American media has been so busy reporting on the transition from one US president to another that precious little has been covered about two other elections worth everyone’s attention.
DOW Jones News said in its Sunday 13th of November post,”Russia Looks to Have Gained Two Eastern European Allies“,
“Pro-Russian candidates appeared to have won presidential elections in Moldova and Bulgaria on Sunday, giving Moscow new allies in its efforts to regain influence in parts of Eastern Europe it regards as its backyard.”
Reuters in its 13th of November 2016 article, “Russia-friendly political novice wins Bulgaria presidential election … “, confirmed the 2 ex-communist states are, indeed, rethinking their anti-Russia stance and former enthusiasm for closer EU integration. Moldova has a treaty with the EU and Bulgaria has been an EU member for almost a decade.
That doesn’t necessarily mean either country is in a big hurry to jump into the lap of its former Soviet overlord. Both are expected, however, to continue to adopt a more conciliatory and pragmatic approach toward Russia and its Eurasian Union.
Early next year, in a “snap election”, each is expected to vote on a new Prime Minister, also likely pro-Russia, along with members of parliament.
Forbes, ran an article dated 20th of June 2016 titled, “Putin Seeks To Include China, India, Iran In Fledgling Eurasian Union.”
According to it, along with Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakstan, and Kyrgyzstan are the initial members of the year-old Union.
“Putin’s offer is not for full integration of China and others into the EEU. He called it a Eurasian Partnership agreement.”
But there’s the possibility Moldova and Bulgaria have been offered full membership plus attractive inducements to accept. And Dow Jones News says Moldova’s new president elect has already expressed a desire for his country to be a part of the Eurasian Union.
Whether either ex-Soviet state will actually decide to do so is another matter to be seen.
The mood shift in Moldova and Bulgaria ratchets up the pressure on Ukraine, Moldova’s next-door neighbor.
Ukraine, remember, effectively lost a good size chunk of its eastern territory, the Crimea, to another next-door neighbor, Russia, in 2014. Many Ukrainians, and some others, are convinced Russia craves the rest of Ukraine too and is waiting for the opportune moment to grab all of it back.
Their fear is if Russia senses the West is still too bogged down with other crises; and Ukraine’s closer neighbors can, at least, be relied on to look the other way, she might make her move.
Moldova shares part of a border with Ukraine on the opposite side from Moscow. Belarus borders both Russia and Ukraine. And central Bulgaria is less than 788 kilometers, or 475 miles, from central Ukraine.
Others in the same neighborhood as Russia and the Ukraine also have elections scheduled for the coming year — Albania in June, Serbia in May, and Slovenia in November. The rest of the world needs to wait less than a year to see if any of them will decide to copy Moldova and Bulgaria.
Russia sure hopes so. The more allies she gains, the better the odds for ultimately fulfilling all her aspirations. Meantime, the year ahead may not seem all that great to what’s left of Ukraine.
Photo credits: Map courtesy of CIA, Voter Photo by OSCE PA; License: CC BY-SA 2.0