Sunday, March 23, 2014


Ethnic Russian population appears here in red
If you are adjusting Country Risk in Eastern Europe, due to the Russian occupation of Crimea, pay special attention to those areas where there is a component of ethnic Russians living outside Russia. Those jurisdictions are the most likely to experience pressure, whether political, social or military, from the Government of Russia, if NATO and the US fail to meet the current challenge thrown down in Crimea.

These countries, which have either Russian populations, or are former Russian territory, are at the top of my list for future problems from the Russian bear. They are potentially at risk, and you must factor this into your updated Country Risk assessments for each:

(1) Moldova, which was formerly part of the old Soviet Union. Historically, it was part of Romania, before it was ceded to Russia after the Second World War. Note well that it already has a breakaway province, not recognized by most of the world, namely Transnistria.

(2) The eastern part of the Ukraine, which is composed of a large ethnic Russian population.

(3) The Baltic countries, Estonia,Latvia, and Lithuania. Declared independent after the First World War, but occupied by the Soviet Union at the start of the Second World War, and newly independent again after the Soviet Union was dismantled. Russian nationals were force-placed there between 1945 and 1990.

(4) Two countries located in the Caucasus region: Georgia and Azerbaijan. Georgia has already suffered the loss of two of its districts to Russian action.

Compliance officers should monitor the Ukraine situation closely, for the outcome will affect whether Russia moves against other territories on its frontiers.

If you remember what happened in the 1930s, in the ethnically-German Czech Sudetenland, you will understand the gravity of the situation. Protecting ethnic minorities is a time-worn excuse for territorial expansion. 

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