Staunton, Feb. 10 – Moscow writers and analysts loyal to the Kremlin go to great lengths to maintain that most of the former Soviet republics have not gone their own ways since 1991 but remain part of a Russian-led community and that as a result, “the post-Soviet space” remains vital and has even increased in importance since the war in Ukraine began.
Such authors dismiss the idea that the various institutions that emerged such as the CIS were designed to facilitate “a civilized divorce” in fact have had that consequence and argue that despite normal difficulties among them, these countries because of their background as Soviet republics remain overwhelmingly a single whole.
Just how far they are prepared to insist on this is highlighted in a new study by Moscow’s National Research Institute on the Development of Communications and the interpretations it is sparking (ia-centr.ru/publications/reyting-druzhestvennosti-kommunikatsionnykh-rezhimov-sosednikh-stran/ and vpoanalytics.com/2023/02/10/ob-aktualizatsii-ponyatiya-postsovetskoe-prostranstvo-v-epohu-protivostoyaniya-mezhdu-zapadom-i-rossiej/).
According to the study, eight of the 14 non-Russian countries remain friendly to Russia and feel themselves part of the post-Soviet space, Two – Georgia and Moldova – are classed as “relatively friendly” and feel that way to some degree. Only four – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine – have completely broken with both Russia and the post-Soviet space.
Many in Georgia and Moldova will be surprised to learn that Moscow views them as “relatively friendly” and part of the post-Soviet space. Both in fact view themselves as making the difficult transition from colonies of Moscow to complete independence from it and the Soviet past to countries fully part of the West and the international order.
But to be able to claim that a majority of the 14 non-Russian countries are firmly part of the post-Soviet space, the study includes three countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia – which it suggests have been moving away from Russia especially over the last year. Without them, only five of the 14 would remain firmly allied to Russia and part of the post-Soviet space.