Friday, December 8

A new wall rises in Europe due to the war in Ukraine

The placid and comfortable existence de Nadezhda, a Russian jurist based in an EU country for decades, collapsed in a matter of hours at the end of February. What remote worker of a Moscow law firm, he sent to Moscow the materials of his professional work, and later received his salary, accounted for in rubles though converted in eurosthrough Bank transfers periodic. For three weeks, he has stopped perceiving his emoluments, and he cannot even send a letter to its country of originor consider a trip to visit his family, since the only flights available, via Turkey, Serbian or the United Arab Emiratesthey are full and cost about exorbitant prices completely out of pocket.

Nadezhda, whose True identity prefers to hide it, it has literally happened headlong what most analysts agree will happen in the post soviet space in the months and years to come: a radical disconnection, which will separate the inhabitants of Russia and its allied states –Belarus or the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Ukraine – of the rest of the European continent and, therefore, of the Western world. Or put another way: a new berlin walleven if you don’t have one physical materialization What the wall that separated for more than a quarter of a century to the capital of Germany.

“Russia is going to be a outcast statusat least for a time, a state with a very deteriorated external image, except for its usual allies”, advances Carmen Claudinsenior research associate International Information and Documentation Center of Barcelona (CIDOB). “There is going to be a very intense decoupling (with the Kremlin and those close to it) at the cultural, informative, economical or digitalin addition to a substantial increase in the presence of (NATO) military forces in countries bordering Russia whose governments legitimately feel in danger,” he says. Nicholas of PeterHead of Research at the British Think Tank Institute for Statecraft.

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Similarities and differences

What will be the similarities and the differences between 20th century wall and the one of the present century?, ask the analysts. First of all, its outward appearance. There will be “no dividing fence” that symbolizes the existence of this new iron curtain, even if its results are similar, de Pedro maintains. The areas most affected by the closure, continues this political scientist, are going to be “Internet, the trips and the cultural cooperationwhich is very controlled by the Kremlin.”

Claudín, a deep connoisseur of the USSR for having been born in Moscow and being the daughter of the historical leader of the Spanish Communist Party, Fernando Claudin, expelled in 1964 from this political formation, rules out that the separation acquires overtones as dramatic as in the last century. The USSR “was a suffocating world, it was a totally closed bunker, and there were fissures (dissidence), although very few, and taking out a document or paper was risking one’s life,” he recalls. For this very reason, he thinks that the situation created under Putin’s rule after the invasion of Ukraine “is not going to be comparable.”

Travel and transfers

The trips and transfers of political leaders and businessmen on European or American soil are going to be reduced to a minimum. People like the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Serguei Lavrov, “will be able to come just to agree on an agreement on Ukraine,” warns a veteran senior civil servant European. The asset freeze to Russian businessmen, in addition to the “conversion of the ruble into a monopoly currency”, describes de Pedro, will make it impossible to do business in European or American territory to well-known oligarchs with interests abroad, such as Roman Abramovich or Mikhail Fridman. And this, no matter how much those affected insist that they lack the capacity to influence decisions of the leader of the Kremlin, an institution that, according to this expert, “knew that it was going to happen an isolation so intense” and that deep down “fits in your plans“.

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Related news

The future of this invisible wall will naturally depend on the evolution of the conflict in Ukraine, that is to say, if a ceasefire ends up being implemented and resume contacts which are currently suspended. Claudín thinks that some of the sanctions “could eventually be lifted if some kind of agreement is reached, especially when they are causing significant damage to the economy” in the West.

This researcher maintains that the West should make it easier for ordinary citizens to processing and obtaining visas, and by contrast limiting it to members of Russia’s political-economic elite: “It is a way of promoting contacts and exchanges with ordinary Russians.” De Pedro, for his part, believes that the unity exhibited by the United States and a horrified Europe in these early stages of the war could crack “once past the peak war phase of the fighting”, in particular “in Germany”, one of the great victims of the sanctions.

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