The defeat of Russia will change the post-Soviet space.
Western media and intelligence say Moldova could be Putin's next target. Is there any possibility of the Kremlin's aggression against this country?
The website Charter97.org talked about this and more with the ex-ambassador of Poland to Moldova and Armenia, former adviser to the Minister and to the head of the political department at the Polish Embassy in Russia, lecturer at Warsaw University and friend of free Belarus, Wiktor Ross.
— I believe that Putin will not go on aggression against Moldova, because he is now completely stuck in Donbas. No particular progress is being made at this time. I do not see even military possibilities, to say nothing about political ones. Of course, he would have had an interest in Moldova if he knew that the Moldovans would gladly accept him. So, as he expected, what would be in Kharkiv, for example, in the east of Ukraine. It is not.
As for the Transnistrian soldiers, there are few of them, there are not many of them. They can be used in some provocative actions, nothing more. Moldova made it clear to the whole world that it supports Ukraine, sends humanitarian aid, doctors and so on. That's why Putin is unable to advance further even militarily.
— How strong are pro-Russian sentiments and forces in Moldova?
— There is no such kind of rhetoric in Moldova anymore. There was an issue when the question was being decided whether Moldova would be part of Romania or not. It was in the early 90s. Later, Chisinau moved further and further away from Russia. Yes, President Igor Dodon wanted to give the impression that he is a very close person to Putin. But this did not work out, Maia Sandu won. And she's clearly a pro-Western politician.
Moldova is moving away from the "Russian world", they speak a different language. Fewer people in Moldova use Russian. When I worked as an ambassador, many people in Chisinau spoke Russian. Now everything has already passed, and young people study in Romanian. And now there are no inclinations towards, let's say, Russia.
Moldova has been under the influence of Russia since 1812. Let me remind you that at that time these lands were called Bessarabia, it was located between the Dniester and the Prut. And gradually, of course, Russification was carried out there, so there were a lot of Russians. Russian administration, education, and so on: everything was in Russian. Therefore, Moldova's intellectual class was Russified, of course.
But over time, when it gained independence in the early 90s, this spirit, it gradually moved away, let's say. It is now absolutely impossible for Russian propaganda in Moldova to have any influence. There are obviously anti-Russian sentiments.
— If suddenly Putin still decides to attack Moldova, then how can the government of the country oppose the Russian invasion today?
— Let's just say that the Moldovan military forces are very weak, with several thousand soldiers. They generally proclaimed neutrality a long time ago. And now, of course, they could not oppose the military machine of the Russian army.
However, Russians are just unable to reach them. They need to get the Donbas first, get the south of Ukraine, Odesa, and so on. To enter Transnistria, and then, with the help of local forces, try to somehow enslave this country.
But it is absolutely impossible, simply impossible. Putin does not have force to do this. He can't even move forward a couple of kilometers in any way he intended to. He thinks about taking at least the entire Donbas and coming to the borders of the administrations of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions so that later they can already join Russia. But he won't be able to do it.
An even larger front is a serious mistake, Russia made it at the very beginning of the war. They began to conduct hostilities in six areas of Ukraine at once. This, of course, deconcentrated their offensive, and Russia got kicked on its brain, let's say.
Just look at what is happening at Azovstal, they cannot occupy one large enterprise. How else will they get into Transnistria and Chisinau now? No, I don't see such a possibility.
— What does Putin want to achieve now?
— He will try to keep at least some success that can be shown to the world and especially to the internal consumer, who is completely zombified. The Russians don't even know what's going on at the frontline. They only understand that more and more Russian regions are receiving "cargo 200", that is, the corpses of soldiers who died there. But for such a domestic consumer, of course, Putin would like to have some sort of success. And this success, I think, he considers Donbas and, perhaps, Kherson, there were traitors. They will try to join the region to Russia through a "referendum".
You see, it appears apparent, that his campaign and, let's say, this whole propaganda information war completely failed. This was evident from the state of Putin on May 9, where he was in very weak shape, did not set any goals, did not threaten the whole world with his nuclear warheads, and so on. Now you can see that he backed off. He is now trying to freeze all this at least at the level that exists. Ukrainians are already receiving heavy weapons - large self-propelled howitzers. It can happen that Ukraine in general will start a counter-offensive.
