Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the dismemberment of its territory is not an isolated operation. It constitutes one component of a broader strategic agenda to rebuild a Moscow-centered bloc designed to compete with the West. The acceleration of President Vladimir Putin’s neo-imperial project has challenged the security of several regions that border the Russian Federation, focused attention on the geopolitical aspects of Kremlin ambitions, and sharpened the debate on the future role of NATO, the EU, and the US in the Wider Europe.
This book is intended to generate a more informed policy debate on the dangers stemming from the restoration of a Russian-centered “pole of power” or “sphere of influence” in Eurasia. It focuses on five vulnerable flanks bordering the Russian Federation – the Baltic and Nordic zones, East Central Europe, South East Europe, South Caucasus, and Central Asia. It examines several pivotal questions including: the strategic objectives of Moscow’s expansionist ambitions; Kremlin tactics and capabilities; the impact of Russia’s assertiveness on the national security of neighbors; the responses of vulnerable states to Russia’s geopolitical ambitions; the impact of prolonged regional turmoil on the stability of the Russian Federation and the survival of the Putinist regime; and the repercussions of heightened regional tensions for US, NATO, and EU policy toward Russia and toward unstable regions bordering the Russian Federation.