Unrest in Eastern Europe:
A Romanian Perspective on the Ukraine Crisis
Photo : Wiki Commons / Mstyslav Chernov/Unframe/http-//www.unframe.com/
Unrest has been a constant in Eastern Ukraine since winter as more and more of the country's citizens look to rejoin Russia, and Russia is not ignoring the call. Russia's alleged involvement with the training and supplying of weapons to the Ukrainian separatists is no secret and with the ten day ceasefire ended June 30th, the conflict keeps rolling on. This information along side the recent annexation of Crimea into the Russia raises a question that must be asked: will Russia disrupt relations in Romania and other former Soviet countries as well? Since protests in Kiev starting on the 18th of February, Ukrainian citizens have voiced their ill opinion of the government and its standing. The removal of President Viktor Yanukovych and separation of the Donetsk and Lugansk into the Federal State of Novorossiya are only a few evidences of this fact. There is no doubt that Russia has much to be gained from this shift, but does the Kremlin have it's sights set on Romania and how accepting are the Romanian people of its attention?
Public opinion of Russians and the Russian government are still poor, with a 45% disapproval rate and 37% thinking favorably of Russians according to a poll done in 2013 by a Hungarian political organization. This poll reflects a less than welcoming return of Russian control despite Romania's 68% approval rate of a communist government according to a study done by the Balkanalysis in 2011. "I don't think Russians will agree with the extension of the European Union," says Romanian resident, "The Russians will take more and more and more. After Ukraine, perhaps the Republic of Moldova will be taken."
The Ukrainian crisis is a rather significant event in Romania with Ukraine so near, however, the Ukrainian government has paid little to no attention to the turmoil north of them. "It is very weird that the Romanian government doesn't seem to be really bothered by what is going on in the Ukraine and in Russia," says Romanian citizen, "It's just like it being on some other continent. I think they don't realize how close we are."
The lack of recognition only adds to the request for western assistance. Inquiries into the dedication of the West in the protection of their allies in Eastern Europe have been raised. The general feeling of distrust amongst Romanians for the Kremlin has strengthened the political ties between the Romanian government and those in NATO.