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You're reading: New York Times: Ukraine’s risky bet

The breakup of the Soviet Union was not a single explosion. It remains a slow-motion, centrifugal process, with pieces of the Russian empire drifting farther and farther away from Moscow as others remain caught in the Kremlin’s orbit. The Baltic states were the first to jump on the E.U. and NATO bandwagons. Other Soviet republics stayed in the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose association formed in place of the U.S.S.R., but are pulled westward or eastward, Europe and China being the magnets. The republic of Georgia is no longer part of any Russian-led bloc. Ukraine is expected to follow suit, and Moldova has also been invited to sign an E.U. accord.

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