What are RUSSIA’s interests in the POST-SOVIET space? – KJ Vids

What are RUSSIA’s interests in the POST-SOVIET space? – KJ Vids


– [Kasim Javed] In a context of increasingly strained relations
between Russia and NATO, post-Soviet countries
in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus assume a particular
geopolitical importance. Squeezed between the two sides, these states must carefully choose their foreign policy in order
to maintain good ties with both parties without leaning
excessively towards either. Otherwise, they risk
becoming conflict zones with detrimental consequences
for their stability, territorial integrity, and independence. I’m your host Kasim and thanks for joining me for another KJ Vid. In this video we will discuss the hotspots of the NATO-Russia Confrontation. But just before we begin, this video has been
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you to check it out. The post-Soviet space, and
especially its western side, has a pivotal importance in
Russia’s geopolitical thinking. The country’s vast plains leave it exposed to foreign invasions, as
history has shown many times, and this has convinced
Russia that it needs the largest possible
buffer zone between its core territories and
any potential aggressor. But somehow paradoxically,
this defensive need has motivated Russia’s
expansion through the centuries. During Imperial and
especially Soviet times, Russia had extended its
influence over most of Central Asia and large swathes of
Central-Eastern Europe. The latter was particularly important, as it means controlling the narrowest point of the Great European Plain, the gateway for any invasion
coming from the west. But when the USSR collapsed,
Moscow lost its grip over this vast area and its power was
now limited to Russia itself. Yet, especially with
President Putin in charge, the Kremlin continues considering the post-Soviet space as
its sphere of influence and an essential zone for
Russia’s national security. Therefore, it is determined
to keep it in its orbit and an essential zone for
Russia’s national security. Therefore it is determined
to keep it in its orbit or at least to prevent
these countries from turning westwards by joining the EU
and most importantly NATO. Even though the Alliance is defensive and would never attack Russia, Moscow still perceives and
depicts it as a menace. Several officials and
President Putin himself have repeatedly warned that Russia would respond to such scenarios
and this explains what actually happened
in Georgia and Ukraine. Georgia was the first
country to experience a Russian intervention largely aimed at preventing it from
joining the EU and NATO. Located in the Caucasus region, this country has had issues with Russian separatism since before
its independence in 1991. Georgia hosts ethnic Russian minorities in South Ossetia and
Abkhazia who gradually took control of the respective
regions with Moscow’s support. The conflict remained
frozen until the election of President Saakashvili in 2004, as he pledged to restore full control over the secessionist areas. However, negotiations stalled
and brought no results. In the meanwhile, he also
strengthened Georgia’s ties with the US and other Western powers, and hoped to bring the country into NATO. This move was endorsed by
former President George W. Bush, who during the Alliance summit
held in Bucharest in April 2008 pushed for Georgia and
Ukraine to become full members. In the end, it was
decided not to offer them a Membership Plan of
Action, but it was also stated that they would
ultimately join one day. Naturally, this was not seen
positively in the Kremlin, and President Putin stated
that NATO’s expansion was a direct threat to Russian security. From Moscow’s optic, Georgia
is regarded as a buffer zone but also as a
doorway to the Middle East and controlling Abkhazia is useful to extend Russian power
over the Black Sea. As a result, Putin acted to prevent Georgia from entering NATO. In August 2008, South Ossetian separatists started shelling positions
of the Georgian Army, to which Saakashvili answered
by ordering a counterattack. At that point, Russia launched
a military campaign which included the first use of
cyber operations in warfare. The war ended after five
days with a EU-backed truce, but a definitive settlement
is yet to be reached. Still, Russia had ensured
its indirect control over the two regions where it also
established military bases and managed to stop
Georgia’s bid to join NATO. Today, this situation
risks to repeat itself. During her inauguration speech, the newly-elected Georgian
President Salome Zurabishvili openly stated that she wants the country to become part of the EU and NATO. Naturally, Russia does not welcome this. When questioned about NATO’s enlargement to Georgia and Ukraine, Putin declared during a
TV interview that took place before the election
of Mrs. Zurabishvili that “The advancement of NATO
infrastructure towards “our borders poses a
threat and our reaction “to it will be extremely negative.” This makes it reasonable to
think that if Georgia will pursue its quest for EU and
NATO membership, then Russia will intervene to stop it,
possibly with military means. Ukraine followed a similar path. After the fall of the USSR, it kept oscillating between
Russia and the West. Following disputed elections, the mass protests known
as the Orange Revolution resulted in Russian-supported candidate Viktor Yanukovych to back down and leave the Presidency to Viktor
