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Europe fails to see Moscow using economics as a weapon not only against the former Soviet states but against it as well, Tsybulenko says

Russian gas pipelines Nord Stream (Nord Stream 1) and Nord Stream 2 (under construction). Image: gazprom.com

Russian gas pipelines Nord Stream (Nord Stream 1) and Nord Stream 2 (under construction). Image: gazprom.com 

International, Op-ed, Russian Aggression

“In contrast to the countries of the West which are led by the principle, ‘politics is the concentrated expression of economics,’ Yevhen Tsybulenko says, “the foreign policy of the Russian Federation is based on the ‘[Mongol] horde’ vision of the state in which its expansion is intended to secure resources and those resources are then used for more expansion.”

According to the commentary of the Tallinn legal specialist on the Peter and Mazeppa portal, “the essential figure of the development of Russia is expansion. If expansion ceases … it will be followed by a popular rising or institutional collapse which will throw this state back as far as possible in its development in comparison with others.”

At the present time, Russia’s resources are oil, gas and cash. “Using them, Russia seeks to develop economic cooperation with its neighbors and with more distant states,” not to improve the lives of its own people but to create weak places and zones of instability that Moscow can then exploit politically.

Moscow’s approach to Ukraine and more recently to Belarus are clear examples of this, Tsybulenko says; but they are hardly the only ones.

Dominating Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan are “the minimum program; the maximum one involves not only control over the Baltic countries but the establishment of zones of instability in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece and the formation of similar zones in Germany, France, and the central and southern countries of the EU.”

Although many in the West refuse to recognize this, Moscow’s preparations for all of that have been going on at full speed, the Tallinn scholar says. This involves not only the promotion of protests throughout Europe but the creation of militarized formations among Europeans and the spread of pro-Russian messages via social media.

Thus, Tsybulenko continues, “the economic profit of joint energy projects with the Russian Federation is deceptive, for Russia already has frequently shown that it does not respect international law and the obligations which it has undertaken in connection with treaties and agreements.”

Nord Stream-2 may look like an economic project, but in fact, it is a political weapon directed at “the energy isolation of Ukraine” and at enriching Moscow so that it can continue to subvert not just Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan but other countries as well, including members of the EU far from Russia’s borders.

This expansion, the legal specialist continues, “including by means of hybrid aggression is only one side of the medal which is called ‘economic cooperation’ with Russia. The other side or more precisely danger is that for cheap Russian raw materials – here is why certain representatives of Western business call for ‘business as usual’ with Russia – the EU countries will pay no small amount of money.”

“Europe is making an enormous error by not learning from the example of Ukraine,” he continues.

“The Russian Federation has always used its energy potential not to develop its own country but to enrich certain strata of the Kremlin and to achieve its geopolitical goals via the conduct of military campaigns and the spread of the ‘Russian world’ ideology.”

It is highly likely, Tsybulenko says that in the future, “Russia will use Nord Stream-2 to justify the extension of its presence in the territorial waters of Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany.” Moscow already in 2007 authorized its oil and gas giants to make use of private military companies like Wagner, and these could be deployed against EU interests at some point.

Tsybulenko concludes: “the swallowing up of Belarus will occur very soon. After it will come Poland’s turn. Even if it is not swallowed whole, a little bridge to Germany will be constructed through it just as one was across the Kerch Straits.”

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Edited by: A. N.

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