Friends forced

After Russia, in violation of international law, chop off the Crimea from Ukraine and the fourth year of fanning the conflict in the Donbass, other allies of the post-Soviet space to be friends with Russia is not just problematic, but dangerous. UNIAN was dealing with whom and why to quarrel Russia, and Ukraine to use this situation for their own purposes.

Russia to quarrel not only with Ukraine

After Ukraine another favorite “younger brother” Russia remains Belarus, relations with which the Kremlin has, in recent years, noticeably cooled. After the decree of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on the implementation of the five-day visa-free regime for citizens of 80 countries, Russia has made its move — the head of FSB Alexander Bortnikov ordered to enter the border zone regime along the Russian-Belarusian border.

Formally, the motive for Russia to restore the border after twenty years of free movement between the countries is clear — Russia has always controlled the border, and Lukashenka’s decision may create a “hole”. “Thus, Russia can be accessed via Belarus, without getting a Russian visa. Russia can not let that happen,” — said political analyst Taras Zagorodnii. However, the President of Belarus is “innovation” Russians unpleasantly surprised. “Who are they border close? I think that we hold sacred our open spaces. And this is reckless, not coordinated actions. So do not” — said Lukashenko.

But not the border alone, as they say. Besides the dispute of Moscow and Minsk to find out the relationship and the cost of gas, and because of the new Belarusian tariffs for the transit of Russian oil (the rate was raised from 1 February in response to the reluctance of the Russian Federation to reduce Belarus gas prices). In principle, this showdown is not surprising, as they occur for the first time. Moreover, it is connected with the already familiar to all the former Soviet Union with Lukashenka’s desire to receive preferential treatment both in Russia and in the West.

However, according to analysts, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The fact that now, in the current historical moment, the President of Belarus feels the threat of open conflict with Russia. “Belarus does not want to repeat the fate of Ukraine. Moreover, Belarus is in worse shape than Ukraine, because it already has a Russian military base, a lot of managerial positions are held cadres who sympathize with Russia,” says Zagorodny.

According to political scientist Peter Oleshhuk, realizing this, Russian President Vladimir Putin with his Belarusian counterpart about this conversation: “Let us place you have aircraft, military bases, get appropriate safeguards, then we have to Annex are not going to be friends”. In turn, Lukashenko is well aware that letting to strengthen the Russian military presence in Belarus, he loses the ability to maneuver. Therefore, creating in Belarus the territorial defence units and supporting local patriotism, “seeking the support of the population in the event of a direct conflict with the Russian Federation”.

The expert does not exclude the possibility of the overthrow of Lukashenka with Russian resources, if the President of Belarus will be completely objectionable to the Kremlin. However, the option, when Lukashenko “will be forced to make concessions, recognize the final superiority of Russia and continue the “mutually beneficial cooperation” more likely.

As Russia “waving fists” in Kazakhstan

Not less is the coercion to friendship is another longtime satellite of Russia — Kazakhstan. For example, recently in Astana was unpleasantly surprised by the statement of the Deputy of the state Duma, a native of Russia annexed the Crimea Shperova Paul, who unequivocally stated that Russia “should restore the lost land in neighboring countries”: “When we, for example, in Kazakhstan called our compatriots of the Diaspora, that this is our land, which are temporarily separated. Borders are not eternal and we go back to the borders of the Russian state. It will be in the near future.”

It is curious that Russia is trying to distance itself from the expressed so wishes, immediately accused the situation of Ukraine. Mol, a Ukrainian media spread fake, but the Kazakh was swept. In Moscow continued to stick to their guns even after Ukrainians and Kazakhs posted the entire speech of the Deputy, a controversial thesis which, among other things, was supported by other Russian parliamentarians applause.

According to Peter Oleshhuk, this whole situation shows that Russia feels the weakening of their positions even in the satellite countries, so try to pressure psychologically, using such statements on territorial claims as an element of preventive intimidation. “Russia is constantly reminding all of its neighbors: “we give you your territory, “gave”, but at any moment can take away as the Crimea from Ukraine. That is, it is not necessary to go against us,” he said.

Of course, in the Russian Ministry of foreign Affairs stated that the words Shperova is only his personal opinion and not the official position of the country. However, the scenario of exclusion of the Northern regions of Kazakhstan, which, according to MP, was planned in the Russian Federation, “Ukrainian scenario”, had to be postponed. First, because the Russians are too bogged down in Donbass, now they have no resources to implement other ideas. Second, because the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev hard enough keeps the country in their hands. That is, when his power any conflicts between countries is hardly possible. Third, because Kazakhstan is a country located on the border between Russia and China. And today China (perhaps the only country with which Russia is not ready to fight) reinforces its position, including in Kazakhstan.

However, do not expect that Russia is going to leave their claims on Northern Kazakhstan. Most likely, I’ll just wait my moment, something else the Kremlin can’t.

Who else fights the Kremlin?

Peter oleschuk believes that Russia has territorial claims to virtually all of its neighbors. The expert recalled that territorial disputes, the Kremlin has used as a mechanism for the weakening of the state. For example, Russia was able to implement the project on creation of quasi-States in Georgia, Moldova and rather actively tried to support the anti-state separatist movements in the Baltic States, in particular, the so-called projects of Latgale in Latvia. Conflict with neighboring countries to Russia is really not new.