— Will Putin try to keep what he has?
— That he has. Maybe he will try to formally include Kherson in the Russian Federation. Actually, they cannot make this. In order to gain a political foothold there, the support of society is needed. There will be explosions and general discontent among the citizens without social support, there will be only terror. Therefore, I think that he can do it only formally.
— How would you estimate the role of the Lukashenka regime in this war?
— On the one hand, Lukashenka is very dependent on Putin and wants to imagine that this is a common state and so on, that is, they have some common goals. On the other hand, he did not want to agree to the fact that the Belarusian army took an active part.
Lukashenko just gave his territory so that the Russians could fire their missiles. And now he, let's say, is in a state of confusion, he did not understand at all how it happened, why Kyiv was not conquered and all of Ukraine was not taken in three or four days.
Now Lukashenka has such dubious statements that “I am not a soldier, I don’t understand military affairs so much, but I don’t understand why this operation takes so long”.
Tensions are clearly gone down. If the Russian troops would go and really capture something, then he could brag. And so Lukashenka is afraid that he will send Belarusian soldiers to Ukraine, they will die or they will come back and overthrow him, and the regime will fall by the forces of its own army, but he still somehow relied on it during the protests, and so on.
I do not think that Lukashenka will actively participate in the hostilities in Ukraine, especially since the Russians have left the north and west, they are concentrated in the southeast direction and now there is nothing to do there. Normal life returns in these regions. In Kyiv, near Kyiv, even Bucha, Irpin and so on. They are already living a different life and Lukashenka will not invade.
— What could be the result of Russia's defeat in Ukraine for the former Soviet Union space and in particular for Belarus?
— This is a difficult question. If Russia does not achieve any of its goals and there will be a military defeat from the strengthened Ukrainian army, if they lose this war at all and admit that they cannot take anything and leave Ukraine, then this will mean for the former Soviet Union space that Russia can be completely disconnected and go to other directions, let's say. The defeat of Russia will change the post-Soviet space.
Now such information is being circulated that if it does not work out in Ukraine, then Russia will occupy Northern Kazakhstan. This is a huge area, it will not manage to hole up there. Of course, China won't let it intervene there. It will be a heavy geopolitical defeat. Putin himself will be taken to The Hague, I do not rule out such a result.
If we recall history, we can see that every 10 years there were national surges in the former Soviet Union republics that seem to have almost joined Russia, connected economically and in the yard already.
However, it turned out that anti-Russian sentiments arise every 10 years, the bursts of national activity in Ukraine, then in Kyrgyzstan, then in Georgia, and so on. If Russia does not win, then they will no longer be afraid at all and everyone will start to make their own business, regardless of what Vladimir Vladimirovich thinks.
— How do you see the path of Belarus after leaving the sphere of Russian influence?
— All the youth and the entire intelligent part of the Belarusian society will tune in to the West without Lukashenka. They will come to rapprochements with Poland and other countries, with Lithuania and so on. Now Lukashenka is fooling the society that the Polish people are trying to take away part of Belarus and that there are plans to "revive the Commonwealth" in these territories. This is nonsense of course.
People in Poland do not always understand Belarus. They think that it is an agrarian country and so on, they do not understand that there one Minsk is equivalent to one of the Baltic republics.
I think that the azimuth will be towards the West. It won't happen rapidly. It will take some time. But the main task is to remove Lukashenka and assemble a new team that will be set up to cooperate with Europe. Then Europe will refuse sanctions, and Belarus will become attractive. Not to seize it, as Lukashenka and Putin explain it.
Why did Putin start this war in general? Because NATO allegedly approached Russia's borders and threatened it with immediate danger. No one is going to attack a state that has nuclear warheads. Everything was planned lake that from the very beginning, that it is necessary to revive the “Russian world”, which is based on other values, although there are no values there at all. But they played such a card: now we are coming to the territories that we occupied before, you shall take your things and get out of here in 1997, when Poland and the Baltic countries joined NATO and the European Union, all this must be returned back, and then everyone will be scared and he will dictate his own rules of the world order.
Belarus is in the same situation now. They are trying to conduct some kind of propaganda, it is still clear that no one wants to take Belarus. Belarus is quite an independent country. The only problem now is, of course, the regime of Aliaksandr Ryhoravich.