Relations Of Ukraine with Baltic Countries In Modern Geopolitical Realities
The Baltic countries for Ukraine are of geopolitical interest both for the development of Baltic-Black Sea cooperation and for the realization of its own political and economic goals in northern Europe. Ukraine, in turn, considers these countries as the main state, called upon to stabilize the climate of trust and security not only in the region, but also in Europe as a whole. There are no obvious obstacles to the development of full-fledged, full-scale relations between states. These relationships are not overshadowed by the negative factors of the past or present or possible rivalry in the future. Open paths for the development of ties in the political sphere and in economic cooperation.
Ukraine recognized the state independence of Latvia on August 26, 1991 p., Like other Baltic countries, and Latvia the independence of Ukraine - December 4, 1991 Diplomatic relations were established in February 1992. The countries concluded a basic interstate Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Ukraine and the Republic of Latvia (November 22, 1995 .), Agreement on legal assistance and legal relations in civil, labor and criminal matters, Free Trade Agreement, a number of intergovernmental agreements: on assistance in customs matters of communication, on labor howl activities and social protection of persons permanently residing in Ukraine and Latvia and working in the territory of both states; on the settlement of the problem of immigrants, the protection of their rights; protection of the rights of national minorities. Inter-parliamentary ties are developing: corresponding groups of deputies have been created in the parliaments of both countries.
Trade turnover between the countries is low, although at the beginning of the XXI century. almost doubled. 2005 this figure exceeded 370 million. Dollars. The reasons for the insufficient development of cooperation are related to the breakdown of traditional ties between enterprises, the lack of an established mechanism for mutual settlements, etc. After the establishment of a commission on trade and economic cooperation, the signing of agreements on mutual assistance in customs regulation, cooperation in the field of road, air and railway communications, indicators of cooperation between both countries have improved somewhat.
Estonia recognized an independent Ukraine on December 6, 1991, and in January 1992. Diplomatic relations were established. The Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between Ukraine and Estonia was concluded on May 26, 1992 (Tallinn). In 1993, in both countries embassies began to operate. Estonia strongly supports Ukraine in world organizations in establishing international contacts. This policy of Estonia contributes to European integration, the rapprochement of Ukraine with the Baltic countries. In the 1990s, an agreement was reached between the military departments of Ukraine and Estonia, which made it possible to expand cooperation in the conversion and mutual training of military personnel. At the same time, in connection with the progress of Estonia in the EU, the parties revised the Ukrainian-Estonian agreements (on visa regime, free trade, etc.), should be aligned with the European integration criteria.
There is widespread interaction within the framework of pan-European structures in the process of shaping the European security system, mutual support on issues related to national security in the NATO Partnership for Peace program, in the formation of the Baltic-Black Sea axis in the context of NATO expansion to the East. It has prospects and support of Ukraine in the Pivnichbalty region.
Independent Lithuania Ukraine recognized August 26, 1991 p., And on November 21, 1991 diplomatic relations were established. On December 4, 1991, the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania declared recognition of the independence of Ukraine. Countries concluded an interstate Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation March 29, 1995 p. during the visit to Kiev of the President of the Republic of Lithuania Algirdas Brazauskas. 
Due to the reduction in production, insolvency of production entities, the crisis of the financial system, the unresolved settlement of banking structures, the growth rate of foreign trade turnover decreased (1995. Its volume amounted to 246 million dollars). Low indicator and Lithuanian investment in the Ukrainian economy - 2.3 million. Dollars, which is 1% of the total investment volume of the countries of the former USSR. Improving bilateral cooperation should contribute to the work of the commission on trade, economic and scientific and technical cooperation. Since January 2000, there has been an increase in indicators of trade cooperation between Ukraine and the Baltic countries: indicators of both export and import have increased. Ukrainian exports to Lithuania 2005 amounted to 209.5 million. Dollars, and imports - 200 million. 
Ukraine exports metals, agricultural products, chemical products, paper, cardboard, equipment and machinery to the Baltics. Imports electrical, electronic, electronic products, minerals, products of light industry.
