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Putin's plan for the WEST

Oct 15th, 2017 - by Derek Fraser, Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria,  former ambassador to Ukraine

According to press reports, U.S. President Donald Trump, in his desire for reconciliation with Russia, was initially considering removing sanctions on Russia and recognizing a Russian zone of influence in Eastern Europe. In fact, Trump might not have achieved reconciliation through such measures. What Russia seeks is more than a zone of influence: It wants to be recognized as a great power with a veto on all questions affecting Russian security, including the activities of NATO and the EU.

To understand Russian goals, we have to look at the roots of Russian policy towards the west. European Russia, like France, Germany and Poland, lies on the North European Plain. Like these states, it therefore lacks geographical defences against attack, and has historically regarded its principal neighbours as its enemies.

The west European states, as a result of their experience during the Second World War, resolved after the war to follow a new course. By creating common European and Atlantic institutions, the west Europeans came to regard their neighbours as their friends, and to recognize that international relations did not have to be a zero-sum game.

For the Russians, however, the Second World War had reinforced their traditional view that their neighbours were their enemies unless they were under Russian control, and that the defence of Russia required pushing its boundaries as far west as possible.

According to this view, therefore, the end of the Cold War and the break-up of the Soviet Union were disasters not mitigated by any understanding with the west on future relations. The west promoted democracy and was open to the integration of East European states into Euro-Atlantic Institutions. Russia sought instead to recover its position as a great power, including a zone of influence.

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CEDoM events at the International Conference: Borders in Globalization - Ottawa, Dec 6-7

Engaging public, policy makers and civil society actors during the International Conference "Borders in Globalization"

CEDoM invites scholars, policy makers and the wider public to participate in a dialogue on current issues in the wider field of borders and migration studies . During two events experts will provide the audience with the newest responses on visions in the EU and in Canada with a view on how to proceed in the future.

Dec 6: Doug Saunders (Author, Journalist, The Globe and Mail) will deliver a talk on "Making population growth work: European and North American lessons in removing barriers to integration and inclusion"

Dec 7:  Panel Canada Europe Dialogue on Migration (CEDoM). This event addresses the recent irregular migration from the United States into Canada and the  Canadian public debate on migratory movements, Canada’s Safe Third Country agreement with the United States, approaches to refugees and refugee systems in both countries, and the extent to which Canada’s current approach, system, and legal framework are adequate. This comes at a time when Canada’s Prime Minister had already initiated an independent review of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. This panel looks at available data to gauge patterns, trajectories, continuity, and change in irregular migration across the Canada-US border, offers perspectives by Canadian and US border practitioners, as well as a comparative European assessment of lessons from Germany’s recent experience.

Participants: Dick Fadden (former National Security Advisor), Lesley Soper (IRC), Oliver Schmidtke (University of Victoria), Kelley Humber (Queen’s University), Christian Leuprecht (RMCC), Brandon Behlendorf (SUNY Albany), Superintendent Jamie Soleme (RCMP), Leslie Lawson (Department of Homeland Security), Axel Kreienbrink (German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees)

Draft program International Conference Borders in Globalization

The events are free - please register for the Wednesday event here, and for the Thursday panel by sending a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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