Tuesday, June 25

In the former Soviet states, tug of war between East and West

De Waal of Carnegie Europe said that while Georgia wants to stay out of the conflict in Ukraine, it “sees the war blowing more in Russia’s direction. It is leaning more towards Russia as it seeks to remain non-aligned.”

The Georgian government, while officially aspiring to join the European Union, a goal widely supported by the population, has used the fear of Russian retaliation to justify its refusal to join the European sanctions against Moscow.

The ruling Georgian Dream party, Turmanidze said, would never say it was siding with Russia against Ukraine because “it would be political suicide,” given public hostility towards Moscow. But he has adopted measures, particularly a controversial foreign influence law that sparked weeks of street protests, that “are Russian-style,” he added.

Maintaining influence over the territories of the former Soviet Union has been a goal of Moscow since the early 1990s, but it has been given new importance in the revision of the “foreign policy concept” signed by President Vladimir V. Putin last year.

The document committed Russia to prevent “color revolutions,” Moscow’s term for popular uprisings, “and other attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of Russia’s allies and partners” and to “prevent and counter hostile actions of foreign states.” . .