El nuevo Donald Rumsfeld de Europa

Es casi seguro que las elecciones de la Duma rusa este diciembre consolidarán el poder de las fuerzas leales a Vladimir Putin. Es probable que el resultado confirme que el auge de Rusia es el tema más polémico en la Unión Europea desde que Donald Rumsfeld dividió al continente en “vieja” y “nueva” Europa. En los años 1990, a los miembros de la UE les resultó fácil ponerse de acuerdo en un enfoque común en cuanto a Rusia. Se unieron en torno a una estrategia de democratización y occidentalización de un país débil y endeudado.

Esa política ahora está en ruinas. Los altos precios del petróleo y el gas han hecho que Rusia sea más poderosa, menos cooperativa y que esté menos interesada en unirse a Occidente. Hoy los europeos ni siquiera se ponen de acuerdo en la naturaleza del régimen ruso, y menos aún en cuanto a qué política adoptar al respecto.

Parte de la confusión yace en la habilidad política de Putin. Por un lado, necesita maximizar su control de la economía y la sociedad para aumentar los salarios y las pensiones y mantener dominados a sus oponentes, al tiempo que alimenta el clientelismo que lo sostiene en el poder. Por el otro, la élite de Moscú –que teme que un futuro gobierno pueda expropiar sus bienes—quiere evitar el estatus de paria internacional para poder vivir sus últimos años en la seguridad de Occidente si llega a ser necesario.

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