This issue of Diplomaatia is dedicated to problems related to the occupation and annexation of Crimea by Russia a year ago. First, Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of the Estonian parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, gives an overview of Estonia’s foreign policy. The need to strengthen the Estonian foreign service in these difficult circumstances is Mihkelson’s main message.
Diplomaatia has conducted interviews with two distinguished Russian analysts. Pavel Felgenhauer, the well-known military analyst, explains that plans for the occupation and annexation were made long before 2014, and the future of Russia is quite unpredictable. Alexandr Morozov, the editor-in-chief of noted online journal Russkiy Zhurnal, predicts that Russia is moving towards a new society.
According to Morozov, a new Russia would resemble Salazar’s regime in Portugal rather than Mussolini’s Italy: “a corporate society where loyalty is highly regarded. It might also be seen as a certain Russian version of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s Belarus, only a much more aggressive and energetic society than today’s Belarus or the Portugal of the past.”
Signe Ratso, the Director for Trade Strategy, Analysis and Market Access at the DG Trade of the European Commission, writes about the difficult relationship between the EU and Russia due to the sanctions established by both parties.
Ratso points out that “the European Commission reacted to Russia’s block on imports very quickly and created a large-scale package of aid measures, starting with subsidies for seasonal perishable fruit and vegetables—the Russian market for which disappeared overnight—as well as the dairy industry, where Russia was especially important in the export sector. Since the negative impact was especially strong in the dairy sector of the Baltic States (where the buying-in price decreased the most), at the end of November the European Commission decided to support Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian milk producers with €28 million, €6.9 million of which went to Estonian farmers.”
ICDS researchers Maksym Bugriy and Anna Bulakh write about Ukraine. Bugriy analyses the impact of the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine on the shipping industry in the Black Sea. Bulakh addresses the difficulties arising from disputes over gas between Ukraine and Russia.