Putin strives for restoring power similar to Soviet Union: former FM

Vladimir Putin is using all the instruments he has got not only for the psychological game but also for the bigger purpose, which is the restoration of the power of the Soviet Union, said Witold Waszczykowski, an MEP and the former Polish Foreign Minister.

In this context, Mr Waszczykowski recalled that a few years ago, the Russian leader stated that the collapse of the Soviet Union had been the biggest tragedy in the history of Russia and the world.

To regain the status of the Soviet Union for contemporary Russia, Vladimir Putin needs to incorporate all the former Soviet republics that the USSR lost after its collapse. This is why, as the Polish MEP said, he has presented an aggressive and firm stance towards Ukraine, Belarus, Caucasus and now Kazakhstan.

According to Mr Waszczykowski, Putin considers the US as the only worthy partner, just like it was during the Cold War. He said that Russia was not keen on holding a dialogue with a number of entities, they would rather select their partners to carry out talks with.

However, at the moment, the Russian president has no resources to bring the power of the USSR back. Witold Waszczykowski said that Putin had another plan, which is to re-create the so-called “Concert of Powers” from the 19th century [the establishment of a few global powerhouses favouring preservation of the territorial and political status quo].

In terms of the eastern policy pursued by the US, Mr Waszczykowski does not evaluate President Joe Biden highly. In his opinion, in the beginning, the US president showed a rather meek attitude, agreeing with the points Vladimir Putin presented to NATO and offering numerous concessions, namely the arms control and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

All of this has changed as a result of a number of talks with the US allies in Europe, including the Bucharest Nine. Since then, according to Mr Waszczykowski, the US returned to the strategy of challenging Russia, presenting a common front along with their NATO partners.

Since the Geneva talks brought nothing new of substance in terms of Ukraine and eastern policy, and, in the opinion of the former foreign minister, nothing will change in the near future.

Mr Waszczykowski drew attention that at the same time Poland is concerned about the outcome of the Eastern Europe arrangements, there are other crucial issues on the table, namely the US relations with China, as regards whom the administration of Joe Biden continues to pursue an economic competition policy.