- Yrsa Grüne, editor of Hbl
- Maimo Henriksson, civil servant of the Foreign Ministry
- Markku Kivinen, on behalf of the Alexander Institute
- Ilya Spiegel, cineaste
under the headline of
”Putin styr” (= Putin at the helm)
Ms. Henriksson and Mr. Kivinen are old-school representatives of administrative power, which makes their standpoints partially such that they are loyal to diplomacy and the govt’s objective to maintain relatively good relations with any nation. Grüne and Spiegel, on the other hand, stand for traditional liberal leftism, the representatives of which are wont to point out moral dilemmas and ethical predicaments in any issue at hand, also with Russia.
Deep down, Henriksson and Kivinen seem to be of the opinion that the progress of the Russian bear needs to go along its own path and course. This is characteristic of the older generation. Spiegel and Grüne believe that the troika of Demonstrations, Sanctions and Youth are the things that will propel Russia little by little in the right direction, away from unilateralism and autocracy. Participants also broach the (non-)success of Russian society as measured by demographic statistics.
Russia seems to be a country of ambivalence, an eagle with two heads. On the one hand, as heir to the weapons arsenal developed by the Soviet Union of old, it is one of the three military superpowers in the world, but in terms of its own economy it is rather a BRICS country among which it is sometimes counted. The ambivalence in relating to Russia boils down to the fact that when Russia behaves ”badly” as a superpower (by definition, superpowers ”can’t behave badly”), the punishment it receives comes as a punishment to a BRICS country, as the other options are moot.
I think that most of the things Russia interferes in are its ”internal affairs” that superpowers did not get in hot water for between 1953 (Stalin’s death) and 1991 (the Soviet Union’s fall). Moreover, the victims of Russian policies are for the most part its own citizens or citizens from neighbouring satellite Slavic and Caucasian countries. As an adult weaned on Bond movies, I think that Russia should be treated like it wants itself to be treated. Russia plays with two decks of cards, one in its left hand and the other in its right hand, which was not uncommon in those Bond movies. The West is also able to do this. Diplomacy, a spirited discussion and PR are those things that should dominate in the daytime instead of accusations. By night, espionage, sabotage and other stuff of secret-agent movies might be carried out, acts of which also steer and influence politics.
Based on my opinions, I would seat myself around the now invisible round table next to Maimo and Markku.