10 maps that explain Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine and the West
What Russia needs to become a truly influential country? Uninterrupted access to Maritime trade and “sanitary cordon” between it and Europe.
These cards explain in a difficult situation (from the Russian point of view!) was Russia after the collapse of the USSR, and why she is constantly in conflict with neighbors.
Russia is virtually cut off from the oceans is key for her
We’re not talking about the coastline (it is in Russia most), and about world trade.
Europe is surrounded by the Baltic and North seas, the Atlantic ocean, the Mediterranean, Black and Azov seas. Russia has access to the Black and Baltic seas. Russian ports in these seas — Rostov-on-don and St. Petersburg on the map connected Liniya (however, the authors did not specify several ports in the region). And this line is almost identical to the borders of Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic States.
Russia, of course, there is the Arctic ocean, but he is far from well-populated regions and is not suitable for shipping during winter. The Pacific ocean is to the East, and the main population and trading partners of Russia — from the Western “parties” in the country.
Europe controls the access of Russia to world trade
Here is a detailed map of sea ports of Russia.
By “useful” for Russia, the oceans, i.e. those that lie to the West, can block the Ukraine or Turkey (the bottom arrow on the map), Denmark (middle arrow), Norway, Britain and Iceland (upper arrow).
That is, no matter how big the country is washed by seas and oceans have the meanings ports. Key Russian ports you can block. A country that has free access to the sea (trade routes), which significantly increases its economic and political power.
In addition, the population of Russia is concentrated in the West and South-West from Europe
Siberia and the far East are sparsely populated regions.
Agriculture in the South-West
The regions on the border with Ukraine, the Caucasus and the border regions with countries in Central Asia Russia fed.
The railway is also oriented towards the West and South of the country
There is a link between European Russia and the Pacific regions, but most of the territory of Siberia the train arrives.
It turns out that West is important for Russia and from the trading point of view and from the point of view of safety.
Russia will have no barrier that would protect her from the West
This protection, of course, necessary only in Russian myths, but from these considerations comes the Russian leadership, they need to be taken into account.
Russia’s neighbours — Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Georgia — clearly oriented to the West. Only Belarus is Russia’s ally. Therefore, from a political point of view “buffer States” between Russia and the West no.
In terms of geography, Russia also had no luck. It is located in the European plains, where almost no natural barriers that would protect the Russian Federation or at least the economically important Western regions from a hypothetical attack from Europe.
Russia wants to expand the boundaries as far as possible to the West
In this situation it is logical (from the point of view of a twisted Russian logic): so Russia will be able to defend themselves and to get additional economic opportunities.
In Soviet times she has already done is created a block of friendly Nations
The more Russia will expand its territory, effectively annexing neighboring state or taking control of their government, the safer would be “Russia” in its present borders. And the more opportunities Russia for trade and influence on the world.
Now Russia has nothing to lose
Never before has the boundary was not so close to Moscow as it is now, and still never the neighbors were not configured so anti-Russian as now. St. Petersburg, an important port, it is only 134 km from the country-member of NATO — Estonia, and 158 km from the other NATO member Finland.
Ukraine — key to Russia. The Baltic States are in NATO and the EU, and richer Russia, and therefore will not fall for Russian propaganda, not become allies. Belarus is already an ally. But Ukraine is a poor country with a corrupt “elite”, which already has the experience of “life together” with Russia. Plus there is the Crimea, which is based Russian black sea fleet (and which Russia might lose in 2017).
So the only way to “to crush” under itself as many countries as possible and try to outdo the other not due to the developed science and industry, due to the high level of life of citizens, and due to the vast territory of power and domination. Then Russia will feel safe. But this scenario assumes one full-scale war in Europe …