President Putin believes the EU will crumble completely in just 10 years, the same amount of time it took for the USSR to disintegrate on Boxing Day 1991. His remarks hint that the beginning of the end has already started. Sharing his doubts as to whether the EU will be preserved in its current form by the year 2028, he cited Brexit among one of the main causes of the collapse of Brussels, adding it is why it follows “with concern what is happening there”, in reference to the EU itself.
He added that because the EU is Russia’s main trading partner that is why Moscow is interested in everything “working well”.
He said: “By 2028 some countries in Eastern Europe will reach a sufficient level of development, so that they will no longer receive support from the European budget, but they will have to pay as the United Kingdom did and still does.
“Perhaps the same initiatives that exist today in the United Kingdom will arise.”
He also said that European leaders are considering different scenarios to achieve “more stable forms of integration”.
President Putin believes the EU will crumble completely in just 10 years
The Soviet Union's fall came in December 191
He added: “I don’t know if they will succeed. In any case, I want to wish them success in that task.”
President Putin’s words come after claims he is using his growing influence to rebuild the USSR to garner more power for the Russian state.
His most recent power play saw Pantsir-S missile systems touchdown in Serbia as the Russian President strengthens ties with the autocratic administration in Belgrade headed by President Aleksandar Vucic.
Putin has already overseen monstrous arms deals with the Balkan state, supplying various weapons for both ground and air combat, including fighter jets, attack helicopters and battle tanks.
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A vandalised statue of Stalin after the collapse of the USSR
The deal comes despite warnings from US President Donald Trump’s administration that Washington would impose crippling sanctions on Serbia should they decide to invest in the deadly weaponry.
Serbia is not the only country in the Balkan region feeling the Kremlin’s overreaching authority, though.
Paul Stronski highlights in his paper ‘Russia’s game in the Balkans’ that the Kremlin’s influence in the Wester Balkans is geared towards undermining the countries’ hopes of joining the European Union and NATO.
This is done by contributing to instability in the region making the nations less likely to be accepted into Western alliances as security fears rise.
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US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev
The ‘Western Balkan six’ (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia ) are all aiming to join the EU, but recently two of these countries were frustrated when their integration process was delayed by resistance from within the bloc.
French President Emmanuel Macron was the only EU leader to oppose North Macedonia’s entry into the bloc while france Paris was joined by Denmark and the Netherlands in thwarting Albania’s attempts to join the 28 current member states.
It would appear Putin’s influence combined with Chinese presence in the region is thwarting the Balkan states in their search for stability.
Putin has expressed on multiple occasions his negative feelings towards the breakup of the Soviet Union, when asked at a forum in 2018 what he would change about Russian history, he responded: “The collapse of the Soviet Union.”
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The Soviet Union's Iron Curtain
As Mr Stronski highlights, the Balkans represent significant historic, cultural, and religious connections due to the close links shared between the USSR and Yugoslavia during the Cold War.
Arguably Putin’s most controversial political move in Eastern Europe was the illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a flashpoint still to be fully resolved now.
Conflict has also been undertaken with Georgia, and misinformation campaigns have been rife in the Baltic states as Moscow looks to revive Soviet narrative in Latvia and Lithuania.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.