Diplomatic sources at the U.N. say that while members of the Security Council were working hard to find a negotiated compromise that would reunite the fractured body behind a plan to send humanitarian aid to Iraq, Russia joined Syria in its refusal to even negotiate.”The Russians definitely raised their objections up a notch,” said one diplomat who participated in the talks.

He said that the Russians contended that the old program should remain intact, despite the fact that all U.N. personnel who ran it were evacuated from Iraq on the eve of the war. Most of all, he said, the Russians were worried about any indication that the old Iraqi regime is not recognized as the legitimate representative of Iraq. “Any reform in oil-for-food could indicate that Saddam’s regime is illegitimate,” the diplomat said….

Russia … is concerned that any change might result in loss of oil contracts signed with Saddam’s regime. Oil analysts also believe that as a major oil producing nation, Russia may worry about loss of revenue as result of the revamping of post-war Iraq’s oil production, which would increase output and lower global oil prices. [New York Sun, 3/25/03]

So Russia is threatened by the idea of what might happen if dictatorship ceased to be considered a legitimate form of government. Perhaps it is an option Putin doesn’t wish to close off for himself?

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