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The Post Soviet Reemergence Of The Russian Empire

1864 words - 7 pages

The 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union signified an end to Russia’s control over its Middle Eastern Empire. Many of its states seceded and founded new nations and Russia lost significant power over the region. The new Russian Federation, in an effort to reestablish Soviet supremacy, has launched a neo-imperialistic campaign to once again have political, economic and security control over the area today known as the Caucasus. Principally, Russia wants to have political control over the area consisting of the lands of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Georgia and Chechnya as well as the Caspian Sea. Furthermore, it is an objective to reap profit from this resource-rich area to stabilize Russia’s economy. Additionally, Russia wants to ensure the security of its power in the Middle East. In order to achieve these motives the Russian Government has used various strategies involving political legerdemain, economic exaction and military operations.

After years of weakness following the breakdown of the Soviet Socialist government, Russia has once again sought to expand its empire over all of its successor states. The Russian government has used various tactics to assert power over the Caspian region as well as to achieve its political motives. Russia’s position in the economic sphere has been a valuable strategy to obtain political ends. “Moscow’s main lever of power, then as now, was its pipeline system, a remnant of the centralized Soviet economy in which all oil and natural gas from the Caspian first traversed Russia before passing on to the West.” (LeVinne, 1999) Russia’s control over this pipeline has meant that it has direct control over the Caspian nation’s resources and can use this to their advantage. One such example was “The New Year’s Day Gas War, when Moscow cut gas supplies to Ukraine over a pricing dispute.” (Matthews, 2006, pg. 24-25) Similarly, “Russia has used a quota system to maintain control over both Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. In 1995…Russia allowed Kazakhstan to export only 70 000 barrels of oil per day through its national pipeline system. This was a major constraint…since the field potential is 90 000 barrels a day.” (Thomas, 1999, pg. 75-96) While the former Soviet States, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have sought to escape from Russia’s economic control, Russia has attempted to control any new developments which could jeopardize its supremacy. “During 1994, whenever Kazakhstan publicly toyed with the idea of trying to develop new export routes, Russian officials politely explained that they were sorry, but Russian pipelines were operating at capacity and they simply could not accept any more Kazakh oil.” (The Economist, 1995, pg 59-60) This was a severe blow to the Kazakh economy as “it already depends on Russia’s existing pipeline network to support 20 million tones of oil annually.” (The Economist, 1995, pg. 59-60)

On another front, Russia has utilized it military power to “solve political problems”...

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