Russia, we must admit, is no exception. It is clear that both the foundation of statehood and the total potential of Russia are incomparably more substantial than that of any of the former Soviet republics. This provides far more opportunities, but also imposes a different level of responsibility — not only and not so much for others, but for itself. Well, it is understandable that thirty years of separate existence have not destroyed the multifaceted interconnectedness between these regions at every level, although it now manifests in a different way than it did 10 or 20 years ago. The process of creation of a new reality is in full swing.
At the beginning of the journey, there was an idea that the main essence of this process was how quickly Western institutions would spread their influence (in one form or another) and supplant the Soviet legacy. This is no longer the case for many reasons. The West has lost its former opportunities, and with them much of its ambition. But other players have appeared that have increased their opportunities along with own ambitions (China and Turkey, at least).
The new situation has compelled Russia to seek out its own answers, including new ones. These relationships, rooted in the past, do not mean a return to that past. These are prerequisites for a shared future, but it is not clear yet what it has in store. It is unclear primarily because Russia itself is in the process of self-determination with respect to the former periphery. In other words, the continuity of the common space was clearly only called into question when the entity maintaining that continuity (Russia) entered a period of reflection and weighed the benefits of maintaining it. Is it necessary to work on its universal strengthening, or, on the contrary, has the time come for a thoughtful inventory?
Stormy processes are taking place almost everywhere. In some places they are primarily associated with internal evolution (Belarus, Armenia, Moldova), which is superimposed by external influence. In others, however, external circumstances have pushed internal changes (Central Asia, Ukraine). Whatever the origin, it is impossible to fix the status quo now, and this state of affairs is not limited to a short-term period; it will most likely be the case for the foreseeable future. After all, we must not forget that the post-Soviet space is also constantly moving — the world is being rebuilt on the fly.
Putin does not call for fixing a certain status quo. The President of Russia has long been inside international relations and understands that it is impossible to fix anything now. It’s about building a kind of a fuse into turbulent processes — which definitely shouldn’t be done so as not to cause a chain reaction. And if you confirm this, then a lot can be further discussed. And, by the way, commentators usually considered that the message was addressed to the West, like, do not try to interfere again, here is a “red line” for you. We would like to assume that the addressee is different: the neighbours themselves. They are invited to think together on new forms of coexistence, because the success of this reflection is vital for them and for Russia. And not for anyone else.