However, with the acquisition by the Baltic countries of the status of members of the European Union, the parameters of Ukraine’s relations with these countries also change. First of all, it concerns the issues of export-import operations. It should be noted that the total external customs tariff, to which the new members of the Union have joined, is on average lower than the current national customs level. As a result of EU membership, the level of tariff protection will increase. This is especially true of the Baltic countries, with which Ukraine has free trade agreements that will lose force after the Baltic countries join the EU. As a result, Ukraine may lose 15-20% of exports to this region, which can be considered a certain threat to Ukrainian economic interests in the Baltic States. Of course, the parties will adhere to the requirements and legislation that the European community puts forward.
President of Lithuania V. Adamkus, who twice came to Kiev to take part in the round table, took an active position on the Ukrainian realities around the elections of the legitimate head of state. On December 1, 2004, on the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine with his participation, the participants reached agreements on unblocking state bodies by the opposition and creating conditions for them to perform their functions, forming an expert group to conduct an urgent legal analysis and make appropriate proposals for ending elections based on decisions of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, which determined the elections in Ukraine as rigged. The negotiators called on all political forces of the country, government bodies and local governments in making decisions to proceed from the need to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine, to focus on resolving the socio-economic situation and overcoming crisis phenomena in the economy.
At the present stage, political dialogue between states, as in the past, was determined by the level of involvement in integration processes with the EU and the Russian Federation. Ukraine has made significant progress in relations with the EU, but has become the object of aggression from Russia.
Belarus in 2014-2015 played an important role in shaping the platform for the negotiation process to de-escalate the situation in the Donbas in Ukraine. At the highest level in both states, there is a positive result achieved by the mediating function of Belarus. However, its limitations are also noted, which are determined by different official positions regarding the source of the conflict and the obligations of the parties involved in it. 
To determine the format of bilateral or multilateral cooperation in Kiev or Minsk, their prospects and limits, it is necessary to look at current strategic documents in the field of foreign policy and security. Thus, Ukraine clearly stated at the level of updated strategic documents, such as the Law of Ukraine “On the Fundamentals of Domestic and Foreign Policy of Ukraine” (changes in 2014), the Military Doctrine of Ukraine (2015) and the National Security Strategy of Ukraine (2015), on the European and Euro-Atlantic its foreign policy. The documents clearly state the goal of NATO membership as inclusion in the collective security system. At the same time, Russia's policy is openly recognized as a source of military threat.
Among the main trends in the development of the military-political situation in the region, there is an increase in internal instability in neighboring states caused by interference from other states.
Greater clarity in determining the place and role of Belarus in Ukraine’s foreign policy can be achieved by reading the Analytical report on the Annual Address of the President of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (IUU) “On the Internal and External Situation of Ukraine in 2015”. Belarus is not among the key partner countries of Ukraine, nor is it celebrated or accented among members of those regional initiatives that are indicated as priorities for Ukraine (“Weimar Triangle”, “Visegrad Four”, BSEC, GUAM). Even within the framework of the Eastern Partnership, Belarus was not mentioned among the partner countries with which it is planned to develop active cooperation in the implementation of this EU policy. 
Belarus is indicated as a privileged partner (taking into account the intermediary function between Ukraine and the Russian Federation) of Ukraine in the CIS, with which relations should be maximally translated into a bilateral format, since Kiev does not see prospects for activities within the framework of the institutions of the Commonwealth of Independent States that are under complete control of Russia and not performing on him tasks. It is noted that the “flexible political position” of the leadership of Belarus and Kazakhstan, who do not support Russia's actions against Ukraine, opens up opportunities for an effective bilateral format of political and economic cooperation.
For Belarus, the system of foreign policy coordinates is built in a different order. Note that the National Security Concept of the Republic of Belarus has not undergone significant changes since its adoption in 2010. The military doctrine of the Republic of Belarus at the time of the preparation of the material has not yet been put into effect and its project is not publicly available. Among the features of the new edition there is a more comprehensive assessment of the military-political situation in the region of Eastern Europe. Attention is drawn to the “selfish behavior” of individual countries in establishing leadership in the region, as well as the possibility of trying to launch scenarios of “color revolutions” in Belarus or the forceful overthrow of the political regime.
