Eastern Bloc No More, Pro-Russian France No More

It's common knowledge that former satellites of the USSR in Eastern Europe look at Russia with deepest distrust and are its main enemies in the EU. It is equally well-known that France and Germany are Russia's biggest friends, if not outright its agents, in the Western world.
Well, it seems that things don't work that way any more.

Look at the map from Le Monde at the bottom of the article. The greenest the country, the more it supports sanctions against Russia, the reddest it is, the more it opposes them. The yellow countries haven't voiced their opinion yet.

What we see is quite fascinating.





First, the famous East European anti-Russian unity is gone. Instead, at the East of the map there's a picture that could be mistaken for the beginning of the 17th century, when Poland and Sweden together with Ukraine and Baltic lands under their control were fighting against Russia (and on one occasion occupied Moscow).

They are opposed by the group of countries in the center and in the Southwest of Europe. That group almost exactly represents the lands controlled by the House of Habsburg at about the same time (the senior branch of the house controlled Spain and Portugal, the junior one controlled Austria, the Lands of Czech Crown and Hungary, including Slovakia).

In the middle there are four biggest European countries which, with the exception of the UK, were also considered the biggest Russian friends in Europe, but now are favoring sanctions, though with some restraint.

How can it be explained? Every explanation, of course, will be a wild guess, but we may suppose that the position of Poland and the Baltic countries is explained by the fact that they border Russia and therefore feel the Russian threat most of all. Also, all of them, except Sweden, were once part of the Russian Empire. So, if Ukraine falls, they may be next in line as the aim of possible Russian aggression.

The rest of the Eastern Europe - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria - never were part of Russia, though they were Russian satellites. More importantly, they do not share common borders with Russia and therefore Russia can't invade them, at least for now. Taking into account that their economies greatly depend both on Russian gas and on exports to Russia, those countries don't have great fears of Russian aggression against them, but they do have very much to lose in case of strong anti-Russian sanctions. And the anti-sanction countries in the Southwest are way too far from Moscow to be bothered about Russia's aggressive actions at all.

Finally, both France and Germany, as opposed to Spain or, say, Hungary, are global players. Contrary to other European countries that always leaned to some other great power, they are used to think strategically. And at the moment to think strategically means to recognize the threat that the current Russian militaristic approach represents to the global order and peace in Europe for generations to come. That's why, though their tactical and immediate interests would be to keep trading with Russia, France and Germany are ready to impose sanctions to keep their future position in Europe and the World safe.

It's all is just a theory of course, because it can't be proven. What is a fact is that the traditional division of Europe into Russia's Western friends and Eastern enemies is over.




Comments

  1. >> Every explanation, of course, will be a wide guess
    Shoud it be wild guess?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course. Thanks for pointing out the typo.

      Delete

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