Russia’s historic and contemporary need for a ‘cordon sanitaire’


prof-johan-lybeck-phdProfessor Johan Lybeck, a Swedish economist who now lives Noailhac, France, has written about Russia’s historic and contemporary need for a ‘cordon sanitaire’.

Repeated invasions led to Russia’s participation in the partitioning of Poland between Russia, Austria and Prussia in the late 18th century, its gradual occupation of Polish-Lithuanian ruled Ukraine under Catherine II the Great, and the annexation of Crimea – part of the Ottoman Empire, in 1783.

In the Financial Times, Prof. Lybeck wrote:

“During Soviet times, this safety belt included the satellite states in eastern Europe in a crescent from Poland and Czechoslovakia through to Hungary and Romania as a first-line zone of defence and then the Baltic Soviet republics as well as Belarus, Ukraine and the three republics in the Caucasus defending the country from the west and south.

“After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, most of these states have now joined Nato, encircling Mother Russia with potential enemies and depriving it of its customary shield. Apart from its role as a buffer zone, Ukraine is also the producer of a number of vital parts and equipment for the Russian military such as engines for the Mi-28 attack helicopters”.

Wise counsel 

“Rather than threatening increased sanctions and a forever expanding Nato, it would do much good to declare that countries such as White Russia (Belarus), Ukraine, Georgia and all the -stan republics to the south and east of Russia will never ever become members of Nato.

“An attempt by Georgia, for example, to become a Nato member will not enhance its security but rather invite an immediate invasion to prevent the alliance from expanding further to encircle Russia.

“Accepting the legitimate interests of Russia might perhaps be seen as a return to the cold war, perhaps even as a lack of face, but the alternative is much worse”.


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