La minaccia russa perde vigore

BRUSSELS – Per l’Europa, l’evento che ha caratterizzato il 2014 è stato l’annessione della Crimea alla Russia e l’intervento militare nella regione di Donbas, a est dell’Ucraina. Le azioni del Cremlino hanno sfidato direttamente i princìpi che hanno guidato l’Europa per oltre sessant’anni, in particolare la rinuncia all’uso della forza per modificare i confini nazionali. Tuttavia la Russia non è nella condizione di appoggiare la sua aggressiva politica estera.

Alcuni hanno sostenuto spesso che la Russia stava reagendo all’invasione del suo “vicino estero” messa in atto dall’Unione Europea e dalla Nato. Ma la storia suggerisce una spiegazione più semplice: un decennio caratterizzato da un costante aumento dei prezzi del petrolio aveva incoraggiato la Russia a cogliere ogni opportunità per schierare le sue truppe militari.

In realtà, l’Unione sovietica ha vissuto un’esperienza simile 40 anni fa, quando un prolungato periodo di aumento dei ricavi da petrolio ha stimolato l’adozione di una politica estera sempre più assertiva, che ha raggiunto il culmine nell’invasione dell’Afghanistan nel 1979. I prezzi del petrolio sono quadruplicati in seguito al primo embargo sul petrolio nel 1973 e la scoperta di ampie riserve negli anni ’70 ha sostenuto un massiccio aumento della produzione sovietica. Di conseguenza, dal 1965 al 1980, il valore della produzione petrolifera sovietica è aumentato di quasi venti volte.

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