The GuardianThe Guardian

‘Russia has lost its soft power’: How war in Ukraine destabilises old Soviet allies

By Andrew Roth

12 Mar 2023 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

Will Russia's military aggression in Ukraine lead to a loss of its influence in neighboring countries? The Guardian explores the ripple effects of the conflict on Moscow's old Soviet allies.

As Georgian protesters marched on the country’s parliament against a new “foreign agents” law this week, they bore signs that said “No to Russian law!”, and others decrying the spirit of autocracy and imperialism that is now firmly associated with Moscow’s influence in the region.

By all appearances, the law they opposed was a local initiative to allow the ruling Georgian Dream party to crack down on civil society and win forthcoming elections. But that party’s perceived closeness to Moscow and the similarities to a notorious Russian law against “foreign agents” were a popular rallying cry for Georgians who joined the protests.

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