Russia projects its military power in an attempt to intimidate European leaders
Russia launched in September of this year the "East 2018" military manoeuvres involving about 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 tanks and armoured vehicles and 80 ships. It is important to underline that Chinese soldiers participated to these manoeuvres. Obviously, these exercises are the signs of growing tensions with the West. The biggest military exercise in nearly four decades was aimed at impressing the EU and in particular Poland and Hungary which were former Soviet satellite states. And the hidden goal was to galvanize Russian public opinion. It must be stressed that the current economic and social situation in Russia is complicated. The country is heavily dependent on natural resources: oil and natural gas account for more than one-third of the federal budget revenues (Re: EIA). Russia's economy is also badly hit by Western sanctions meant to punish Moscow for its annexation of Crimea and the Kremlin's role in the Ukrainian conflict. A calendar coincidence? A few weaks ago Nato's military forces from 31 countries have undertaken huge military exercises, stretching from the Baltic Sea to Iceland. Authorities in Moscow said that these manoeuvres were clearly "anti-Russian". Are we seeing the return of the Cold War? It is in fact very similar and efforts of all parties should focus on de-escalation. Because a broad majority of world public opinion does not want to take part in World War III. But we should not forget that some politicians are unpredictable. This is where the danger lies.