But increasingly, the once staunch partners of the Russian Federation are trying to Express their dissatisfaction with Moscow’s policy. For example, in 2015, thousands of residents of Armenia went to the protests against unjustified overstatement of energy prices from Russian state-owned companies. And last year the Armenian government has condemned Russian arms deliveries to Azerbaijan after Nagorno-Karabakh has been flash frozen conflict…

However, according to experts in international Affairs, such incidents did not change the dependence of certain countries on Russia. “Today, Armenia has no other ally than Russia, given the geopolitical situation, which is this country”, — emphasizes the expert of the “Maidan of foreign Affairs” Oleg Belokolos. “The whole system of defense of Armenia, the whole system is its constant confrontation with the same Azerbaijan are based on Russian influence”, — adds the analyst on international Affairs Taras Chornovil. According to him, Armenia’s dependence on Russia were laid before the collapse of the Soviet Union, during the first big conflict between the Armenian and Azerbaijani Soviet republics. And today, to end this dependence is difficult — Russia keeps Armenia in the “iron fist”. And even a ghostly hint that Armenia can come to power, the political elite focused not on Russia, not.

But with Azerbaijan Russia relations complicated. And the prospects of their improvement is extremely vague. “Russia very seriously helped them to capture the territory around Nagorno-Karabakh. And that Russia, in fact, guarantee that Azerbaijan cannot return to their territory,” — said Chornovil. In addition, Azerbaijan is one of the most prospective suppliers of gas to Europe, bypassing Russia. According to experts, even a good relationship with Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (the main partner of Azerbaijan — Turkey — approx. ed.) would not guarantee any improvement of relations between Azerbaijan and Russia. However, the critical deterioration should not wait: in direct conflict, the Kremlin will not, and on the promotion of hybrid has no money and effort.

Not rosy for Russia, and the situation looks in Kyrgyzstan (another Outpost on the border with China): during a press conference at the end of 2016, the President of the country Almazbek Atambayev said that when the validity of the Treaty, the Russian military base will have to leave the territory of Kyrgyzstan. According to him, Russia will remain a strategic partner of Kyrgyzstan, but in military terms, the country must rely on its own strength.

Such statements should not be taken as a radical change in the policy of Kyrgyzstan towards Russia. Just before Russia spent a lot of money for the support of the regime and the various programs in Kyrgyzstan, today the Kremlin has no means for it, and therefore no help. But, sensing the weakness of Moscow, Bishkek has decided to use it for their own purposes. “In Kyrgyzstan, and Belarus are playing the game by primitive blackmail want to obtain more advantageous terms. However, sooner or later in these games, miscalculate, and end all is not well” — recalls Oleg Belokolos.

Somewhat different is the situation in Tajikistan, which even theoretically are still not profitable to turn away from Russia. Especially if the fate of that influence here, to a greater extent has China. “In Tajikistan built balance of influence between Russia and China. Russia protects regime from Islamist groups, does all the “dirty work”, but politically the real support is provided by China,” says Chornovil. What can and should the Ukraine the Current cooling of relations of Russia with the “old friends” — not the first and not the last. Before Ukraine was able to turn it to their own advantage.

For example, according to Chornovol, in the late 90s — early zero before the serious meetings of the CIS presidents or foreign Ministers of countries-members first came to Kiev, where the meeting raised the question: what to do with Moscow, and the meeting of the CIS went to have a common position. Therefore, Ukraine acts as a kind of coordinator and a counterweight to Moscow, and that is around us very often grouped Central Asian leaders. However, end this state of Affairs put Viktor Yushchenko, who as President of Ukraine, gave up on the processes of CIS.

“So, Russia could eventually take control of all “questionable friends”, especially for Central Asia”, — Chornovil stressed. According to him, now Ukraine has no mechanism to talk about any effect: we not only can provide potential allies with some support (we ourselves need support), but can’t even build with them and good trade relations, because Russia creates for us a very serious problem with the transit.

In turn, the political scientist Peter oleschuk convinced that Ukraine is obliged to look for potential allies among the enemies of Russia. And this applies not only to neighbouring States but also by various separatist movements that exist within Russia itself. “It’s a big question: what could be more dangerous Russia — West sanctions or internal Russian separatist movement, which, although almost overwhelmed with the efforts of the FSB and terror, but do not disappear. Periodically there are points of instability in the Caucasus, the Volga region, the far East,” he explains.

In this regard, in his opinion, the key direction of further policy of Ukraine (albeit informal) is to support all national liberation and socio-revolutionary movements in Russia. “Remember, Germany defeated Russia in the First world war due to the fact that they supported the social revolutionaries and, specifically, Lenin. It is quite obvious for Ukraine and other countries which feel threatened by Russia — to seek and support the new “Lenin”. They can bring much more useful for Ukraine than any Western politicians who will continue to try to reconcile all”, — says the analyst.

In other words, to rely solely on Western sanctions, a really inefficient way. And for trying to fight the aggressor on his territory by his own citizens — not judged.