even under Yeltsin — any decision Russia made, for example, to restore constitutional order in Chechnya, all of the Western media presented it as aggression against freedom-loving democratic people. Russia was accused of attacking independent democratic Chechnya, and currently, is being accused of attacking peaceful protesters from the Islamic State, for example,” said Stanislav Byshok.
He believes that the world sees Russia’s attempts to have a major international policy, like the US. But the US is beyond criticism, so instead they criticize Russia.
“In Japan, public opinion tends to be strongly against the current presence of US military bases. But the officials criticize Russia for not wanting to give up the Kuriles. The people are against the State, and the authorities channel the people’s discontent into a completely different side of claims against Russia”, added the expert.
Stanislav Bychok concluded that the international role of Russia is increasing, but it is criticized because the majority of Western mainstream media, not necessarily English-speaking, is owned by or associated with US holders.