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Pabriks: Zapad exercises may isolate Russia even more

Artis Pabriks/flickr.com.
«By organizing Zapad military exercises, Russia isolates itself more and more from the international arena. It does not help reduce the tension that is now present between Russia and Western nations,» says MEP Artis Pabriks.

According to him, Zapad may increase tension in Russia. The coming weeks will tell is the gap between Russia and the rest of the world increases or not.

«Russia, of course, may try to prove that it is trustworthy and the exercise is not meant for an attack or occupation of a neighbouring country. However, the aggressive nature of those exercises creates concerns that Russia’s rhetoric once again does not fit its true intentions,» Pabriks adds.

The MEP notes that it is important to keep in mind political developments elsewhere in the world in the context of exercises. For example, Germany will hold Bundestag elections shortly after Zapad exercises in September. «If Russia demonstrates signs of aggression, an anti-Kremlin mood may increase in Germany, which would have negative political influence on political and economic relations between the two countries. With that, I think that by attempting to intimidate neighbours and Europe, Russia will hurt itself the most,» Pabriks says.

Also according to Pabriks, propaganda that paints the west as an enemy is on a rise in Russia. «By cultivating this image, Russia dangerously increases internal demand to maintain combative relations in the future. This way Kremlin only pushes itself deeper into isolation with no room to manoeuvrer. Such a policy may increase the possibility of Russia becoming like North Korea, which lives in isolation and uses its military to intimidate its neighbours. I’m not sure that’s what Russian society wants.»

The active phase of Zapad 2017 military exercises will be taking place from 14 September to 20 September.

Belarus has reported that the total number of participating troops will be 12,700. NATO, on the other hand, claims this number was artificially reduced by dividing exercises into several parts to avoid having to invite international observers.


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