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Russia is clinging to the former Soviet republics: why does it not want Ukraine to join NATO?

Amidst the tension caused by what appears to be an upcoming invasion of Russia a Ukraine, the country led by Vladimir Putin does not stop looking to the other sides.

Through its Foreign Ministry, Russia asks “the withdrawal of forces, war material and weapons” from nearby territories and who are currently members of the OTAN.

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According to Sputnik, U.Shas missiles deployed” in Poland Y Romania. To this presence is added that of Bulgaria, which in 2004 joined NATO, an organization that rests some of its troops there.

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there is no ambiguity […] [El objetivo es] return to the situation of 1997 in the countries of the former communist bloc that were not members of the OTAN”.

In parallel, this Friday the 21st the foreign ministers of Russia and the United States met in Geneva (Switzerland) to discuss possible diplomatic solutions to the Ukrainian issue.

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Antony Blinken and Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State and Russian Foreign Minister, respectively, met this Friday in Geneva for an hour and a half. EFE (MARTIAL TREZZINI/)

What is Putin afraid of?

It is true that there are fears in the West due to the nationalist discourse of Vladimir Putin, who also says that he wants to make Russia a world power”.

But it is also true that, on the Russian side, there have long been fears about the role of the West”.

Before antagonizing one side, the internationalist Oscar Vidarte proposes to review history. According to him, it is not common for Russia to threaten the West, quite the contrary. “From Napoleon until Hitler, on more than one occasion they have tried to conquer it”.

When the Cold War ended, many thought that the West was going to shake hands with Russia, that globalization and capitalism could serve to get closer to Moscow, but this was very partial.”.

Perhaps yes in economic matters, but in matters of security and politics, Moscow continued to be considered a threat to Western interests. And there has played an important role the European Union, which added countries of the old Soviet Union to its lines, and, of course, the same North Atlantic Treaty Organization, OTAN.

The most worrying thing for them is the expansion of NATO to the east”.

I think that in Moscow these imaginaries of the Western threat have been awakened”.

Y Ukraine is in the middle of that conflict: the country tries to join the OTAN since 2008, but, to date, it has not been able to do so.

one step back

When the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics disintegrated, giving life to 15 independent republics. They were:

  • Lithuania
  • latvia
  • Estonia
  • Russia
  • Belarus
  • Moldavia
  • Ukraine
  • Georgia
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Tajikistan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Kazakhstan

All of them lived within the influence of Russia, a kind of father and guardian.

And the idea was maintained until, in 2004, the Baltic countries (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) they managed to break free and join both the European Union and NATO.

Moscow lost influence over those countries a long time ago, but there are two others that are key in the relationship between Europe and Russia: Belarus and Ukraine.”.

Due to its geographical position, there are two caps. And the Kremlin is not going to lose them for a security issue”.

According to the International Security Study Group, after the voluntary entry of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania into NATO, the group’s agenda changed. Since then, they have been looking for Georgia and Ukraine to join”to ensure the safety of the area”.

But when Georgia tried to join, it was blocked by Russia.

El País recalls that, when there was a rapprochement between the country and “The alliance” in 2008, Georgia “went to war with Russia […] for sovereignty over the Georgian territory of South Ossetia, finally recognized as independent by Russia”.

Today Georgia appears as a candidate to join the Alliance, with no advances expected in the short term”.

A modus operandi

Vidarte explains that Moscow sees that, behind the protests that failed to overthrow the government of Belarus, is the West, which, in addition, uses NATO to expand its presence and position itself very close to the Kremlin.

The West promotes protests within the logic of freedom and the defense of rights with the aim of bringing down governments allied with Moscow”.

This happens very frequently.

Vidarte proposes to remember Iraq, Afghanistan Y Syria, countries that were very close to Moscow, and how NATO meddled “outside of international law”, notes the specialist.

that same modus operandi is observed when, for example, “The West tries to intervene in the Kazakhstan crisis” and complicate the governments allied with Russia.

If this is already happening in Ukraine, could it not be replicated in Kazakhstan?

From the Russian perspective, this is a complete package. That is why they are not going to give up on Ukraine or let it be part of NATO. In terms of security and their interests, if that were to happen it would be a serious blow.”.


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