Is Eastern Europe bowing to Russian power?

Not only Ukraine: many Eastern European States are now leaving the Western side to embrace Russia again. How and why this is happening.



According to the Washington Post, ten years after the greatest NATO expansion, Vladimir Putin might be trying to overturn the European order established at the end of the Cold War.

And it’s not just a matter of soon-to-be puppet state Ukraine, which is not even a NATO member. “Many American officials have now concluded that our region is fixed once and for all” many politicians from  Eastern Europe had already predicted in 2009 in a letter to President Obama, “That view is premature”.

There is Hungary, whose Prime Minister has recently referred to Putin’s Russia as an example to follow. “We have to abandon liberal methods and principles of organizing a society. . .because liberal values today incorporate corruption, sex and violence.” Viktor Orban declared.

There is Serbia, which established a partnership for peace with NATO, but invited the Russian Prime Minister for a visit.

There’s Czech Republic, who joined Slovakia and Hungary in the protests against European sanctions to Russia.

There’s Poland, promoter until recently of intern efforts of NATO and EU to sustain the pro-western government of Ukraine and punish the Russian aggression. This month, instead, the Wall Street Journal reported the Polish Prime Minister’s concern of isolation from Eastern Europe. Ewa Kopacz has, according to the WSJ, asked the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs to reconsider urgently those policies, as “unrealistic”.

The American President’s praise for the unified western response to Russia was short sighted: it is all but isolated right now, as the alliances of NATO members have begun to shift towards the Kremlin.

The causes of this shift can be easily figured: part of them are economic reasons: those governments’ energy sector depends on Russia and they are afraid of the possible consequences that sanctions might have on their exports. Moreover, from January 2015 the Eurasian Economic Union will come into effect, and it will be the largest common market in the ex-Soviet sphere.

Right before the meeting  to formally cancel the dissolution of the 1990 Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), Russia Today reported the words of president Putin about his neighbours’ alliances: “We have never been opposed to closer relations with the EU, we ourselves want to move closer”. The only thing it insists on is that its allies properly discuss the possible economic outcomes: “When signing documents with our European partners, we must think of the impact on our domestic markets being flooded by European goods disguised as local products”.

To that, we could add up ideology reasons as well as more practical security concerns: finding out if and how the NATO and the White House will fulfill their promise of defending them in case of a Russian attack is a risk these states are obviously not willing to take.


Maria Felicita Ferraro

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