The Transition Project: Role of International Organizations

Western countries will treat future changes much more pragmatically than they did during Perestroika, and the terms of reconciliation will be tougher and more specific. What might be the role of international organizations after the change of power in Russia?

The most odious component of Putin’s regime is its treatment of political opponents. External diplomatic pressure on the transitional government should concern the release of political prisoners and their rehabilitation and the removal of illegal restrictions on political participation on the grounds of «foreign agency,» dual citizenship, etc., which are the basis of the regime’s political system.

UN agencies, including peacekeeping forces, can and should play an important role in the post-war settlement and reconstruction of Ukraine. Perhaps it is the UN that can offer a non-humiliating option for Russia to financially compensate the affected neighbor through UN agency funds.

If progress is made in reconciliation between Russia and Ukraine, there will be a window of opportunity to discuss the territorial conflicts in Georgia and Moldova. This prospect is very important for European diplomacy, but it should be seriously prepared for, including by establishing ties with the leaders of the separatist regimes and discussing options for a possible diplomatic solution under the auspices of the OSCE and/or the UN.

The task of foreign policy agencies and various institutions of the United States, the EU and other allies in the post-Putin period is to help Russia overcome or at least balance China’s attraction and move beyond the «bad marriage.» A transitional Russia could prove to be a convenient partner for the preparation and implementation of UN reform, which is long overdue. Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, holds the keys to solutions that could be acceptable to both China and Western partners.

Allergy to the activities of foreign human rights organizations, democracy support foundations and foreign media will remain for some time. But this does not mean that their participation in the life of postwar Russia is not required.

We continue to publish chapters of The Transition Project, a step-by-step expert guide to democratic transformations in Russia after the change of power.

check other materials