Russia and the rest of the world were shocked by the horrendous murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in the heart of Moscow near the Kremlin just before the anniversary of the annexation of the Crimea. Russia distanced itself from the universally accepted rules of the international community with the annexation and occupation of the Crimea, and murdering Nemtsov only exacerbated its isolation. Everyone is asking what will become of Russia, and there are no positive answers.
Diplomaatia explores the events of a year ago in the Crimea, and discusses how these influenced Estonia as well as the rest of the world. Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu, writes about the challenges Estonia must face in the field of foreign policy.
Two interviews with highly esteemed Russian analysts provide a fascinating read. Both Pavel Felgenhauer and Aleksandr Morozov explore the political and military context of Russia. For example, Felgenhauer is convinced that Russia had its eyes on the Crimea for quite some time.
He says: “The Crimean operation was prepared over many years, probably beginning during the first Maidan (2004). Back then, the state started to significantly fortify the Black Sea Fleet’s assets and bases.”
Maksym Bugriy and Anna Bulakh, Ukrainian researchers at the International Centre for Defence and Security, write about their homeland. Maksym Bugriy discusses the influence of events in the Crimea and East Ukraine on the trade flows on the Baltic and Black seas. Anna Bulakh writes about a subject that Europe has already come to consider a problem—natural gas and the related disputes between Ukraine and Russia.
Signe Ratso, Director for Trade Strategy, Analysis and Market Access in DG Trade at the European Commission, explains the impact of EU sanctions and Russian countermeasures.
Ratso states: “All in all, Russia’s import ban has had a minor impact on the EU’s agricultural sector. Even though the export of agricultural products to Russia from the EU as a whole and Estonia in particular decreased last year compared to 2013, it has been offset by the growing exports to alternative markets, where trade has been successfully redirected. Exports to markets in the US, Switzerland and Asia—including Hong Kong, China and South Korea—as well as to Turkey, Nigeria, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and the United Arab Emirates have seen the largest growth. The dairy sector, where Estonian export interests are strongest, should be the most interested in Asian markets, as well as the countries of North Africa and the Middle East.”