Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Does Russia Belong?

Andrei Illiaronov is no longer the adviser of President Putin of Russia.

But that does not mean that he is not worth listening to. On the contrary, he speaks with a certain background in terms of experience and information.

For years he was the person representing Russia in the preparations for the different G8 meetings. Now, he's questioning whether the Russia he sees emerging really belongs to this club.

"Since 2005, Russia has ceased to be a politically free country. According to Freedom House's index of political rights, Russia is 168th out of 192 countries. Transparency International's corruption index places Russia at 126 out of 159 countries."

That's the result of the Putin regime policies during the last few years.

It's really not an argument for expelling Russia from the G8, as is advocated by some in the debate here in the United States. We need to be engaged with Russia over a broad range of different issues.

But we should be critically engaged.

And it's wise to listen to the words of Andrei Illiaronov on what's happening in the country.