Staunton, April 29 – “The return of former Russian lands as protectorates of Moscow is a question of time,” according to the RUSSTRAT Institute of International Political and Economic Strategy. Russian businesses need new markets, and the geopolitical influence of the US is “slowly but steadily declining.”
At the same time, the new RUSSTRAT report says, “current realities do not allow the direct application of the experience of the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union.” Instead, “an absolutely new approach is needed” (russtrat.ru/analytics/26-aprelya-2021-0018-3992 and iarex.ru/news/80780.html).
“All former post-Soviet republics are experiencing at the present time a most difficult socio-economic situation.” The Baltic countries have already lost a third of their population, and their economies are in deep recession because Russia has shifted its trade from their ports to Russian ones.
Ukrainian industry is in trouble, and only Belarus is an island of stability, although in Minsk, mounting problems with the government mean that the situation there will not get worse only if Moscow continues its aid, something that requires the closer integration or even complete union of that country with Russia.
“Already now,” RUSSTRAT continues, “Russian military, industrial and political power exceeds by many times over that of the post-Soviet borderlands, [and] if the situation isn’t changed, then already ten to twenty years from now, the former republics will shift from being marginal countries to ‘a wild field.’”
. The analytic center is “confident” that the only hope these countries have is “a strategic partnership with Moscow” and that the United States for its own reasons is likely to agree “with such a development of events.” The US wants to focus on environmental issues and so it is ready “in exchange” to give Moscow control over “the post-USSR.”
That outcome was demonstrated, RUSSTRAT says, by Washington’s haste in seeking a meeting with Putin after Moscow deployed massive force on the border with Ukraine.
In the wake of that development, the Kremlin must analyze the situation in all the former Soviet republics in order to decide where to move next. Moscow could decide to target Armenia, Belarus or “Ukrainian Novorossiya.” But as soon as it does so and takes action, the rest of the space will fall into Moscow’s orbit “quite quickly.”