The same mechanisms were named, appealing mainly to the United States, by President of Belarus A. Lukashenko during a speech at the plenary session of the UN Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2015. As examples of "democratization", Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria were mentioned. 
“Review of the results of the foreign policy of the Republic of Belarus and the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2015” gives priority to the role of Belarus in the de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine, without describing the Russian factor in supporting the conflict. This is entirely explained by the fact that relations with Russia are noted first among the priority directions of the foreign policy of Belarus. It concerns both the development of initiatives in the framework of the Union State of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, in particular, the implementation of a joint defense and border policy, and in the framework of other integration initiatives under the auspices of Russia.
Review of the results of the foreign policy of the Republic of Belarus gives priority to the role of Belarus in the de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine, without describing the Russian factor in maintaining the conflict
The next priority for Belarus is the development of such integration associations as the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the CIS. The Belarusian side is a consistent supporter of systematization of work within the Commonwealth. For example, in 2015, at the initiative of Belarus, the Joint Action Plan of the Commonwealth member countries was adopted to address pressing issues in the financial and economic sphere.
Ukraine is at the next level of priorities, in the direction of developing bilateral relations with the CIS countries. With respect to Ukraine, two directions of the foreign policy of Belarus were observed last year: mediating in resolving the military conflict in the Donbas and trade and economic.
At the level of prioritization of strategic documents, Ukraine and Belarus differ radically, with different perceptions of the threats facing them, and, respectively, different global and regional sources of these potential and real threats. Moreover, the indicated neighboring countries are ready to consider the territory and political regimes of each other as a source of potential military-political challenges inspired by third countries.
At the moment, Kiev sees the development of a bilateral format of cooperation in the political and economic sphere, given the interest of Minsk to mediate in relations with Russia, mostly at the level of economic projects. Official Minsk, in turn, wants to maximize dividends on the international stage from political involvement in the negotiation process to resolve the conflict in the Donbas. The economic component is traditionally on the official agenda, given the fact that Ukraine is among the top three main trading partners of Belarus, with a positive balance for the Belarusian side. 
The political dialogue between states is based on the following external and internal factors:
the cautious attitude of the authorities of Ukraine and Belarus to each other against the background of the conflict, given Kiev’s strong ties with Washington and Brussels, while Minsk is strongly influenced by Moscow;
the desire of Belarus to maximize the benefits of its mediating role of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia in the international arena;
positive internal political transformations in Belarus in 2015, related to the peaceful holding of presidential elections in the country, the release of a number of political prisoners;
partial lifting of sanctions by the US and the EU regarding individual officials and Belarusian enterprises of strategic importance.
increased pressure on Belarus by the Kremlin in the framework of the Russian-Belarusian bilateral formats of cooperation in the field of defense and security;
According to the Ukrainian special services, the operational construction of the Russian troops during the occupation of part of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions fully coincided with the construction of the troops during the strategic exercises of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus “Zapad – 2013” 
Since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014, relations between the countries have lined up around security issues, which is logical, given the geographical location and joint Russian-Belarusian military initiatives and projects. For example, according to the Ukrainian special services, the operational construction of the Russian troops during the occupation of part of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions fully coincided with the construction of the troops during the strategic exercises of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus “Zapad 2013”, which were held in September 2013 in Belarus.
When, as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, an independent Ukrainian state arose, the key positions in its leadership were maintained by the former party nomenklatura headed by L. Kravchuk, secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine on ideology. The party bureaucrats managed to remain in power by adapting to the situation, including intercepting the ideas and slogans of the nationalist opposition. There was also a union between the top of the Ukrainian party nomenclature and the leadership of the main opposition organization of that period - the People’s Rukh of Ukraine.
