What impact will Russia's mobilisation have on its neighbours?
The Hundred #33: October 7, 2022
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“Putin’s desperate mobilization is causing a ripple effect both inside Russia and also with its neighbours. Azerbaijan and Tajikistan clearly feel emboldened, seeing the Russian policeman weak and distracted. Kazakhstan is distancing itself from Moscow on many fronts.
Georgia is now under heavy strain, keeping its border open as the Baltic States and Finland close their doors. A dilemma is inflaming the country’s already febrile politics: take in all Russians and over-burden the country with not always friendly new arrivals? Limit the flow or close the border and be culpable in a humanitarian disaster? There is no easy answer.”
“Newly arrived Russian men can be seen everywhere in Tbilisi. They walk the streets, attempt to speak Russian to locals. In 2008, Georgia fought a brief war with Russia that finished with devastating results. Polls show that a majority of Georgians still consider Russia to be the country’s main foreign enemy. With this in mind, no one should expect the Georgian government to do much to try to integrate the young and often jobless Russians that have arrived - especially if the West does not send a clear message that it stands ready to provide support or accept Russians itself.”
“The Kremlin’s mismanaged and deeply unpopular mobilization has created a flood of hundreds of thousands of Russians to Central Asia. Locals increasingly worry about the effects this might have on property values and economies already racked by high unemployment. Beyond immediate effects, there’s an ambivalence. How many will ultimately arrive? What if Putin uses the presence of so many Russians to pressure and threaten Central Asians the way he has Ukraine? Either way, Russian-Central Asian relationships traditionally based on Central Asians’ vulnerability and exploitation as migrants at the hands of Russia are being reordered radically.”
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