Staunton, Sept. 13 – “The post-Soviet space” as a geopolitical entity is “today losing its relevance as some kind of whole,” Vladimir Gelman says. Instead, the countries it includes ae increasingly pursuing different paths” and the chances of restoring even the level of cooperation where is was before Putin’s invasion of Ukraine are “close to zero.”
The professor at St. Petersburg’s European University and the University of Helsinki says that the process of differentiation has been going on since 1991 but has been accelerated by what Putin did on February 24 (thinktanks.by/publication/2022/09/13/vladimir-gelman-traektorii-postsovetskih-gosudarstv-budut-rashoditsya-vse-dalshe-i-dalshe.html).
And consequently, while groupings like the Eurasian Economic Community, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organization of the Collective Security Treaty are likely to continue to exist, “their significance will be reduced,” as their members seek their own futures with ever less deference to Russia which has dominated these institutions.
The speed with which the various countries move away from Russia has and will continue to vary widely. Those Russia has invaded, Georgia and Ukraine, will likely move the furthest fastest. Those with their own energy supplies, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, will follow. And those still dependent on Russia for energy will move more slowly, Gelman says.
In the course of his discussion of this trend, the Russian scholar makes another important observation: “labor migration to Russia depends not so much on sanctions as on the state of the Russian economy as a whole.” When the Russian economy is doing well, the number of immigrants will rise; when, as now, it isn’t, they will fall.