Vince Dhimos answered a question at the French language sector of Quora. Redacted translation below. As usual, the question reflects the almost perfect blockage of information about Russia and East-West international relations in the Western world. Westerners are being held hostage to their media, which have them believing the strangest myths, making it impossible for them to see what is going on all around them. The anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda bombarding us daily is ultimately aimed at creating dangerous friction between nuclear-armed states. Few understand how irresponsible the Western msm and political class are.
Q: WOULD IT BE A GOOD IDEA FOR RUSSIA TO JOIN THE EU?
A: It would not be a bad idea from the EU’s standpoint because it would give Europe considerable control over Russia, but Russia will never willingly join the EU because this alliance deprives its members of sovereignty.
An example of Russia's jealousy of its own sovereignty is its relationship with OPEC. The Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is a friend of Putin. His group has invited Russia to become a member of OPEC and wanted Putin to lead the group.
However, Putin has declined this offer because he wants Russia to have the freedom to make its own decisions regarding the sale of its oil. Nonetheless, Russia has agreed to join the group informally and as a result, we now speak of OPEC + 1, where 1 is Russia, and so far, Russia has gone along with the restriction on oil sales, which was demanded by the US as a way of keeping oil prices high and supporting the boondoggle of US shale oil extraction. We explained here why shale oil has little to no future. By cooperating with the US in keeping prices high, Putin is able to collect more money for Russian oil and is allowing Trump to nurture the illusion that some day shale oil will make America great. BTW, if Russia wanted to put the screws to the US in retaliation for Washington's many misdeeds – such as the open stealing of Syrian oil – it only needs to start flooding the world market with oil and bring down the oil price. This would bankrupt even more of the US shale oil companies, many of which are already in trouble or have gone under. This is perhaps the best reason why the US government needs to stop provoking Russia.
Russia's position regarding the EU is that it wants the EU to continue to exist and be strong. While Russia has never publicly explained why it takes this position, if we analyse the relations between Russia and the US and between the EU and the US, we can discern why. We see that the EU's relationship with the US is unhealthy, because the US bullies its partners by imposing sanctions on them when they diverge from its interests. In the long run, we can therefore expect Europe to distance itself more and more from the US and move closer to Russia. Indeed, Germany, France and Italy have warmed considerably to Russia in recent years. Whenever we see Europe acting against Russia’s interests, we may suspect it is doing so only or mostly because it fears retaliation by the US. If we are correct in this assumption, we can expect Europe to gradually loosen its ties to the US and strengthen ties to Russia. Europe’s SWIFT replacement INSTEX, designed to bypass US sanctions, is solid evidence of this. It is not hard to imagine what will happen once the spectre of US sanctions becomes a thing of the past.
In 2017, Putin stated at the Valdai Club that Russia wants to see a strong EU. This must have seemed very strange to Westerners who learned of it because at that moment, Russia was being blamed – wrongly – for contributing to the Brexit movement and to Marine LePen’s bid for the presidency, suggesting that he was interested in the breakdown of the EU. I too was initially perplexed by the statement but suspected it had something to do with a scheme hatched by Russia and China years earlier.
After thinking about this for weeks, I realized that Putin probably was hoping the euro could contribute to the campaign of China and Russia to de-dollarize world trade in an effort to devalue and weaken the dollar so that the US would no longer be able to use its currency to punish countries that acted against US interests – as it had done, for example, by imposing an $8.9 billion fine on BNP Paribas in 2014, and then later by sanctioning countries that were competing too successfully with the US. Thus, the Western politicians and “experts” accusing Putin of trying to sabotage the EU were dead wrong – or rather, they were acting on their desire for Europe to see Russia as an enemy.
I did some research on the currencies used the most in world trade settlements and found that, as I suspected, the euro, and not the yuan, was the currency that competed most strongly against the dollar! (NSS Report here).
This suggests that, while Putin would never consider joining the EU, he definitely wants to have good relations with that body. For example, Europe generally wants good relations with Iran, and did not want to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran Deal, which enabled the world to trade with Iran. However, Europe fears US sanctions and has not dared to trade with Iran – even though several European states developed an alternative to SWIFT (known as INSTEX), as mentioned above, that could enable them to circumvent US sanctions.
Europe knows that Russia agrees with it regarding relations with Iran and that strong ties to Russia would eventually be very beneficial in maintaining these ties if a point can be reached in the future that the US can no longer effectively fight back. It also knows that Europe basically relies on Russian energy but that the US wants to deter Europe from trading with Russia. Here again, better relations with Russia would be advantageous if the US can be held in check.
Putin recently wrote a letter to various European nations asking them to impose a moratorium on the deployment of short and medium range missiles in response to Trump’s abandonment of the INF treaty. Under pressure from the US, they all refused to comply with Putin’s request, but I suspect that one of his motives for writing the letter was to show Europe and the US how Russia could respond to the loss of the INF treaty. After Europe rebuffed the suggested moratorium, Russia warned that it was prepared to respond. Indeed, in response to Europe’s refusal, Russia conducted much publicized tests of its most advanced ICBM missile, the Topol, which was noticed by Western observers, who admitted that the West has no adequate air defences against this nuclear-capable missile. These tests became the subject of media reports throughout the West and they showed Europe that it is not wise to station US missiles in Europe because, theoretically, they could be overcome by Russian missiles and lead to devastation of the host countries. In the same time frame, China also held tests of its most fearsome ICBM, probably in coordination with Russia. If it were not for US strong arm tactics it therefore seems unlikely that any European state would host US missiles because both of these countries’ tests shook up the Western Establishment.
While Russia prefers a strong EU, it does not prefer to negotiate with the EU per se on certain issues because there are various member states that disagree with the alliance and would be willing to agree to terms more favourable to Russia than the EU itself.
For example, various countries such as Germany depend on Russia for much of their energy, while others, particularly in Eastern Europe – Poland is the salient example – have been indoctrinated by Washington to believe that buying natural gas from Russia is somehow a “security threat.” In reality, of course, the greatest threat to European security is the policy of NATO and the US to station medium range and long range missiles in Europe. In fact, I have shown at Quora [and at New Silk Strategies] that NATO itself is a major threat to Europe.
Denmark, one of the most Russophobic countries in Europe, was also a major impediment to the construction of the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream 2. However, the country just recently gave in to the demands of other partners in the pipeline and allowed it to be laid in its territorial waters, thereby eliminating the last major obstacle to the project.
The experience with this pipeline shows that Europe is not at all united in its views and policies toward Russia.
For this reason, while Russia desires a strong EU, it prefers to deal with individual European states. Thus, while Russia’s policy toward the EU is confusing on the surface and often seems contradictory, in reality, it makes perfect sense if you understand the geopolitical chess board.