In recent years, it has not only been Europe, but also Russia which has radically changed. With the collapse of the USSR IN 1991, the geopolitical status of Russia changed from the great empire that it was in the Soviet period to a power that makes considerable efforts to prevent the withdrawal of those countries that declare their allied relations with Russia. Undoubtedly, Russia’s relations with the former Soviet republics cannot be viewed in isolation from the influence that other geopolitical players have on world politics. Among them, the European Union plays a special role in Russia’s foreign policy. Since some CIS countries show interest in the EU as a priority for them, it should be emphasized that building long-term and productive relations between Russia and the countries of the European Union is one of the key factors not only of a pan-European, but of the world security system.
Given the fact that Eastern Europe is an assembly of countries with very diverse interests and tactics, it is noted that relations between Russia and each of these countries has developed individually. Relations with the countries of Eastern Europe are almost exclusively developed through economic interactions and the dialogue is almost entirely of political transactions. For example, the last meeting between the Czech and Russian foreign ministers took place back in 2005. At the same time, even amid conditions of reduced cooperation, which is largely due to the Eastern European countries lacking genuine political independence, there may be some positive dynamics. From 2016 to 2019 mutual trade turnover between Russia and all countries of the region grew. Direct deliveries of Russian hydrocarbon to a number of these countries only last year (Ofitserov-Belski, n.d).
As long as the Eastern Europeans have a variety of international partners with an interest in their well- being, there is no reason why they should not also try to develop suitable relations with Russia, the relationship should be centered on independent equality and mutual benefit. However, at the moment, it seems almost difficult for the right choices to be made. The West can either accept that Russia has a ban over the foreign policy direction of its neighbors or declare the right of the six states.
Conceivably, the most Europe can do is peacefully build up the resilience, while patiently talking to Russia in the hopes that some future Russian leader will accept that it is in both Russia’s interest and Europe’s interest that their shared neighbors are successful, established and well-governed. By the time any Eastern European state qualifies to join a Western organization even Putin will have given way to another Russian president, perhaps with a different stance.
Ofitserov-Belskiy, D. (n.d.). Analytics. Retrieved from https://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/russia-eastern-europe-paradox-of-relations/