Lidove Noviny (Czech Republic)
Russia is once again a serious threat to the West, said Petruska Sustrova in Pragues Lidove Noviny. Most Western Europeans naïvely assumed that when the Soviet Union fell apart, Russians would behave like Eastern Europeans, eagerly embracing the democratic freedoms long denied them. And that was trueat first, under Boris Yeltsin. But since Vladimir Putin took power, in 2000, Russia has returned to its old, aggressive ways. Putin is leading Russia toward a new greatness. Only this time, it wont be the greatness of a mastodon that can impress Europe only by the striking force of its armies, as in the 19th century. And it wont be the greatness of an empire with obedient satellites across the world, as in the Communist era. Instead, Putin is building an economic behemoth out of Russias oil and gas reserves. Last winter, when he cut gas supplies to Ukraine, the move was meant as a warning to all the world that Russia has new weapons, economic weapons. Wake up, Europe. Russia does not want to be like us. It has rejected human rights as an alien, Western construct. That is why we should be alarmed that Russia already is, and will continue to be, a superpower.