Poetin’s pogingen tot aantrekkelijkheid

CAMBRIDGE – De clandestiene agressie van de Russische president Poetin in Oekraïne duurt voort, net zoals de Westerse sancties tegen zijn land. Maar de economie is niet het enige dat onder vuur ligt: de zachte macht van Rusland wordt kleiner, met mogelijk verwoestende gevolgen.

Een land kan andere landen er op drie manieren toe bewegen om zijn belangen te dienen: dwang, betaling en aantrekking. Dwang heeft Poetin al geprobeerd – en hij kreeg hierdoor te maken met steeds zwaardere sancties. De Duitse bondskanselier Angela Merkel, de belangrijkste Europese gesprekspartner van Poetin, uit haar frustratie over het Russische beleid inzake Oekraïne in steeds hardere bewoordingen. Welke korte termijnwinst de acties van Poetin in de Oekraïne ook op zullen leveren, deze zal op lange termijn meer dan tenietgedaan worden, wanneer Rusland toegang tot de Westerse technologie verliest die het nodig heeft om zijn industrie te moderniseren en om de ontginning van energiebronnen in de arctische regio’s uit te breiden.

Met een haperende Russische economie wordt het voor Poetin steeds moeilijker om zijn tweede machtsmiddel in te zetten: betaling. Zelfs olie en gas, Ruslands meest waardevolle hulpbronnen, kunnen de economie niet redden, zoals de recente overeenkomst van Poetin om China de komende dertig jaar tegen bodemprijzen van gas te voorzien demonstreert.

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