NEWSWATCH: “The Front Line Drawn Across Russia’s Backyard” – Stratfor

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Globalization has changed how we think about time, space and distance, but geography is still the same where it counts: national security. … former Soviet states lining Russia’s border know this better than most … their proximity to the eastern giant renders them more vulnerable to Moscow’s hybrid warfare …. Nations like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova sit on the front line of Russia’s lasting battle with the West for influence … most at risk of being caught in the crossfire.

Russia’s goal … is simple … weaken the West’s influence while strengthening its own. One way of doing this is to undermine less friendly governments and install more neutral or allied ones; another is to block or even reverse these states’ integration with Western blocs such as the [EU and NATO]. Should Moscow successfully pull one of these pro-Western states under its umbrella, it would no longer be a prime target for Russian meddling. But if countries such as Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan were to join forces with the West, they would quickly find themselves in the Kremlin’s crosshairs. …”

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