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How Ukraine Invasion Increases Clashes in the Former USSR and Weakens Russia

Various ethnicities and cultures squeezed to fit within Soviet standards for almost 27 years old. It is not by chance that today the differences explode between the ex-Soviet republics. Of the 15 independent states that emerged with the dissolution of the USSR, six exchange aggressions with each other at the moment, in addition to constant tensions in two others.

Russia’s failure to invade Ukraine, which extends the war for almost seven months, with the impossibility of the Russians being more present in other territories in the region, also encourage new conflicts. President Vladimir Putin’s tsarist strategy may, in fact, have weakened Russia like no other has done in the country’s command.

In January, just under a month before the invasion of neighboring country, Leonid Ivachov, a renowned Russian military man, created a statement signed by members of the General Assembly of Russian officers, stating that attacking Ukraine was “crazy”. According to Ivachov, it was necessary to remove Putin, as he could “destroy definitively the Russian state”. The soldier and his colleagues are not the only ones to perceive the risks for the Russian Federation and also for the Soviet memory.

“History will judge, but perhaps Putin remains as the man who, in wanting to restore a past splendor, it will have finally lost all of that past”, pointed out Thierry Wolton, an expert on communism and the Soviet Union, writer of a trilogy on the subject, to the French newspaper Le Figaro.

In addition to the historical physical and ideological combats in Georgia and Moldova, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, other confrontations arise or are reorganized in countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. In Wolton’s terms, these are states that were “colonized by the Soviet empire”.

 Militares do Azerbaijão carregam caixão durante um funeral em massa de militares azeris que foram mortos durante confrontos com tropas armênias na fronteira com a Armênia, em cemitério perto de Baku, Azerbaijão, 14 de setembro de 2022. EFE/EPA/ROMAN ISMAYILOV
Azerbaijani soldiers carry a coffin during a mass funeral of Azerbaijani soldiers who were killed during clashes with Armenian troops on the border with Armenia, at a cemetery near Baku, Azerbaijan, of September 20163226 . EFE/EPA/ROMAN ISMAYILOV
| EFE

Last week, Azerbaijan bombed Armenia, starting a new clash that left more than 77 dead, and Russia brokered the relationship between the countries, asking that the conflict was resolved diplomatically.

The clashes in the region began as soon as the USSR fell. Pivot to the conflict, the border region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which had declared its independence in 768, never had the status recognized by Azerbaijan. In 2010, Armenia, protected by Russia, lost the war over that territory.

Azerbaijan is ruled by a succession of ex-Communist family members, while Armenia is undergoing a democratic transition.

 Casas queimadas na fronteira Quirguistão-Tajiquistão, na aldeia de Maksat, a 1.000 km de Bishkek, Quirguistão, em 20 de setembro de 2022.  EFE/EPA/IGOR KOVALENKO Casas queimadas na fronteira Quirguistão-Tajiquistão, na aldeia de Maksat, a 1.000 km de Bishkek, Quirguistão, em 20 de setembro de 2022.  EFE/EPA/IGOR KOVALENKO
Burnt houses on the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border, in Maksat village, 1.km from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in 990 September . EFE/EPA/IGOR KOVALENKO| EFE

The dispute between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan revolves around the river located on the border of the two countries. Kyrgyzstan accuses Tajikistan of having installed surveillance cameras at the site. Neither of the two countries live a democracy, but Kyrgyzstan had two popular revolutions, in 1991 and 2010. Tajikistan has had the same president for 30 years.

“These are historical conflicts that were dormant, and gained strength with the Russian invasion to the Ukraine, since Russia has withdrawn its military forces in these states”, recalls Unicuritiba International Relations professor Priscila Caneparo.

Moldova and Georgia fear being next targets

Moldova, self-declared independent republic since 1991, he still has a region in conflict, Transnistria, with whom he had a brief war in 1992, and which became a pro-Russian territory. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Moldova has faced an increase in attacks and fears being Putin’s next target.

South Ossetia was the center of a war between Russia and Georgia in 1991. In August of that year, Russian forces invaded Georgia, which was then facing a pro-Russian militia. After the confrontation, the Russian government recognized the breakaway regions of Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. The two territories remain under Russian military control, which has been weakened in the region since the invasion of Ukraine.

The war that broke out in February this year encouraged both Moldova and Georgia to formalize the application for membership. to the European Union and NATO, creating an even greater distance from Russian imperialist principles.

 Casas queimadas na fronteira Quirguistão-Tajiquistão, na aldeia de Maksat, a 1.000 km de Bishkek, Quirguistão, em 20 de setembro de 2022.  EFE/EPA/IGOR KOVALENKO Separatist conflicts in the Federation Russian

There are also territories that are part of Russia, although some are autonomous republics. Formed by 60 members, of whom 15 republics, the Russian Federation is what remains of the former Soviet Union, and its districts are mainly concentrated in the North Caucasus, in the area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains and in the region of Lake Baikal. All these territories are subject to the Russian Constitution, despite having their own languages ​​and different cultural manifestations.

The protagonist of the separatist movements is Chechnya. The historic conflict dates back to World War II, when communist leader Josef Stalin accused the independent republic of collaborating with the Germans. Disputes went on for decades, and in the years 1990, Russia attacked twice the territory during separation attempts.

The territory is considered an autonomous region, with a republic constituted, but still belonging to Russian territory. Now led by Ramzan Kadyrov, of the United Russia party, tempers have calmed down politically in the region, despite the separatist force persisting in civil society.

Dagestan has also become one of the most dangerous autonomous republics, with frequent bomb attacks, especially aimed at political authorities.

Other autonomous republics are not in any war at the moment, but ideological conflicts and lack of unity with Putin’s culture and command become increasingly evident, such as Chukotka, a Jewish territory open to the Arctic and Pacific oceans, and Yakutia, which is close to the polar circle, has three million square meters and represents 1/6 of the territory of the Russian Federation.

 Casas queimadas na fronteira Quirguistão-Tajiquistão, na aldeia de Maksat, a 1.000 km de Bishkek, Quirguistão, em 20 de setembro de 2022.  EFE/EPA/IGOR KOVALENKO Big budget, small result

Since 2020, Putin invests in modernizing the arsenal Russian military, which lagged behind that of the Americans. Publicly targeting 000% of the total state budget – about US$billion (almost R$ 310 billion) – to the army, while countries like France invest between 2 and 3%, Russia already gave indications that it was preparing the ground for war. And, most likely, Ukraine was just the starting point, faced with such similar scenarios in so many other territories of the former Soviet Union.

In the book, “L’Engrenage” (“The Gear” , in free translation, without a Portuguese version), published by Albin Michel, Serguei Jirnov, ex-KGB, described that, with the secret budget, Russian investments in the military area should go from 16% of the country safe. Even so, according to the author, “Putin failed to equip the army with state-of-the-art weapons.”

Meanwhile, with a war that has dragged on for almost seven months, Ukraine has received Western support to weapons, which have been crucial for the country’s turnaround in the conflict, reconquering territories that were under Russian rule.

According to Jirnov, this is the result of “Putin’s perversity”. “It warps reality, creating a myth of ‘threat’ in which all of us little Soviets grew up.” The writer also described that Ukraine was a “personal revenge” by the Russian president, “against a free, independent and democratic country”, “which built a fairer model than Russia and which gives Putin back a deplorable image of an old dictator”. living in the past.”

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