|Hampstead Heath, London. Foto: Astrid Nydahl|
"This year marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the main geopolitical tragedy of the twentieth century according to Russia's president, Vladimir Putin. Even though the political situation in the region has changed dramatically in the last 25 years, the term "post-Soviet" is still being used to define the geopolitical space between the European Union, China, the Indian Peninsula and the Middle East. This post-Soviet paradigm, which unjustly preserves a conviction about Moscow's role as a sun around which the post-Soviet planets orbit, is already out-dated. Naturally, Russia is and will remain the key continental power in this geopolitical space. However, its influence in the "near abroad", to use Kremlin terminology, has decisively weakened since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Conversely, the importance of other actors (especially the United States, the EU, China, Turkey and Iran) has noticeably increased. Paradoxically, the more Russia tries to maintain its influence, the more outdated the term "post-Soviet space" becomes. Russia's policies are coming up against increasing levels of resistance in its former colonies, which are searching for support elsewhere."
Varför då ett nytt paradigm? Balcer menar att vi här måste inkludera utvecklingen i Ukraina sedan 2013. När Ukraina blickade västerut mot EU vände sig Ryssland samtidigt österut, mot Kina. Den processen är förstås inte så enkel att beskriva, men i grova drag resonerar Balcer utifrån dessa förändringar (som också inkluderar den ryska militära inblandningen i Ukraina).
The foundation of the new Silk Road abolishes the old post-Soviet paradigm. New pathways will connect the Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern Europe with the Middle East, the Balkans and Central Europe. The blurring of borders between the post-Soviet space and its neighbourhood has also been confirmed by a decision made in July 2015 by the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, a body established by the Central Asian countries (without Turkmenistan), Russia and China to accept India and Pakistan to join their group. Quite soon, this may also be joined by Iran, which has recently been freed from international sanctions.Här kan du läsa hela Balcers text.
is the programme director of the conference on Polish Eastern Policy, organized annually by the Jan Nowak-Jezioranski College of Eastern Europe in Wroclaw. He is also a senior fellow at demosEUROPA Centre for European Strategy.