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Trenin01 the End of EURASIA- Russia on the Border Between Geopolitics and Globalization

Trenin01 the End of EURASIA- Russia on the Border Between Geopolitics and Globalization

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Published by lupocanuto
Geopolitics Soviet Union Russia
Geopolitics Soviet Union Russia

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Published by: lupocanuto on May 26, 2013
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The CIS has virtually never existed as a unit, a super-re-
gion. The former Soviet Union has gone the way of the USSR
itself, breaking up into a number of sub-regions — the new
Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova),
the Baltic States, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia. In
their turn, these sub-regions are drifting in different direc-
tions, gravitating toward organized Europe or the Greater
Middle East. Already, parts of the former Eurasia are join-
ing Europe, while others become part of the Moslem world.
Despite their apparent weakness and vulnerability, all CIS

Conclusion. After Eurasia

327

countries not only have survived, but have retained a cer-
tain freedom of maneuver.
For Russia and its neighbors, territorial status quo is
a must. All CIS countries feel the need to hold on to the
territories that they received when the USSR broke up, no
matter how strong separatist claims may be. They also be-
lieve all countries should refrain from making claims on
the territory of their neighbors. The alternative would be
chaos. The only exception to the general rule is the Karaba-
kh conflict, where Armenia does in fact favor a change of
the status quo.

Except Russia, all CIS countries immediately defined
themselves as unitary states. Still, this will have to be
changed in several cases (Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan) if
there is to be a solution to their internal conflicts. On the
other hand, Ukraine and Kazakhstan see federalization as
a last resort for averting secession, should they be threat-
ened with it in the future. Both countries refused the op-
tion of becoming federations when they became indepen-
dent out of fear of Russian separatism. In fact, quite oppo-
site policies have been adopted.
Kiev has been steadily solidifying its control over
Simferopol and Sevastopol. In 1997, President Nazarbayev,
despite the dismal economic condition of Kazakhstan,
transferred the capital to the north, from Almaty to As-
tana, closer to the Russian border. The Moldovans and the
Georgians demand the complete withdrawal of the Rus-
sian Army from their territories, and have received pledg-
es from Russia that it will do so under the modernized CFE
agreement of 1999. National consolidation centered on rais-
ing the status of the countries’ main ethnic group (ethnic
Moldovans and Georgians respectively), however, creates
problems for their relations with Russia.

Conclusion. After Eurasia

328

Unfortunately for the new states, the cease-fire lines
that divide Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Moldova will be dif-
ficult to overcome, even within a common-state approach
proposed by international mediators. In all cases, they have
to admit, Russia will have a role in either stitching togeth-
er the split states or keeping them permanently divided,
even fanning the conflicts. Thus, they can ill afford to seri-
ously challenge Russia. During the second Chechen war
Moscow issued a clear warning to its neighbors that aid-
ing or abetting the Chechen separatists by Russia’s neigh-
bors will not be tolerated.
Having secured their sovereignty and independence
from Russia, the new states will need to learn to live next
to Russia — each in its own way. There will be no common
pattern. The remaining border issues, mostly of a technical
nature, are likely to be tackled at the negotiating table. Until
Russia creates a viable modern economy and achieves do-
mestic stability, economic associations with other CIS states
will be loose, and political alignments ad hoc. Aligning
themselves closer to Russia is an option that several coun-
tries will exercise if that suits their national agendas. The
Customs Union, while less than perfect, has admitted Tajiki-
stan as its fifth member. Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, all members of a revitalized
Collective Security Treaty, have been joined by Uzbekistan
as Russia’s bilateral security/military partners. The larger
CIS will probably survive as another Commonwealth.

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