Interviewed in yesterday’s issue of Komsomolskaya pravda, Zbigniew Brzezinski described Russia as a "third-world type regional power, though with a substantial nuclear potential," still considering itself a superpower, but in fact "too weak and too backward" to qualify for such status or for a partnership with the U.S. Noting the "Russian political elite’s illusions that Russia can dominate the neighboring [CIS] countries," Brzezinski stressed that those countries are "reacting with growing suspiciousness to Moscow’s proposals for integration."
Brzezinski recommended that U.S. policy in the post-Soviet space should focus on supporting the newly independent countries, with top priority given to Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan. Ukraine, as distinct from Russia, is inherently a part of Europe and indeed "an important factor in the formation of the new Europe"; Azerbaijan "provides a corridor for Western access to the Caspian basin"; and Uzbekistan "emerges as a major obstacle to a restoration of Russian control over Central Asia," Brzezinski was quoted as saying. (Russian agencies, January 6)
Regional Summit Focuses on Pipelines and Security.