by David Stepanyan
Russia should take part in the European concert, Russian analyst Sergey Markedonov said at the Yerevan conference on NATO's partnership in the South Caucasus.
"Like it or not, there is no alternative to our participation in European affairs. Russia is not a Soviet Union isolated from Europe and the West in general. Present-day Russia is connected with Europe and the world by thousands of threads, first of all, economic threads. Therefore, it is senseless and ineffective to impose economic sanctions on it", the analyst stressed.
Markedonov is convinced that the pressure on the Russian authorities may intensify the authoritarianism and even lead to the Kremlin's refusal to demonstrate commitment to democratic principles. This will deteriorate the West-Russia relationship even more. According to Markedonov, Russia, unlike other powers, is a Caucasian country, and this fact allows it to take part in the Caucasian affairs. "Unlike the USSR, Russia does not consider a priority to interfere with the affairs of Angola or Cuba, for instance. We have neither a desire nor an opportunity to do that. However, the post-Soviet area has always been a zone of vital interests for Russia with all that it implies", said Markedonov.
The ongoing two-day International Conference "NATO Partnership in the South Caucasus: Strategic Approach to Regional Security" in Yerevan has brought together political analysts and experts from Azerbaijan, Georgia, USA, Russia, Turkey, Iran, UK, Spain and Belgium to discuss regional security issues, Euro-Atlantic prospects, European and Eurasian partnership, cooperation and development trends in the countries in the South Caucasus. The event is organized by the Center for Strategic Analysis Spectrum.