EASTERN European countries are queuing up to develop closer ties with Russia after becoming increasingly disappointed with the co-operation from the European Union, according to reports.
01:47, Mon, Nov 21, 2016 source
Two countries in particular - Moldova and Bulgaria - are reportedly seeing a big rise in the popularity of Pro-Russia forces, and recent election results have provided more proof the countries look set to ditch their European neighbours in favour of closer Russian ties.
Bulgaria – who joined the bloc in 2007 – recently elected pro-Russian candidate, Rumen Radev, as their new president, while Igor Dodon - whose ambition to be closer to Russia was a large part of his campaign manifesto - was elected Moldova’s president last week.
Austrian newspaper, Die Presse, revealed there are a number of reasons behind the rising popularity of pro-Russian politics in Eastern Europe.
The newspaper wrote: “In Moldova, dissatisfaction with the corrupt and divided pro-Western government is the main reason behind the longing for ‘good old' Soviet times.
“Poverty and economic stagnation have dampened the hopes of a better European future and, in some cases, even destroyed them.”
Pro-Russia candidate Rumen Radev recently won the Bulgarian presidential election
Russia still maintains important trade links with many Eastern European nations and Moldova and Bulgaria are just two countries that rely heavily on Russian gas supplies.
President-elect Donald Trump’s reluctance to deny Russia the opportunity to trade with other countries could mean that more Eastern European leaders opt to develop their strategic ties with Moscow.
Trade sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and the US has had a significant impact on some Eastern European countries.
After Brexit and increasing speculation that other nations - including France and Sweden - could be considering leaving the trade bloc, Eastern Europe may begin to question whether it would be more beneficial to align with Russia rather than remain part of the crumbling EU.
The readiness of some countries to move closer to Russia could see a revival of the Russian sphere of influence, which would redistribute power in Europe and could even spell the end for the EU.
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