In my decades-long dealings with Russia, I have seen firsthand many difficulties. I have also seen the difficulties that the post-Soviet government itself has encountered ("Putin's power play," European Business, June 5).
I am no fan of the continuing inefficacy and at times criminal behavior of the Russian marketplace, but I must at least partially come to the defense of President Vladimir Putin in his struggle for power. Although I do not know the true details of the means being used in his attempt at a resumption of national power, I can commend the goals, in as much as they assert nation-state responsibility.
Imagine the reaction and outcome in the U.S. if Montana were to decide to suspend the transfer of taxes to the federal government and enter into a treaty of its own making with North Korea. Russia is faced with the dynamic equivalent of this very thing.
The U.S. should demand from Russia international standards of responsibility (read Chechyna), but it should also clearly express its support for adherence to the Russian constitution by freely subscribed members of the Russian federation.
The U.S. also has a constitution, and it is considered to be a rather important document. Grant the Russians the same.