Pro-Russian wins in Eastern Europe poses challenges for Lithuania

Rumen Radev Bulgaria's President - elect

“It will be harder for us to find friends even in places where we naturally expected to find them in areas, such as the Eastern Partnership policies or the European Union‘s sanctions for Russia,” Linas Kojala of the Vilnius University’s International Relations and Political Sciences Institute told BNS on Monday.

In his words, election of Igor Dodon as Moldova‘s president and his pledges to give up association agreements with the EU “will give us fewer arguments to say that the things started by the European Union are production and efficient.”

Furthermore, the EU will decide in January on extending economic sanctions against Russia for its role in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Amid calls from some Western European countries to ease the stance on Moscow, “the unity of countries is increasingly cracking, as there are ever more leaders saying that we need a reconciliation policy with Russia,” while Bulgaria‘s president-elect Rumen Radev may be one of the voices, said Kojala.

The expert said that the election of pro-Russian presidents in the countries was probably a result of the two nations’ dissatisfaction with the evolution of their countries rather than the geopolitical course.

“This is largely related with the inability of pro-European forces to take over the Western rules and standards of the game, particularly in the efforts against corruption. All this does not give the people to believe that those who declare Western values actually live by them and are capable of doing so,” the political scientist said.

“Therefore, they are naturally searching for alternatives, which emerge instantly. (…) Geopolitics is becoming an additional flavor to the mixture, which is gaining more and more weight,” said Kojala.

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