However, the influence of nationalist ideology on Ukraine’s foreign policy in the early years of its independence was not comprehensive. It manifested itself in the desire to distance itself from Russia, to take a special position on a number of issues, in particular, on the question of the Commonwealth of Independent States. In the first years after the collapse of the USSR, disagreements arose between Russia and Ukraine on the price of Russian natural gas and the status of the Black Sea Fleet. But the high degree of interdependence between the two Eastern Slavic states did not allow open conflicts to flare up in the first half of the 1990s.
The economic situation in Ukraine at that time was not easy. The consequences of the collapse of the USSR affected the Ukrainian economy to a greater extent than the Russian one. The deterioration of the socioeconomic situation has created protest sentiments in society, especially in the industrialized eastern and southern regions, where the Russian-speaking population predominates. In the wake of these sentiments, L. Kuchma won the early presidential election in 1994. His election program contained items on strengthening comprehensive, primarily economic, ties with Russia, on giving Russian the status of the state language, which attracted voters in South-Eastern Ukraine. After the election of L. Kuchma as president, major changes began to occur in Ukraine. The advancement of economic reforms accelerated sharply, the long recession was replaced by economic growth. At the same time, social stratification began to grow. As a result of the privatization, a large Ukrainian capital was formed, which was closely associated with the executive branch. The scale of corruption has increased. 
In foreign policy, L. Kuchma followed a "multi-vector course." Such a foreign policy course meant a parallel development of relations with both Russia and the CIS countries, as well as with leading Western countries.
On the one hand, during the time of Kuchma’s presidency, they found a solution to the problems that had accumulated in Russian-Ukrainian relations in the preceding period. In 1997, an agreement was signed between Russia and Ukraine. At the same time, the issue of basing the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol on loan rights until 2017 was resolved. The question of the final withdrawal from Ukraine of nuclear weapons remaining there after the collapse of the USSR was also resolved. A pragmatic approach prevailed in trade and economic cooperation. In the last period of Kuchma’s presidency, Ukraine participated in negotiations with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on the creation of a Common Economic Space. On the other hand, as one of the foreign policy goals of Ukraine at this time, was the entry, after the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, into the European Union. At the highest level, the prospect of Ukraine’s membership in NATO was discussed.
The leading countries of the West, and, above all, the United States, have a desire to use Ukraine as a counterweight to Russia in the post-Soviet space. This was openly spoken by some leading American political scientists, for example Z. Brzezinski (see Chapter 6). The recommendations of Brzezinski were, in fact, taken into account in the second half of the 90s of the 20th century, when Ukraine came in third place in the world in terms of American aid provided to foreign countries. But it was a kind of help. Its goal was not to help solve the real social and economic problems of the then Ukraine, but to influence its internal and especially foreign policy in accordance with the interests of the United States. Funds allocated within the framework of American assistance to Ukraine went to pay for the work of American experts in this country, as well as to pay for internships of Ukrainian politicians and scientists in the United States. From the same funds, non-governmental organizations and the media operating in Ukraine were financed.
Multi-vector foreign policy course of L. Kuchma’s administration at the beginning of the XXI century came into conflict with the foreign policy goals of the West towards Ukraine. Despite the proclaimed Euro-Atlantic orientation, the countries of the West and Ukraine showed differences in approaches to a number of international problems, for example, regarding the events in Macedonia, which Kiev had provided with military-technical assistance in the fight against Albanian separatists. 
In the first years of the new century, which were simultaneously the last years of L. Kuchma’s tenure as president of Ukraine, relations between this country and the countries of the West deteriorated. The Kuchma regime was blamed for authoritarianism and corruption. There were grounds for such accusations, but they were announced only when Kuchma’s foreign policy ceased to organize the West. By this time in Ukraine developed internal political crisis. The dissatisfaction of the broad masses of the people with a low standard of living and growing corruption were taken advantage of by openly nationalist forces, which were led by former Prime Minister V. Yushchenko. He acted as an opponent of the then Ukrainian authorities in the 2004 presidential elections. These elections eventually led to events called the Orange Revolution. The “third round” of elections, not stipulated by the law, brought victory to Yushchenko. The “Orange Revolution” was the result of both internal political processes in Ukraine and intervention from the West. This intervention was expressed in the pressure on the authorities of Ukraine, in the support of the political forces opposed to it, non-governmental organizations and the media. One of the main goals of influencing Ukraine was the reorientation of its foreign policy.
