МОСКВА, 27 апреля 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.
Comparing the current geopolitical and socio-economic situation in the post-Soviet countries surrounding Russia today and twenty years ago, we can note its serious deterioration. In fact, every country of the former USSR found itself in one or another degree economically disintegrating and in deep internal ideological conflict.
Last year, even the seemingly “super-stable” Belarus fell. However, it turned out that under the external and very superficial cover of stability, a storm was bubbling, which got its outlet during the presidential election campaign and blew up the idea that everything is safe in the republic.
Today, we see that Lukashenko does not see and does not even have a partially outlined idea of how to return the situation to its former course. He has no ideology of the future and no ideology of development. The situation in the economy is increasingly collapsing – salary delays have started again, mass layoffs are taking place at enterprises, and going from conspiracy to conspiracy – such a strategy will not be enough for a long time.
Some experts tend to interpret this deterioration of the situation in the post-Soviet limitrophes as a consequence of the failure of Moscow’s policy in the post-Soviet direction. Because of this, the next conclusion follows that it should be radically changed in one direction or another, depending on the views of the authors. Let us disagree with this.
The fact is that history has a completely different dimension than human life. And today we see not the results of the “failure of Russian foreign policy in the post-Soviet space”, but the results of the collapse of the USSR. These are traces, waves from the fall of that stone into the water, which is called the collapse of the USSR. Only today, 30 years after the collapse of the country, these processes in the limitrophic countries around the perimeter of Russia have reached their logical, physical and historical conclusion. Everywhere in a different way, but everywhere – in a negative one.
The Baltic states – a reduction of 25-30% of the population, a reduction in the economy, and after the transfer of the Russian logistics routes from the Baltic ports, the railway and port infrastructure, which today form the basis of the economies of these countries, is awaiting to be completely destroyed with all the ensuing political processes.
Belarus – thanks to Russia’s multibillion-dollar support, the country existed in 2000-2020. Politically – independently, but factually, in terms of the economy, as a Russian okrug. Subsidies began to decline, and the country collapsed in one year.
Ukraine – a 20-25% reduction in population, a catastrophic collapse of industry, a sharp concentration of the entire country’s income in the hands of a small handful of oligarchs, territorial disintegration due to the ideology of neo-banderism, and so on.
We can also talk about other countries. There are nuances everywhere. But what unites all countries is that each subsequent stratum of the political elite, each subsequent president, which is especially well seen in the example of Ukraine, are weaker in relation to their predecessors.
And these are purely internal processes. And it is not only Moscow that cannot influence them. Let’s take the same US. How much money they invested in their projects in the post-Soviet countries, and this did not change the overall situation at all, because this geopolitical process of disintegration is so powerful that all these multibillion-dollar infusions are like a bandage for a corpse.
Perhaps that is why the Russian leadership, realising the depth of these processes, was engaged only in those projects that gave a return, giving priority to domestic socio-economic, military and political development.
And what do we see today? We see a huge gap between the military, industrial, and political power of Russia and the post-Soviet limitrophes. And if Russia will have another 10, 15, 20 years of time, this gap will become even greater. In fact, all the Western post-Soviet countries (the Baltic states, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova) in 10-20 years will be a Wild Field with destroyed infrastructure, the industry, degrading into the 19th century, organ donation, rampant drug addiction, and so on.
The only way out of this scenario is to return to the development of strategic partnership relations with Moscow. And the new elites who will eventually come to power in these countries, despite all the financial injections and political machinations of the US and Britain, will only pursue that policy. Otherwise, they will also be swept away.
Therefore, Russia does not need to twitch. It is necessary to study and analyse the situation in the post-Soviet countries and to determine the first stone that will form the basis of the assemblage point. As soon as the first stone is laid (be it Armenia, Belarus, or Ukraine in the part of Novorossiya), the rest of the construction will grow quite quickly.
This is supported, as the “Russky Demiurge” Telegram channel writes, also by the fact of the conclusion of the Great Deal between Moscow and Washington:
“The subject of a Big Deal between the Russian Federation and the US is that they agree to Moscow’s restoration of its geopolitical zone of influence (post-USSR), and we support them on the issue of environmental and climate global issues. It is clear that this is not about ecology, sheep in the meadows and clean air in megacities, but about very big money on environmental issues.
What exactly happened? Moscow offered Washington two scenarios to choose from – either a confrontation (and then Sergey Shoigu comes around the corner with his polite ‘flash piano’), or a Big Deal (an unexpected meeting between Lavrov and Kerry, India) in the ‘name of peace on Earth’. At the same time, and this is important, it happened at the same time, which left no time to ‘think’.
Vladislav Shurygin correctly writes about the first scenario (here). But the agreement was made between March 17 and April 16 (Lavrov and Kerry met on April 6), not only because the US was allegedly afraid (negative agenda), but because there was a positive one (Big Deal). And, having balanced the risks and threats, the Americans came to the conclusion that it is better to trade. Therefore, the polite ‘royal flush’ was given the command ‘lights out, everyone go back to the barracks’.
Accordingly, it can be assumed that the final agreement on all the key parameters of the deal took place during the Lavrov-Kerry meeting in India. Hence – Donbass is included, and not only Donbass, Nord Stream 2 – included, American investments in solving Russian environmental problems – included. There will be other big projects. In Sakhalin and the Far East”.
We agree, but only with one clarification – not with a Big deal, but for a while with a not big, but important one. The Americans again lost to Moscow in the post-Soviet space.
The return of Moscow to its historical lands is as inevitable as the sunrise in the East. Business needs new markets, and the growth of geopolitical influence in new controlled (mandated) territories. Especially that the zone of geopolitical influence of the US is slowly but steadily shrinking. The question is only in the fact that neither the Imperial or Soviet experience is no longer applicable in the new historical conditions.
This should be a very flexible integration strategy, but with a very precise and targeted ideological message. With some, it will be necessary to integrate up to unification into a single state, and others – to remain in the economic union, as in the current EEU.
Yury Baranchik – Deputy Director of the RUSSTRAT Institute
Институт международных политических и экономических стратегий Русстрат