Yushchenko and his colleague Yulia Timoshenko,
who became Prime Minister. The two pursued a reformist
and pro-Western policy, and in March 2008 they
submitted an official letter of application to NATO membership but in the aforementioned Bucharest summit of the following month
the bid was rejected. Still, as noted, full
membership for Ukraine and Georgia was promised in the future and Russia’s reaction
was far from positive. It is notable that Yushchenko’s Presidency was marked by several
gas wars with Russia, who repeatedly cut gas supplies to Ukraine and exploited debts to
pressure the country, also to avoid it would
pursue EU or NATO membership. In 2010 Yanukovych won the elections and switched back to
a filo-Russian stance. He passed a law preventing Ukraine to enter in any military alliance, thus indefinitely blocking
the process to join NATO. Interestingly, gas disputes between the two countries stopped
during this period. In 2013, also because of
trade sanctions from Moscow, Yanukovych rejected a
trade deal with the EU in favour of economic aid
from Russia in the form of a discount on gas and
of buying government bonds. This caused large-scale demonstrations centred in Kiev’s Maidan square. The EU and the US
supported the opposition, which included Ukrainian nationalists. In February 2014, after violent clashes, a EU-endorsed deal seemed to have solved the impasse but the
situation degenerated when the most radical faction rejected the plan demanding Yanukovych’s
immediate resignation. The President fled to Russia, who in turn occupied Crimea with a
covert military action. Soon, Russian-backed militias took power in the Donbas area, Ukraine’s easternmost region which hosts a significant Russian population. Since then, war has been
raging in the region and gas quarrels have emerged once again. However, Russia’s policy may
have backfired in this case. A 2015 poll showed that
support for NATO membership had grown to 64% in
government-controlled areas, and the executive in
Kiev has taken several steps paving the way to
joining the Alliance. Today, Ukraine remains a major hotspot and the situation could
easily warm up again, as it happened following the Kerch Strait incident in November 2018. In some places the conflict
has not yet emerged, but may do in the future. This is the case of the
three Baltic states, all NATO and EU members since 2004. Arguably, it was this first
enlargement that prompted Russia to be suspicious
towards the two organisations and become more assertive
with Georgia and Ukraine. With the Baltic countries, the problem responds to
military strategy concerns. Latvia and Estonia are the
only two NATO countries bordering Russia’s core
territory, and they, plus Lithuania, separate it
from the exclave of Kaliningrad. They are also very close
to Saint Petersburg, an important economic
centre and naval base and their membership to NATO threatens Russia’s ability to operate in the Baltic. As such, they would be a primary target in case of war with the Alliance. A 2016 RAND report concluded that Russia could occupy all three in just a few days. Since they already played a part of NATO, it is very unlikely that Russia
would actually invade them but it has already employed cyber attacks and might decide to opt
for a full military action in case relations with the
Alliance further deteriorate and it deploys assets that
are deemed too menacing. This also raises important
questions for NATO as it is uncertain whether
it would actually risk a full-fledged war with Russia
to protect the three states. Finally, Belarus may also
become a future flashpoint. Until now, it has been ruled by President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka since 1994. He has always been attentive to maintain positive relations with Russia, even thought there have been
occasional disagreements. Most importantly, Lukashenka never tried bringing Belarus
into either the EU or NATO. Yet, he will not remain in charge forever, one day he will lose
power or simply pass away. This is problematic, as it is unclear what political force will succeed him. If another official attentive
to Moscow’s interests takes power, then the
status quo will endure. Considering the country’s
limited civil society, this could indeed happen. But if things turn
chaotic after his demise and a pro-Western movement
gains the upper hand and starts advocating for Belarus to join the EU and NATO, then Russia will likely react similarly to
what it did in Ukraine. According to some rumours, Russia left garrisons in Belarus after the Zapad military exercise in 2017 and this could also be a measure to enable a rapid intervention in such a scenario. There is much potential for
instability in the post-Soviet space in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, especially in a moment
of strained relations between Russia and NATO since any conflict could turn into a large-scale
war between nuclear powers. As such, all the political
actors involved in these countries should be careful
to act with restraint to avoid an escalation, as
it would have deleterious consequences for locals and
for international peace. That’s all for today guys, thanks for watching another KJ Vid. What are your views on the
NATO-Russia confrontation? We would love to hear your
views in the comments below. Please consider supporting
us on Patreon so we can produce more of these
geopolitical reports and help to keep us independent
from political influence. Thanks for watching again
and see you next time.

