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Russian analyst says Putin to become monarch of post-Soviet space

An outspoken Russian political analyst, known for his apocalyptic predictions on the U.S., has said global events suggest that a new alliance could form in Eurasia, with Vladimir Putin at its helm.
MOSCOW, April 1 (RIA Novosti) - An outspoken Russian political analyst, known for his apocalyptic predictions on the U.S., has said global events suggest that a new alliance could form in Eurasia, with Vladimir Putin at its helm.

Professor Igor Panarin, who grabbed headlines last November with his prediction that the United States would disintegrate, told the Izvestia newspaper that numerous factors, including last year's war with Georgia and the weakness of the global financial system, suggest that a new union will emerge around Russia.

The new bloc, a result of step-by-step economic integration, would "not be formed on the model of the Soviet Union, but on the model of the European Union... In describing the leader of such a union, I would use the word that Machiavelli liked to use - a prince," Panarin told the paper.  Игорь Николаевич Панарин

"The prince of the post-Soviet space would be Vladimir Putin. His main asset is that, firstly, he has authority among the national elites of the post-Soviet republics, and secondly, has produced effective results in the eight years he has led Russia. Our country is centralized and stable, and last August passed a test of its strength."

He called the August conflict between Russia and Georgia a turning point in Eurasian integration, as "Russia was then seen by the eyes of the world." The Americans and the Chinese decided not to interfere in the conflict, with the result that they lost all influence in the Caucasus region, he said.

The conflict also had wider-reaching repercussions, he added. "We can see now that countries have essentially stopped hurling allegations at us, continual attacks. A few days ago the EU admitted that Georgia was wrong in its actions."

Russia did not only succeed in ending the genocide in South Ossetia, but also "signed deals on placing military bases," setting the right political and military conditions for "processes of integration in the post-Soviet space."

Under the world system envisaged by Panarin, there will be three centers of power - China, the European Union, and the Russia-led "EU-2."

The first to join Russia's union will be Belarus and Kazakhstan, whose president Nursultan Nazarbayev recently proposed a single currency for the region; the rest of the ex-Soviet republics, including eventually the Baltic States, will join later, he said.

He noted China's support for Russia's idea of a new global reserve currency.

"China should conduct integration in the Pacific region, and Russia in the post-Soviet space, based on their national currencies. The ruble and the yuan could become centers of gravity for the two countries, the basis of the new world super-currency."

Panarin said that with the challenges facing the world amid the financial crisis, the process of integration in Eurasia can already be seen.

"The global economic and political system is on the verge of colossal changes. Now is the right time to think about the future of the global architecture - and its contours can already be seen."

"A unique situation is developing. Until recently there were many factors holding back the integration process in the post-Soviet space, but today the logic of the financial crisis demands new actions, which must succeed. In literally the past few days, several breakthrough foreign policy meetings have been held. An agreement was signed in Moscow on integration between Moldova and Transdnestr - the first breakthrough in 10 years. The unprecedentedly long talks between the presidents of Russia and Belarus - this is also no coincidence."

He suggested 2012 as a likely date for the process of forming a new union to be complete, with Putin initially elected for a five-year term.

When asked about the current system of leadership in Russia, with Putin as prime minister and Dmitry Medvedev as president, he said it is bound to end soon.

"The 'president-premier' system is very unstable for Russia. Our entire history has shown that two centers of power cannot strategically exist for long," he said.

Panarin, 50, heads the international relations department at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.

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