Alona Lebedieva: The Impact of the War in Ukraine on Political Stability in Eastern Europe

Strengthening Defense Efforts

The war in Ukraine has led to a significant increase in military spending in Eastern European countries, particularly in Poland and the Baltic States. For instance, Poland has raised its defense budget to 2.5% of GDP and expanded its military alliances through participation in NATO-led international military exercises and strengthening bilateral agreements with the USA. By 2022, Poland had already invested about $6 billion in modernizing military equipment and infrastructure. The Baltic States have also significantly increased their defense budgets in response to the threat from Russia. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are actively investing in modernizing their armed forces and increasing military personnel.

Investments in military infrastructure demonstrate the seriousness of European countries in protecting their borders. Strong economic projects and strengthened defense go hand in hand. The Baltic States understand that maintaining sovereignty depends on their ability to defend their interests Romania and Bulgaria have also strengthened their defense spending, reaching 2% of GDP. The Czech Republic is also rearming,” says Alona Lebedieva, owner of the Ukrainian multi-disciplinary industrial-investment group “Aurum Group”.

Changes in Domestic Policy and Identity

The war in Ukraine has also deepened regional integration and influenced the interaction of Eastern European countries with NATO and the EU. The Three Seas Initiative, which unites countries from the Baltic to the Black and Adriatic Seas, has become key to strengthening regional energy security and diversifying energy sources.

For example, within this initiative, Poland and Lithuania are actively developing projects to build new gas pipelines and LNG terminals. The Czech Republic is actively investing in the development of its energy infrastructure, including the modernization of gas pipelines and improving energy efficiency, to reduce dependence on Russian energy resources,” noted Alona Lebedieva.

Challenges for Internal Stability

The increase in the number of refugees and internally displaced persons from Ukraine has created significant challenges for social and political stability in host countries. For example, Germany, having accepted over a million Ukrainian refugees, has faced significant challenges in integrating them and meeting their basic needs. This has led to increased tension among the local population and higher social assistance costs. The authorities have had to increase funding to support refugees, including housing, medical care, and education. Similar challenges have been felt in the Baltic States, Poland, and France.

This crisis has highlighted the importance of creating sustainable and effective mechanisms for integrating refugees, which will help reduce tension and ensure social harmony in society. Such challenges require not only financial resources but also a comprehensive approach that includes education, medical care, and social support for the successful adaptation of displaced persons to a new life. There is much work to be done for everyone,” continues Lebedieva.

In her opinion, Europe is experiencing a period of significant changes. It is important that country leaders continue to strive for stability, not forgetting the needs of their citizens and those seeking refuge from the war.

This is especially relevant at a time when Hungary chairs the Council of the European Union, and in France, far-right forces may strengthen their positions. Such political changes can affect the approach to migration policy and refugee integration. Therefore, it is necessary for politicians to maintain a balance between protecting national interests and humanitarian obligations, ensuring effective support and integration for those in need,” concluded Alona Lebedieva.