Russia Is Preparing to Drop the New Iron Curtain
It has been 76 years since Winston Churchill famously declared the start of the Cold War with his observation that an iron curtain had descended in Europe.
“From Stettin in the Baltic, to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent,” Churchill said on March 5, 1946, in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.
The Cold War may have ended decades ago, but now, in the midst of Russia’s war with Ukraine, there seems to be another iron curtain looming and ready to descend in Eastern Europe.
Upon its invasion of Ukraine, corporations all over the world began exiting Russia and ending operations there.
Starbucks, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, PespiCo and others suspended business in Russia, CNN reported.
But much more important than fast-food products, Meta, Google and Apple are beginning to ban products in Russia, the BBC reported.
Twitter and Facebook are blocked in Russia and TikTok is not allowing Russian users to post anything.
But more than just being banned from social media, Ukrainian leaders have also called for Russia to be completely cut off from the global internet.
Russia is being cut off from the rest of the world as corporations and western governments actively isolate Russia economically and culturally.
“As Putin tries to reduce Ukraine to rubble, he is also turning Russia into a prison,” Victoria Nuland the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs said during testimony to Congress, the Washington Post reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said soon after Russia attacked his country that the invasion was “the sound of a new Iron Curtain lowering,” the Times of Israel reported.
Russians themselves are fleeing their country as they fear that Russia will be more and more cut off from the rest of the world.
Masha Gessen, a Russian-American journalist who was in Moscow for 20 years but recently left, said there is panic among Russians.
“I know in Moscow started to feel panicked and, like, really panicked, not just about the state of the country and obviously the war, but also about needing to leave the country because there was a distinct sense that the borders were likely to close, that the country was just spiraling into some kind of North Korean scenario,” Gessen told NPR.
“And so there’s been a huge exodus from Russia in the last week and a half. … [R]ecent estimates range at this point from 100,000 to 200,000 people who have left,” Gessen added.
It is never a good sign when Russians are fleeing their own country, fearing that they will become prisoners if they stay.
The signs of an impending iron curtain came early, when Russian authorities began arresting anti-war protesters en masse.
By March 6, more than 4,300 Russian protesters had been arrested across Russia, the Guardian reported.
All this is leading to many grim predictions for Russia’s future. Many are assuming a Cold War-era type of Russia is simply re-emerging.
“It’s over. All the vestiges of liberalism will be purged,” Alexander Baunov, a senior fellow at Carnegie Moscow, told Axios.
With such a globally connected world, it’s unlikely that Russia will ever be able to lower the kind of iron curtain that was present during the Cold War. It’s hard to completely cut off parts of the world anymore, since the internet exists.
But the fact that Russians themselves are worrying about isolation — at the same time the rest of the world is actively calling for Russia to be punished for its attack on Ukraine — should have people aware that geopolitics may be drastically changing.
The world could be entering into a very new era of global politics as Russia and Europe shift in this war.
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