ISSN 2330-717X

Moscow Set To Add Baltic Countries, Poland, Ukraine And Georgia To List Of ‘Unfriendly Countries’ – OpEd

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Many observers were surprised when the first list of countries the Russian government considers unfriendly to Russia had only two states on it, the Czech Republic and the United States. But officials say Moscow is ready to add the Baltic countries, Poland, Ukraine and Georgia to the list on the basis of what they have already done.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov says that Russia is quite prepared to extend the list to include these and possibly other states; and Vasily Piskaryev, deputy head of the Duma Commission on Foreign Interference in Russian Internal Affairs, says they are already engaged in such interference on a “non-stop” basis (rubaltic.ru/article/politika-i-obshchestvo/20210521-rossiya-sdelala-shag-k-priznaniyu-stran-pribaltiki-nedruzhestvennymi/).

One event that may be a trigger for Lithuania is the upcoming meeting of the Free Russia Forum in Vilnius. Latvia is in the crosshairs because of its hosting of the Meduza internet portal. And Estonia is as well both for its hosting of NATO institutions and its outreach to Finno-Ugric and other non-Russian groups in Russia.

Poland, Ukraine and Georgia also are involved in outreach efforts Moscow objects to, and so the list of unfriendly countries almost certainly is going to expand to include some or all of these six states is likely within days or at most weeks. As the RUBaltic portal puts it, this is only “a question of time.”

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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