With the coming of the “orange” team to power, such a reorientation began to be implemented in practice. The priority task was the task of Ukraine joining NATO, and then to the European Union. The administration of V. Yushchenko and her supporters in the West had the impression that this goal could be achieved in a short time. At the same time, the opinion of the majority of the population of Ukraine, which had a negative attitude towards the possible membership of their country in the North Atlantic Alliance, was ignored. 
The rejection of L.Kuchma’s multi-vector foreign policy had a negative impact on Russian-Ukrainian relations. They escalated in many ways. Conflicts did not stop due to the prices of Russian gas and the conditions of its transit to European countries. The dissatisfaction of the Russian public and the authorities provoked attempts by the Yushchenko administration to organize political speculations around the victims of the famine of the 1930s. in Ukraine, as well as attempts to glorify Bandera, who committed numerous crimes in the war years and in the postwar period. The ideology of Ukrainian nationalism exerted the greatest influence on Ukrainian foreign and domestic policy during the administration of V. Yushchenko. Among other things, Ukraine began to pursue a frankly anti-Russian policy in the post-Soviet space. In the period preceding the armed conflict in South Ossetia, tanks, air defense systems and other weapons, subsequently directed against the Russian army, were delivered from Ukraine to Georgia. The situation around the Russian Black Sea Fleet has again become aggravated. The Ukrainian authorities insisted that by 2017 its full withdrawal from the territory of the Crimea and from Sevastopol be completed. The Russian side believed that negotiations on withdrawal could be conducted after the expiration of the 1997 agreement.
By the end of V. Yushchenko’s tenure as president of Ukraine, it became clear that hopes of joining NATO and the EU in the foreseeable future are illusory. The pro-Western and anti-Russian foreign policy did not find support not only in Ukraine, but also ceased to be in demand in the West. The results of Yushchenko’s rule were so disappointing that in the regular elections at the beginning of 2010 he set a kind of anti-record when less than 5% of voters voted for the current president. The victory was won by V. Yanukovych.
V. Yanukovych and the Party of Regions headed by him represents the interests of the business elite of the south-eastern regions of Ukraine and relies on the support of the population of these regions. The foreign policy program of the new presidential administration provided for a return to multi-vector diplomacy. The main priorities of foreign policy were identified: legislative consolidation of the non-aligned status of Ukraine, the resumption of friendly relations with Russia and other CIS countries, ensuring strategic partnership with the United States and the European Union. Since the previous period saw an anti-Russian list in Ukrainian foreign policy, the new administration took steps to strengthen Ukraine’s relations with Russia. After the adoption of the law On the Basics of Domestic and Foreign Policy, the issue of Ukraine’s membership in NATO was removed from the agenda, since Art. 11 of this law secured the non-aligned status of the Ukrainian state. In accordance with agreements signed in 2010 in Kharkov between President Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation and President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, the tenure of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol was extended until 2042 in exchange for lowering the price of Russian gas for Ukrainian consumers.
The issue of demarcation of borders between Russia and Ukraine has been resolved. 
Not only political relations intensified, but also trade and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine. It is planned to return the level of commodity turnover to the pre-crisis figure of $ 40 billion, and then bring it to $ 100 billion. Russia and Ukraine are largely interdependent in high-tech industries. In previous years, for political reasons, cooperation in these sectors has declined. Today, new perspectives are opening up for interaction in aircraft manufacturing, shipbuilding, space research and nuclear power engineering.
