Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in response to the collapse of Ukraine’s pro-Russian government is an extension of existing policy in Russia’s “near abroad” and a warning to Moldova and Georgia not to pursue European integration, said experts featured at an EHU-moderated panel discussion "Does Russia Call the Shots in Eastern Europe?"
The discussion, moderated by EHU Vice-Rector for Development and Communications Dr. Darius Udrys, took place on March 26 at the Yale Club of New York and drew an audience of more than 100, among which were Yale University alumni and members of the Belarusian and Lithuanian communities of New York City.
External Policy Advisor to the President of the European Parliament Arnoldas Pranckevičius argued that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is a sign of weakness, not strength. Yet, a weak and frustrated power could be more dangerous and unpredictable than a strong one. According to Pranckevičius, these steps demonstrate Putin’s intent to resurrect a rebranded Russian Empire and reunite the Russian speaking world as well as prevent a Ukrainian-style uprising in Russia.
Thomas F. Remington, Goodrich C. White Professor of Political Science at Emory University and Visiting Scholar at Harvard University, noted that Russia employs strategies in its relationships with its closest neighbors that are markedly different from its strategies in dealing with the rest of the world, much like the policies of the United States vis a vis Latin America. Prof. Remington emphasized how recent events demonstrate that Russia is turning away from global integration towards state protectionism and anti-liberal values.
EHU Lecturer, Academic Director of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, and European University (St. Petersburg) Professor Alexei Pikulik described Russia’s regional strategy whereby it ensures satellite countries’ loyalty by introducing and maintaining asymmetrical trade relations and, at the same time, inducing conflicts and instability in rebellious neighbors to keep them from getting too close to the West (e.g., in Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia).
EHU wishes to thank the Friends of EHU, especially Friends Board Member Marvin Berenblum (Yale University Class of 1956), the Yale Club of New York, and the Yale Global Alumni Leadership Exchange for their sponsorship and support.