58 Comments on "What are RUSSIA’s interests in the POST-SOVIET space? – KJ Vids"


  1. NATO is about as “defensive” an alliance as the Anti-COMINTERN Pact of WWII or the Entente of WWI.

    Reply

  2. I'm from Poland. NATO is essential to our peace. No sane person is against NATO. I hope Ukraine and Georgia will become member soon !

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  3. Russia's obsessive pursuit of a "buffer zone" has driven countless countries away from positive relations with the country in favour of looking westwards. The feeling of resentment among people who've suffered under Russia's dominance for the last few centuries is certainly understandable.

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  4. Your videos are solid. But I feel you need to read actually legal documents. Not just restate what some media sources like to say. Your smarter than that. Be neutral!!

    Reply

  5. Mate, can I make a one time payment as I really mean to support you? PM me your email so that I can PayPal you…does that work?

    Reply

  6. Well actually neither Abkhazians nor the Ossetians are ethnic Russians, this was just a plain old invasion built on a lie.

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  7. NATO a defensive alliance? The interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are just a few examples to the contrary. Many countries consider NATO an aggressive interventionalist offensive force. Russia has been invaded numerous times by many western countries all of which are now part of NATO. NATO has been working hard to reach the borders of Russia. Russia was so concerned about an invasion that at one point they tried to join NATO in hopes that as a member their territorial integrity would be protected under the charter. They were refused outright.

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  8. Một chế độ SoViet đầy tự hào đã bị phá hủy bởi bọn man rợn american 🙁

    Reply

  9. What the arrogant Soviets didn’t realize but today’s Russia does it that they can’t compete with America financially or by keeping up with military tech trying to produce as many pieces of tech , the US has enormous funds available for its defense budget that not even two or three countries can match , Putin seems to perfectly understand that and instead , as he stated in a speech , focuses on producing advanced tech that can nullify few or more spheres and pieces of tech ,the newly created hypersonic missiles and nuclear powered underwater drones serve exactly this purpose able to take on AMB’s , warships , aircraft carriers and 5th gen jets

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  10. The Russian Navy can block NATO's access to the Baltic and Black sea anytime they want, they don't need to fire a single shoot, Russia don't need Poland and Baltic states they are economically worthless to Russia now, since Russia has built another nord stream gas pipes lines directly to Germany, Poland and Baltic states are going to end up like Ukraine since turk stream

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  11. If ever the russians decide that improving their country is more important than putting their boots in the necks of their neighbours everyone, including them, will be much safer.

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  12. Short summary on Russo-Ukraine gas wars. Ukraine: I am not paying for the gas, but I still want to get it. Russia: no way, you should pay for it. EU and US: Russia bad.

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  13. Mentioning Kerch strait incident as something that makes any sense highlights complete absence of understanding what is going in on. Even inside Ukrainian parliament Poroshenko is being accused of provoking this incident just to declare martial law and postpone the elections. Which didn't work out — that stupid this was.

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  14. Last question: I respond. My view on NATO-Russia confrontation is that NATO is trying aggressively to turn all countries surrounding Russia into hostile to Russia states. NATO does not even suggest these countries to join NATO — neither Ukraine nor Georgia can join NATO in coming 20 years even if they resolve their territory disputes with Russia. This has been said many times by NATO officials. The whole thing is that Ukraine, Georgia and Baltic countries receive money from the EU and the US just for barking on Russia and carrying out anti-Russian policies. Moreover, most of these policies are not supported by the local population. So you get civil wars, like the one in Ukraine. NATO is to blame for everything

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  15. Should have mentioned that one of the major interests in Ukraine is control over the black sea, Russia would never lose that, and they have the right to be in Crimea.

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  16. Its time for India to invade, recapture and reconcile Pakistan into Great Indian Democracy as it was since ancient time before filthy brits came into Asia.. INSHALLAH
    Jai Hind 🇮🇳 🇮🇳 🇮🇳 🇮🇳 🇮🇳 🇮🇳 🇮🇳 🇮🇳

    Reply

  17. NATO is a threat to RUSSIA, NATO should be countered, but use of brute force is not advised. RUSSIA should use chinas economical prowess, and subtly infiltrate former USSR nations just like NATO. CHINA nd RUSSIA should counter NATO at any cost. Shouldn't allow this fascist USA to come close to RUSSIA. RUSSIA should take it to the USAs coast.

