The probability of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is not equal to zero. It exists and should not be ignored as the situation can degenerate at Euro-Atlantic level. There is Russia’s interest in the post-Soviet space, which Putin wants to control or even to impose, the standing expert of IPN’s project Igor Boțan stated in a public debate centering on the situation in Ukraine that was hosted by IPN News Agency.
“We understand this interest of Russia as Russia was in a war with Georgia in 2008. In 2014, Russia ventured into the annexation of Crimea and incited a war in Donbas. So, things are clear. When did we first realize that Russia struggles and will struggle for the post-Soviet space? In 2008, in 2013, before the Vilnius Summit where the post-Soviet states were to sign association agreements with the European Union. Those states were the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia. Sanctions against the Republic of Moldova were immediately imposed. Putin tries to persuade the President of Armenia Sarkisean not to sign this association agreement and the message is very clear: we armed Azerbaijan by offering it enough armament worth US$1 billion,” stated Igor Boțan.
The expert noted the U.S. and NATO clearly stated that Russia’s demands cannot be accepted and explained the reasons. Russia admitted that things didn’t develop and proposed particular measures that are not unveiled. The sides have discussions, while the situation around Ukraine, which is the main target, worsens further. In the current situation, Russia cannot venture into global things. From the viewpoint of human resources, economic force and technological potential, Russia will probably not venture into a conflagration that goes beyond the post-Soviet space. If Russia invades Ukraine, the West will become involved to help Ukraine and this can lead to dissentions between the European leaders.
According to Igor Boțan, the security crisis has several dimensions and the energy crisis that hit Moldova harshly is one of them. “The energy crisis is up to a particular limit an artificial one, created intentionally.”
The expert noted that most of the citizens in Moldova in this situation should decide if freedom and independence are for them values indeed. The crisis was generated with the aim of destabilizing the ex-Soviet space and of making the West, the EU, the U.S. and NATO to abandon this territory. A direct Russian military involvement is sheer foolishness as resistance will be put up. But Russia needs international destabilization for brining pro-Russian forces to power as if to contribute to strengthening the CIS space or the Eurasian Economic Union.
“Do the citizens in the Republic of Moldova want to have here a regime similar to that in Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation that would simply annihilate all the civil rights for the benefit of oligarchic, profoundly corrupt elites that control this space?” asked Igor Boțan.
The public debate titled “Ukraine as an end goal or as a starting point? Place reserved for Moldova” is the 223rd installment of the project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates”. The project is implemented by IPN with support from the Hanns Seidel Foundation.