Update: It is no longer a rumor, as the State Duma approves Rogozin’s appointment as Russian representative to NATO.
Remember, in a previous post, how I reported that Dmitry Rogozin mysteriously referred to a ‘Plan B’, which his party – Great Russia – would implement if denied registration for the upcoming Duma election? And then I again reported that Great Russia was, in fact, denied registration…twice. So, one might wonder, when will Plan B begin? Never, apparently, because Kremlin sources report that Rogozin has been appointed to the post of Russian representative to NATO.
I am sure that much more information on this issue is forthcoming, so I will only offer some preliminary thoughts:
1. This constitutes a [well-deserved] middle finger from Russia to NATO. Despite the demise of the threat which the organization was created to counter, NATO has not only continued to exist in the post-Cold War era, but has in fact expanded to Russia’s borders. Now, NATO plans on bringing Georgia into its fold and possibly Ukraine as well. It is my sense that NATO’s interests are not well served by seeking members with unstable domestic political situations and involvement in frozen conflicts. Furthermore, such a move is either intended to hurt NATO-Russian relations or is incredibly ignorant and stupid. So I applaud Russia’s decision to send Rogozin to Brussels – in some ways, it is reminiscent of Germany sending Lenin in a sealed train car back into Russia during WWI. Brilliant….
2. This move effectively kills Great Russia’s chances as a political movement – Rogozin is a very charismatic leader and, Russian politics being very personality driven, this party cannot survive without him at the top. In this way, Putin has neutralized the threat of a ‘rogue’ nationalist party in the upcoming elections. Nonetheless, the seething nationalist sentiment growing among most Russians will not follow Rogozin to Brussels – this is the elephant in the room that will cause problems sooner or later.