Europe and the Security of Russia
It is my contention that Europe’s influence on how secure the Russians feel is a key element in understanding Russia’s role in European security. I am told that it was a Tsarist foreign minister who once coined the expression that ‘the only safe border is one Russia is on both sides of’. Who knows what the Tsarist gentleman had in mind. Today the expression would most likely be trotted out to point to the potential threat posed to the world outside by an expansionist Soviet Union. And it could apply to almost any border. There is, of course, a less cynical interpretation — that Russia (and for my purposes here, the Soviet Union) has never felt secure with its neighbours. Without getting into an argument with myself over whether the Soviet Union is by nature an aggressive power or just a misunderstood defensive power, I would argue that when it comes to feeling insecure with its neighbours, the Soviet Union’s border with Europe presents the biggest headache of all. And by Europe I mean both parts of it — East and West.
KeywordsCommunist Party European Security Soviet Leadership Warsaw Pact Western Policy
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