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Ukraine: Kramer, 'Russia is building new iron curtain.'

Historian in Udine at forum on "Borderlands and the Cold War"

08 March, 18:31
(ANSA) - UDINE, 08 MAR - "There is a new Iron Curtain, but it's the one Russia is building. During this war, Russia has implemented censorship and repression, closing its borders, expelling people, describing them as foreign agents, and making Russia so authoritarian that 100,000 Russians have left. Russia did so to shield itself from Western influence". That is what historian and analyst Mark Kramer, director of Harvard University's Center for Cold War Studies, said today in Udine, where he will open tomorrow the international forum "Borderlands: from the Cold War to the Conflicts of Our Time," scheduled to take place in Udine and Gorizia until March 11, organized by Friuli Storia with the universities of Udine and Harvard.

"It matters to us whether Russia is a deeply authoritarian country because the foreign policy that the current Russian government has pursued - Kramer said - is the result of this authoritarian system; the launching of the war in a more democratic Russia wouldn't have happened. Western Countries feel the need rightly to defend against Russia. Therefore, they have to spend a lot more on military forces. Hence, the reimposition of a new Iron Curtain matters a great deal".

"For the last years, there has been one superpower worldwide - Kramer added - and this is the US, right now and for an indefinite future. China has greatly increased its economic potential, but it still isn't a superpower; it hasn't any significant military strength except in a minimal area, eastern Asia". According to Kramer, "the risk of a nuclear war has been greatly overstated, the Russian government sometimes used the nuclear threat to deter western countries supporting Ukraine, but there was never a follow-up, nor did I should expect it. So this is something to be pleased about: the Russian government is authoritarian and repressive. Still, fortunately, it is not irrational". "The end of the war - he then underlined - is going to be determined on the battlefield; the Russian government over the last year has shown that it attaches no value to the commitments taken in international treaties, do the only way I see this war is going to end is through either a Ukrainian or a Russian victory on the battlefield." (ANSA).

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