Intrinsic Trust in Russia

The Opinion page article "Ukraine a Challenge to US's Russia Policy," Feb. 25, is extremely appropriate. In fact, the author's analysis should have been a topic of discussion as soon as the former Soviet Union showed signs of disintegration. The author is entirely correct in pointing out that Western policy continues to deal with Moscow as if some unwritten Russian type of Monroe Doctrine binds the relations between the United States, Europe, and Russia. Russian imperialism has been a curse on the people

for centuries. After World War II, the primary concern was to prevent the rebirth of another militant German state. However, regarding Russia and its potential for aggression there is no debate.

People who have succeeded in freeing themselves from a yoke imposed decades or even centuries ago by Russian expansionism are being treated with suspicion as the oppressors. The tacit agreement that Russia should retain its self-ordained role of big brother in the region, presupposes that Russian imperialism is no longer a threat.

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Empirical observation of the current debates in Russian government, media, and in the streets should make any impartial observer uncomfortable. Neither Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia, or Armenia have faith in Russia's good intentions that prevail in the Western media and government circles. What makes Russia intrinsically trustworthy while Germany's intentions could continue to be viewed with suspicion even today? The author deserves an answer by those who dictate policy and mold o pinion. V. Racenis, Kenmore, N.Y. Congressional ethics

The article "Citizen's Guide to Congressional Ethics," March 2, fails to emphasize the real problem with ethics in Congress, namely the insidious effect of large campaign contributions from special interests. In the old days, money changed hands and favorable votes followed. We called it bribery. Today, special interests give campaign contributions, favorable votes follow, and it's called "constituent services." High ethical standards require the avoidance of any impropriety. There is no other way to con vince the public that Congress is conforming to an adequate standard. George E. Hoke, Bellevue, Wash.

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