Why the Post-Communist Grey Zone Is Still Grey: Causes and Future Scenarios

Why the Post-Communist Grey Zone Is Still Grey: Causes and Future Scenarios

Andreas Umland's Public Lecture at Heinrich Boell Foundation Tbilisi Office - South Caucasus Region

There are five potential solutions to the problem of Ukraine's, Georgia's, Moldova's and Azerbaijan's current location in a security-political nowhere-land. They include a Western-Russian grand bargain, NATO accession, EU membership, US security guarantees, and the Intermarium. Yet, none of these models has so far materialized. Why is that the case?

The major reason is for the appearance of the grey zone and its continuing existence is the West's failure to appreciate the world-historical significance of the window of opportunity for creating a "common European home" (Gorbachev), after 1991. The West failed first to integrate Russia into the West, and later to ensure the grey-zone countries against Russian revanchism. Other reasons for the emergence and persistence of the grey zone include the absence of sufficient strategic foresight among Central-East European elites. Their judgment on their own security interests has been and still is insufficiently independent. It remains oriented towards repeating truisms emanating from Washington, Brussels, London, Paris and Berlin.

In- and outside the current grey zone in the post-communist area, many analysts subconsciously imagine post-Soviet geopolitics in extra-geographic or galactic terms. They see Europe as consisting of a good NATO/EU planet, and a bad planet of the rest. The continuing geographic proximity of Russia, the four non-aligned countries, and the East European member states of NATO as well as the EU, and the related security-political interconnectedness of these three spaces has not yet led to adequate action to diminish the greyness of the post-communist grey zone.

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