Friday, November 16, 2018

No Genuinely Pro-Russian Parties Exist in Former Soviet Republics, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 16 – There are no genuinely pro-Russian parties in any of the non-Russian former Soviet republics or occupied Baltic countries, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say. There are parties which will cooperate with Moscow when they believe it is in their interest; but at most, they are prepared to be partners rather than part of any expanded “Russian world.”

            Elections in the former non-Russian union republics, the editors say in a lead article today, are typically presented as being a battle between nationalist and centrist parties, on the one hand, with “so-called pro-Russian ones,” on the other. But in fact that is not really the case (

            Instead, those that some call “pro-Russian” are only slightly more prepared than the others to partner with Moscow when it suits their interests; “but they will never be part of any project of ‘the Russian world.’”  Belarus may be “an exception,” but in that country, there aren’t any real parties let alone real elections.

                Some in Russia hope that the newly-formed Opposition Platform in Ukraine will be pro-Russian, but to do so is a mistake. Its members are not Russia’s friends: “they will develop relations with Moscow but only while they continue their course toward the European Union and the US,” the independent Moscow paper says. 

            Russians make a similar mistake about the Socialist Party in Moldova headed by president Igor Dodon.  But the party and the president there cooperate with Moscow only when they think it is in their interests.  And the socialists have made it clear that they intend to pursue ties with the European Union “and have asked to be called ‘pro-Moldovan.’” 

            The Georgian political universe is filled with anti-Russian parties and no pro-Russian ones. Armenia is also very different from what some in Moscow imagine. Any party there will declare its readiness to cooperate with the Russian Federation. “However, it will at the same time continue to develop cooperation with the US and NATO.”

            There are no serious pro-Russian groups in Estonia or Lithuania, and in Latvia, the Harmony Party is led by someone nationalists have accused of being pro-Russian but who has shown his true colors by opposing demonstrations in that Baltic republic in defense of Russian-language schools.

            And in the countries of Central Asia, the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta say, there are no pro-Russian politicians. Instead, there are political figures who are ready to give priority to relations with Moscow if and only if they see in this the promotion of their own national interests.  In sum, hardly an indication that any “Russian world” is going to emerge anywhere.

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