Passport magazine: Russian lifestyle
Home Archive September 2007

About Us

From the Publisher

Contact Us

Current IssueArchive
Restaurant GuideRestaurant ReviewsInternational Food BlogsWine TastingsTravelMoscow EmbassiesAirlines to RussiaMoscow AirportsCustoms and VisasResidence permitMoscow Phone DirectoryMuseums and GalleriesWi-Fi Hot Spots in MoscowClubs!Community ListingsMoscow Downtown MapMoscow Metro MapRussian LinksInternational Links
Advertise with Us
Our Readers - a profileAdvertising RatesDistribution List
Click for Moscow, Russia Forecast
Our Partners
Knights of the Vine RUSSIA

Passport Times

A Longing for the Cold War?
"I can call up spirits from the vasty deep'.'
"Why, so can I, or so can any man, But do they come when you do call them?"
Shakespeare: Henry IV, Part I: Act III
Eric Kraus

T&B is deeply troubled to see almost daily confirmation of our dire warnings that Western attitudes towards Russia would eventually bear poisoned fruit. An idiocy of historic proportions has been perpetrat­ed, and will not be reversed. That said, given the economic interests at stake, at worst, we expect to see a reasonably civilized divorce, based upon a pragmatic assessment of mutual interests, rather than upon a clash of misguided, fundamentalist ideologies.

T&B has long sought to explain to our readers the complexities of the Russian reality, countering the unbalanced, misleading coverage of much of the Western press. We have warned that, were the West to continue to gratuitously antagonize the Bear, they might indeed suc­ceed in inflecting Russian behaviour - but certainly not in a direction of which they would approve!

Predictably, the constant carping of the EU and the US has only exacerbated the distrust felt by ordinary Russians as regards the Atlantic powers, thus strengthening the more nationalistic factions in Russia. As the relative economic weight of the West declines, the East is rising - despite a deep-rooted historical fear of the "Yellow Peril", as the gradual deterioration in political relations with the West becomes irreversible, Russia is turning towards China, building a deep and multifaceted military, diplomatic and economic alliance - the ultimate nightmare for Western strategic thinkers.

Of course, one needs not be overly alarmist - there is no new ideol­ogy to replace Marxism as the basis for a new Cold War, and with the Middle East a desperately unstable place, even the US Neocons seem to have concluded that decent relations with Russia are vital for global energy security. As any lingering illusions are relinquished, what we are seeing is the outbreak of a cold peace - a jockeying for position in the context of the competition for economic power where the West shall be compelled to deal with Russia very much as it deals with a China - a country which equally scorns foreign lessons in "democ­racy," bluntly rejecting all meddling in its internal affairs.

Although at the beginning of the 1990s America (and the West in general) was indeed seen as a shining City on the Hill by deeply traumatized and disoriented post-Soviet Russians, this gloss has been irretrievably lost; it matters little by whose fault - it is a matter of history. The opportunity for a broader alliance, a realistic hope in the 1990s, has been lost, in large part due to a fundamental misconcep­tion underlying the Western approach to Russia -the notion that, as a defeated power, Russia is answerable to the political, social and ideological criteria of the Atlantic Alliance. It is not, and perhaps more importantly, does not see itself as such. The Soviet Union was not de­feated on the battle-field, nor was its demise foreordained - the 1980s were a wretched decade, but Soviet power had survived far greater challenges. Instead, the USSR provides us with the unique example of a maj or empire more or less willingly voting itself out of existence.

The Western powers, not just the US, but also the Eurocrats, seem to be incapable of grasping another very simple message - Vladi­mir Putin is the President of Russia and of the Russians. His job description thus implies furthering the best interests of Russia, as he sees them, rather than those of Russia's purported well-wishers in the West. It shouldn't be terribly surprising that his Russian constitu­ency - no less patriotic than their American or French counterparts - is delighted to see their country taking a more assertive role on the world stage, strengthening her control over vital energy resources, and (not unlike American or British diplomacy) seeking to penalize those countries which would harm, hinder or humiliate her.

Equally unsurprising, despite severe and persistent inequalities in income distribution, a large majority of Russians now enjoy double-digit annual income growth, with soaring home ownership, automobile registrations and foreign travel - this after two decades of deepening misery.

We are still bewildered at the diffi­culty some foreign commentators seem to have in comprehending these simple truths. The Russians love Vladimir Putin because they believe he has made them richer, and their country stronger and more secure. While some in the West may honestly choose to disagree with this assessment, let them never imagine that the Russian people are about to rise up in open rebellion in support of a deeply discredited Washington Consensus!

Eric Kraus is the author of strategy monthly Truth and Beauty (... and Russian Finance), and the Managing Director of Anyatta Capital - the Investment advisor to the Nikitsky Russia/CIS Opportunities Fund (

Your M&A and Private Equity Advisor in Russia

Established in 1997, Meridian Capital is a Moscow based, in­dependent investment banking firm with capabilities and ex­perience in a broad range of investment and financial services including mergers and acguisitions, private eguity origination, corporate and project exits, and asset divestment. Meridian Capital's focus is on middle market mergers and acguisitions with valuations between USD 5 million and USD 100 million. Meridian Capital has extensive experience with both domestic Russian and cross border transactions.

Meridian Capital is a member of Global M&A, the world's lead­ing network of successful middlemarket corporate finance houses. Global M&A extends Meridian Capital's reach to 30 countries with over 300 M&A professionals.

Sadovaya-Chernogryazskaya 13/3, Moscow
+7 (985) 768-8505  

 Copyright 2004-2012 +7 (495) 640 0508,,
website development – Telemark
OnLine M&A Russia Deal Book
Follow Us