Putin’s plan to slowly reclaim Russia’s lost empire

Asia Times Online reports: “Last week, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic offered a lavish welcome to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tens of thousands flooded Belgrade to greet Putin in front of the Orthodox Saint Sava Church, waving Serbian and Russian flags and banners praising Putin for trying to rebuild a Russo-centric, pan-Slavic world and to counter global Americanism.

Serbia – despite its new pro-Western leadership and EU ambitions – has deep historical ties with the Slavic ‘big brother’ that has supported Belgrade over the centuries, most recently during the 1999 NATO bombing campaign.

It is the only European nation that is truly close to Russia, with common Orthodox and Slavic roots, a daily Moscow-Belgrade train and a bilateral visa-free entry agreement. Putin pledged to invest US$1.4 billion in gas pipeline infrastructure for Serbia, which already buys all its natural gas from Russia.

But ties extend far beyond cultural and ethnic similarities, to Moscow’s wider geopolitical strategies.

The Belgrade love fest is just another brick in the giant international structure Russian officials label Russkiy Mir, or Russian World.

Moscow media cover ‘Russkiy Mir’ and conferences of ‘Russian compatriots’ on a daily basis. Though the USSR has dissolved, step by step, Putin’s Kremlin is bringing the vast lands of its former empire back into the fold.

‘Russia has been a great power for centuries, and remains so,’ Putin declared in front of Duma, or parliament, deputies on August 16, 1999, as he sought their approval for his prime ministership. ‘It has always had and still has legitimate zones of interest abroad in both the former Soviet lands and elsewhere.’…”

View Original Article