The comprehensive management of the post-Soviet space is part of a historical tradition. In the 17th century, the country developed its geopolitical vision around three axes: Western (from the Baltic to the Carpathians), southern (from the Danube to the Persian mountains) and eastern (from the Volga to the Altai). This sphere of influence allows it to consolidate its dominance and build a reserve of partner countries and clients. To exercise its power in the post-Soviet space, Russia applies a strategy of military cooperation and uses its energy reserves and transportation infrastructure as vectors of influence. Cultural space is also an area of work through information disseminated in the media and Russian language education abroad.
Since 2000, the Soviet space has been reconfigured into three parts. Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia were liberated. Armenia and Belarus remained dependent countries. Azerbaijan and Central Asia are divided between the Russian and Islamic worlds. The “Velvet Revolutions”, which began in 2003 with the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, weakened the dominance of the Russians in these republics. The “Rose Revolution” in Georgia and the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine led to Western leaders loyal to, and anti-Russian, such as Viktor Yushchenko. He differs from his predecessor by his desire to include his country in the European Union and NATO. Russia is forced to adopt an interventionist strategy towards these countries. It intervened in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts in Azerbaijan and Transnistria, as well as in Tajikistan.
Russia today is going through an identity crisis and its space has come into question. The appreciation of Russian influence in the post-Soviet region is inseparable from the confusion of identity in present-day Russia. Its position is neo-imperial and post-imperial. It wants to consolidate its influence in the Black Sea, Central Asia and the Caucasus. With the income from energy rents, a new power appears in the various components of this region, to exert influence to advance their national interests.
The meeting was recorded in October 2021
With: Tatiana Kastouéva-Jean, Director, Russia/NEI Center (Evry)
Julian Fairwill, Vice President of INALCO
Kristin Okrant, journalist (Culture of France)
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