Kremlin-linked analyst says EU constitution rejections bode well for Russia

PRAVDA, Russia
June 16 2005

16:50 2005-06-16

A Russian political commentator with close links to the Kremlin
assailed the European constitution as a plan for a bureaucratic
super-state, saying Thursday that its rejection by French and Dutch
voters boded well for both Europeans and Russia.

Gleb Pavlovsky, political commentator and consultant, said the European
constitution would have suppressed national sovereignty and put the
European Union on a dangerous path leading to new conflicts.

He said that its rejection will help temper ambitions of the EU
bureaucracy and improve relations between Russia and Europe.

"There was a split between the elites' game of a unified Europe as
a superpower playing geopolitics, and the Europeans' desire to live
in a normal, sovereign environment," Pavlovsky said.

Valery Fadeyev, the editor of Expert, a leading business affairs
magazine, also criticized the European constitution as a bureaucratic
product infringing on sovereignty.

"The unification is dangerous, because it binds people and limits
their freedom," he said. "It obliges nations to live according to
bureaucrats' whim."

Russia has been wary about the eastward expansion of the EU, which
took in the former Soviet Baltic republics last year. The possibility
that other ex-Soviet nations such as Ukraine will eventually join
has fueled its concerns.

Pavlovsky, who was involved in Ukraine's presidential election last
fall in which pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko defeated a Kremlin-backed
opponent, bristled at what he described as the EU's ill-considered
interference in ex-Soviet spaces.

"Europe's intention to unfreeze conflicts in the Black Sea basin,
solve problems of the Trans-Dniester, Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia
.. has led to confusion and new difficulties," Pavlovsky said. .

Russia has played mediator in the post-Soviet conflicts, deploying
peacekeepers to Georgia's breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South
Ossetia and to Moldova's separatist Trans-Dniester region. The Kremlin
views the EU's increasing interest in these regions as an encroachment
on its traditional sphere of influence.

Russia will benefit from the constitutional crisis because it would
slow down the EU's expansion drive and make its foreign policy more
rational, Pavlovsky said.

"The discussion in Europe about perspectives of the EU's development
is good for Russia," he said. "Russia can't remain indifferent to
the dogma of a unified Europe, because it's dangerous. The victory
of that ideology would lead to potential conflicts."