Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 54

Primakov also spent some time addressing Russia’s concept of a "multipolar world" and the related imperative of preventing the emergence of a "unipolar system." These formulations are shorthand, obviously, for Moscow’s efforts to counter Washington’s still dominant influence on the world stage. Primakov points to the recent crisis in Iraq — in which Russia successfully led international opposition to proposed U.S. air strikes on Baghdad — as an example of this Kremlin policy in action.

Primakov suggests that Russia was able to rally international opposition to the U.S. strikes in part because Moscow is not the only world capital uncomfortable with the idea of Washington as the world’s policeman. "The United States’ enormous might does not mean that the world should be built around one pole of influence. We are not alone in saying no to this question. The whole world says so," Primakov stated. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, Segodnya, March 17)

His remarks suggest — and recent events tend to corroborate — that the pattern established in the Iraq crisis will be repeated elsewhere. That is, that Russia will seek to defend regimes currently pushed, with U.S. backing, to the margins of the world community. To varying degrees, this principle has already been demonstrated in Russia’s diplomatic relations not only with Iraq, but also with Iran and with Serb hard-liners in Belgrade. There have also been calls in Russia to improve ties with Libya. In such cases, Moscow appears to be aiming at strengthening itself in various of the world’s regions while simultaneously nibbling away at an international status quo that currently favors Washington.

"Yeltsin Suffering from Depression."