In the Russian-Ukrainian relations problems persist. The economic interests of influential business groups of the two countries do not coincide, and sometimes contradict each other in such important sectors of the economy as metallurgy and the chemical industry. Russia and Ukraine are competitors in the global arms market. In Ukraine, the influence of political forces, which, differently than the current government, look at the development of relations with Russia, is still great. The question of the degree of Ukraine’s participation in the processes taking place in the post-Soviet geopolitical space remains open. Although in modern conditions there are no real prospects for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union, many representatives of its ruling elite are oriented towards European integration and are skeptical about integration projects within the CIS, including the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. 
But objectively, Russian-Ukrainian relations have good prospects, if these relations are based not on nationalistic myths, but on pragmatic interests.
As well as Ukraine and Russia, Russia and Belarus have close historical and cultural roots. Belarus, like Russia and Ukraine, is the direct heir of Kievan Rus. At the same time, there are no negative factors in Russian-Belarusian relations that are present in relations between Russia and Ukraine. The territory of modern Belarus was fully incorporated into the Russian Empire by the end of the 18th century, and over the next two centuries, development and relations between the Russian and Belarusian people went within the framework of a single statehood. In contrast to Ukraine, in Belarus, the ideology of nationalism at the time of the victory of the October Revolution of 1917 was still not completely formed, and the influence of such an ideology was much weaker. The Belarusian nation has become a product of the Soviet era in many ways. Indeed, it was only under the Soviet regime that the Belarusian literary language was formed, the Belarusian national culture developed. 
The Soviet period had one of the most significant events in the history of the Belarusian people - a massive partisan movement in the rear of the German fascist troops during the Great Patriotic War. The war caused Belarus more damage than any other republic of the USSR. But in the post-war years, great efforts were made to restore and develop its economy, social and cultural infrastructure.
By the beginning of “perestroika”, the situation in Belarus was more prosperous and stable than in most other republics of the Soviet Union, therefore the oppositional CPSU movement did not receive wide development here. Moreover, such a movement was represented by the Belarusian Popular Front, whose nationalist ideology did not find support among the majority of the population of the republic. The attainment by Belarus of state sovereignty occurred not so much as a result of the development of internal political processes, but rather as a result of the processes that took place in the USSR as a whole. The Belarusian party-state nomenclature, which retained power positions after the collapse of the USSR, tried to adapt to the new realities. In Belarus, some measures taken in other former Soviet republics were duplicated. Thus, only the Belarusian language was given the status of the state, while the overwhelming majority of the urban and part of the rural population were fluent in Russian and got used to it. Symbols borrowed from Belarusian nationalists became state symbols. The latter caused discontent of many citizens of Belarus, since exactly the same symbolism was used by collaborators during the years of the Nazi occupation.
But even greater dissatisfaction with the inhabitants of Belarus was caused by the deterioration of the economic situation, caused by the breakdown of traditional economic ties deeply integrated into the Union’s economy of the republic. In the wake of this discontent, the victory in the 1994 presidential election was won by Alexander Lukashenko. Becoming the first president of Belarus, A. Lukashenko fulfilled a number of his election promises. In accordance with the results of the referendum, the Russian language received the status of a second state language. With minor changes, the old national symbols were returned. Belarus has gone in a special, different from other former Soviet republics, the path of socio-economic development. There was no large-scale privatization, and the state remained the main owner. The authorities have made and are making efforts to preserve the structure of the national economy that was formed during the Soviet period.
In his election platform, A. Lukashenko introduced a clause on restoring close ties with other former Soviet republics, and especially with Russia. Belarus, along with Russia and Kazakhstan, has become the most active participant in the integration processes in the post-Soviet space. Russia and Belarus not only cooperated within the framework of the CIS and other multilateral institutions of the post-Soviet space, special bilateral relations also arose between them. 
On April 2, 1996, the presidents of the two countries signed an agreement on the formation of the Community of Russia and Belarus. The Community was tasked with the formation of a single economic space, the restoration of a unified transport and energy systems, a common scientific, technological and information space, a single legislative and regulatory framework. On April 2, 1997, the Presidents of the two countries signed the Treaty on the Union of Belarus and Russia, and on May 23, 1997 - the Charter of the Union. The main objectives of the Union were to proclaim further legal consolidation of cooperation relations, improvement of the lives of nations, acceleration of the socio-economic development of states, coordination of foreign policy issues and ensuring their security. At the end of 1998, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus took another step towards their rapprochement: on December 25 in Moscow, the presidents signed the Declaration on the establishment of the Union State in 1999, the Treaty on the Equal Rights of Citizens and the Agreement on the creation of equal conditions for economic entities.
