Near abroad

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The Near abroad in the post-Cold War era is the Russian term applied to former Soviet Republics which the Russian Federation considers its sphere of influence. Just as the United Kingdom would never allow Dublin harbor or the United States allow Acapulco to be used as a non-allied naval base despite existing on sovereign territory outside the UK or US, so too does the Russian Federation consider efforts to turn Sevastopol in the Crimea on the Black Sea into a NATO base as a vital national security threat.

Samuel Huntington wrote in 1995 in his Clash of Civilizations after the demise of the Soviet Union,

the restraint of Russian and Ukrainian leaders prevented this issue from generating violence, and the election two months later of the pro-Russian Kuchma as Ukrainian president undermined the Crimean thrust for secession.

That election did, however, raise the possibility of the western part of the country seceding from a Ukraine that was drawing closer and closer to Russia. Some Russians might welcome this. As one Russian general put it, "Ukraine or rather Eastern Ukraine will come back in five, ten or fifteen years. Western Ukraine can go to hell!" Such a rump Uniate and Western-oriented Ukraine, however, would only be viable if it had strong and effective Western support. Such support is, in turn, likely to be forthcoming only if relations between the West and Russia deteriorated seriously and came to resemble those of the Cold War.[1]

See also