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  18. Coming from a country that was colonized by the Americans, and was constantly controlled by the UN. The US/NATO is just another globalist organization, these people can't be trusted. Neither their allies.

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  19. Subscribe to KJ Vids – www.kjvids.co.uk/subscribe

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    Reply

  20. RUSSIA IT IS JUST DEFENDING ITSELF no more no less. It is all Americans fault today, when America will internally collapse the world will be a best place because Russia will come back in EASY mode. Nobody wants war Russia as first, the problem it is that there is a big difference between BE FORCED to do a war and WANT to do a war.

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  21. Simply put, NATO has nothing to do with peace, instead is a menacing warmonger. I ask, what organization would deliberately surround a nation (Russia) to restrict its movement. I would never believe any claim by NATO that it is a peaceful organization – it is owned and run by the deep state who exist simply to aggravate Russia into war and they would not stop here, they want global dominance. They need to be stopped.

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  22. 9:19 "[baltic states] membership in NATO threatens <Russians navy's> ability to operate in Baltics"

    As long as no international laws are broken Russia have all rights to operate in Baltic sea and NATO membership of Baltic states doesnt change that.

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  23. “NATO will nor expand one inch eastwards”. If you break a promise, there should naturally be consequences. The long peace is kept by having 2 superpowers. A balance of power is good.

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  24. That's biased.. the crisis in Georgia and Ukraine were (if not started) very influenced by the West. Russia just reacted to that. NATO plays and aggressive expansionist policy.
    With that I'm not saying that Russia is good, but NATO is an evil empire, we have to admit that

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  25. "NATO is defensive" please do more reading. Where is Yugoslavia? What happened to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya ? Is NATO defending Germany or England or US in Iraq or Libya? Go and read more.

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  26. Thought this crap was heading towards blaming russia as usual the georgian army were the ones that attacked osettia first you clown putin went in to save them and showed the west for real what they were made of and it was the us and its western allies that started the ukranie bullshit your jst another idiot spreading russia phobia and lies to belittle russia cause they refuse to surrender there sovereignty and will fight tell there last breath to keep it fucken bullshitting idiot

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  27. The so called Russian backed militias were not backed by Russia the first year the fact that they lacked organization and didnt have much proffessionalism in the first year proves it but it changed during the siege of Debaltseve in 2015 after that Ukraine stopped its attacks because it knows it cant win against Russia and ao the conflict became frozen

    Originally Russia only wanted Crimea because of the deep sea port there and its infrastructure but after the Russians saw the seperatists of Donetsk and Luhansk beating the Ukrainian army during the summer of 2014 all on their own Russia realized they had the potential to still make a decent buffer zone so it helped the seperatists

    And plz refrain from calling them as Russian backed militias because even Ukraine wont call them that because they are seperatists (people that take a piece of a countrie's lands to make their own country)
    Unlike seperatists a militia backed by a country does not fight to make their own country on the contrary they fight for whatever the country backing them wants Al-Qaeda is a good example and yes many militants are indeed terrorists

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  28. Russia's attempt didn't back fire Poroshenko is very unpopular right now and he's the the pro nato guy plus the elections are fast approaching not to mention he has been losing the war against the seperatists lastly ukraine is an oligarchy and yanukovich wasn't the only pro russian oligarch

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  29. Actually that kind of scenario/strategy was first "tested" in the republic of Moldova in the early '90(see Transnistria).

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  30. 💪🌏🇨🇳🇷🇺💪👪☀©™🏆yakında bende Rusya'ya büyük projeler yapacağım 👍👍👍

    Reply

  31. "NATO is a defensive alliance and would never attack first"

    Yeah ok, tell that to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan

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  32. is there a way for me to look at your sources for this video case study? I'm interested on diving deeper into the topic.

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  33. Ethnic Russian minorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Really? There isn't a Russian minority or more than 1%-3% in those regions. South Ossetia is populated by Ossetians and Abkhazia is populated by Abkhaz and Armenians. Get your facts right. There are always major corrections to be made in your videos. Actually do research and do some editing.

    Reply

  34. 9:08 there are FIVE countries: Estonia, Latvia, Norway. Also, Lithuania and Poland bordering with Kaliningrad Oblast.

    Reply

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