2 September, 2013 11:06 ▪
The New York Times: USA and the EU should articulate a coherent policy towards Russia’s neighboring states
“Russia’s increasing pressure on its neighbor-states means that Washington and Brussels are still unable to articulate a coherent policy towards those states”, - writes Stephen Blank, senior fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council, in Washington.
In the middle of August Russia started the trade war with Ukraine, but it’s not the only country in this part of the world subjected to economic pressure from Moscow.
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“Russia raised energy prices for Armenia this summer to show its displeasure with Yerevan’s efforts to negotiate a free trade accord with the European Union. It has also plunked down $4 billion in arms for Armenia’s regional rival, Azerbaijan, sharply increasing the chances of a military confrontation between the two”, - writes Blank. Russia also has pressured Belarus.
“The failure of Washington and the European Union to articulate a coherent policy for Eastern Europe, Ukraine, the Caucasus and Central Asia has been interpreted by Moscow as a tacit recognition of Russia’s sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union — and license for Moscow to seek renewed hegemony there”, - he says.
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“The stakes are high. Even if Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Tajikistan and the rest are not paragons of liberal democracy, their independence and security should be in the interest of the United States and its allies in Europe”.
He urges that it is unlikely “that Russia’s neighbors will passively accept a return to a Soviet-style past, Russia’s policies could ultimately mean conflicts and long-term political instability”.
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