Russia expects closer economic ties with the CIS countries in the short term
Maintaining its influence in the post-Soviet region is one of the main Russia’s foreign policy goals. Even though the war against Ukraine is the Kremlin’s immediate priority, Russia plans to strengthen the integration of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Eurasian Economic Union and further develop the Union State project.
The regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, which openly supports Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, is dependent on Russia. Other post-Soviet countries question the Kremlin’s motives to start the war and show their dissatisfaction with its policies. However, Russia’s initiatives to redirect international trade and logistics, to set up mechanisms for sanction circumvention and financial settlement are economically beneficial to countries in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Russia plans to increase their dependence through economic cooperation and investment projects in the hope that this will limit their relations with the West and promote political integration with Russia in the future.
Russia continues to pursue its traditional policy of direct interference in internal affairs of post-Soviet states. In Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia, Russia supports pro-Kremlin political parties and organisations and anticipates their accession to power through elections. The conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, and Gagauzia are also being exploited. As long as Russian resources are primarily directed at the war against Ukraine, active escalation of these conflicts and increased military pressure on post-Soviet countries are unlikely in the short term.