Staunton, October 10 – While the Commonwealth of Independent States has never been a democratic union of equals, it is nonetheless true that “the CIS is not just Russia,” as Ukrainian parliamentarians point out, and that Russia’s loss of control of this group on an issue so important to it may hasten the demise of the 22-year-old union.
That is the judgment of Anatoly Baranov, the editor-in-chief of the FORUM.msk portal, in reaction to the apparent decision of Ukraine to remain within the CIS at least for the time being and use the support it has there from Belarus and Kazakhstan to form its own anti-Moscow majority (forum-msk.org/material/news/10533367.html).
If that happens, he continues, then Moscow might be forced “to leave the CIS or come to terms with the fact that it isn’t the main thing there.” Ukraine, the Russian analyst continues, is “beautifully using” a situation in which it isn’t going to be expelled but might leave “only voluntarily.”
At present, Baranov says, Kyiv “intends to remain a member of the CIS, to use all existing preferences there, and at the same time to develop relations with the European Union and even NATO.” And that in turn, he suggests, could even allow Ukraine to drive Russia out of the post-Soviet space.
In that event, he continues, Moscow will have to “establish a new post-USSR space” consisting of itself and the “unrecognized republics of Karabakh, South Osetia and Abkhazia, Transdniestria and now the Donetsk Peoples Republic and the Luhansk Peoples Republic,” to which might be added “the Pamir Peoples Republic, Transcarpathia, the territory of the Lesser Zhuz in Kazakhstan and so on.”
This CIS in turn would be transformed into “an anti-Russian union,” furious “at the former metropolitan center. And that would leave Moscow with only the option to “support all-possible separatist tendencies in Europe – Catalonia and the Basques, Tuscany and Venice, Brittany, and Provence, Scotland and Ulster along with Wales, Bavaria and the former GDR.”
Not forgetting, of course, Baranov concludes, America, where a Moscow that found itself in such a position could play on Texas and Quebec as well as “Alaska, California and Hawaii, which as is well-known are Russian lands from time immemorial, parts of Vladimir Putin’s “Russian world.”
Baranov’s scenario is certainly over the top, but it does call attention to what others are pointing to as well (see Vitaly Portnikov at grani.ru/opinion/portnikov/m.233837.html): the CIS and the related institutions Moscow has created to try to keep the post-Soviet space together and even promote its re-integration are in trouble and may soon be changed.
As Vestnik Kavkaza points out, this will be very much on public view in Mensk today where the inter-governmental council of the Eurasian Economic Commonwealth will vote itself out of existence as its remaining members shift to the new and closer Eurasian Economic Union. The CIS could be next (vestikavkaza.ru/news/Glavy-gosudarstv-SNG-sobirayutsya-na-sammit-v-Minske.html).