Russia’s full-scale and genocidal invasion of Ukraine has already brought substantial changes to the relations of EU Eastern neighbourhood countries with Moscow, while its consequences are reshaping the geopolitical balance in the region.
This analysis maps developments in foreign trade and confirms previous trends as well as the prominence of the Russian political and economic leverage in the region. It arrives at the following conclusions:
- Ukraine has no choice but to purify itself from Russian politico-economic influence and leverage and turn to the European Union in order to survive.
- Moldova’s current government is embracing a Euro-Atlantic course and trying to wean off Russian politico-economic influence.
- The Georgian government tries to benefit from the war, but it has been dangerously sliding towards pro-Russian authoritarianism while causing an increase in tensions with Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic community.
- Armenia has tried to distance itself from Russia due to its failure to guarantee the country’s security. Yerevan has also been increasing dependencies and assisting Moscow in circumventing sanctions, which threatens to endanger the Euro-Atlantic community’s support.
- Azerbaijan is a player of its own kind that enjoys positive relations with the Kremlin and helps it to bypass sanctions.
- Belarus has paved the way for the Russian invasion and is extremely dependent on Moscow.
The fact that Russia managed to retain – or even increase – its level of politico-economic clout in the region and influence countries’ economic choices with regard to Russia highlights the hardened lines of divisions in these nations’ foreign policy strategies and the fragmentation of EU’s Eastern neighbourhood more globally.