It was not enough for Dmitri O. Rogozin, a deputy prime minister of Russia, to warn darkly that it would be “a grave mistake” for Moldova to seek closer ties with Europe.
Mr. Rogozin, wrapping up a visit here last month, let fly a threat about the coming winter in this impoverished former Soviet republic, which is entirely dependent on Russian gas for heat. “We hope that you will not freeze,” he said.
The squeeze was just beginning. Next, the Russian Orthodox patriarch, Kirill I, in a rare personal appearance here, denounced Western Europe, “where religion is simply disappearing.” And three days later, the sharpest blow: Russian officials, citing vague health concerns, banned Moldovan wine, one of the country’s most important exports.
Russia’s “near abroad,” which is pretty much the SSR’s of the USSR, will be brought back into the fold. Maybe not officially — re-drawing the map is frowned on these days — but they will be brought to heel. The Baltic States are probably safe, barring an even bigger collapse of American influence. But the rest will be again under Moscow’s kind tutelage.
Or at least that’s how Moscow sees it.