The union state of Belarus and Russia should have been created after following a series of complex legal procedures and after adopting the Constitutional Act in referendums held in parallel in both states. However, the process of creating the Union State was delayed. Numerous legal, technical and economic difficulties that stand in the way of achieving the declared goal emerged. There were also political contradictions between the states participating in this integration project. It came to mutual public accusations from the top state leadership of Russia and Belarus. By the end of 2010, Russian-Belarusian relations had cooled noticeably.
Claims of the Russian side boiled down to the fact that the Belarusian leadership uses integration rhetoric to get one-sided benefits. In turn, A. Lukashenko expressed dissatisfaction with the changed conditions of supply of Russian energy resources. Disagreements between the leaders of Russia and Belarus manifested themselves in the process of creating the Customs Union (CU) and the Common Economic Space (CES). If Russia and Kazakhstan acted synchronously and in concert, then Belarus acted with special positions, stipulating its participation in these integration projects with a number of complaints. Ultimately, the disagreements were resolved, and the path to the implementation of the above-mentioned integration projects was opened. 
For objective reasons, Belarus has been and remains the most important partner of Russia in the integration processes taking place in the post-Soviet space. Belarus and Russia are connected not only by their historical past, but also by a high level of interdependence and complementarity. However, the prospects for the integration of Russia and Belarus in the second decade of the XXI century. look different than in the mid-90s of the last century. Recreation of a single statehood is hardly possible. Belarus has formed its own ruling elite, for which state sovereignty is of undoubted value. Over the past two decades, the independent development of Russia and Belarus has accumulated many differences of an economic and political nature. The more likely form of their relations, along with bilateral ones, will remain multilateral cooperation within the framework of the CIS, CSTO, EurAsEC, CU and CES.
The relations between Russia and the Republic of Moldova after the collapse of the USSR were significantly affected by the problem of resolving the conflict around Transnistria. This conflict arose in 1990 when the Transdniestrian Moldavian Republic (PMR) was proclaimed on the left bank of the Dniester. The reason for its creation was the fear of the local population, most of whom were Russians and Ukrainians, over the possible unification of Moldova with Romania and the violent "Romanization". Moldovan nationalists from the Popular Front openly spoke about this. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the confrontation between Moldova and Transnistria turned into an armed conflict. He was able to stop only thanks to the intervention of the 14th Russian army stationed in the region. In the future, the presence of Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone remained a guarantee of peace.
Russia from the very beginning came out in favor of a peaceful resolution of controversial issues, but the implacable position of the conflicting parties was an obstacle. The situation gradually changed as the role of the extreme nationalists in Moldova began to weaken. Since the mid-1990s, responsible political forces have been in power in this post-Soviet state, advocating pragmatic cooperation with Russia and other CIS countries. However, the plan for the peaceful settlement of the Transnistrian problem proposed by the representatives of Russia in 2003 was rejected by the Government of the Republic of Moldova under pressure from the European Union, although it initially approved this plan. Since then, the situation around Transnistria remains uncertain.
In Moldova, there are still political parties focused on integration with Romania. These parties are included in the block “For European Integration”, which has been successful in parliamentary elections in recent years. In the period when this bloc was in power, the situation in the Russian-Moldovan relations became more complicated. Acting as president of Moldova, M. Ghimpu tried to announce the events of 1940 — the entry of Bessarabia into the USSR — as an occupation. However, his initiative did not meet with support from the coalition partners.
The Republic of Moldova maintains membership in the CIS, but its future, the situation around the Transnistrian conflict, its relations with Russia will depend on the further direction of the internal political processes in this post-Soviet state. 
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