Kadri Liik, an Estonian senior policy fellow at London-based European Council on Foreign Relations, said that Russia is in a belief that it is under attack from the West and therefore it is important to avoid a situation where this paranoia could cause an unpredictable behaviour by the country.
"They are afraid, they have issues and they see the root of their problems in the West. But they misinterpret the situation. They lack the strategy to deal with the problems and consider themselves under attack instead," Liik said to ERR's 'Reporteritund', while analyzing the relationship between Russia and the West.
Liik recalled an obscure incident in Moscow at the end of the year, in the night before Russian President Vladimir Putin's end of the year speech.
"Putin was driven to the Kremlin at two o'clock in the morning. The entire airspace above Moscow was closed for civil air traffic and fighter jets circled around instead. It seemed like an emergency situation. In the morning, not much was mentioned about the circumstances in public, but during the night it was possible to follow the events quite closely in the media," Liik said.
Liik said that the extreme security measures could have been reaction to a terror act that took place in the same night in Chechnya.
"But at the same time, the Russian authorities have not usually reacted like this. There have been really awful times in Chechnya in the past, but it didn't prompt such an emergency in Moscow before. This made me think that Kremlin's nerves must be very taut," Liik said.
Liik added that many Russians believe that the West is plotting a regime change in Russia.
"And so do the authorities, it suits with their world view. Putin's KGB background has made him believe in conspiracies; he doesn't believe what he sees and it is clear that he doesn't comprehend his own society either."
According to Liik, Russia's paranoia and misinterpretation of events may at some point trigger an attack against the West which makes the security situation very dangerous.
Liik added that while it is important to restore a dialogue with Russia, the conditions for this should be set by the West.
Editor: S. Tambur