Le nouveau Donald Rumsfeld de l’Europe

Il est presque certain que les élections de la Douma d’État russe, qui se tiendront en décembre prochain, cimenteront le pouvoir des fidèles de Vladimir Poutine. A n’en pas douter, l’issue des élections confirmera que la Russie est l’une des questions les plus conflictuelles de l’Union européenne depuis que Donald Rumsfeld a divisé le continent en une « vieille » et une « nouvelle » Europe. Dans les années 90, les membres de l’Union européenne s’accordaient sans difficulté sur une voie d’approche commune au sujet de la Russie ; et se rassemblaient autour d’une stratégie visant à démocratiser et à occidentaliser un pays alors faible et endetté.

Cette politique est désormais en ruine. Les prix du pétrole et du gaz en forte progression ont rendu la Russie plus puissante, moins coopérative et moins disposée à se rallier à l’Occident. Aujourd’hui, les Européens ne parviennent même pas à s’entendre sur la nature du régime russe, à plus forte raison sur la politique à adopter à son égard.

Une partie de la confusion est liée au positionnement politique habile de Poutine. D’une part, ce dernier a besoin de renforcer son contrôle sur l’économie et sur la société afin d’augmenter les salaires et les retraites, et de réprimer l’opposition tout en nourrissant la longue tradition de népotisme qui le maintient au pouvoir. D’autre part, l’élite de Moscou – qui craint de se faire exproprier par un prochain gouvernement – ne tient pas à devenir un paria international, pour pouvoir passer ses vieux jours dans la sécurité de l’Occident, si besoin est.

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