Home European News Why is Europe still fragile in the dance with Russia

Why is Europe still fragile in the dance with Russia

Why is Europe still fragile in the dance with Russia

Like a scientist who can’t seem to find a cure for cancer, the Western world has been struggling for a long time to find an antidote to Vladimir Putin’s tyrannical regime and its negative influence on Europe. This geopolitical “stability” made Andrei Pleșu, founder of the Romanian cultural magazine Dilema Veche, republish an article titled The Weaknesses of the West, a decade after its initial publication. Among the West’s “imperfections”, Pleșu mentions their large set of rules, their objectiveness, and their naivete of going so far as admiring leaders like Putin. “In the end, the ‘diplomatic’ relations between the Russian Federation and the rest of the world resemble the attempt of a distinguished lady to dance a minuet with a hungry tiger. Things end badly,” Pleșu concludes.

Expressing her opinion in the same issue of  Dilema, anthropologist Anca Manolescu agrees with Pleșu. Still, she is more specific when it comes to pointing out what Europe doesn’t do well, starting with a quote from Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis. The “alarm clock rang, but we haven’t gotten out of bed yet,” Landsbergis (centre-right Homeland Union) warned during an interview with correspondent Ines Trams of German TV broadcaster ZDF. Therefore, Manolescu thinks Europe needs to “act faster, more widely, and more decisively”.

It’s enough to look at the situation in south-eastern Europe to see that the West has a lot more work to do in its fight against Russia’s bad endeavours.

Putin continues to influence Moldova 

First, the pro-Russia regions in Moldova are problematic. Shortly after the liberal government in Chișinău dealt with rumours of a Russian invasion in Transnistria, they saw Evghenia Guțul, the pro-Moscow leader of the Moldovan autonomous region Gagauzia, meet with Putin in Sochi. After she arrived home, Guțul claimed she had struck a deal with Russian provider Gazprom to deliver cheap gas to Gagauzia. As a reaction, Moldovan investigative newspaper Ziarul de Gardă quoted Moldova’s pro-European Prime Minister Dorin Recean, who described the leaders of Gagauzia as a “criminal group” that makes “false promises” and that needs to be brought “to justice.”

Looking on the bright side, more and more Moldovan churches are leaving the Metropolitanate of Moldova, which falls under the Russian Orthodox Church, to join the Metropolitanate of Bessarabia, falling under the Romanian Orthodox Church. The main reason for this is Russia’s involvement in the war. “The Russian Orthodox Church is directly involved in the war in Ukraine, establishing its own army of mercenaries that it trains in churches with special forces instructors and then sends them to fight in Ukraine,” said the liberal mayor of the Moldovan Răuțel village, as quoted by Ziarul de Gardă.

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Bulgaria played into Putin’s hands

Second, Bulgaria’s naivete in allowing Russia to build a gas route through its territory gave Putin’s country a way to supply Serbia and Hungary, which haven’t cut off trade with Russian gas like most of Gazprom’s European customers. As editor Ivaylo Stanchev points out, Bulgarian newspaper Capital obtained leaked documents that prove Russia aggressively dictated the building of the Turkish Stream through Bulgaria. One of the biggest defenders of the pipeline was conservative Boyko Borisov (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, centre-right), Prime Minister of Bulgaria between 2017-2021. TurkStream has been operating in Bulgaria since 2021.

Romania’s outdated army

When it comes to Romania, one of its vulnerabilities is its army’s precarious state. Recent information published by journalist Andrei Udișteanu on the Romanian investigative platform Recorder shows that at least 130 military trucks used by the country’s army are over 40 years old. One of these old trucks malfunctioned in 2017 and led to the death of 3 soldiers. “Romania is not ready. Neither politically, nor militarily, nor economically is Romania ready to assume a leading role in European and transatlantic security policy,” Goșu told journalist Carolina Drüten, reporting for the Romanian online publication PressOne.

On the same topic

S. M. S. | N1 | 9 March | SB

Suppressing artists for their political views is another sign of authoritarianism. After Serbian folk singer Milan Topalović Topalko criticised Serbia’s nationalist president Aleksandar Vučić for his 24/7 appearances on TV, the singer has faced pressure and had performances cancelled, as the singer confessed during the TV show “24 minutes with Zoran Kesić”. Paradoxically, “members of SNS (Vučić’s ruling populist party) sent me messages of support and congratulations on what I said. They know that it is so, that it is true,” said Topalko.

Dušan Miljuš | Jutarnji List | 25 March | HR

Since Ivan Turudić, Croatia’s recently elected Attorney General, found out that his Audi Q5 had two bullet holes in it, he may receive a 3-tonne Mercedes equipped with a tear-gas sensor, armoured windows, and a machine gun mount worth hundreds of thousands of euros for his protection. The attack on the former judge’s car was not entirely unexpected, as a large group of people protested following his appointment

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With the help of investigative outlet Bivol, a paramilitary organisation of Russian citizens and ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and in emigration addressed the Bulgarians to tell them why they fight against Putin. The legion has an interesting flag of its own. “Actually, this is the Russian flag, but without the red colour. This will be the new flag of Russia, after the end of Putin,” legionnaires told a Bivol reporter.

In partnership with Display Europe, cofunded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Directorate‑General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.


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