Thread: I keep thinking about EU foreign affairs minister Josep Borrell's disastrous trip to Moscow. And how he finally concluded that “Russia is drifting towards an authoritarian state and driving away from Europe:”…
(2) While I wholeheartedly agree with Borrell's and the Council's conclusion, I keep wondering, why has it taken the EU institutions 12 years to realize this? Russia announced that it saw the EU as a competitor in 2009, when it objected to the Eastern Partnership initiative.
(3) Russia saw the Eastern Partnership as an attempt by the EU to gain geopolitical influence in the "lands in between" Russia and the EU, the start of a geopolitical competition I describe in:…
(4) In 2010, Russia codified its new threat perception by updating its military and security strategy to specify that Russia had often been invaded by the West and that the Western nations constituted the most important security threat to Russia. Yet, few reacted.
(5) Since that time, a decade ago, Russia has made it abundantly clear that it viewed not only NATO, but also the seemingly peaceful EU, as a threat. That explains, in part, why it reacted to the EU-Maidan protests in Ukraine by invading the country in 2014.
(6) Those protests were sparked by Russia's veto of Ukraine's bid for a closer relationship with the EU. Russia told Ukraine's then-president Yanukovich no. He pulled out of a free trade agreement. And the protests began. It was directed against the EU.
(7) Since that time, Russia has sought to counter EU influence in the lands in between in every way possible. Russia has sought to undermine the EU from within by sponsoring Euroskeptic radical right parties and the Brexit leave campaign. @A_SHEKH0VTS0V
(8) As well as Trojan horse governments within the EU, as described by @rdanielkelemen and myself:…
(9) Despite all this, Josep Borrell thought it a good idea to visit Moscow to discuss EU opposition to the poisoning and jailing of Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who has profiled Kremlin corruption. Russia expelled several EU diplomats during Borrell's visit.
(10) Now, in 2021, Borrell and the Council can officially state that Russia "looks interested in confrontation and disengagement from the European Union," ya think?
(11) A whole other thread is required on Lavrov's statements about Borrell and the EU, which seemed openly hostile and indicated that Russia is prepared for a break with the European Union, if it imposes new sanctions, as it did today.
(12) In essence, Lavrov indicated that Russia will break off relations with EU institutions, but NOT with individual EU states. For Russia sells most of its prized oil and gas to Europe. It does not like its customers banding together in the EU to fight for better prices.
(13) I also wonder at the Russia position. Does the Kremlin really think it gains anything from such a confrontational stance towards Europe? It seems like it only loses. Maybe this is akin to Brexit -- the gains are entirely in pride, not in real power. (End)

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