Winston Churchill At the start of the Second World War, he uttered a phrase that summed up Western leaders’ historical difficulties in deciphering Western leaders. Russian foreign policy. “Russia a puzzlewrapped in a mystery enigma”. The maxim is that the invasion of Ukraine, initiated by Vladimir Putin, has regained full validity after a war that few expected. Kremlin It was justified by a mix of old suspicions about NATO and bogus arguments about the Ukrainian leadership or the “genocide” of the country’s Russian population. However, none of these served to solve the problem. Kremlin’s ultimate ambitions or a Putin rational player A revisionist despot who is out of his mind or obsessed with protecting his country’s security Restore the greatness of the Russian Empire.
Churchill wanted to give a hint. “Maybe there is a key,” he said. “That key Russian national interests”. And this interest is historically very conditioned by geography from the largest country in the world. Unlike Pyrenean Spain or Alpine Italy, Russia has no natural barriers west of the Urals this supports their defence. Just the opposite. this Greater European area enters the cuisine of the main European cities. Moscow a St. Petersburgwith no barriers other than harsh russian winters. He came from the route major invasions The country has faced in the last 500 years: Poles and Lithuanians in 1605 Swedes in 1708, Napoleon in 1812 and germans in 1914 and 1941.
Russia’s traditional response is also that there is no hot water ports with direct access to the oceansas a major power that greatly limits its projection and retains control Crimea in the Black Sea and Kaliningrad happened in the baltic Extending Europe’s borders westward for expand your margin of safety. During Romanov Empire these borders included most of what is now Finland, baltics, Poland or Ukraine, which has always been an essential item for any Russian leader with an imperial air. During soviet era They went even further, East Germany to the north and Yugoslavia from the south.
Maps in continuous mutation
This set of geographic and historical considerations may help explain why the European nations surrounding Russia responded with a backlash. fear of bowel the occupation of Ukraine and renewed Russian expansionism. They maps has been a constant cut-and-paste in recent centuries, always at the mercy of the regional power of the day, Sweden, Poland-Lithuania, Prussia and then Germany or Russia, more stubborn of all. They all responded by turning to him. support for ukrainegrowing defense spending and changing the security paradigm. Finland gave up non-compliance to join NATO. The Baltics wanted permanent alliance bases in their territory and in the case of Latvia, they reactivated compulsory military service. Duration Poland, the most important country in the region, practically triple the size of your armyThis would go from about 115,000 active armies to about 300,000.
for its terrible Experiences during the Second World WarCapitals tend to rely more on Washington than Brussels to sleep at night when no European power is too quick to stop the Nazis and Soviets from invading the region. Except maybe in Helsinki, The Cold War He is a tightrope walker to avoid being swallowed by his Russian neighbor. a policy – Finishing– which one of his cartoonists describes as “the art of leaning east without showing your butt to the west”.
The memory of Soviet communism, the last time most of the region lived under Moscow’s orders, is not very good. And many chose to educate their population so that they do not forget liquidations, deportation and difficulties from that part of his story. Inside Riga you can visit Latvian Occupation Museum; inside Warsaw, Monument to Stalin’s Political PrisonersTo give two examples.
The fragility of the Baltic states
Looking to the future, geopolitics also contains some clues about the future of each. The most vulnerable are the Baltic states, which are connected to the rest of Western Europe by a distance of 90 kilometers. suwalki runnerusually defined as “NATO’s Achilles Heel”. especially in Estonia and Latvia. large Russian community Given the tendency of the Putin regime to destabilize and justify its interventions in the region, close to 25% of the population is an explosive factor. “close to abroad” due to the need for protection Russian minorities.
For Poles, Ukraine is their security zoneThis explains why they were so generous to a neighbor with serious historical differences. ‘If Kyiv falls, Warsaw will be next’is one of the words heard in the streets. Of all the EU border countries, Finland is the safest. The strongest army in northern Europe or because it was never absorbed by the Soviet Union. Yes, the Baltic republics were, while Poland was a communist satellite.
The obvious thing in all of them is that the fear of the early stages of the war has been replaced by a more restrained concern It is derived from the difficulties that the Russian army had to impose itself in Ukraine. Although the Russian voice continues to be heard in its streets, Moscow no longer has much sympathy for the region. Just the opposite. Its people call for the warning hanging from one of the skyscrapers of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius to be fulfilled: “Putin, The Hague (court) awaits you.”