The Russians clearly enjoy this opportunity to focus attention away from their own domestic problems. That is why the de facto dictator Vladimir Putin has ordered his puppet president to show a friendly face in Brussels:
Russia is open to suggestions from European leaders on how it can help tame the region’s debt crisis during a summit in Brussels attended by President Dmitry Medvedev, a Kremlin official said.
“We see ourselves as a responsible partner for the European Union,” Sergei Prikhodko, Medvedev’s chief foreign policy aide, told reporters in Moscow. “We are ready to study most attentively what they are doing and hear if they have any proposals for the Russian side.”
Medvedev is set to hold an informal dinner tonight with European Commission President Jose Barroso and EU President Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels, followed tomorrow by this year’s second Russia-EU summit. The meetings will address issues ranging from Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization to unrest in the Middle East, Prikhodko said.
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Medvedev will make some friendly noises in Brussels. However, the supposed "assistance" comes with strings attached:
The EU must allow Russia (Gazprom) a much more dominant role in European energy markets
The EU must prevent the American-led shale gas revolution from reaching Europe
The EU must turn a blind eye to the repression of human and political rights in Russia
The EU must not criticize Russia´s support of Syria´s Assad and other thugocrats.
There is a risk that Putin´s political menu will spoil Van Rompuy´s and Barroso´s dinner tonight.